1 9 9 3 – 2 0 0 0 (USA)
158 x 30 minute episodes
This ABC sitcom presented life through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy and starred Ben Savage, the younger brother of Fred Savage of The Wonder Years, and was loosely modelled on that hit series.
Cory Matthews (Savage) was a curious, brash junior high student beset with the problems of the tween years.
His mother, Amy (Betsy Randle) and blue-collar dad Alan (William “Rusty” Russ), were sympathetic, but they were grown-ups.
Supercool older brother Eric (Will Friedle) ignored him, while cute little sis Morgan had plenty of opinions but was too young to really understand.
So Cory and his best pal, Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) explored life’s mysteries on their own.
The number-one mystery was demanding, acerbic teacher Mr Feeny (William Daniels), who either hated Cory or liked him – it was hard to tell. Feeny lived next door to the Matthews, so Cory got to see a lot of him.
Topanga (Danielle Fishel) was the girl of Cory’s dreams, and Stuart (Lee Norris) was a bookish friend.
In 1994 Cory and Shawn entered John Adams High School, and there to greet them was Mr Feeny, the new acting principal! Their new homeroom/English teacher was cool Mr Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), who read poetry in class but wore a leather jacket and rode a motorcycle outside.
Harley (Danny McNulty) was Cory’s new nemesis), while Joey (Blake Soper) and Frankie (Ethan Suplee) were schoolmates, along with a host of others who were occasionally seen in the school corridors and hanging out at Chubbie’s Malt Shoppe.
The relationship between Cory and Topanga grew over time, from puppy love to hesitant dating, breakups, and reconciliations. Finally, on their graduation day in 1998, Topanga proposed. Cory wavered, but by the fall, they had become engaged.
Meanwhile, Cory’s best buddy Shawn, the product of a failed marriage, faced some pretty heavy concerns of his own.
For a time, he lived with Mr Turner, who was appointed his legal guardian. Then his irresponsible truck driver, father Chet (Blake Clark), showed up, and Shawn lived with him for a season.
Cory and Topanga enrolled in Pennbrook College – the same college that Cory’s older brother Eric had entered the preceding year. For Topanga, it was a choice of the heart; she turned down Yale to be with Cory.
Party guy Eric was rooming with a studious young man named Jack Newman (Matthew Lawrence), who turned out to be Shawn’s long-lost half brother. Chet had left town again, so Shawn had moved in with them for a while, sampling college life even though he wasn’t officially enrolled.
He then moved into a dormitory with his pal Cory. Topanga, meanwhile, roomed with Shawn’s new girlfriend, an African-American girl named Angela (Trina McGee-Davis).
The 1998-1999 season brought other changes. With Shawn gone, Eric and Jack needed a new roommate: enter Rachel McGuire (Maitland Ward), a red-haired beauty who kept them both in their places.
Feeny retired and moved to Wyoming, but not for long. Returning, he met a pretty dean named Bolander (played by William Daniels’s real-life wife, Bonnie Bartlett) and began a relationship of his own.
Back at the nearly empty Matthews’ nest, Cory’s mother, Amy, was pregnant with her fourth child.
She gave birth to a boy during the last season, and Cory and Topanga were married.
The newlyweds moved to New York in the finale, where Topanga had been offered an internship, while Shawn and Jack joined the Peace Corps.
Before they all left, however, Mr Feeny had one last piece of advice: “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good. I love you all. Class dismissed.”
William “Rusty” Russ
Lily Nicksay (1)
Lindsay Ridgeway (2)
Anthony Tyler Quinn