Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Boy Meets World MVP

As you guys may know I choose an MVP for each episode. I was wondering who what the ranks were of who's gotten that the most (I suspect it's Sabrina Carpenter, but I actually haven't even gotten around to counting that yet) which got me thinking about what the ranks would be for BOY MEETS WORLD. So... I went through the episode list and chose an MVP for every episode where the answer was clear to me without a rewatch. There's still a LOT of holes in here, episodes I feel I need to rewatch before I can choose an MVP, but here's the initial list. The responses surprised me

Pilot: William Daniels
On the Fence: William Russ
Father Knows Less: William Daniels
Cory's Alternative Friends: Ben Savage
Killer Bees: Ben Savage
Teacher's Bet: Ben Savage
The Father/Son Game: William Russ
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: Will Friedle
The B-Team of Life: Ben Savage
Boy Meets Girl: Ben Savage

Back 2 School: Ben Savage
The Uninvited: Rider Strong
Wake Up, Little Cory: Danielle Fishel
Sister Theresa: Danielle Harris
Cyrano: Danny McNulty
Danger Boy: William Daniels
By Hook or By Crook: Will Friedle
Wrong Side of the Tracks: Rider Strong
Pop Quiz: Adam Scott
Career Day: Blake Clark
Home: Anthony Tyler Quinn

This Little Piggy: Rider Strong
The Last Temptation of Cory: Ben Savage
City Slackers: William Daniels
Stormy Weather: Will Friedle
The Pink Flamingo Kid: Rider Strong
Brother Brother: Will Friedle  

You Can Go Home Again: William Russ (Tough not to give this to Will Friedle)
Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow: Will Friedle
I Ain't Gonna Spray Lettuce No More: Betsy Randle (I know it seems like Russ's episode, but the under-utilized Randle impresses me more here)
Shallow Boy: Will Friedle
Singled Out: Will Friedle
16 Candles...: Ethan Suplee
Turkey Day: Blake Clark
An Affair to Forget: Ben Savage
Easy Street: Ben Savage
B & B's B & B: William Daniels (But Jesus Christ, any of the main four could have won this too, God, this episode is good)
Wheels: William Russ
Chick Like Me: Rider Strong
A Long Walk to Pittsburgh 1: Ben Savage
A Long Walk to Pittsburgh 2: Betsy Randle
Uncle Daddy: Will Friedle
Quiz Show: William Daniels
Security Guy: Will Friedle
Cult Fiction: Rider Strong
Learning to Fly: Will Friedle

Brothers: Will Friedle
Boy Meets Real World: Rider Strong
It's Not You... It's Me: Ben Savage
Fraternity Row: Rider Strong
The Witches of Pennbrook: Will Friedle
No Guts, No Cory: Ben Savage
I Love You, Donna Karan: Rider Strong
Chasing Angela: Rider Strong
How to Succeed in Business: Ben Savage
Last Tango in Philly: Ben Savage
A Very Topanga Christmas: Ben Savage
Raging Cory: William Russ (Could have easily gone to Will or Ben though)
The Eskimo: Rider Strong
Heartbreak Cory: Linda Cardellini
Torn Between Two Lovers: Ben Savage
If You Can't Be with the One You Love: Ben Savage (Cory's parts were the parts of this episode that worked, not Shawn's)
Eric Hollywood: Will Friedle
Starry Night: Danielle Fishel (I think this is the first one I've given her)
Honesty Night: Rider Strong
Things Change: Ben Savage (Will almost deserves for "If I'm real quiet.. will you stay?" though)
Graduation: Rider Strong

Ain't College Great?: Ben Savage
Friendly Persuasion: Trina McGee-Davis
Better Than the Average Cory: Ben Savage
Hogs and Kisses: Ben Savage
You're Married, You're Dead; Ben Savage
Poetic License: Ben Savage
Santa's Little Helpers: Will Friedle
Cutting the Cord: Rider Strong
We'll Have a Good Time Then: Rider Strong
Getting Hitched: Matthew Lawrence
Road Trip: Rider Strong
Can I Help to Cheer You: Will Friedle
Bee True: This was like the toughest one. If I did ties, Ben, Rider, and Will would tie. But I don't, so, I'm going to go with Rider Strong.
The Truth About Honesty: Ben Savage
The Psychotic Episode: Ben Savage

