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12 Times Cory Matthews Was A Really Bad Friend On Boy Meets World

It's been almost three decades since "Boy Meets World" debuted on ABC, but the show's relatable characters and storylines have made it a fan favorite with lasting appeal. Yet, despite its cult status, many viewers can't stand Ben Savage's Cory Matthews, particularly in the later seasons. Cory is the show's lead, but he's often the least likable character in many scenarios, occasionally crossing the line in ways that make fans wonder if he's actually just a terrible person.

Cory may not be the absolute worst "Boy Meets World" character, but many feel that he went from a decent kid to a toxic friend and husband over the course of the series. In the early seasons, he is presented as an average, sympathetic character that many young teenagers would likely see as a kindred spirit. This made his mistakes and the lessons he learned from them more palatable to audiences. However, as Cory got older, his behavior became much more alarming, often coming across as a manipulative jerk.

Here are just a few examples of how Cory was a really bad friend on "Boy Meets World."

Pressuring Shawn into drinking alcohol

Shawn Hunter is Cory Matthews' lifelong best friend, so it is always sad when Cory uses Shawn without regard for his personal needs or safety. One of the many times this happens takes place in the Season 5 episode "If You Can't Be with the One You Love." The episode takes place during one of Cory and Topanga's breakups. Cory, who has been feeling depressed since getting dumped, decides to steal alcohol from his father and go to a party drunk. However, things get really bad when Cory peer pressures Shawn into drinking as well.

Initially, Shawn protests, but Cory pushes him until he agrees to take a sip. What Cory didn't know was that Shawn's father had been an alcoholic, and ended up losing his marriage and job because of it. Shawn instantly becomes hooked on the alcohol and continues to drink heavily over the next week. To Cory's credit, once he realizes what's happening, he comes clean that he was the one who stole the alcohol and works to try to help Shawn stop drinking. While Cory's harmful actions here weren't malicious, a good friend should be aware that if a friend doesn't want to try something (let alone a substance known to be harmful), they need to respect those wishes and not pressure them.

Reading Rachel's diary

A late addition to the cast, Maitland Ward's Rachel McGuire was introduced as a roommate of Cory's older brother Eric and quickly became part of the show's core friend group. In Season 7, Rachel becomes roommates with Cory's fiancée Topanga and Shawn's girlfriend Angela. In the episode, "You Light Up My Union," when Topanga and Angela provide Cory and Shawn with a key to the apartment that they share with Rachel, they initially think nothing of it. Unfortunately, their true colors start to show when they appear in the apartment while Topanga and Angela are out and Rachel is taking a shower.

While Rachel is in the shower, Cory and Shawn go through her underwear drawer and read her private diary. When a mortified Rachel is told this by the two, she tells them she doesn't want them around anymore, which is only fair considering the massive invasion of privacy committed by them. However, they keep coming around and referring to private thoughts she had written in the diary in front of Topanga and Angela, while also making unwanted sexual advances toward her. The worst part is that the men never acknowledge their wrongdoing or try to make amends, continuing to treat Rachel as a sexual object throughout the remainder of the series.

Placing too many expectations on his Best Man

After dating on and off for several seasons, Cory and Topanga finally tied the knot in the Season 7 episode "It's About Time." As was expected, Cory chose Shawn as his Best Man, though his behavior both before the wedding and during showed that he thought of Shawn as anything but. Before the ceremony, Cory places unrealistic expectations on Shawn, giving him a multitude of tasks that he expects to get done right away. While some of these tasks are ones traditionally tackled by the Best Man, Shawn communicates to Cory that he is demanding too much and lets him know that he would be unable to do everything.

Instead of being understanding and delegating some of the responsibilities to other people in his wedding party, Cory asks Shawn why he wants to sabotage his wedding, leading a furious Shawn to quit. This is made worse by the fact that Cory's brother Eric kept asking to take over different duties and felt left out because Cory wanted Shawn to do everything. Eventually, Eric takes over as Best Man — but forgets the rings. Shawn, still caring about Cory, rushes the rings to the wedding, but Cory lashes out at him, calling him "trailer trash" in front of all the wedding guests. This is a real low blow — Cory knows that Shawn had a hard time with his family's socio-economic status, and at this moment he reveals that he doesn't see Shawn as his equal.

