‘Boy Meets World’ Theory About Eric and Topanga Explains Strange Disconnect From the Series

Boy Meets World has an enduring legacy with fans who fondly remember the teen coming-of-age series from their own childhoods and are now sharing it with the next generation.

It’s a pretty straightforward show without any supernatural elements or major special effects, so it’s not like fans have to do a lot to uncover the show’s general messages. Still, the characters grew up in front of the fans’ eyes for seven seasons, and the ensemble cast had some fairly complex connections and backstories.

That has left room for some fan theories about characters and their motivations over the years. Two major characters underwent dramatic personality shifts, and fans have taken to the internet with theories to explore why. 

‘Boy Meets World’ followed several friends through childhood

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When Boy Meets World premiered in 1993, it primarily focused on two middle school boys and their adorable friendship. Cory Matthews (played by Ben Savage) and Shawn Hunter (played by Rider Strong) were inseparable despite their glaring differences.

Cory was a bit of a goody-goody who would never be as cool as his troublemaking, leather jacket-wearing friend with the swoon-worthy hair. The pair work their way through both typical childhood troubles and much more serious situations. 

Shawn’s dysfunctional home life becomes a major focus of the show, and the typically light-hearted series dipped into some very dramatic moments as Shawn dealt with abandonment, poverty, and grief. Meanwhile, Cory’s increasingly serious relationship with — and eventual marriage to — his childhood sweetheart Topanga gave the series the chance to explore relationship dynamics typically reserved for older audiences. 

Two ‘Boy Meets World’ characters underwent major changes

(L-R) Ryder Strong, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, William Daniels on 'Boy Meets World'
(L-R) Ryder Strong, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, William Daniels | Scott Humbert/Getty Images

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Naturally, a show that goes on that long and with its young stars undergoing such dramatic changes as they age has to adapt along the way. That adaptation has long left fans puzzled about two particular characters who seemed to undergo major personality transformations. 

Topanga, Cory’s girlfriend, is in the series from the beginning, but at first she is portrayed as a weird girl of hippie parents who Cory finds off-putting and a little annoying. Of course, this view of her doesn’t last as Cory soon become intensely invested in their relationship and eventually becomes her husband.

The show later refers to their relationship as having started when they were preschoolers, and fans have pointed out the inconsistency. That’s not the only Topanga-centric mystery. The character also has a sister who just disappeared from the show

Another issue that has long bugged fans is that Cory’s big brother Eric (played by Will Friedle) undergoes a similar switch. Early on, Eric is shown to be a cool high schooler who is constantly on dates and awash in popularity. In the later years, he’s a bit of a bumbling fool who becomes the butt of jokes across the board. 

A fan theory explains the ‘Boy Meets World’ transformations

Fans have long reluctantly accepted that these characters were simply re-written to meet the demands of the show as time went on, but there’s a theory that makes the transformations make more sense. As Distractify reports, fans believe that both Eric and Topanga changed because the way that Cory saw them changed. Cory is the protagonist of the show and the titular “Boy” in “Boy Meets World.” Viewers see the world through his eyes, and that includes his girlfriend and brother. 

Early on, Cory looked up to his brother, who was certainly cool in his eyes — if not to anyone else. Meanwhile, Cory changes his mind about Topanga who goes from annoying weirdo to captivating girlfriend material as his own maturity takes place.

The fan theory suggests that we simply see the characters take on different roles because that’s exactly how Cory’s own understanding transformed.