Angela's Men: Rider Strong
The Honeymoon Is Over: Ben Savage
Pickett Fences: Ben Savage
What a Drag!: Ben Savage
Family Trees: Rider Strong
The Provider: Ben Savage
I'm Gonna Be Like You, Dad: William Russ
Seven the Hard Way: Will Friedle
Brotherly Shove: Will Friedle
Angela's Ashes: Rider Strong
Brave New World: William Daniels (Rider almost deserves it for his goodbye to Feeny though) 

Ben Savage: 29
Rider Strong: 19
Will Friedle: 17
William Daniels: 7
William Russ: 6
Betsy Randle: 2
Blake Clark: 2 
Danielle Fishel: 2
Matthew Lawrence: 1
Trina McGee-Davis: 1
Anthony Tyler Quinn: 1
Danny McNulty: 1
Ethan Suplee: 1   
Adam Scott: 1
Danielle Harris: 1 
Linda Cardellini: 1 

Total: 92
Remaining: 65 

So, it's a big chunk, I'm not aware of off the top of my head. A huge chunk... but it looks like, so far, Ben Savage has a whoppingly large lead off Rider and Will. Season 1 certainly helps, since the other seasons are more ensembles, while Season 1 is like all Cory, but he has a great showing in later seasons like Season 6 as well.  I'll try to slowly update this list over time. But any agreements or disagreements? Throw'm at me. I'd love to have debates about this!

This is a truly magnificent post. I think we could squabble over a few of these between Ben and Rider but for the most part it's just personal taste. One worth squabbling over though is Chick Like Me. How is that NOT Rider?

You know what? You're right. I remember Cory most strongly from that episode because he's hilarious and gets all the funny parts, but you're right, Rider does the lion's share of the heavy lifting, and much more convincingly plays a girl. Changed! Feel free to squabble over more! I like squabbling! No other ones you strongly disagree on?

Not really. Maybe Easy Street for Rider. One you don't have up yet that occurred to me right away is Wake Up Little Cory, which is absolutely Danielle. 

Danielle's definitely in the running for that one, but it's been so long since I've seen it. I feel like I remember good performances from Ben and ATQ as well. Let's have that be how we refer to Anthony Tyler Quinn. ATQ.

I think I'm going to stick with Ben for Easy Street. I think I remember the most powerful part of that (frankly, pretty bad for Season 4) episode being Cory setting Shawn straight in that finale scene with the box. I also seem to recall a particularly bad Rider line-reading at the very end of that climactic scene that's stuck with me. 

Any thoughts on And Then There Was Shawn? I'm having a heck of a time deciding. 

EDIT: HEAR YE! HEAR YE! I have removed "Everybody Loves Stuart". I no longer feel confident enough to give it to Ben Savage without rewatching it. It occurs to me that Bonnie Bartlett may, in fact, be the MVP for this one.

Toughie. It's hard to gauge someone's performance in a parody. I'd probably say Rider just because he has the most lines.


  1. I agree that Danielle hands down deserves wake up little Cory. I also would've possibly given her the provider in season 7. I might have to rewatch but I remember that being one of the more likable versions of her character and it stood out while Cory was kind of doing the usual. Same for honesty night

    I would also give one of the his answer her answer episodes to savage because I still remember the scene where he gets really mad at his parents for not defending his decision to marry topanga. His mom had great points but angry Ben is always a fun Change of pace. I'm a sucker for when they shake things up

    I don't know if you haven't done the heart is a lonely hunter because you're considering Shawn, but I think that one certainly goes to Dana. As for life lessons I could put up a goods argument for savage but I think that one has to go to Daniels, if only because he is the KING of life lessons.

    Great idea for a post

    1. Okay, I'm going to watch Little Cory tonight and make my decision on it! As for The Provider, I agree, Danielle's good in that episode, but Cory's interactions with Schanazzi is the main bright sport in an otherwise kind of unpleasant episode.

      As for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, it's just been too long since I've seen it for me to say with confidence who the MVP was. I love Larisa Oleynik, but it does surprise me that that she'd have had the material in this episode to give a better performance than Rider, but I'm willing to entertain it!

    2. Hmm you have a point on the Lonely Hunter. I haven't seen the episode in a while and I might just be remembering her with a bigger role cause I always wished it was a storyline the show followed through on. I'll have to check it out for myself

    3. TRUE TRUE TRUE on the provider. that was a great pangerang episode.

    4. I watched Little Cory, and I'm a little torn. It's been a while since I've watched Season 2, Danielle's very green. I remembered she wasn't nearly as good as Ben and Rider in the beginning (Understandable, since Ben and Rider were cast as main characters, while Danielle sort of lucked into being one by nature of her guest role expanding) Still, she's not really *great* here, she's a little wooden in her delivery.

