Why This '90s Couple Still Matters Even Now

by Courtney Lindley

The '90s gave us Ross and Rachel. They gave us Buffy and Angel. They gave us Joey and Dawson (and then they gave us Joey and Pacey). But if there's one '90s couple that appeared to be the strongest and most meant-to-be, it was Cory and Topanga. While they had their fare share of ups and downs — remember when Cory kissed the girl at the ski lodge? Sorry for bringing it up — their love was always steadfast. That's as inarguable as Topanga having the greatest hair in all of '90s television. Come at me, Rachel.

Here's why Cory and Topanga were the ultimate relationship goals: They never wavered in their love and respect and admiration of one another. Even when Topanga moved to Pittsburgh. Even when Cory kissed that ski lodge girl. (Again, sorry.) Everything there is to know about a quote unquote good relationship can be gained from watching Cory and Topanga. But, more easily, it can be boiled down to one simple truth: Cory and Topanga always chose each other. No matter what. Period. End of story.

Their story was as idealistic as any love connection goes. They shared their first — and last — kiss together (presuming of course, that they never get divorced, which they won't, OK?). They never fell in love with anyone else — not even close. It was Cory and Topanga in the beginning, just as it was Cory and Topanga at the end.

What makes their relationship extra special is their unique dynamic. Topanga made the first move with the kiss, and she's the one who ended up proposing to Cory. These two were equals and partners. Not to keep throwing Ross and Rachel under the bus, but let's think about their relationship for a second. There was always a power imbalance, or someone holding something over the other person's head (see: the break that never was). Or maybe take Angela and Jordan Catalano from My So Called Life. All Angela wanted was for Jordan to know she existed — but not Topanga. She just went for it.

Topanga was eccentric and beautiful and mystifying and even had a bizarre name, but she was not the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She was her own realized person. Topanga did Topanga, always. And in those moments when she didn't believe in herself, Cory believed in her, always.

Though they shared that seminal kiss in Season 1, their relationship didn't officially commence until Season 3. Remember it? Cory followed Topanga to Disneyland and confessed that he's been in love with her since he was 6-years-old. Then, synchronized fountains went off in the background. From there on out, it was (mostly) happiness. They grew up and changed together, and, sure, along the way, there were some pains. But it always ended up how we knew it would.

Every time Cory and Topanga took a step forward with their relationship, we took a step forward in believing that they would always work it out. There was something comfortable and rare about that. We could trust Cory and Topanga the way that Cory and Topanga trusted each other. Unequivocally.

A boy might have met the world, but for that same boy, Topanga was the world. In the end, that's all that mattered to him, but, more importantly, that's all that really mattered for the audience. An audience who learned that a relationship like this could actually be possible in real life, and knew what standards of respect to strive for while navigating romance. Long before #relationshipgoals was a hashtag, Cory and Topanga were the shining example