Continuity and Boy Meets World

Boy Meets World plays fast an loose with continuity in a number of ways, from flubbing character histories to repeated counts of phantom siblings. The types of errors are varied, and I've listed some of them on the individual pages for the episodes in which they occur. But it's time to take a moment to examine some the most troubling, series-wide continuity issue: namely, how Cory, Shawn and Topanga manage to start seventh grade in season 2, and graduate from twelfth in season 5. It just doesn't seem right.

          Beginning from the beginning, it is explicitly stated in season 1 that Cory is 11 and in sixth grade and in season 2 that Cory, Shawn and Topanga are entering 7th grade at John Adams, which is a six-year junior-senior high school. This would make the principle triad 13 and in 8th grade if season 3 follows directly from Season 2, which it does; Season 2 ends with Shawn going to live with Mr. Turner, and he's only been at Mr. Turner's a short time at the beginning of season 3. Cory, then, should be at most 14 by the end of season 3. But in the final episode he claims to be 15. So we appear to have lost a year somewhere during season 3.

          How do we explain this? It's possible that the events of season 3 occur over the course of two years. It's also possible that season 2 chronicles two years, placing Shawn into Mr. Turner's care at the end of his eighth grade year, not his seventh. Since they have the same teachers every year anyway, it's not a stretch to imagine that that one or the other (but not both) of seasons 2 and 3 must take up two years.

          We pull a similar trick in seasons 4 and 5--assuming that between those two seasons, three years actually passed. (I nominate season 4 as the most likely candidate for this, as Season 5 has mentions of this being senior year throughout.) We've now explained why Cory, Shawn and Topanga manage to fly through six grades in only four seasons.

          But then there's Eric. Eric is a junior in season 2, when Cory and Shawn enter John Adams, and a senior in season 3. He then takes a year off in season 4 and starts college in season 5, when the others are seniors in high school. So time passes normally for him, at a rate of one year per season--but only for him.

          Now, let's not forget that Eric graduates from college in season seven. Since he entered in 5, he's only been at Pennbrook for three years. If this were Topanga, I'd say, "Sure, Topanga could graduate in three years." Even Cory, sure. But I sincerely doubt that Eric, whose academic troubles surpass even those of troubled lone wolf Shawn, could manage to graduate a year early. So for him, one of seasons 5, 6, or 7 took two years, too. Whether the other characters progressed at the same rate of speed is unclear. Of course, if Eric's general rule holds true--time passes for him at two-thirds of the rate it passes for other characters--then Cory, Shawn and Topanga must have passed another six years during his four. So they should be out of college already. Since this is not so--they are still trailing him by at least a year, which is appropriate considering that they entered college one year after he did--then Eric may be speeding up, perhaps making up for his lost time.

          Here's the most likely, time travel free explanation I can think of to clear everything up.
Season Cory & Friends Eric Total Length of Time Passed
1 Sixth grade at the elementary school. Ages 11-12. (We'll assume Cory, at least, has a birthday in the springtime, making him an older age at the end of the year.) Ninth grade at the John Adams. He can be 15, as, I believe, stated; he may have repeated a grade in elementary school or simply started school at a later age than his brother. We won't age him up a year, assuming his birthday falls between school years. 1 year.
2 Seventh and eighth grades at John Adams. Ages: 12-14. Tenth and eleventh grades at John Adams. Ages: 16-17. 2 years.
3 Ninth grade at John Adams. Ages: 14-15. Senior year at John Adams. Age: 18. 1 year.
4 Tenth and eleventh grades at John Adams. Ages: 15-17. This is when he lounges at home and/or tries odd jobs. I guess this must take two years. Poor guy. Ages: 19-20. 2 years.
5 Senior year at John Adams. Ages: 17-18. Freshman year of college. Age: 21. 1 year.
6 Freshman year of college. Ages: 18-19. Sophomore year of college. Age: 22. 1 year.
7 Sophomore and junior years of college. Ages: 19-21. Junior and senior years of college. Ages: 23-24. 2 years.

Yes, I'm sure there's plenty of information to discount my theory, but I think this is the fanwank that works best: it starts and ends all of the characters in the right places and does not allow for entire years to be "skipped," which is impossible considering that most of the seasons lead into each other pretty smoothly. And it does count most information that is specifically given about timelines, I believe (such as graduations, Shawn and Cory starting seventh grade at the beginning of season 2, and Cory being 15 at the end of season 3). If you come across any specific information that contradicts my timeline, please email me, but I think we are all aware that sometimes, the information they give is just wrong. (Remember Nebula?)










My head is full of silly ideas that in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of the cast, crew, producers or affiliates of the show Boy Meets World, with which I am not affiliated. Likewise, my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Lance and Eskimo Enterprises and its affiliates, although they may reflect the individual opinions of Lance and/or Eskimo.