      My temptation was to give this to ATQ then, who gives a good performance on the sidelines, but I did decide to give it to Danielle because she's clearly really trying, and putting herself out there, and she grows a bit as an actress as a result of this. While she's not the best actor in the episode (and is, frankly, probably never the best actor in any episode) I do think her performance was the most valuable here. So Danielle gets it.

    5. I also recall in the commentary or something for this episode (or some interview or something) Danielle commenting on how deeply nervous and awkward she felt having to say her "You want me? Take me." dialogue and she really worked at it to say it with strength. Which, I mean, totally understandable, she was 13 years old when this episode was filmed. I'd be embarrassed to be filmed saying that now.

  2. And Then There Was Shawn has to go to Jennifer Love Fefferman, right? No, really, it's Will. No, Rider. Darn, that is hard. It's definitely between those two, though.

    1. It could be Will, Rider OR Ben. I really have no idea. It's going to be interesting to compare, because it's all just humor, so it's not like I'm trying to compare Eric being hilarious with Shawn being serious and picking an MVP from that, everyone's comedy.

  3. Awesome post! I really don't have any serious objections. I really liked Dan Lauria (dad from the wonder years) in the episode Wheels. he played the judge in that episode. I also think Will Friedle is hilarious in Pairing Off. It is actually hard to picks these off the top of your head because some of the B plots in the episode are great (Eric with the Cory dummy in The Happiest Show on Earth or when Eric proctors a citizenship class in Torn Between Two Lovers) Im rambling on but anyways, Great Work!

    1. One last thing... you guys talking about Easy Street made me remember when I used that episode to write my paper on any poem we felt like choosing back in high school. BMW was such a good show that it helped me with my homework! Anyways, that episode is pretty hard to choose between Rider and Ben, you can't really go wrong.

    2. It's actually tough not to give Will the nod for Two Lovers, because I love that entire citizenship class, but Ben actually gives a really strong performance in the final scene with Topanga at Chubbies. I was very impressed.


    4. Hey, watch that scene again! He does a good job!

    5. Ya Ben absolutely nails that scene.

    6. I wasn't making fun of him, that's one of his best lines. A lot of the best scenes are when Ben shows his range.

  4. Feeny's probably my favorite character, and his dialogues with Eric in the hotel really cement the fact that their relationship goes above and beyond Principal/Student into true friendship, but B & B's B & B has got to go Ben without a doubt imo. OMG he was hysterical.

    "What's your school project, Shawn? No, don't tell me.
    Yes, tell me.
    Tell me, but lie."

    (and then he does his trademark BMW eyebrow lift that every kid in the show does at least once)

    I was on the floor.

    I think Sean pointed out in his BMW review that some of Ben's best performances are when he gets the bulk of the jokes and Rider has the more serious role, to which I agree 100% While I'd hardly argue that this is a serious episode for Shawn, I would say that Cory hits a home run with every single joke in his mannerisms and his neuroticism (I can't believe that's actually a word.)

    Anyway I thought i'd give my two cents here because it's by far one of my favorite episodes and one we disagree on the MVP.

    Love the reviews guys thanks for doing em.

  5. Lol I love Cory's phone calls with Schanazzi in "The Provider"

    CORY: "Now, Mr. Schanazzi, I'm going to read a list of magazines that you can subscribe to. Please don't hang up until I'm finished. Aardvark-" (CLICK!) "-Hello?" (Dials back) "I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT, SCHANAZZI! Now we have to start all over again! Aardvark-" (CLICK!)

  6. I will be honest, Will Friedle's performance in "Can I Help to Cheer You?" brings me to tears every single time I watch it and I'm always sobbing by the end of it. The peak of his performance in my opinion is after Eric tells Tommy that he is NOT going to adopt him and then he leaves the room, shuts the door, and just breaks down crying in front of the social worker.

  7. My two favorite quotes from the entire show are both by William Daniels (Mr. Feeny) and are both said in the final scene of the show in "Brave New World, Part 2" :

    1. "Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good!"
    (I love that Cory has these words on a sign above his blackboard in "Girl Meets World"

    2. ERIC: "Tell us you love us!"
    FEENY: "I most certainly will not!" (Later after the gang leaves and Feeny is alone in his classroom): "I love you all. Class dismissed."