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Riley and Shawn

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Look at me. What?
Riley holding Shawn's head to face her
You're Cory with Topanga's hair. You got lucky.
Shawn looking at Riley closely as if for the first time


Riley and Shawn is the avuncular friendship pairing between Riley Matthews and Shawn Hunter in Girl Meets World.


History

Prior To Girl Meets World

With the impending birth of the first child of his best friends, Cory and Topanga Matthews, Shawn had been sensing the gradual distance that single people feel once their married friends begin to have children. Still, Shawn could not leave without bearing witness to one of the biggest moments of his friends' lives. After causing her family to wait all night, Riley Matthews is born on December 8, at 6 AM. Shawn is the first to hold her after her parents. Later that same day, he leaves NYC to embark on his career as a travel writer for the "Hit The Road," website. He would visit the Matthews infrequently, afterwards, but each time, due to his own subconscious desire for a family of his own, Shawn could not find within himself a way to express his affection for Riley, so he merely avoided her. Unfortunately, this would lead Riley to erroneously conclude that her Uncle Shawn simply didn't care for her

Girl Meets World

Season 1

Girl Meets Home for the Holidays
Riley Says Hey

Shawn And The "Kids"

On the Christmas following her 13th birthday, for the first time, her parents will host the Matthews family holiday festivities.  This allows an opportunity for her best friend, Maya, to finally meet Riley's mysterious "Uncle," Shawn Hunter, whom, the other girl half-jokingly considers a myth.  Despite her father's protests to the contrary, Riley believes that Shawn does not speak or spend any time with her, simply because he just doesn't
Friendship Contest

Who Are The Best Best Friends?

like her.  Riley's belief appears to be proven, when upon his arrival Shawn, barely says three words in her general direction before evasively slipping away.  Although Riley actually sees the brief exchange as an improvement of sorts, as Shawn at least spoke to her, Maya is not convinced.   Maya spurs Riley into interrupting the reunion of Cory and Shawn by challenging them to determine just which pair of best friends share the strongest bond.  Even after an impressive display of the girls apparently reading each other's mind, Shawn does not concede defeat.
Rude Awakening

Rude Awakening

 Maya then confronts Shawn over the fact that his years of seeming indifference towards Riley have hurt her, and as her best friend, she wants him to be aware of that.  Shawn denies any intention to have done so, and admits that Riley and Maya just might have a friendship as strong as the one he and Cory share.  Just before dinner, Maya rudely awakens Shawn, again pressing him to explain his treatment of Riley.  A groggy Shawn, weakly defends himself, and Riley asks him what her birthday is.  Her
Shawn Looks At Riley

Looking At Riley

father assures them that Shawn knows the date, but further interrogation is halted by the arrival of dinner.  Five minutes later, much to Topanga's astonishment, the entire meal has been consumed, and the girls still demand Shawn tell them what he knows about Riley.  Finally, Shawn rises from the table, and heads for the door, he stops halfway, and asks Riley if she's coming too.  At Svorski's Bakery over dessert tarts, Shawn reveals to Riley (and Maya, who has tagged along) 
'Cory With Topanga's Hair'

"Cory With Topanga's Hair"

that he not only knows Riley was born on December 8, but the exact time, weight, and height at birth, as well.   He also admits that feeling out of place in Cory and Topanga's new lives as parents, he left New York City that very same day.  But he clearly states that his past actions were his own, and do not reflect his feelings for Riley.  Riley is able to intuit the hidden meaning behind Shawn's words, and realizes just how much Shawn does care about her (and presumably Auggie as well).  With an audacious, intricate scheme
Scheming Riley

Riley's Scheme Unfolds

forming in her mind, Riley forces Shawn to stare directly at her, causing him to note with wonderment, that she's "Cory with Topanga's hair."  Riley then asks if just looking at her, reminds him of all the things he doesn't have, and Shawn immediately calls for the check.  Back at the apartment, Riley orders Shawn and her father to go to
Crowning A New King

Cory Crowns Riley King

her room and talk, somewhat reluctantly, the pair oblige.   Listening at the door, Riley waits until her father urges Shawn to find someone and begin living his life, whereupon she slips inside and dismisses him.  Opening the window, Riley literally pulls Maya off guard duty to sit beside Shawn, with instructions to ask him about his life.  Everyone is confused, but while guiding her father out,
Uncle Shawn & Kids

Uncle Shawn & Kids

 she advises him to just look at Shawn and Maya together.  Smiling, her father dubs Riley the new "King of Schemes."  After opening presents. Shawn, now seeking to rectify the error of his past treatment of the Matthews siblings, asks Riley, Auggie , and their parents, to join him on his newest assignment the next week, in upstate New York, which Riley accepts, but only after wheedling him to extend an invitation to
GMW Holiday Card

Holiday Card

include Maya as well. Later, back at Svorski's Bakery, Shawn gives Riley her present, one of his digital cameras, in order to encourage an interest in photography.  Everyone agrees that good friends, both new and old, should not be separated for long.  Seizing up her new camera, Riley uses the opportunity to snap a family portrait of the Matthew's family along with their best friends.


