Joey The Rat’s Legacy on Boy Meets World

Joey “The Rat” Epstein is one of the most memorable Boy Meets World characters in the series’ rich history and left a lasting impression on the show’s fanbase.

Joey appeared in sixteen Boy Meets World episodes from Seasons 2 through 5, where he and Frankie served as lackeys in Harley’s gang and later Griff’s.

Joey returned in Season 5, Episode 24: Graduation, which marked his final appearance on Boy Meets World. During this episode, Joey and Frankie outlined their intentions to become the Cory and Shawn of the underworld.

Joey The Rat’s First Episode

Joey first appears in Season 2, Episode 1: Back 2 School. Cory and Shawn enter John Adams High School for the first time when Frankie slams Cory into the locker for “almost being in his way.” 

After Shawn explains that they are looking for their homeroom, Joey tells him their homeroom is inside the lockers. Shawn saves them the trouble of sticking him in the locker by voluntarily entering it and closing the door.

Friendship With Frankie Stechinno

Joey and Frankie are best friends and regularly appear in the same scenes. As self-proclaimed lackeys and hierarchical inferiors to Harley and Griff, they are inseparable throughout their high school tenure.

However, when Joey gets suspended in Season 3, Frankie must seek new friends in Cory and Shawn. In Season 4, Frankie appears in multiple episodes without Joey, but they are reunited in Season 5, Episode 24: Graduation.

Allegiance to Harley Keiner

Joey reveres Harley, although his admiration is not reciprocated. Harley often bullies Joey and refers to him as the weak link of the gang. Joey feels threatened by Harley and does whatever he can to please him.

In some cases, Joey’s loyalty to Harley is the result of Stockholm syndrome. It’s evident that Joey lacks self-esteem, which allows Harley to abuse their relationship and use him for personal gain.

Allegiance to Griff Hawkins

After Harley is shipped to reform school during Season 2, a new transfer student, Griff Hawkins, takes over the gang. Joey becomes good friends with Griff, who encourages Joey to join the wrestling team.

Griff ends up holding a massive wrestling match between Joey and Cory for the team’s final spot. The match takes place in the John Adams gymnasium and features appearances from stars like Vader, Yasmeen Bleath, and Robert Goulet.

Joey’s Disappearance in Season 3

The show addresses Joey’s dismissal in Season 3, Episode 13, New Friends and Old. The plot insinuates that Joey was permanently suspended from high school for burning Cory and Shawn’s clothes, forcing them to wear cheerleader outfits.

Although Frankie also participated in the stunt, he is able to avoid Joey’s fate on the condition that he starts hanging out with a better crowd. In response, Frankie attempts to befriend Cory and Shawn.

Joey’s Season 5 Return

Joey returns to Boy Meets World in Season 5, Episode 24: Graduation. He and Frankie consider themselves the Cory and Shawn of the underworld and plot their futures as career criminals.

They ask Shawn and Cory to sign their yearbooks and include their home addresses and times when they won’t be home. Both of them are later seen in the graduation scene wearing caps and gowns, implying that they both graduated.

In retrospect, Joey graduating from John Adams seems far-fetched as he was suspended in Season 3 and never once attended class. On the other hand, Frankie’s graduation was more legitimate since he became a good student during Season 4.

Portrayal of Joey The Rat on Boy Meets World

Blake Sennet plays Joey The Rat Epstein on Boy Meets World, though he was credited under a different name, Blake Soper. He previously appeared on two episodes of The Wonder Years and later on Melrose Place and Smart Guy.

Despite an accomplished acting career, Sennet is known primarily as a musician. His former band, Rilo Kiley, was well-regarded in the indie rock scene until the group dissolved in 2013.

Sennet explains his Boy Meets World tenure in detail on the Pod Meets World podcast. He reveals that he stepped away from acting after substance abuse challenges.

The former cast member also reveals that he and Ethan Suplee (Frankie) pitched a Boy Meets World script to Micheal Jacobs built around a theme of The Catcher in The Rye. Although Jacobs said he loved the script, he never used it in the series.

