‘Boy Meets World’: ABC Was So Torn About This Scene They Ran an Audience Poll to Decide

It’s been more than two decades since the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World last went off the air. After debuting in 1993, the TV series was an immediate hit, racking up numerous Kids’ Choice Awards and Young Artist Awards.

The show was never one to shy away from the hot topics of the time and featured what were then groundbreaking storylines involving plots like interracial relationships. However, there was one specific storyline in Boy Meets World that proved to be so controversial, ABC and the show’s creators couldn’t agree on how to handle it. 

So the studio and producers were forced to poll the audience to determine how best to handle this specific situation involving two iconic characters in the show. 

‘Boy Meets World’ stretched for seven seasons from 1993 to 2000

Ben Savage (Cory) and Rider Strong (Shawn) from 'Boy Meets World'
BOY MEETS WORLD – “An Affair to Forget” – Airdate: January 3, 1997. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) L-R: BEN SAVAGE;RIDER STRONG

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Boy Meets World gave audiences an inside look at high school life. The show follows Cornelius “Cory” Matthews (played by Ben Savage), as he navigates the many common challenges and adventures of being a teenager. 

Other main characters include school teacher George Feeny (William Daniels), Matthews’ siblings Eric Matthews (Will Friedle) and Morgan Matthews (Lily Nicksay), and best friends-cum-sidekicks Shaw Hunter (Rider Strong) and Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel).

Each episode typically had Matthews tackling a stereotypical scenario, such as avoiding bullying, studying and getting good grades, and getting girls to pay attention to him. Speaking of girls, Cory Matthews developed a relationship with Topanga in the early seasons of the show. This became a prominent storyline throughout Boy Meets World, and the outcome of that relationship proved to be very controversial.

Boy meets world, and boy meets girl

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In season one, Matthews starts to become interested in his classmate Topanga. This evolves into a cornerstone element of the sitcom, especially in seasons two through five when the two go to high school together.

The show hits on all the trademark stories you’d expect in a teen relationship, including on-again, off-again fights, the stress of sharing your feelings as a teenager, and finding your own identity as a young teen within the context of dating.

Season five ends with the two teenagers graduating from high school and realizing they’re about to go their separate ways for college. And this is where things got tricky for the show’s cast and producers.

Matthews and Lawrence almost didn’t end up together

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In Boy Meets World‘s season five finale, Lawrence realizes she wants to marry Matthews. Season six starts with Matthews being surprised that his high school girlfriend asked him to marry him, and viewers watch as he weighs the pros and cons and tried to decide if he should say yes.

This storyline isn’t too far removed from the reality behind the scenes.

Vanity Fair recently interviewed Rider King Strong, who played Shawn Hunter in both Boy Meets World and the sequel series Girl Meets World. Strong gave the publication a behind-the-scenes look at how close the show came to not having the two leads end up together. 

He says the series creator Michael Jacobs loved the idea of Matthews and Lawrence getting married. However, he immediately hit some resistance from his studio bosses. 

“ABC was like, ‘You can’t do it. They’re too young,'” recalls Strong. So Jacobs told ABC to ask the show’s fans what they wanted.

“This was a huge debate,” he explains. “ABC actually did an Internet poll for if they should get married. […] People wanted them to get married. So that’s why we did it.”

Strong went on to say that he thinks the show’s characters got married far too young. However, there’s good news for fans of the original ’90s relationship: The relationship stays strong and gets a spinoff in Girl Meets World.