Season 4 Overview
Season 4 is another strong year for Boy Meets World. The episodes are overall quite watchable. The season contains one of the best episodes of all time (4-15 Chick Like Me) along with one of the worst (4-21 Cult Fiction). Season 4 very much builds on Season 3, continuing to explore the stories set up in the previous season with a similar ratio of episode-centric vs. story-arc-wide plot developments. Let's look at some of the season-long arcs.
Cory and Topanga
Season 4 is Cory and Topanga's first more or less yearlong period of bliss. In fact, they don't break up once in the entire season (!!!) Which is not to say they don't have their problems. In 4-2 Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow, Topanga gets a makeover, and the pair confront the disparity in their objective attractiveness. In 4-5 Shallow Boy, Cory spoils Topanga's baby-sitting charge, leading her to despair of his potential as a father. Cory alienates Topanga by pushing for sex (which desire was tellingly incited by Shawn) in 4-8 Dangerous Secret and by failing to be there for her on her sixteenth birthday in 4-9 Sixteen Candles and Four-Hundred-Pound Men.
But all this is peanuts compared to the problem they will face in 4-16 A Long Walk to Pittsburgh (1): Topanga is moving!!! (!!!) !! Understandably the pair is upset, and in any other show this device would have been introduced because the actress wanted to leave the show, but here it's a device for the children to prove the purity of their love: in 4-17 A Long Walk to Pittsburgh (2), Topanga shows up on Cory's doorstep. The couple argues with Cory's parents, defending the seriousness of their relationship and the eternity of their love, to Amy's consternation; however, they win Feeny's support, and, more importantly, Topanga's uptight spinster aunt Pru agrees to take her in so that she can finish high school in Philadelphia.
The parents have their first major story arc when Alan experiences a career crisis after winning a grocers' award in 4-1 You Can Go Home Again. Amy is supportive, but she's less than thrilled in I Ain't Gonna Spray Lettuce No More, when Alan spontaneously quits his job. Amy decides Alan owes her a unilateral decision, which she cashes in after discovering that Alan's favorite wilderness store (apparently the Matthewses like camping?) is for sale. Thus begins the family's period of owning a wilderness store, which leads to such hi-jinks as the hiring of a hot girl in 4-6 Janitor Dad.
Eric's Year Off
Eric's feelings of uselessness after failing to get into college are explored in 4-1 You Can Go Home Again, when Eric puts off returning from his and Cory's road trip because he feels he has nothing to go home to. He spends 4-2 Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow lying on the couch in his PJs, resisting his parents' pleas that he get a job, and making up songs about how good-looking he is. When Alan buys the wilderness store in I Ain't Gonna Spray Lettuce No More, Eric begins working there, but realizes he needs to know more about bookkeeping and things--so he arranges for tutoring with Feeny.
A series of dates help Eric make various realizations. In 4-2 Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow a date with a real townie--a girl with a young child and without the support of her family--helps shake him out of his self-pity. In 4-7 Singled Out Eric, posing as a college student, wins a date with another townie posing as a college student, which helps him decide he wants to be a real college student someday. Eric, plagued by SAT-related self-doubt, considers pursuing a relationship with a young mother (a different one) in 4-18 Uncle Daddy, but ultimately decides--with the girl's help--that he needs to get an education before he settles down with a family.
In the final episode of the season (4-22 Learning to Fly), Eric, Cory and Shawn visit a party school. Eric is all set to go to the party school, blowing off his interview for the more difficult Pennbrook, but Cory convinces him to plead his case at Pennbrook, and he is accepted.
Shawn is living with his dad from the beginning of the season, carrying over from . In 4-9 Fishing for Virna, Shawn discovers that his mother has come to stay in the motel across from the trailer park. She feels guilty for having abandoned Shawn and Chet, and wants to come back, if they can prove they are willing to work with her to make the family work. Shawn finally has it out with his dad about his feelings of abandonment the previous year. Chet says he was just doing what he thought would be best for the family. The pair bond, and Chet decided that even if Virna disappears again, he will stay with Shawn. After some heart-to-hearts with Cory, Virna decides to come back and fulfill the mom role of making Chet get a job (4-6 Janitor Dad) and being uncomfortable at Thanksgiving (4-10 Turkey Day). So everything is great, except for when Shawn joins a cult (4-21 Cult Fiction) and the only thing that pulls him out of it is his love for Mr. Turner.
Cory Matthews ....... Ben Savage
Shawn Hunter ........ Rider Strong
Topanga Lawrence .... Danielle Fishel
Eric Matthews ....... Will Friedle
George Feeny ........ William Daniels
Amy Matthews ........ Betsy Randle
Alan Matthews ....... William Russ
Morgan Matthews ..... Lindsay Ridgeway
Chet Hunter ......... Blake Clark
Virna Hunter ........ Shareen Mitchell
Frankie Stechino .... Ethan Suplee
Herman Stechino ..... E. J. de la Pena
Lonnie .............. Jen Campbell
- School hallway
- Matthews Home (kitchen, living room, Cory's room, backyard)
- Mr. Feeny's Classroom
- Mr. Turner's Classroom
- Shawn's trailer
Big-Name Guest Stars