Thursday, January 19, 2017

20 Greatest Meets World Characters: #10. Katy Hart

#10. Katy Hart

Played By: Cheryl Texiera (2014-2017)
Episode Count:  15
Role: Maya's mother, Shawn's love interest
Signature Episodes: Girl Meets Maya's Mother, Girl Meets Master Plan, Girl Meets Pluto, Girl Meets Hurricane, Girl Meets the Forgiveness Project, Girl Meets Upstate, Girl Meets I Do

Next, we have Katy Hart who, it should be noted, will not only be the first entrant into the Top 10, but also will rank as the greatest recurring character in Meets World franchise history, as the remaining nine were all main cast members of at least one of the shows.

I expect there's going to be some out there surprised this, and I can understand why. Identifying the top 9 was easy - we didn't necessarily know the orders right away, but it was clear who they were, and there was never really much chance of any character from #10-#20 passing any of them up. But #10 was tough, and could have gone a number of different ways. Certainly compelling arguments could be made for Chet and Amy, certainly, and I wouldn't be surprised to see someone like Jack or Angela on someone else's list in this slot. 

The last handful of characters have all had caveats connected to them, and all of those caveats are things that don't apply to Katy. Angela was an effective love interest for Shawn and pushed him into character growth but wasn't necessarily a compelling character with an identity of her own. Katy, on the other hand, was both. I was just as happy for Katy for finally finding true love as I was for Shawn, which is saying something considering how much more time I've spent with Shawn. And while Shawn falling in love with the mother of Cory's daughter's best friend feels very cliche and TV, they did sell that relationship as being one that works - especially considering how little time we were able to spend with it. Katy managed to push Shawn to grow and mature, like Angela did, but she did it without berating him about it - allowing him to make these discoveries for himself, which has always been how Shawn learns best. And though she had her own abandonment issues as well, which allowed her to understand where Shawn was coming from, she wasn't plagued by them like Shawn (and Angela) tended to be, never allowing it to come in between her and what she wanted, which helped remove the one step forward/one step back nature of Shangela. 

Was Shawn and Katy a little rushed ultimately? Of course it was. It was literally Episode 1: They meet, Episode 2: They flirt. Episode 3: They start to date. Episode 4: They get engaged. Episode 5: They're married. That's not an exaggeration. That's the five episodes Shawn and Katy have shared so far. Still, that their courtship happened over the course of five episodes and wasn't a disaster says something. I think most of us like Shawn and Katy as a couple, and buy them together... we just wish maybe it happened a little slower. But it would have been really easy to hate it. I think the reason we didn't was because how well Katy was portrayed.

Okay, so, that's Angela. But why does Katy pass up Amy? Amy, as we said in her write up, provided a necessary stabilizing role as the mother of a main character, but.... also struggled to be a compelling character with an identity of her own. Yet Katy, again, did both, and, for that matter, her relationship with Maya was give much more real estate onscreen than Amy's with Cory despite over a hundred less appearances. I probably have more of an attachment to Amy because I've seen her SO much more and been aware of her for so much longer, but after 15 episodes I understand who Katy is better than I did Amy after 130 episodes... that says something.

And what about Chet? Chet's situation is different than Amy's and Angela's and I think he was the only one who had a chance of passing Katy up and getting #10. He appeared in roughly the same amount of episodes as Katy (by "Goodbye" it'll be just one less for Chet) so he was also an example of a dynamic, compelling character who is only held back by the infrequency of his appearances... yet Katy managed to concoct a similarly dynamic relationship with her daughter in the same amount of time while simultaneously building a compelling romantic relationship with one of this franchise's most popular characters. Katy, really, does it all. Had she just stayed on the path established by her first episode, "Girl Meets Maya's Mother" which presented her as a less-shady version of Chet, she certainly would not have passed him on the list, but the added complexity she got from her relationship with Shawn, which got almost as much focus as her relationship with Maya, pushes her over him for me too. Also, Chet appears so sporadically in Boy Meets World. This is, obviously, part of his character, but also can blunt his effect. Every time he reappears after a while there feels a need to remind the audience who Chet even is and what his thing is. Katy's in only one more episode of GMW, but because there's so much fewer episodes of GMW in general, she's more of an ever-present aspect of her series than Chet is in his. Plus, there's always that feeling that Chet's absences are just as much about narrative choices (wanting Shawn to live with first Turner and then Jack and Eric necessitates finding a story-based reason why he's not living with Chet) as they are about his actual character. 

