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Alright every generation has its touchstone TV families. Boomers watched "Leave It To Beaver." In the '70s, it was "The Brady Bunch." A decade later, it was "The Cosby Show." Starting in 1993, kids watched "Boy Meets World," which ran for seven years on ABC. As NPR's Neda Ulaby reports, this week the show gets a reboot for a new generation.
NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Here's how popular boy meets world was the 1990s. At its peak, it drew 10 million viewers including Nick Grey and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Spivey, now 24 and 21 and living in Florida.
NICK GREY: Everybody that I know that is our age...
ELIZABETH SPIVEY: Watched it and loved it.
GREY: ...Loves the show.
ULABY: "Boy Meets World" was about an affable kid named Cory Matthews, his family, school and friends.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BOY MEETS WORLD")
BEN SAVAGE: (As Cory Matthews) It's a new year, a new me. You notice the spring in my step? Boxer shorts.
ULABY: It was the sheer ordinariness of "Boy Meets World" that appealed to Spivey and Grey. They compare it to "Roseanneâ or "Home Improvement."
GREY: That kind of blue-collar family is just something we really related to.
ULABY: Over the years, the character Cory and his girlfriend, Topanga, dealt with regular kid problems like getting into trouble at school.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BOY MEETS WORLD)
SAVAGE: (As Cory Matthews) Mr. Feeny, this stinks.
WILLIAM DANIELS: (As George Feeny) Itâs supposed to stink, Mr. Matthews. Its detention. You're being detained from whatever it is you would rather be doing.
SAVAGE: (As Cory Matthews) Well, I think it's a cruel and unusual life-sucking torture.
ULABY: A few years ago, Disney, which owns ABC, got in touch with one of the showâs creators and said, Michael Jacobs, how about reassembling your old team of writers and hiring back the original stars for a show called "Girl Meets World"? Cory and Topanga will be the parents of a 13-year-old daughter. Jacobs was dubious.
MICHAEL JACOBS: I'm 58-years-old, I'm surrounded by these 58-year-old guys. We like to think of ourselves as cutting-edge. That's how foolish we are.
ULABY: Disney said, perhaps we can make you change your mind.
JACOBS: Would you think that perhaps, if you were so inclined, you could have some females on the staff who might understand what they are doing because you completely don't?
RANDI BARNES: Here, the lady writers. Cindy, Lauren, Teresa.
ULABY: And Randi Barnes. One of the young women leaving - not the writers room.
BARNES: We call this the writerâs womb.
ULABY: The writerâs womb sits or maybe nests in a huge Disney-owned complex at the edge of downtown Los Angeles. The lady writers wear jeans and high-top sneakers. They look barely out of college.
BARNES: I'm actually the oldest woman at 30.
ULABY: You'd think the ingredients are all there for a culture clash. But the older male writers, says Barnes, have been generous in sharing the original show's legacy and what it's like to be a parent.
BARNES: And for us to say, well, here's what it's like to be a daughter, and here's what it's like to grow up now.
ULABY: The dutiful daughter of "Girl Meets World" has a bad best friend - bad by Disney standards. That means she wears little studded boots and rides the subway all by herself.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GIRL MEETS WORLD)
ROWAN BLANCHARD: (As Riley Matthews) She's cool. She has a wild side. She does what she wants.
DANIELLE FISHEL: (As Topanga Matthews) But you're such a good person.
BLANCHARD: (As Riley Matthews) Who cares about that?
ULABY: Fans Nick Grey and Elizabeth Spivey watched a preview episode online. They say the biggest difference from the original is that on "Boy Meets World" the kid looked normal. Disney Channel's the home of Hannah Montana and Lizzie McGuire and the pubescence stars of "Girl Meets World" are glamorous.
GREY: They're just really, really pretty.
SPIVEY: They don't look like children.
ULABY: Not a even the boy, who's the main character's crush.
GREY: You know, he looks like his eyebrows are done, and his hair is like perfect and it's frosted.
ULABY: But that's not to say the first episode was a complete disappointment.
SPIVEY: It was wholesome in the same way that the original series was.
ULABY: That's because, says Michael Jacobs, the show's co-creator "Boy Meets World" was based on the simple rhythms of his own childhood.
JACOBS: Getup, go to school, try, tell my parents I'll try harder. Those stories worked on "Boy Meets World." They will not work on "Girl Meets World."
ULABY: And why not?
JACOBS: Are we off the record? No? I think girls are smarter. I think that they're tougher.
ULABY: New TV shows need to be smarter and tougher as they vie for audience attention and a world crammed with channels and platforms. Disney hopes the audience of "Girl Meets World" will include nostalgic Millennials. But some will not be easy to reach.
GREY: We don't have cable.
ULABY: Nick Grey is part of a pronounced cord-cutting trend. He watched a preview episode of "Girl Meets World" on a mobile device, using a parent's cable. Neda Ulaby, NPR News.
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