Monday, December 17, 2012

Teachers on Life - Boy Meets World

Boy Meets World and Doug, but mostly Boy Meets World

I once read on a friend's "about me" section of his Facebook profile that everything he has learned about life he learned from Boy Meets World. Me too. In my pre-teen and teen years I learned a lot about daily life from Doug and BMW. I learned about dating, heartache, family, friends; a lot about the daily stuff that other shows wouldn't talk about because those shows were too worried about romanticizing sex, glamor, partying, and gossip. Not Doug, but BMW dealt with hard stuff particularly from Shawn's character, showing that yes, while life is hard and full of crap sometimes, close friends and family can give you a hand up out of the situation if you let them. BMW also promoted a pure, monogamous love between Cory and Topanga which was rare at the time. They could have easily made the characters give in to their passions, but Jacobs and the writers didn't. Cory and Topanga were virgins on their wedding day, which was beautiful. The viewer saw in Cory and Topanga's romantic life what abstaining from sex before marriage does to two lovers: you learn a lot about the other person for who he or she is instead of what he or she can *do* to you; you go beyond the physical and into the soul. Some may argue that a sexual relationship can do the same, however I'm not convinced of that. Even when I wasn't a Christian I didn't think sex before marriage was a good idea because sex outside of marriage complicates things a great deal. Anyway, I think Cory and Topanga are a good picture of love. If you watched the show all the way through you see that their love had very rocky moments, which shows that the life of lovers isn't perfect and that love will endure if the lovers continue in it.

BMW has a lot to say on life and it's mostly good. The Father wasn't stupid, which was nice. He was funny, but also smart, helpful, strong and loving. The same with the Mother. She was smart, funny, loving, but she wasn't a man-hater and that was nice to see. Cory's parents were excellent parents: they loved each other, their kids; they were a family team.

BMW is a good picture of what a family can be if they are virtuous. If they encourage each other, support each other, are honest with each other, and if they have fun together; you know, loving each other. Life isn't perfect and the family and friends on BMW had problems (remember Cory getting mad at his dad on his 16th birthday? Or when Cory thought his mom didn't want him and Topanga together?), but they worked them out together without developing hate, animosity, playing victim, and all of the other junk that happens in families who give in to their vices.

Some might say the BMW family and friends are a romantic idea of a perfect family; that Jacobs and the writers are Utopian thinkers trying to get people to be something they aren't.


If television shows only give us pictures of people giving in to their passions because that is what comes "natural," of people doing their daily routine and never going "beyond" then people will never grow past giving into their passions and their daily routine. If we see people living, in what we would call extreme I guess, then that rattles the ol' mind to live differently, to live virtuously, and to do things we ordinarily wouldn't do like not giving in to our passions and doing what is comfortable. BMW is arguably a picture of Aristotelian morality: strive to live like these people or even better than these people. In my opinion, BMW creators didn't want to tell you abstractly how to live by giving you commandments, instead they showed you through drama what love between family and friends looks like.

Honorable Mentions: Full House and Family Matters

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