Tuesday, December 6, 2016

20 Greatest Meets World Characters: #20. Stuart Minkus

#20. Stuart Minkus


Played By: Lee Norris (1993-1994, 1998, 2014-2017)
Episode Count: 25 (20- BMW, 5- GMW)
Role: Class nerd/Cory's nemesis/Farkle's father
Signature Episodes: Cory's Alternative Friends, Model Family, Class Pre-Union, Boy Meets Girl, Graduation, Girl Meets Maya's Mother, Girl Meets I am Farkle, Girl Meets Money

Sean and I had some contention over Minkus, with me generally supporting a higher rank, and him a lower one and so 20 is where he ended up. Sean and I are splitting the posts for the rankings 50/50 with me generally writing the ones for those I advocated (like Minkus) while he writes for the ones he advocated (Like Zay and Rachel), along with some obvious divisions like me writing Eric and Sean writing Shawn.



Minkus was in danger of dropping out entirely, and Sean had some understandable reasons. Minkus was a main cast member when he was on the show, but he wasn't on the show long, and was by no means a lead when he was. And, as I myself have argued in the past, Boy Meets World’s first season bears little resemblance to the show it became. The structure of the show (along with basically everyone’s personality except Feeny and the parents) really became codified in Season 2 when Minkus is already gone. So, all of that is why he’s not higher.

But what got him on the list, over the likes of more frequently appearing characters like Zay and Rachel? Singularity. Minkus plays a very interesting, dynamic role within the context of the series. In Season 1 he’s Cory’s nemesis, the only real rival he ever has in the series (unless you count Harley as one, and considering them ‘rivals’ probably gives Cory a bit too much credit), and just as important in the classroom scenes as Shawn is. He’s also a big part of the early year’s theme of “Cory feeling inadequate”. While Eric represents the maturity he doesn’t possess and Shawn the toughness and coolness, Minkus is academic prowess. Cory gets mediocre grades, and he’s recurrently resentful of Minkus for doing so well.

And the portrayal of Minkus as a super-nerd is also refreshing. He’s no Urkel - characters who intend to prank him or bully him generally wind up outwitted or ignored. He doesn’t just wind up giving as good as he gets, he gives far better than he gets. If you only watched Minkus scenes, you’d be forgiven for assuming he’s the hero of the series, and Cory and (particularly) Shawn mean-spirited idiots who tend to get their comeuppance in the end. Everything about him is different than you’d expect. Shy and inept with women? Nope. He’s extremely confident, behaves as if he’s an alpha male (because he sort of is…), and is way more comfortable and knowledgeable about the opposite sex than cool guy Shawn and then-cool guy Cory. Sure, Topanga never returns his interest but she doesn’t exactly express disinterest either. Hell, she even got a little into him when he had that tattoo. Is it any wonder this guy wound up building a corporate empire and marrying a rich, hot Amazon woman? Stuart Minkus is a testament to what most ultra studious, hard-working folks kids actually wind up being - straight-up winners. 

This identity, of course, became the blue prints for the character of Farkle, but as detailed before, Minkus was a much more successful example. He never went too far, he never came off creepy, and he never ignored repeated requests to back off. The Minkus-clone version of Farkle was such a failure that in Season 2 they more or less abandoned that entire personality. But Minkus worked.

All of that might be enough, but he continued to have a relevance beyond almost all returning vets by being Farkle’s father. We’ve spent more time with him as an adult than the likes of Eric, Jack, and Angela and seen what he’s become. Now a titan of industry, he very much maintains his personality, but also feels like he’s matured and evolved into someone this character would have become. Still brilliant, competitive, and self-confident, he carries himself with more swagger, presumably now that he’s not being picked on anymore. Still, despite some arrogance, he’s shown as a caring, dedicated father and loving husband. Unlike most in this show, Minkus is different things to different people. Everyone, adult or child, generally thinks of and treats our heroes the same way. Cory is Cory to everyone, and everyone sees him exactly the same way and everyone treats him the same way. To know Cory is to love him, but also to think he’s weird and exasperating. But Minkus' dynamic with Cory (and Shawn) is so different than his dynamic with Topanga which is so different from his dynamic from Farkle. That’s pretty unique. 


We’ve seen a lot of people grow in this franchise, but by far the most fun is the scope that has been for those Cory’s age, growing from actual children to adults and parents themselves. Even Eric was already past puberty when we met him, so despite changes in weight and hairstyles, he looks and sounds exactly the same as the day we met him. Minkus may not be what Cory, Shawn, and Topanga are to this show, but he’s the only other one besides that main trio we got to see this happen to, and it’s part of what makes this series so epic.

Not bad for a guy barely on the show.

You did a great job with this. Christian initially roped me into this saying each bio would be about one paragraph, but I tell ya, once you start writing about this show, it all comes pouring out.

30 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. To clarify, I especially like what you have to say about how Minkus is a bit more...diverse in his dynamics. As you say, Cory is Cory to pretty much everyone--with the possible exception of his children, who don't seem particularly exasperated by his antics, outside of the classroom.

