I want to begin by saying that I actually love Shawn Hunter and Cory Matthews equally. The dynamic duo of John Adams High School won my heart from the very first episode of Boy Meets World, and carried into into Girl Meets World and beyond. I find it very difficult to decide which one of the boys should be everyone's favorite, because there is no doubt in my mind that they would both vote for one another. However, when it comes right down to it, Shawn Hunter is better than Cory Matthews. He just is. This isn't even a contest. Just had him the trophy at the starting line, guys, because is there anyone out there who didn't have a crush on Shawn Hunter when the show first aired? If you watched Boy Meets World in the '90s, then you had a crush on Shawn Hunter. That's a fact. Unless you're Topanga Lawrence, that is.
Shawn was the good-looking, floppy-haired representation of all of our '90s bad boy dreams, without being an actual bad boy. Sure, he grew up in a trailer park and, sure, he made some bad decisions here and there, but he was a good, loyal, upstanding person at his core — even more so when he had Cory around to remind him that it was never too late to do the right thing. Excuse me while I swoon.
In fact, here are 14 reasons Shawn Hunter was everybody's crush on Boy Meets World.
1. He Has A Sad Past...
Shawn grew up in a trailer park. He had a half-brother named Eddie that disappeared later on and was replaced by a half-brother named Jack, not to mention a sister we never heard about again after Season 1. His father was kind of useless, his mother abandoned him, and everyone he ever cared about who didn't have the last name Matthews either died or abandoned him. The boy needs a hug.
2. ...And Still Turned Out A Good Person
Largely because of Cory's influence. There were times when Shawn almost fell off the wagon, like when he blew up a mailbox with a cherrybomb or when he tried to run with a rougher gang than Cory in a misguided belief that they had nothing in common and their friendship would crash and burn soon. But, every time he strayed off the path, Cory aggressively yanked him right back onto it. Even better, Shawn deeply appreciated Cory for that, and said it often.
3. He Gets The Best One-Liners
Is there anyone who is funnier than Shawn? Except maybe Eric.
4. Cory Loves Him The Most, Sorry Topanga
Topanga jokes on Girl Meets World — after she and Cory are married mind you — that Cory has been putting Shawn ahead of her their entire life. When Riley and Maya brag about their relationship by stating they have rings, Cory brags that he has one too — that Shawn gave to him. Heck, Shawn was even standing arm in arm with Cory while Topanga was saying her vows to Cory at their wedding. Cory Matthews could probably write this list for me.
5. He Also Dated Topanga First
I mean, if we want to get nitpicky. Sure, the love story of Cory and Topanga (and Cory and Shawn) changed its details all the time — from Cory and Shawn having known each other since diapers to Cory and Topanga having known each other since diapers and meeting Shawn at the zoo — but Shawn asked Topanga out first. To push Cory into making a decision, sure, but the point is that Topanga and Shawn were friends in their own right and not just through Cory. I'm sure even she thought he was cute.
6. He's Always There When Cory Needs Him
After Topanga and Cory broke up, and we got a very special episode about alcoholism, Cory pointed out that Topanga left him despite being the person he thought he'd be with forever, whereas Shawn has never left him. And, even when Shawn does, he always comes back by the end of the episode, if it even takes him that long. It's Cory and Shawn, best friends forever.
7. He Has Relatable Insecurities
Shawn worries about all the same things that everyone worries about. He worries that he's not good enough. He worries that he won't amount to anything. He worries that he's going to hold his friends back. He worries that they're going to leave without him. He worries that he'll turn out like his parents. Oh my god, you guys, the kid needs a hug.
8. He Pulled A Matilda Before Matilda (The Movie)
During Season 2, Shawn bonded with new teacher Jonathan Turner, eventually moving in with him and coming to think of "Jon" as a father figure. This happened two years before Matilda was adapted into a movie, so suck it Matilda. (Movie Matilda anyway. Book Matilda preceded Shawn by almost a decade.)
9. He's An Honorary Matthews
During the episode where Shawn joins a cult, I was genuinely concerned that Alan Matthews was going to commit a homicide to get the cult leaders away from Shawn. My feels. My heart. Shawn brings all the feels.
10. He Got All The Ladies
Because he's the attractive one. Look at his hair.
11. But When He Fell In Love, He Fell Hard
The story of Shawn and Angela might not have been as beautiful or as long-lasting as the story of Cory and Topanga, but their relationship was absolutely beautiful. Shawn cared so deeply about Angela, and Angela cared so deeply about him, that they were basically my relationship goals for a long time. When they broke up at the end of the series — and when they ultimately ended up with other people in Girl Meets World — it literally broke my heart.
12. He's An Idiot Savant
He can speak different languages, but he can't understand them.
13. He Also Writes Poetry
He's Shakespeare in a leather jacket. I am so here for it.
14. And Now He's A Photographer
I repeat: he was a flirt from the wrong side of the tracks who fell hard and fast, wrote poetry, and takes photographs. He is basically a tortured artist. All these reasons and more are why Shawn Hunter was everyone's crush on Boy Meets World.
Image: Disney–ABC Domestic Television