Sitcom Face Off finally returns with a unique match up:




Two school comedies which were big in the 90’s. One was a Saturday morning staple, the other a very important member of the TGIF family. One was corny; the other trended to more serious stories. But in the end, which was better? As always this is just opinion.



 Category 1
Zack vs Cory


Two guys on opposite ends of the spectrum. Yeah they were both underachievers who liked to goof off. The difference is that Zack had the charm and self-confidence to get away with it. I think the main difference between these two is that Cory honestly wanted to do better. Zack acted like hewas above the rules and therefore could do anything. Early on there were all kinds of schemes whether they be for fast cash or to win Kelly’s affection.Cory had a sanitized view of the world, and didn’t understand why things had to be so difficult. Deep down Zack is a decent guy, which is why friends like Jessie and Screech remain loyal. There is a real person there which is why he won Kelly in the end. But you also have to look hard to see that while Cory is much more honest. True he needs Mr.Feeney to guide him but at least he iswilling to learn and be a better person. So who wins? Well I think that while Zack is cool and all, his antics do get annoying. I did an article on TV characters that would be hated in real life, and Zack was right on there. Coryis a little more relatable, I know I was a confused kid who had no idea how the world worked. Maybe we are all like even if we don’t realize that. So since he is a more fleshed out and likable character, I give the nod to Cory.
Category 2:
First we have Eric who is Cory’s brother. As the series progressed he went from being cool to dufus comic relief. The same can sort of be said for Screech who was nerdy when the show started but got weird as the series developed. They are both smarter than they appear and the big difference is that while Screech got just plain annoying Eric was funny to watch. Shawn is Cory’s best friend and more of a trouble maker than Cory. Slater is Zack’s bes tfriend and while rivals very early in the show, that didn’t last. They both had stuff happen but have persevered. Then we have the love interest. Zack chasedafter Kelly from day one, while Cory was a bit slower to realize Topanga washis true love. But I am going to hold off that discussion for a moment. On Bell we also had Lisa, the fashion expert who was pestered by Screech and Jessie who was the uptight one who could never relax and just enjoy things. On Boy Meets World we had….well, to be fair the rest of the cast wasn’t that strong friendwise. Yeah we had Jack later on but he was kind of dull. Early friends like Minkus disappeared while later friends like Angela were more plot conveniences. Heck evenCory’s sister faded away for a bit there! Saved By The Bell had a stronger cast because it was the same for the whole run. Yes I know about how Jessie and Kelly disappeared and were replaced by Tori but that was only for a few episodes. But I liked all six unlike World where once you got past Cory andTopanga I just didn’t like the rest as much. All in all, I liked the cast of Saved By The Bell more in this category.




Category 3:


To be honest this is a pretty easy one. There were only two adults on Saved By The Bell as regulars. One was Mr.Belding who was the kind of dufusy principal. To be fair he was very well played, yeah he was silly but you also had respect for him. When the situation called for it he was a decent principal. The other was Max who owned the restaurant everyone hanged out in.He disappeared after the first season. Of course Boy Meets World had adult cast members disappear too including Mr.Turner who was an important part of the showfor a minute or two there. He was unceremoniously eliminated from the series.Where Bell only included the parents if the plot called for it, World had the parents in it much more. In fact this was a really decent family show especially in its early days. The mother and father where very good parents and that came across. But the deciding factor is the one person I have notm entioned yet, and you all know who that is. Mr.Feeney was so awesome I knew who he was even without seeing the show. That character was the teacher we all wished we had and I love that he followed them through high school and college.Could you imagine If Mr.Feeney was in charge instead of Mr.Belding? Zack would have been in big trouble! So while I gave Saved By The Bell a break in the last category, here there is no contest.