In fifteen episodes, Cheryl Texiera has managed to craft a very rich, real character. Side characters on this show tend to be painted with a rather big brush filled with obvious, gimmick-y traits that allow them to be summed up in a word or two. Frankie's a gentle giant, Smackle's a femme-Farkle, Chet's a lovable ne'er-do-well, etc. Like a real person, though, Katy's not so easy to define. Maya's mother can be daffy at times, serious at others; she's idealistic enough to continue to chase her dreams as an actress but cynical enough to doubt they'll go anywhere; she tries to be a good role model to Maya, but sometimes has an instinct to present a pretty picture to her rather than tell her the truth. She's complicated, she feels real, and I think we've all come to genuinely care about her. Rather than just be important to us because she's Maya's mom or Shawn's love interest, we like her because she's Katy. And episodes of Girl Meets World with Katy are almost universally better than those without her. 

I  feel like there's more to say, but I'm done writing, so I'm going to stop now. Katy's #10. We're in the Top 10 now folks! Just nine people left. I'm betting you guys can guess who they all are, but what order do you think they'll fall in now that you've seen our decision making?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Well, this was genuinely surprising. It was clear to me that Cory, Shawn, Eric, Topanga, George, Alan, Riley and Maya would be in the Top 10, and when you mentioned Angela was the lowest-ranking member of the Shawn Hunter Character Development Quartet, I assumed Jonathan Turner would be on the list.
    So that was nine of them. but I didn't know who the tenth one was and, after reading this, I have to agree that Katy's a good choice. Good job on convincing me. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
    Anyways, the remaining ones, I think are (based on importance and personal taste):
    9 Jonathan
    8 Riley
    7 Maya
    6 Alan
    5 Topanga
    4 George
    3 Eric
    2 Shawn
    1 Cory

    1. Interesting! I can exclusively confirm that you have at least one of those projected rankings correct and at least one incorrect!

    2. Yeah, I didn't think I'd get all of them right... Hope I'm close, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I'm pretty sure of my top 3. They're the three boys meeting the world, after all.

      Riley and Maya might (and probably do) rank higher because of that very reason: they're the girls meeting the world. But GMW being shorter (and less, you know, good) hurt them in my ranking.

      Topanga's the one I had most doubts upon, and is probably higher in your list, what with being a main character in both series. I'm rewatching Boy Meets World for a little (and by little, I mean huge) project I'm working on (which I'm thinking will be done by the end of May), and I'm still on season 3, at which point our dear Tobogan hadn't reached her full potential, so I guess her importance was not fresh in my mind. Oopsie.

      Btw, Christian and Sean, you guys are knocking these whole character rankings/profiles out of the park. GREAT job!

  3. Long time reader, first time commenter:

    Agreeing here that Maya will probably go above Riley in the top 9. In my opinion, Maya actually grew more than Riley did in GMW and was more layered and better portrayed (sorry Rowan). But I'm getting off topic...

  4. I would have Katy a few spaces lower. For me my 13 through 9 would have been:

    13 Amy
    12 Katy
    11 Chef
    10 Angela
    9 Turner

    And then I agree with Felix's 8 through 1.

    1. Shipping Wars Are StupidJanuary 20, 2017 at 6:10 PM

      Another Red Sox fan reads this blog? *High five*

      And I agree...I think I'd have Katy a couple spots lower.

