SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Girl Meets World finale.
Girl Meets World — a sequel to ABC’s popular sitcom Boy Meets World — ended its run on Disney Channel tonight with an episode that felt like a series finale and was titled like one too, “Girl Meets Goodbye”.
The “goodbye” part was given a different connotation when the show’s penultimate Season 3 episode last week dropped the bombshell that Topanga Matthews (Danielle Fishel) had received a job offer and was considering moving the family to London. After a lot of soul-searching and counsel by family members, with a slew of Boy Meets World alums making an appearance, she opted to stay, calling Topanga’s coffee house her “bay window.”
“Topanga is an incredibly strong decision maker,” Girl Meets World creator and Boy Meets World co-creator Michael Jacobs told Deadline. “Anybody who gives up Yale for a fictional college because she loves Cory Matthews, isn’t going to uproot her family for Trafalgar Square. But the main point of the story was that she found her own bay window right where she was.”
Tonight’s episode was written as a potential series finale, Jacobs said, and it was not the first time he had done that, with the bay window theme running through both closers-to-be.
“There were a couple of series finales,” he said. “(Season 2 penultimate episode) ‘Girl Meets The Bay Window’ was a great series finale. The three incarnations of Riley and Maya, younger, older and their current selves, all leave the bay window and head off into the world. After we shot that we said ‘Uh-oh.’ But then we got picked up for season 3.”
While he was happy to get a third season, Jacobs admits he would’ve been even happier to get a fourth but had a sense that may be a long shot at the kids-focused Disney Channel as the show’s protagonists moved to high school. “I had hoped to run at Disney Channel for four years but realized many shows stop after three, and our cast and the natural stories to tell might have outgrown the venue, so I wrote the last episodes of the season with some closure just in case,” he said. “The last thing I would want for a loyal audience would be to leave over 200 episodes of a franchise unfinished. But I also wanted the possible finish line to have obvious space to keep going. I hope we did that.”
Will Girl Meets World continue elsewhere? While the most obvious candidate, Netflix, is not interested, and no major new suitors have emerged, Jacobs is still trying and hopeful but also content if this is indeed the end.
“I’m making an attempt to find a home for an evolution of the franchise,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is overstay our welcome when we have always been so warmly received. But the idea I have to continue is a good one. If somebody moves on it immediately, great. If not, it’s been on the air going on 25 years. Lots of lessons learned.”
As for Jacobs’ idea for a potential fourth season, it sounds a little ominous, with him hinting at a possible death.
“The series was always about a strong friendship,” he said. (‘Girl Meets Goodbye’ hit that home with its “Riley and Maya are forever” theme that framed the episode.) “The first season was dedicated to that. The second season was about growth. The third season was about experiencing feelings and the fourth season was going to be about dealing with change and loss and learning something from it as we have from all of our episodes.”
The Girl Meets World finale staged major Boy Meets World reunion, which included both actresses who played Cory’s (Ben Savage) sister Morgan: Lily Nicksay (Seasons 1–2) and Lindsay Ridgeway (Seasons 3–7).
“When we put both casts together there is always the genuine warmth of a family reunion,” Jacobs said. “But this time, the two Morgans added something even more special, as did ending with the appearance of the original Joshua Matthews as we did in the Boy Meets World finale. That character was born to illustrate that just when you think you have the world figured out, it surprises you.”
Boy Meets World fans helped get Girl Meets World happen with the enthusiastic reaction to the news of the project. Jacobs admits that put extra pressure on him and his team to live up to fans’ expectations.
“When Girl Meets World was announced, the internet reaction showed us how much Boy Meets World was appreciated,” he said. “We were very grateful for that and wanted to sustain those good feelings as we continued. So, we tried to make sure the new show would offer something of value to a new generation young people meeting the world.”
With an end in mind, Jacobs reflected on the original series and its followup. “If there is any legacy to these two shows I hope it would be that the first show demonstrated that the most wonderful thing the world offers is love,” he said. “But then I read articles written on college campuses about the difficulties of trying to be Cory and Topanga. So the second show offers the potential of true friendship. Cory and Topanga were meant to be forever. So are Riley and Maya. Our legacy? As you meet the world, love and friendship help you through.”
Girl Meets World was one of Disney Channel’s best received series, with devoted fan base, strong reviews, two consecutive best children’s program Emmy nominations as well as WGA and PGA nominations. But that may have been enough to prevent the show from a premature conclusion. As Savage’s teacher Cory Matthews put it in the finale tonight,
“Sometimes things happen earlier than they are supposed to.”
“So what do we do?”
“We do our best, we leave a good mark, and we hope people remember us fondly.”