Girl Meets Master Plan
Uncle Shawn In The House

Uncle Shawn In The House

One Saturday morning, as Riley and Maya enter the Matthews residence, they discover Shawn Hunter sitting on the couch. At first doubtful of her senses, Riley happily embraces him, as does Maya, after a feigned reluctance. Riley advises Shawn to "squeeze her good," as it is Maya's birthday. Shawn asks if she is doing anything special, and Maya claims their reunion is it.  Cory and Topanga then arrive home, fresh from the bakery 
Ain't Tuesday

It Ain't Tuesday

with Maya's cake.  Not noticing that they are not alone, Cory suggests that they should deliver the cake to Katy Hart , in case, she has forgotten her daughter's birthday.  However, interpreting Topanga's cues, he deduces that Maya is behind him, and assures her that he is rather fond of her mother, and that Katy is not as bad as Shawn's mother, and Cory goes on to list her various deficiencies, despite
Shawn Declines Ring Power

Shawn Declines Ring Power

Topanga's prompts to stop.  From his wife's expression, Cory picks up on the fact that Shawn is also behind him as well.  As Cory and Shawn, greet each other, Topanga wonders how their old friend got in, and her husband reveals he gave Shawn a key, but assures her she has the key to his heart.  This inspires Riley and Maya to question Shawn over who has the key to his heart.  With a knowing glance to his old friends, Shawn asks, "Angela Time?"  And the Matthews agree.  Shawn relates the basic tale of how he fell in love with his high school
Riley Needs Her Window

Riley Wants Her Window

sweetheart, Angela ,  by going through the contents of her purse.  The girls fairly quickly decide that Shawn fell for his own perceived idealized concept and not the actual Angela, herself, thus their romance was doomed from the start.  Riley makes Maya promise never to allow her to fall into the same situation, which the girls agree to by symbolically displaying the power of their
The Master Plan Begins

The Master Plan Begins

friendship with their new matching rings pointed directly at Shawn.  After he gently lowers their arms from his face, Riley asks where Angela is, and Shawn confesses that he doesn't know.  He explains that he tried to make the relationship work, but ultimately, Angela left him.  Maya is familiar with the feeling, as Shawn includes his parents to his list as well.  The sight of Shawn and Maya emphasizing with each other over the commonalities of their lives, apparently gives Riley an idea, as she
Master Planners Spying

Master Planners Spying

abruptly stands up and calls for her window.  Maya is ready to follow, but Riley instead beckons her parents, leaving behind a slightly baffled Maya and Shawn behind in the living room.   An hour later, Shawn and Maya are still confused as the Matthews return, now with Farkle and Lucas in tow. As Shawn draws away Cory and Topanga to talk about Maya's mother, Maya, herself, instructs her friends to go back to Riley's room and explain what is going on.  A little later, having apparently failed to draw Cory out of his self-imposed retirement from hatching schemes, Shawn enters the Nighthawk Diner,
Shawn Reaches For Katy's Purse

Shawn Reaches For Katy's Purse

and spotting the name tag of the waitress behind the counter, sits down.  When asked what he wants, Shawn brazenly orders birthday cake, and then demands to know what kind of mother Katy is.  Their conversation only deteriorates from there, much to the disappointment of Cory and Riley Matthews, who unbeknownst to Shawn, have secretly trailed him to witness the results of their subtle orchestrations. But  when Katy declares that she doesn't like Shawn at all, the Matthews decide their ploy has failed, and
Shawn Needs A New Partner-In-Crime

Shawn Needs A New Partner-In-Crime

slink away.  Yet, sometime later, both Shawn and Katy enter the Matthews home together, having reached a level of understanding between them, as Shawn informs Maya that "Everything you know is wrong,"  as he reveals her father left their family of his own accord, and was not driven away by Katy.  This leads to a reconciliation between the Harts, as Katy explains she had to work extra shifts to afford the gift she knew Maya wanted--a locket--and even then, she still needed Shawn's help.  When Maya asks to see it, Shawn offers to retrieve it from Katy's purse, which she objects to, but both Maya and Riley quickly burst out, "Let him!"  After taking the photo to put in the locket, Shawn claims to Cory that he brought Maya and Katy together, and suggests they should partner up again as they did in the past.  However, Cory points out he has a new partner in Riley, and Shawn finds himself offering a trail partnership with Maya who accepts.