The 5 Best Joey The Rat Moments in Boy Meets World

1) Joey Forges Janitor Bud’s Time Card

Joey forges Janitor Bud’s time card so the old man can skip off to the racetrack while still getting paid for an entire workday. However, Cory catches Joey on film for a documentary project assigned by Mr. Willimas.

At the end of the episode, Janitor Bud is fired but re-hired as Feeny’s secretary. But the episode is known for one of the most memorable lines of the entire series, which Joey directs at Cory Matthews. You can read the full quote below.

“so next time you go sticking your nose someplace where it don’t belong, you remember this; you suck.” 

Joey The Rat Epstein

2) Joey Wrestles Cory at an Extravagant Event

Cory and Joey are both vying for the John Adams High School wrestling team’s lowest weight class, which only has one spot available. Although Cory initially defeats Joey to earn the spot, Joey repeatedly taunts Cory for a rematch.

Joey calls Matthews “Yellow” for not agreeing to a rematch, and Cory eventually feels pressure to grant Joey’s request. To settle the conflict, Cory agrees to wrestle Joey in an event set up by Griff Hawkins.

Griff somehow books Yasmeen Bleath and Robert Goulet to show up at John Adams High School and stages the event like a primetime boxing match.

In addition, Vader, who is Frankie’s father, also attends the event. The professional wrestler beats up Eric Matthews while wearing his full Vader uniform. However, Mr. Feeny shows up to shut down the event while directly confronting Vader.

3) Joey Sells Out Tickets for a Student Film Club Showing

When Eric becomes president of the student film society to improve his college transcripts, he is forced to promote a screening of the 1969 musical film Paint Your Wagon.

Eric has trouble selling the tickets, prompting Joey to propose a deal between himself, Frankie, and Eric. The agreement says that Joey will help Eric sell the tickets in exchange for a cut of the profits. Eric agrees to the terms of the deal.

Joey also makes a funny remark in response to other students booing Eric’s film promotion, saying, “Shut all your traps; it says Clint Eastwood’s in this picture.” 

Later in the episode, Joey and Frankie make good on their promise to sell out the showing. However, they only do so because they changed the film from Paint Your Wagon to a horror film called Texas Gut Suckers Part 5: Leon’s Revenge. 

The lackeys also arrange for the movie’s central star, Leon, to be a guest at the screening. However, when the curtains open, students see Mr. Feeny standing on the stage instead of Leon; at this point, everyone scurries. 

4) Joey Attempts to Find Harley’s Replacement

When Harley is banished to reform school, Joey and Frankie actively seek a new leader. They initially set their sights on Eric Matthews by dressing in LL Bean and other preppy clothing in an attempt to impress him. However, Eric tells them off.

Later in the episode, Griff Hawkins makes his Boy Meets World debut. Because of his cool demeanor and popularity among women, Joey and Frankie immediately gravitate to him. Eric sets up an introduction, prompting Griff to be their leader.

Though Griff is initially resistant to the idea, he realizes that Frankie and Joey can get him out of contentious situations, such as jealous boyfriends threatening him for stealing their girlfriends. 

5) Joey Graduates from John Adams High School

Despite not appearing in Season 4, Joey returns during Season 5 to graduate from John Adams High School. Although we don’t hear his name called on-screen, as we do with the main characters, we can clearly see him seated in a cap and gown.

Joey’s graduation makes very little sense when analyzing the show’s history. First, he was several years older than Cory, Shawn, and Topanga, as was his friend Frankie, who also apparently graduated.

Both were upperclassmen in Season 2 when Cory first entered High School. While it’s possible they were held back for not attending class and other disciplinary measures, it seems more likely that they would have dropped out entirely.

Secondly, it’s a massive reach to believe that Joey had the grades to graduate, considering he never attended class and regularly loitered in the hallways while other students were learning.

Finally, Joey was suspended from John Adams High School during Season 3 and disappeared from the series until graduation. While plotholes are part of any TV series, this one seems excessive, even by Boy Meets World standards.

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