Boy Meets World saw its characters grow over nearly a decade. Their first and final lines uttered help showcase their changes.
Fans got to watch Cory Matthews and his family grow over the course of seven seasons. Boy Meets World began its journey with Cory in the sixth grade and followed him all the way up to college and marriage. Along the way, he learned a lot of valuable life lessons – and so did the audience.
Boy Meets World is primarily focused on the Matthews family as a result of Cory at the center of the story, but his world expands to include close friends and significant others in high school and college. Just how much the characters grow and change – and how much they stay the same – is reflected in their first and last quotes in the show.
“You will? Okay, great. Me too.” – “I’m going to be a good person who cares about people, and I blame you for that.”
When Eric is introduced in the first episode of the series, it’s in a scene that pretty much defines his attitude for the first few seasons. He’s on the phone with a girl, making a date, and has to break his plans with Cory. He eventually becomes more than Cory’s brother – he also becomes his friend – but the early episodes see him as the cool high schooler who doesn’t want to be bothered with his middle school baby brother.
By the end of the series, Eric credits George Feeny with helping him care about other people and being a little less selfish. He even goads Mr. Feeny into admitting that he loves him.
“Good Morning, Mr. Matthews.” – “I love you all. Class dismissed.”
Despite Cory believing that Mr. Feeny doesn’t like him at the beginning of the show, the teacher is always there for him. Their humorous exchanges are a hallmark of the series, as is Mr. Feeny’s wise advice, and that all starts in the pilot. Mr. Feeny and Cory have the first dialogue of the show as they exchange pleasantries (and then banter) by the vending machine.
Mr. Feeny also gets the last line of the show, which he says to an empty classroom after the kids he’s watched grow up file out. It’s a fitting ending for the teacher and the program.
“Just the kid I want to see.” – “I love you.”
The Matthews parents are pretty perfect sitcom parents. Sure, they make mistakes, but they encourage their kids to learn from those mistakes. Amy Matthews is also someone who wants to see her kids do well, so when the first scene includes her questioning Cory about the detention he hasn’t told her about, the audience gets a good feel for her character.
Her last appearance in the show also revolves around Cory as she tells him goodbye before he, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric leave for New York. The last line she gets is to tell her son that she loves him and the perfect exit for her.
“Why did you get detention?” – “We’re always here for you, alright?”
Like his wife, Alan just wants his kids to have their best chance. Alan, however, is the parent who is usually ready to be the friend instead of the disciplinarian. In his first appearance, he’s more curious about why Cory got detention than the fact that Cory didn’t tell them.
Likewise, Alan is the one who isn’t ready for Eric to leave the house when Eric starts college, so it makes sense that while Amy says goodbye in their final scene, Alan is the one to remind Cory that his family will always be there for him.
“Excuse me, new guy in town!” – “Money doesn’t make you rich; life makes you rich. Our father taught us that.”
When Jack joins the series in season five, Cory doesn’t initially know that he’s Shaw’s older brother. Cory is just excited when Jack announces that he’s new in town and needs a roommate because it means Eric will be out of the house. Jack joining the show starts an arc for him and Shawn about understanding their family dynamic.
Interestingly, his last line is pretty much a lie, as the ghost of Chet Hunter admits while watching his sons. Jack decides to give up any claim to his stepfather’s money and join the Peace Corps with Rachel, citing his father as inspiration. It shows how far Jack has come in his willingness to be a Hunter.
“No offense, Cory, but your project looks like you ripped off that show on MTV…” – “Let’s not say goodbye; let’s just say I love you.”
When originally introduced in season five, Angela is just another kid in the classroom. She’s the only person to speak up about Cory’s video project looking like a rip off of The Real World, and audience members might have thought she would disappear like so many other classmates.
Instead, Angela sticks around until the penultimate episode. She gets her own sendoff episode apart from the other characters, giving up her relationship with Shawn to reconnect with her father and move to Europe. The episode is pretty heartbreaking for fans, but satisfying for the audience who watched so many of the teens lose out on relationships with their fathers on the show.
“I gave up a scholarship to Yale to move to Philadelphia with you…” – “I am so proud of you, Jack. You’re doing the right thing.”
Rachel is introduced as she yells at her ex in the hallway of an apartment building. She, like Topanga, gave up her spot at Yale to go to school in Philadelphia with her high school boyfriend, though the two end up having very different paths in life.
Rachel spends a lot of her time on the show being fought over by Eric and Jack, but she very firmly pursues her own goals. She’s delighted that, after having changed her own life plans for someone once before, Jack decides to accompany her when she joins the Peace Corps. It’s a shame her character didn’t get the chance to return to Girl Meets World to see where life took her.
“He’s a teacher, man. Keep ragging on him, he’s going to make your whole sixth grade year miserable.” – “You’re the best person I know.”
In the pilot episode, Shawn is there to witness Cory bantering with Mr. Feeny about his candy bar before school starts, and he tries to warn Cory that their teacher will be all over him for the rest of the year. Little does Shawn know how big of an influence the teacher will be on his own life moving forward.
While it’s typically Cory who turns to Mr. Feeny for help, Shawn has his fair share of moments with their teacher as well. Shawn admires him greatly, and he even hugs him when saying goodbye, telling Mr. Feeny that he knows he’s one of his favorites.
“Give me your hand.” – “I will never forget you. You were more of a father to me than my own dad.”
Unlike the Matthews family, Topanga doesn’t make an appearance in the pilot episode. Instead, it’s in the fourth episode that her time begins, and she makes a big impression. When assigned to work with Cory, she demands his hand so she can see if their “energies converge.” No one changes more than Topanga does in the show.
Topanga goes from a flower child to a serious academic in high school, and like Cory and Shawn, she turns to Mr. Feeny for help more than her own parents – especially when her parents don’t want her to remain in Philadelphia. That prompts her emotional goodbye to the teacher.
“Good morning, Mr. Feeny.” – “You’ll always be with us, as long as we live okay?”
It’s fitting that Boy Meets World opens with Cory and Mr. Feeny teasing one another in the cafeteria. Despite Cory being so sure that Mr. Feeny hates him, he continues to go to the teacher for advice for the next decade of his life.
Mr. Feeny influences Cory beyond just the advice he gives. Not only does he value Mr. Feeny, but he goes on to become a teacher, just like his mentor. He definitely follows through on carrying Mr. Feeny with him.