      I do wish that Stuart had stuck around for at least one more season--apparently, we would have seen some of "Donnie Barnes" had Jacobs had gotten his way--the network apparently wanted to make Stuart the new Urkel, and Jacobs put his foot down.

      I can't disagree with you that Stuart was a better Nerd than Farkle, especially with regards to how Farkle treated the girls early on.

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  2. Christian, this is one of the best things I have ever read about a television show ever.

    Well done!

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  3. Yep; Minkus was one of those I was thinking might be more popular than actually important. Despite everything, I still think he may not have made it without Farkle.

    And yeah, Farkle treated the girls abysmally in season 1.

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    1. Huh. Yeah, I guess he may not have made it pre-GMW.

      Well, except that pre-GMW we had a bunch less other characters and so, by default, he would have made a top 20 list higher. But yeah, Farkle helped a lot. But it's not his main reason for being here by any means.

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  4. Nice writeup and character deconstruction! It sets the bar high for the rest of these.

    Excited to read Feeny's.

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  5. Ayyy totally unrelated but this oral history of Boy Meets World is a really fun read, I got it off of Jeffrey Sherman's Facebook, lots of cool info I never knew
    http://uproxx.com/tv/boy-meets-world-oral-history/

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    1. Yeah that's a great group interview

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  6. Awesome character review, and I absolutely agree with having Minkus on this list at #20. His impact on the universe is really a sum of his parts.

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  7. This was very well written! Though that's not unusual around here! :) Can't wait for more.

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  8. The GMWR posts are always great to read, but this one is probably the most cogent. Well done.

    Working through BMW first time last year, Season 1 was something of a stumbling block, but I really liked this character and regretted that he wasn't around afterward.

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    Replies
    1. A concise, well-stated point Milestones. Good to hear from you.

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    2. As well as the whole "I'm not turning him into Urkel", his role is somewhat stolen by Topanga when they remade her.

      But yes, I did like him, and missed him.

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    3. Hey Cryptid, nice to talk to you again, too. Concision is something I rarely achieve. I'm trying to keep up with the doings here, whilst still an episode behind, and the holiday season taking up time.

      Will, good point about Topanga. What is Christmas in the summer like?

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    4. /Hot/. Dunno if your knowledge of celsius is any better than mine at fahrenheight, but it's 35-40 degrees today, and very humid. Our place has no air-conditioning, though we do have a fan - a standing fan though, so not tremendously powerful, and it's in the bedroom.

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    5. We've been metric since the time of Trudeau père, and I know what those numbers mean. Yikes. Opposite side of the coin here, -33 with wind chill.

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    6. Where I live has occasionally over the last 5 years; I'm informed by American friends, reached news centres there for record-high temperatures.

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    7. For Americans, 35-40 Celsius is 95-104 Fahrenheit.

      -33 Celsius is -27.4 Fahrenheit.

      I'm not complaining about New England winters ever again.

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    8. After year 10, when I was about 16, my mother took me back to Europe to revisit Holland, and see the best friend I'd had there when I was a kid who had moved to England.

      We came back via America, and spent about a week visiting my American godparents who lived in Minnesota. Ye gods. Holland and England are cold compared to Australia (I mean, most of Australia never even sees snow); but Minnesota was something else again.

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    9. Minnesota? That's the Great Plains. It's an icebox, way colder than my home.

      Christian lives in Chicago--he gets a ton of lake-effect snow.

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  9. " Opposite side of the coin here, -33 with wind chill."

    Wait, where do you live that it's -33 celsius, right now? That's only slightly less cold than the coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska in history.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, that's a lie. My source was way wrong on that.

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    2. why don't you go back to not posting anything instead of this fake news misinformation campaign

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    3. This is Cryptid, by the way.

      If memory serves, Milestones has lived all over Canada, and currently resides in...I think he said Manitoba.

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    4. Cryptid is correct. I'm in Winnipeg. Don't know where everyone else lives, but chances are good I'm gonna have the most craptacular winter.

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    5. Chicago's not looking so hot either. It's 12 degrees right now, supposed to be a high of 7 on Thursday and 1 on Sunday.

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    6. Never been to Canada; though did have a stopover in Chicago on that end of year 10 trip.

      I shouldn't complain about the heat, but I will. But at least you won't hear me complaining about the cold, like some of my former co-workers did; because the temperature dipped below 20.

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    7. I didn't really need to wear a jacket today, but I did anyway. It's comfy.

      I'm not happy about it though, save the planet.

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    8. Still Cryptid.

      Hey Sean, didn't Eric make environmental issues part of his platform when he ran for Senate?

      20 degrees Celsius is approximately...wait a second, that's only 65 degrees Fahrenheit...

      In our neck of the woods, my brother and I are looking at a negative twenty-nine degree wind chill low on...I think Thursday.

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    9. I did the math wrong.

      68 degrees Fahrenheit.

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