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The Boy Meets World Cast Breaks Down The Episode That Changed Shawn And Eric's Dynamic With Cory

Fans know that many of the characters in "Boy Meets World" primarily serve as foils to Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) as he undergoes the harrowing journey of growing up. For most of the show, Eric (Will Friedle) maintains the role of the bumbling older brother, giving Cory a glance into how complicated adulthood can be. Meanwhile, Shawn (Rider Strong) is the girl-crazy best friend that prompts Cory to consider things like romance for the first time. However, those well-defined character traits actually weren't always so set in stone.

Upon re-watching the first season of "Boy Meets World," fans may be surprised to find just how different the characters start out as opposed to how they're portrayed for the rest of the show. In fact, several of the original cast members have noted that it took until a certain episode late into Season 1's run to change the personas of both Shawn and Eric into the ones viewers know and love.

Boy Meets Girl changed everything

Season 1, Episode 21 of "Boy Meets World," titled "Boy Meets Girl," sees Shawn fall for a girl at school, causing Cory to feel neglected. In a retrospective episode of their podcast "Pod Meets World," cast members Danielle Fishel, Will Friedle, and Rider Strong noted that this installment crucially shifted Cory's dynamic with both Shawn and Eric.

Rider Strong argued that the episode is the first time Shawn appears girl-obsessed. "The initial Shawn being girl-crazy, and chasing girls, and caring about girls, and being in love, all of that wasn't really established until now," he said. "This is the episode that kind of did it, and, of course, also established one of the central tensions of 'Boy Meets World,' which is: can friendship survive a romantic relationship?"

As Friedle noted, this new dynamic between Shawn and Cory also necessitated a shift in how Eric was portrayed. "They couldn't have Shawn become girl-crazy and have Eric become girl-crazy. It's got to be one or the other, and Shawn brought more tension into the relationship with Cory if they went that way. So, it's like, 'Well, what do we do now with Eric?'" 

While fans of "Boy Meets World" have generated several theories about Eric and his major personality change from girl-obsessed cool kid to loveable goofball, whether it's that the characters are actually based on Cory's perception of them or even that the teen sustained head trauma (via Decider), the cast's explanation seems much more logical.