Sunday, December 4, 2016

20 Greatest Meets World Characters: Honorable Mentions

Welcome to our countdown of the Top 20 Meets World Characters! As leading experts on Meets World content, Christian and I have put together a ranking that we both agree on. It was difficult, but the justifications are thorough, so we hope you enjoy it.

 There's no fixed schedule for these posts, but expect 4 a week.  Feel free to chime in with your predictions of who the top 20 will be and in what order. Whichever (named, because we ain't tracking down Anonymouses) commenter is closest will get a PRIZE of some sort.

Today I have the honor of writing about our two honorable mentions, before diving into the proper list. I need everyone to understand the brutality of the debate over these two with ranks 19 and 20. Leaving these two out of the top 20 was not easy. So let's talk about why.

#21. Isaiah "Zay" Babineaux

Played By: Amir Mitchell-Townes (2015-2017)
Episode Count: 28 (and counting)
Role: Lucas' best friend, wise-cracking new kid
Signature Episodes: Girl Meets the Secret of Life, Girl Meets Texas, Girl Meets the Real World, Girl Meets Bear, Girl Meets A Christmas Maya

Zay didn't enter Girl Meets World until season 2, and he was terrible. Mostly random attempts at comic relief that never worked. He is allegedly Lucas's best friend, but we didn't see that in season 2 except for a great moment at the end of Meets Legacy, and the story about Lucas getting expelled in Meets the Secret of Life, which was a good moment for both of them, but the actual action happened some time in the past, off camera. So Zay has almost no value in season 2. 

In season 3, we've seen an enormous improvement in Zay. He has personality, he starts relating to the other characters on a tangible level, and his humor is some of the best in the show. And Amir is possibly the best actor of the kids. Zay is now this confident guy who's visibly trying his hardest to form relationships with these other people. After watching Meets Christmas Maya, it's impossible to deny his potential. But that's the problem. It's mostly potential. If we had a fourth season with the Zay we've been seeing lately, and he keeps improving these relationships and we really see him being there for Lucas, and we explore his feelings for Maya, I have no doubt that Zay would shoot up the rankings. 

One of the biggest factors Christian and I looked at was how much someone impacts the other characters' lives. Unfortunately, Zay just doesn't have enough of that yet. Don't get me wrong, Christian and I both love Zay right now, but looking objectively at how this character relates to his world and story, there just isn't enough to justify placing him higher than the other characters. It is true, however, that by virtue of receiving an honorable mention, we have placed him higher than anyone who is neither on the list nor an honorable mention. So he's certainly not "worse than last place" or anything.

#22. Rachel McGuire

Played By: Maitland Ward (1998-2000)
Episode Count: 42
Role: Eric and Jack's new roommate and object of desire
Signature Episodes: Hogs & Kisses, And In Case I Don't See You, Getting Hitched, The Truth About Honesty, The War, Seven the Hard Way

Within the realm of honorable mentions, Zay is higher than Rachel, but she still deserves one. Rachel is in 42 episodes. A lot of the time she does nothing, but she contributes enough to the story to be important to the series.

Rachel's best episode is The Truth About Honesty (I mean, I think it's The War/Seven the Hard Way, but okay - C). It's her+Jack's first dinner party, and she tries so hard to make everyone happy. This is something that needed to be expanded into a running theme because it makes her extremely relatable. She doesn't really know these people that well, she wants them to like her, that's a strong enough story to tell. That should have been her arc, ending with Seven The Hard Way. Can you imagine her speech in STHW if more episodes had been devoted to that struggle? Like if we had seen her deliberately making an effort to get closer to Cory and Shawn and Topanga for two seasons, and then dropping that bomb about how she's still the outcast of the group? That would be heart wrenching. But as it is... she never really tried that hard. Eric and Jack only took her in because she's pretty.

And that leads to the second problem. Who is she? Tell me something about Rachel. I dunno. The closest I can get is to talk about Honesty Night and Seven the Hard Way, but what else is there? 