Season 2

Girl Meets Pluto
Road Trip To Dig Up The Past

Road Trip To Dig Up The Past

As Riley, Farkle, and Lucas meet at Topanga's to place items in their time capsule, Maya reveals her decision not to participate.  Riley's parents then arrive with Shawn in tow announcing a road trip to Philadelphia to dig up their own time capsule from their High School days.  When both Shawn and Topanga voice their reservations, Cory reminds them of their mutual past and incidentally brings up Angela.  Katy Hart then asks about the name, and Shawn admits she was a girl from his past.  When
Feeny Call 2.0

Feeny Call 2.0

Farkle asks if Shawn's old feelings are resurfacing, and if he wants to find Angela, the girls decide they should go along as well.  After hours of digging, (mostly by Topanga)  the adults and Maya  have become discouraged, but Riley is happily prancing about, placing flower garlands she has crafted  upon the heads of Maya and herself.  When  asked why she isn't digging, Riley replies she did dig for an hour, but all she found was
Angela's Items

Angela's Items

an old metal box, which the others instantly recognize as the object of their search.  The group are then caught in the flashlight beam of the homeowner, the adults' old teacher and mentor, Mr. George Feeny.  While the rest are stunned, the girls take the opportunity to proffer their rendition of "The Feeny Call," initially created by Riley's Uncle, Eric Matthews.  Clearly, not amused, Mr. Feeny tells them to undo the damage to his garden, but takes the time to get to know the girls better.  Cory asks if he recalls the time capsule, and if he has any new advice for them.  His childhood neighbor assures Cory that he remembers everything, and the fact the trio is still
Don't Be Such A Jerk!

"Don't Be Such A Jerk!"

together, speaks for itself. Back home, despite Riley's attempt to dissuade her parents from doing so, the capsule is opened. Topanga joyously recognizes the jean jacket Cory gave her the first time they stated their love for each other. Cory is stunned that Topanga placed the love letter left by Lauren, which nearly destroyed their relationship. Topanga explains she hoped they would be together when the capsule was recovered, so she could rip it up, which she gleefully does. The final items are a small number of Angela's possessions which made Shawn fall in love with her when he first discovered them in a lost purse years before. Riley and Maya can only watch as Shawn wistfully wonders out loud where Angela is now. A little later, as Shawn tries to explain why he and Angela never reunited to her parents, an angry Riley abruptly confronts him, telling him to "Don't be such a Jerk!" Afterwards, Shawn knocks on Riley's door and is
Somebody's Out There For Shawn

Somebody Is Out There For Shawn

recognized and allowed entrance (as she claims her family never bothers to knock) to find out what's on her mind. Riley refers to the fact that the scientific world has revoked the planetary classification of Pluto, which Shawn is aware of but doesn't place any particular importance upon. Riley explains that to her, Pluto represents the hope that something is always out there for her, and thus she also believes that there is someone out there for Shawn. When Shawn asks if that means that Angela is
Shawn Wants To Try Something Different

Shawn Wants To Try Something Different

Pluto, Maya stalks off. Riley states Pluto signifies the belief, regardless of any self-doubt, that there is someone out there for him to love.  Shawn then asks Maya what she expects from him, and she says she just wants him to be there for her, and Shawn agrees he can do that. The next night, Riley is keeping Maya company as they await Katy to finish her shift at Topanga's and close up, Shawn then wanders inside. As they witness Shawn and Katy admitting to each other, that they are both ready to try different things in their lives, Maya tells Riley that there is hope that Pluto might be considered a planet again.
Girl Meets Hurricane

Season 3

Girl Meets Upstate
  • Riley encourages Shawn to say things to Maya for her to regain her own voice.
  • Riley knows that Shawn will help Maya find who she truly is.
  • Riley tells Shawn that she loves his wall of memorable photos.

Similarities and Differences

Similarities

  • They both have brown hair.
  • They are both loyal to their friends
  • The both revere the Matthews family.
  • They both have deep connections with Cory.

Differences

  • Riley has a stable home life. Shawn did not.
  • Shawn always had self confidence, Riley considers insecurity her flaw.
  • Riley is female while Shawn is male.
  • Riley is a student while Shawn is an adult.

Quotes

I don't see him a lot. I don't think he likes me.
—Riley describing her relationship with Shawn to Maya
Hi, Uncle Shawn.
—Riley
Yeah... Hey kids.
—Shawn, before quickly stepping away
Your parents are the best people I've ever met in my life.
—Shawn to Riley
He loves my parents, and I come from them. So he loves me.
He loves me so much that he can't even look at me.
—Riley explaining Shawn to Maya
Every time you see me, does it remind you of what you don't have?
—Riley to Shawn
Are you doing this to keep me and Cory together?
Because we're fine. We don't need this.
—Shawn to Riley
I know that. I have my eye on a much bigger prize.
—Riley mostly to herself
Look at them. (indicating Maya and Shawn) They're us.
—Riley showing her scheme to Cory


Trivia

  • Shawn was the third person to hold newborn Riley.
  • Shawn left NYC the day Riley was born, December 8, 2001.
  • For the first thirteen years of her life, Shawn subconsciously sought to avoid her, causing Riley to assume he did not like her.
  • Shawn gave Riley a digital camera to stimulate an in interest in photography.
  • Riley refers to Shawn as her uncle, because he's considered family to Cory and Topanga.

Gallery

Girl Meets World Logo
The image gallery for Riley and Shawn may be viewed here.


References

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