Cheating on Topanga and lying about it

After Shawn, Topanga was always Cory's next best friend. As they got older, they developed romantic feelings for each other and began to date. But in "Heartbreak Cory," Cory almost ruins his relationship and friendship with Topanga once and for all by cheating on her with another girl — and then lying about it. The episode takes place during a school ski trip in the mountains. At the beginning of the episode, Cory injures his ankle and has to stay in the lodge while his friends ski. Here he meets Lauren, a girl his age that works at the lodge and has an obvious crush on him. After staying up and talking to Lauren all night, Cory develops feelings for Lauren.

Cory's feelings may have started as an innocent crush, but things get more serious on the second day when Cory lies to Topanga and his friends by telling them that his ankle still hurts so he can stay at the lodge and spend more time with Lauren. During this time, he and Lauren share a kiss. Later, Cory feels guilty and comes clean to Topanga and tells her that he lied about his ankle to spend time with Lauren. Topanga is angry but forgiving. She asks him if anything else happened, and this gives Cory the chance to right his wrongs and be honest with Topanga. Instead, he chooses to lie, keeping the fact that they kissed a secret.

Trying to convince Shawn not to take a job

Many young people have a vision in their minds of what they want their future to look like, and they might be protective about trying to make that future happen. Cory, however, not only has a vision of what he wants his life to look like, but he also has a vision of his friends' lives, and he is willing to manipulate them in any way he sees fit in order to ensure the future turns out the way he wants. In the episode "Things Change," Shawn reveals that he has been waitlisted for Pennbrook University, while Cory, Topanga, and Angela all got in. This goes against Cory's vision of everyone going to college together, and he immediately works to try to change that.

He starts going to other students that got into Pennbrook and telling them lies about how bad the college is to convince them to give up their spots. The plan works and Shawn is pulled off the waitlist, but by that time, Shawn has already found himself a job as a photographer that he really enjoys and is on track to move up in the company. While this is a promising future that Shawn wants, Cory pushes his friend to quit the job he loves to go to school with him, rather ironically insinuating that he's a bad friend if he doesn't.

Concealing the truth about his night with Topanga

Most of Cory's worst moments as a friend happen in the later seasons of "Boy Meets World," when he becomes a more jealous and controlling person. However, one of the most egregious breaches of trust happens early, in the Season 2 episode "Wake Up, Little Cory." Having been given an assignment to do together, Cory and Topanga end up accidentally falling asleep at their school overnight and spend the night huddled up together. When they are discovered in the morning, many people in the school believe that the two had sex.

This is when the double standard regarding sexual conduct between genders rears its ugly head: Topanga gets shamed for what the school believes happened, while Cory gets praised. Topanga tries to clear things up, but Cory is more hesitant because of his newfound popularity. When the school bully asks Cory, "Are you the man, or are you just you?" Cory responds, "I guess... I'm the man," heavily implying that he had sex with Topanga without outright saying it, damaging Topanga's reputation in the process. When she tells him that he is no longer her friend, he finally clears things up in a video to the school, but the rumors likely persisted long after.

Putting Valentine's Day plans over his family

"My Baby Valentine" is a Season 6 episode that centers around the best "Boy Meets World" couple, Cory's parents Amy and Alan. Amy is pregnant, and after seeing what a hard time she's having, Topanga offers to throw her a baby shower on Valentine's Day. Cory is infuriated, telling Topanga that she owes him her loyalty and that on Valentine's Day she should only spend time with him. Topanga tells Cory that the shower will only be in the morning and that they can celebrate Valentine's Day at dinner in the evening. Despite this perfectly reasonable compromise, an angry Cory takes over the baby shower, ruining it for everyone.

This episode is a prime example of how controlling Cory is over the people in his life. While this is most true for Topanga, it also goes for his many other friends and family members as well. The fact that he ruins his own mother's baby shower so he can spend the entire day with Topanga shows just how self-centered and overbearingly clingy Cory really is. This is definitely not his finest moment, and he's lucky that his mother forgave him.

Excluding his brother from a garage sale of his stuff

One of Cory Matthews' first friends in life was his older brother, Eric. When the two were young, they were very close and spent a lot of time together, forming great memories. However, as they got older, they drifted apart and Cory began treating Shawn as his best friend. In "Brotherly Shove," Cory is asked by his parents to clean out their garage of old stuff with his brother Eric. But instead of telling Eric and doing the garage sale together, he asks Shawn and Topanga to do it instead. Even when Shawn tells Cory he should be cleaning with his brother, Cory says he doesn't want Eric there and wants them to help him instead.