To close it out, let's look at her impact on other people. The only possibilities are Jack and Eric. Yeah she dates Jack for half a season, but is there any growth there? There's that one moment where they're both insecure about their heights, which I love, but compared to any of the other relationships on this show, it's lacking. What's more important to look at is the end of that relationship, in State of the Unions. Eric and Jack both realize that it was more about the competition than about Rachel. I think that's an important revelation for both of them, although Christian disagrees. Eric has been shallow since season 1. There was a song about it. And it's nice to think that that finally ended with his revelation about Rachel at the end of season 6, but it's hard to say. He's such a different character in season 7 that it wouldn't be right to say one way or the other. The fact of the matter is, even if that were the development they were going for, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter did it better, in one episode. Then at the very end, Rachel leads Jack to joining the Peace Corps, but that's really more about the effect Eric had on Jack, and she's just there to give Jack an idea of what to do.

So those are our honorable mentions. 


  1. literally will friedleDecember 5, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    I haven't even read this, but I'm making the first comment.

    1. literally will friedleDecember 6, 2016 at 10:56 PM

      Anyway, if this focuses more on the impact that the characters have on each other then Feeny is obviously number one (well, unless it's given to George Weeny).

    2. I can think of a top 5 influential. After that, I struggle to split it apart from who I may like, but who is actually important. Feeny, Alan, Cory, Topanga and Shawn are probably the top 5; though maybe in not that exact order. Eric is probably the big loser in regards to it being influential rather than favourite, and Topanga the big winner.

  2. Interesting points, my friends.

    I think what you have to say about Zay is very fair--he was atrocious in Season Two, but in Season 3, most of his problems are characteristic of the problems of the show in itself. I still don't like him very much, but as I've said, I think I've had a harder time divorcing Zay from Friar. And as you've said, his impact on the overarching plot is minimal at best.

    And Rachel was in two full seasons, but you make an excellent point in that she really only had an impact on Jack and Eric. Sure she was one of Topanga's bridesmaids but that was more because...well, they needed to do something with her.

    But I can say something about her that you missed: Rachel steals apartments. Seriously, how the hell did she manage to invite Topanga and Angela to move in, and kick Eric and Jack out, when her name is in all likelihood not even on the lease?

    1. And then kicked Topanga out whilst she was on her honeymoon. That's a bit more justifiable as who wants to live with a newly-married couple, but still.

      I never really hated Zay. He did lead to the Texas episodes though due to telling Maya and Riley about Lucas falling off a sheep; which led to the triangle so umm... is that a good reason to hate him then?

    2. I would argue that a better reason to dislike Zay is that, per dialogue in "Creativity," we learn that he had been texted by Friar about his friends--Farkle was described as Loyal, while Riley and Maya were described as "Pretty Brunette" and "Blonde Beauty."

      So, one could argue that Zay knew well ahead of time that Friar had feelings for both girls, but hadn't acted on them yet. You were furious with Friar for stringing the girls along for so long...and if Zay knew how he felt and did nothing to confront him, then I would argue that Zay deserves at least a little of the blame.

    3. Oh crap. You got me there. Though to be fair, my anger with him is because I started getting a feeling he'd already decided and was just too scared of saying something; which Zay has no control over.

      Though I guess there's a difference between 'likeable' and 'influential'.

      But yeah, Zay probably does have to take some of the blame.

  3. Ooo good idea for a list! Can't wait for more! I kinda feel like Zay should be in top 20 but I'll re-evaluate that statement later. :P

    Also has anyone seen this yet?

    1. i like your enthusiasm! yeah we argued about zay for like two days. but in the end i cant think of how any characters' lives would be different without him.

    2. I'll have to see who you have ahead of him. I'm not sure I agree; but not sure I disagree either. There are the Texas episodes which he set up effectively - but then he didn't do anything to try to resolve it afterwards.

