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.