Lionsgate // 1995 // 505 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Bromley // September 29th, 2010
"Let's not call it detention. I prefer "Hooked on Feeny."
By its third season, the beloved '90s TGIF staple Boy Meets World had pretty much become the show it would be over the course of the next five years. Nearly all of the pieces had finally fallen into place: Cory (Ben Savage, Little Monsters) and Shawn (Rider Strong, Cabin Fever) are firmly ensconced in high school life. Cory and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) have finally become an official couple, quickly settling into the relationship that would essentially drive the rest of the series (almost too quickly; several episodes deal with just how fast they've become an "old married couple"). Older brother Eric (Will Friedle, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) has made the complete transition from sarcastic sibling to ladies man to full-on space cadet -- he's the "dumb guy," used for broad comic relief over the remainder of Boy Meets World's run. Over the course of the season, there will be breakups, pet pigs, makeups, a New Year's Eve trapped on a subway, fantasy shows and an appearance by three of the four Monkees.
The episodes that make up Boy Meets World: The Complete Third Season are:
"My Best Friend's Girl"
"The Double Lie"
"What I Meant to Say"
"He Said, She Said"
"This Little Piggy"
"Truth and Consequences"
"The Last Temptation of Cory"
"Train of Fools"
"The Grass is Always Greener"
"New Friends and Old"
"A Kiss is More Than a Kiss"
"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"
"The Pink Flamingo Kid"
"I Was a Teenage Spy"
"I Never Sang for my Legal Guardian"
"The Happiest Show on Earth"
Boy Meets World remains just as watchable as ever in its third season, but some of the reality of the past has begun to wear away in favor of absurdist humor and more gimmicky sitcom conceits. I'll take the change in humor -- though he's alarmingly one note, Will Friedle handles the changes in his character well and the rapid-fire banter between Cory and Shawn is as funny as ever -- but as the show gets slicker, it becomes more generic in the process. There are still moments of insight and a number of jokes that I suspect go over the heads of the target audience (plus, any sitcom that finds a way to reunite three of the four Monkees is OK in my book; dammit, Nesmith, you holdout) that suggest Boy Meets World is smarter and better than the average, terrible '90s sitcom. But this is also the season where the show started to look and feel more like one of those sitcoms, and that's a shame. The Cory and Topanga romance is maddeningly manipulative, and this show (like so many before it) is unable to avoid the trap of breaking characters up (even though they've barely been together yet) just to create drama. There's even a montage of all their moments together that plays over the end credits of that episode, to really underline the point that we're supposed to be upset about this development. It pushes too hard for a moment it hasn't earned. Season Three is kind of like that.
One thing that's been fun about watching the first three seasons of Boy Meets World (and the third season in particular) has been spotting all of the young actors and actresses who went on to much bigger careers playing bit parts on the show. Over the course of the show so far, I've seen Brittany Murphy, Adam Scott, Charisma Carpenter, Maguerite Moreau, Mena Suvari, Danielle Harris, Larisa Oleynik, Keri Russell, Marla Sokoloff (where are the boys, by the way? I guess Boy Meets World is a bit overstaffed in that department already) and more. Is that alone a reason to watch the show? Hardly, but it's a fun bonus for those of you who do.
Like the first two re-released seasons before it (all three seasons were put out by Disney a few years ago, but went out of print), Boy Meets World: The Complete Third Season arrives on DVD in a three-disc package, with all 22 episodes appearing in their original full-frame broadcast format. The shows look like 15-year-old sitcoms, with a lot of softness and slightly drained colors that rarely pop. The image is far from great, but it's fine. Same goes for the stereo audio track, which is flat and one-dimensional but which does fine by the dialogue. That's really all that counts. Unfortunately, even the scant extras that have appeared on previous seasons (a handful of audio commentaries) have been scaled back for Season Three; the only bonus feature is a lame quiz game with series clips that pop up when you get the right answer. Yawn.
Boy Meets World: The Complete Third Season marks the point where Buena Vista abandoned plans to release future seasons due to low sales, meaning no other seasons of the show have seen the light of day on home video. Luckily for fans of the show, Lionsgate has already announced that Season Four will be released on DVD sometime in the fall of 2010, meaning Boy Meets World enthusiasts will be able to continue building their collections and follow the adventures of Cory, Shawn, Topanga and the rest. Yay?
Review content copyright © 2010 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 505 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Quiz Game