Category 4:
Who do you like more, Zack and Kelly or Cory and Topanga? It’s a tough call because both the relationships had ups and downs. As I said they started differently since Zack had his eye on Kelly from the beginning. It took a little longer for Cory. Then they had the usual trouble couples have.They both broke up at different times. With Zack and Kelly it was because Kelly met another guy. With Cory and Topanga they were worried about hurting their friendship. A trip to Disney World got them back together. Until they broke up again when Cory kissed another girl, but Topanga eventually forgives him. They then get married and the wedding episode was a really good episode. It shouldbe obvious the winner here, because Cory and Topanga were a much stronger couple and had a relationship that felt like it really developed. Zack was starry eyed over Kelly from the beginning and even toward the end she seemed to treat him more like a pest than a potential boyfriend. It wasn’t until the College Years we finally got a satisfying payoff to the relationship. Yeah theygot married in a TV movie but, whatever. Who cared by then? Cory and Topanga proved you can have a real relationship on TV and follow it through without damaging the characters, as we see them get married and adjust to married life.Yes I know there were other relationships on both shows, but I am not gettinginto them.  And by the way this category is in no way given to World because I had a huge thing for Danielle Fishell  :)




Category 5:
Theme Song


No contest again. Boy Meets World has an OK theme but can’t compare with Saved By The Bell’s which is very strong.  It’s a great tune which gets your attention immediately and remains one of the most memorable parts of the show.






Category 6:
This is always the tough one, who told better stories and which was more fun to watch? Before I begin I want to state that for the purpose of this discussion I am not including Miss Bliss or The New Class. I may count The College Years. Both of these shows have a similar premise, regarding high school experiences. So which show told better stories? Well, Saved By The Bell was sillier and Boy Meets World could be more serious. Which do you prefer? The problem of course with Saved By The Bell is that it could be to silly. They wouldhave d ream sequences, break the fourth wall, and sometimes the solutions were a little too convenient. Not that Boy Meets World didn’t have sillier episodes like the Scream parody or the one where the whole school was transported to the 40’s. But they did more serious stuff with story and character arc’s which helped make the characters more than just cliché’s. However, Boy  Meets World also had a bit of an identity crisis like it wasn’t sure what it wanted to be. Is it a family show or a high school show? Is it a comedy or a serious drama?  It had a habit of introducing us to characters only to have them vanish. It also had story arc’s which made it hard for newviewers to tune in and get all the in jokes. Trust me I know. For instance I never heard of Mr.Turner because he was long gone before I started watching,and I had to learn about Shawn’s father dying because I missed that. And to be fair Boy Meets World could be real depressing. Mr.Turner almost dies in a motorcycle accident? Shawn’s father dies of a heart attack? Cory’s mom almost loses her baby in one of the saddest shows ever? And Cory and Topanga’s honeymoon was over almost immediately so to speak. Is this a comedy? To be fair to Saved ByBell when it did try to do more relevant stuff even if it was corny we still remember it, like the famous drug episode where Jessie became addicted to  (gasp!) caffeine  pills.  Boy Meets World just wasn’t as memorable for me. So I am going to give the nod to Saved By The Bell because it knew what it was and just tried to have fun with it. I was scared away from World for awhile because of its tone and backstory where with Bell I just jumped in and loved it, especially the first year. Always imitated but never duplicated, it was a very unique show which will always have a place in history.




So once again we are tied up. It comes down to the final season/episode to see which show was better. Saved By The Bell had a toughfinal year. As I mentioned, they had to bring in a new character because Jessie and Kelly vanished (long story) and several episodes were clip shows where nothing happened. The series finale was strong, to be honest. It was a graduation episode and while the plot was silly it was nice to see the gang together for one last time. Then they had to do the prime time series which Ithink had potential, but was killed by NBC. Boy Meets World had a decent final season, but the deciding point here has to come down to that final episode.Quite simply, it was one of the best series finale’s I have ever seen. It was very poignant and touching with everyone getting a nice goodbye, and that last scene with Mr.Feeney in the classroom was pure gold. So it comes down to whether a show is better for being remembered as a silly kids show, or as a show which took chances and tried to treat their characters like people. There really isn’t a contest here, Saved By The Bell was a silly show and was fun to watch but Boy Meets World just had the substance and the heart. Even as late a fan as I was I still responded and even cared for these characters. I wanted to know how there story would end, and yes I will probably watch the announced new series which is in development. Saved By The Bell just didn’t do that, the characters were stereotypes. It was the actors we enjoyed watching we didn’t care about the characters per se. Boy Meets World did it right, and that is why it lasted despite changes in cast andsetting. It was a strong part of the ABC TGIF line up for a reason, and I am just sorry it took me so long to realize how good it was.


Final Thoughts-I just hope that Girl Meets World doesjustice to the original, and isn’t like Saved By The Bell:The New Class which was god awful!

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