  5. I wouldn't have had the same top 10 myself (I also might have included Jason Marsden, Frankie, maybe some others and definitely wouldn't have had any of the principle GMW characters), but of the remaining ones, I'd rank them:
    9. Riley
    8. Maya
    7. Topanga
    6. Mr. Turner
    5. Cory
    4. Alan
    3. Shawn
    2. Feeny
    1. Eric

    I expect you guys' rankings to have Cory much higher, Turner at the bottom, and Eric on top. Where we differ mainly, I think, is you seem to be considering screen time a big factor in how good the character is for the show. (I don't necessarily disagree with that as a factor, but I would not have emphasized it myself. If I did, Turner would not rank nearly as highly)

    If I had to guess, your list will be:
    9. Mr. Turner
    8. Riley
    7. Topanga
    6. Maya
    5. Alan
    4. Feeny
    3. Cory
    2. Shawn
    1. Eric

    1. Uh, by my first paragraph I meant Jason etc. "in the full list" and no GMW characters "in the top 10." Just to clarify.

    2. Your mentioning of Jason and Frankie lead me to suspect you're thinking favourite. Turner won't beat Topanga as 'important', given the massive influence she's had on Cory, Maya, Riley and Shawn. Favourite's another discussion, which for me would result in a vastly different list.

  6. This is Cryptid.

    Superb write-up Christian. As we progress, I'm enjoying these more and more. Katy Hart is one of the best things to come out of Girl Meets World and I am delighted to see her make the Top 10. She provides a foil, without being confrontational or judgmental. And one of the funniest scenes in all of Season 2 is Katy's spot-on impersonation of Riley.

    As for the upcoming nine...that's difficult to quantify:

    9. Maya Hart

    8. Jonathan Turner

    7. Riley Matthews

    6. Topanga Matthews

    5. Shawn Hunter

    4. George Feeny

    3. Alan Matthews

    2. Eric Matthews

    1. Cory Matthews

    1. Hey Cryptid, I'm doing another drive-by comment in a dated post while still awaiting Sweet Sixteen/Goodbye.

      Agree fully with your comments. The first time I watched Yearbook, I thought for a minute they had looped Rowan Blanchard's voice for the impersonation.

    2. Cheers, Milestones. Always a pleasure to hear from you, and I look forward to your thoughts when we get to the remaining characters.

  7. I like Katy but she honestly feels kinda inconsistent, I can't remember it was either Upstate or True Maya where she just randomly started acting like being a shitty mother was the funniest thing, which always bothered me and seemed out of character. And then the whole plot with her old friend in Hollyworld was really annoying. I just personally could never put her above Chet or even Amy. Other than those instances she is pretty enjoyable

  8. Shipping Wars Are StupidJanuary 20, 2017 at 3:52 AM

    I'm keeping my top 9 as I originally predicted:

    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.

  9. I'll think more on Katy later but I still think people are overestimating Eric, or confusing 'who do we like the most' with 'who's had the most impact on all the other characters'.

  10. I like Riley so I'm probably rating her higher than you both did.

    9. Jonathan Turner
    8. Maya Hart
    7. Alan Matthews
    6. Topanga Lawrence-Matthews
    5. Eric Matthews
    4. Riley Matthews
    3. George Feeney
    2. Shawn Hunter
    1. Cory Matthews

  11. Interesting. Some have come rather close but I don't think anyone's done the list exactly correct yet.

  12. Tiffsquatch had very close to how I would have it:
    9. Turner
    8. Riley
    7. Maya
    6. Topanga
    5. Eric
    4. Shawn
    3. Cory
    2. Alan
    1. Feeney.

    It's tougher than it looks for the top 9; especially 6-1. But assuming we're talking about who's had the most impact on everyone, I think that's what I'd go with - except maybe with Eric and Topanga swapped around.

  13. I think you laid out a perfectly fine argument for having Katy in this spot, but it's still hard for me to see Chet outside the Top 10.