      Maybe if his whatever with Maya was a bit more solid than just 'we'll go out so we don't get lonely when Lucas and Riley do'.

    3. I'm not sure how any of the characters' lives would be different without Zay either--that's why the conflict in "Real World" felt a little contrived. Zay hadn't had a one-on-one conversation with Riley since literally his introduction before that episode.

      Then again, there does seem to be a sort of Status Quo is God element to this show, and it goes beyond just Friar being a colossal coward. New elements are introduced, but then everything is back to normal.

    4. Yeah; that Status Quo is God element is I think, the weakest point, for me anyway, in the series. I can live with Cory not being a great teacher - if he can grow into it. They have this triangle, and the end nothing really seems to have changed. Zay has this big thing about saying Josh isn't being very fair to Maya about asking her to just wait, but then... nothing.

      The only thing that has ever changed is Farkle and Isadora dating. And Riley's fluctuating knowledge of the real world. Okay, and yes, I'll grant you Shawn and Katy got married - but it doesn't seem to have had any appreciable difference on Maya's and Katy's lives. Which might suggest that if we're going for influential rather than popular, GMW characters only will be lucky to reach the top 10.

  4. Oh, and for the Top 20...wait a sec, are you guys going to agree on all the placings? I need to know whether or not to add in Dancing Guy or Nunzio.

    1. Shawn

    2. Eric

    3. Cory

    4. Alan

    5. Feeny

    6. Turner

    7. Maya

    8. Topanga

    9. Riley

    10. Chet

    11. Minkus

    12. Griff

    13. Frankie

    14. Harley

    15. Angela

    16. Ummmm...Dancing Guy

    17. Nunzio

    18. Lennie

    19. Morgan 2.0

    20. Jack

    1. yeah, christian and i reached an agreement on all placings

    2. I'm going to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag. Nunzio and Dancing Guy do not rank.

  5. A top 20?

    You sneaky bastards, this is the best Christmas present ever!

    Let's take a look.

    I'm going out on a limb and saying that Farkle and Lucas aren't making the cut. Because fuck Lucas and fuck Farkle's character development for everything post Texas.

    Let's see. It's pretty obvious that your top 2 are going to be Shawn Fucking Hunter and Eric Fucking Matthews. As it is with about 83% of the show's fans.


    Your top 20.

    20. Jason Marsden

    19. Dancing Guy

    18. Harley

    17. Morgan (1)

    16. Lauren No Last Name

    15. Stuart Minkus

    14. Katy Hart

    13. Frankie Stecchino

    12. Chet Hunter

    11. Angela

    10. Amy Matthews

    09. Jonathan Turner

    08. Topanga Matthews

    07. Maya Hart

    06. Riley Matthews

    05. Alan Matthews

    04. George Feeny

    03. Cory Matthews

    02. Eric Matthews

    01. Shawn Hunter.

    1. Damn! I think your list is better.

    2. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this isn't us dishing out our favorites, it's really looking at who is important to the other characters and to the story.

    3. Hmm. That'll make for some interesting decisions then - because some clear-cut 'fan favourites' probably don't make it nearly as high based on that criteria.

    4. I must re-evaluate my decisions then.

  6. Dancing Guy? I would never allow that foolishness from that *other* blog to make it over here.

    1. literally will friedleDecember 6, 2016 at 10:52 PM

      You're just jealous that you haven't had as strong an impact on the world as Sean and Dancing Guy.

    2. Hey, -I- am jealous I haven't had as strong an impact on the world.

  7. This is an unexpected and interesting treat.

    With A Christmas Maya listed as a Signature Episode, I will have to come back to Zay's write-up at a later date.

    If, when the show was airing, I had wandered into late-period BMW as unwittingly as I wandered into Season 2 of GMW, Rachel might have been the reason I stuck around.

    1. This is going to be great, Milestones. I can't wait to hear your thoughts.