When Eric finds out, he is understandably upset. He rightfully tells Cory that half the stuff belongs to him and that those were their memories together, not Cory and Shawn's. Cory refuses to admit wrongdoing and says that the garage sale was not a big deal, creating an even bigger rift between the brothers. While Cory can't see what's wrong, Eric tells him that he just wanted to be able to still hang out with his brother from time to time and make new memories instead of just having old ones. Cory, meanwhile, just treats Eric like a burden and not a friend, as he always does.

Forcing Topanga to go on a date with Shawn

"Hogs and Kisses" is a very strange episode of "Boy Meets World." Like many other episodes on this list, it exposes just how jealous and controlling Cory becomes in the later seasons of the show. The episode begins with Cory and Topanga filming an advertisement video for Pennbrook University after being selected as the best freshmen couple. Unfortunately, Cory is unable to act on camera or deliver his lines, so he recommends that Shawn step in to play his role.

Things fall apart when Shawn and Topanga are asked by the director to kiss, sending Cory into a jealous spiral. He gets hold of the footage and watches it over and over, obsessing about it. He finally decides to force Shawn and Topanga (to whom he is still engaged) to go on a date, something they're both against. It takes Angela having to kiss Cory for him to finally let the matter go. Not only does the incident prove that Cory doesn't trust his friends and fiancée, but it also proves that he has no qualms in forcing them to do things they're uncomfortable with.

Convincing Shawn to manipulate Angela

"Angela's Ashes" is about Angela's father (who is in the military) returning and asking Angela to travel to Europe with him for a year. Shawn doesn't want Angela to leave, since their relationship is finally back in a good place, but he also realizes how important her father is to her and that she needs to go be with him. Cory once again decides that this doesn't fit his vision of the future, in which all four of them (Shawn, Angela, Topanga, and himself) are together. In a selfish movie, he goes about trying to convince Shawn not to let Angela leave.

There are quite a few alarming things Cory says to Shawn in this episode, including that he believes that Angela wants a "stronger man than her father" to fight for her to stay. He also stirs up jealous feelings in Shawn by telling him that European men will seduce her while she's abroad, which finally convinces Shawn to go back on his promise and try to argue for her to stay. Luckily, after Shawn speaks to her father again, he is convinced not to push her away from the trip.

Taking a prank way too far

Another example of Cory mistreating his friends takes place in the Season 7 episode "The War." The episode follows a prank war that breaks out within his friend group. On one side are Cory, Shawn, and Topanga, while the other side consists of Rachel, Angela, and Shawn's brother Jack. Most of the episode follows the two teams pulling elaborate and increasingly ridiculous pranks on each other. Cory and Shawn somehow put Rachel's car in her bedroom, and Rachel glues Cory, Shawn, and Topanga to their seats while a bear is in the classroom, a moment many fans feel went way too far. Yet, one of the pranks the boys pull on Rachel is far more personal.

While the prank war was already a bit heated, the friend group finally breaks apart after Cory and Shawn get hold of an intimate photo of Rachel and turn it into a giant poster that they put up in the student union for everyone to see. Rachel is mortified and breaks down in tears. She's wounded even further when it gets implied that she is less important to the friend group because she hasn't known them as long. Much like in "You Light Up My Union," Cory and Shawn clearly don't value Rachel's privacy, nor do they see her as an equal in their group of friends.

Reading Shawn's poem without his consent

In addition to his controlling and manipulative behavior, Cory is famous among his friends for sticking his nose into other people's business. In "Poetic License: An Ode to Holden Caulfield," Cory damages his friendship with Shawn once again after reading one of Shawn's poems to the student union without his consent. In the episode, Cory finds out that Shawn has been writing poems, and is quite good at it. He pushes Shawn to read the poem aloud at a student union meeting, but when the time comes, Shawn says he can't read it.

Cory decides to read the poem out loud to the entire student union, infuriating Shawn. Not only did it turn out the poem detailed his intimate thoughts about his troubled relationship with Angela, but they were words that were meant to come from him, not Cory. Shawn stands up to Cory, asking him what gives him the right to meddle in everyone else's business, finally calling out Cory's intrusive and manipulative behavior.