The TGIF sitcom Boy Meets World had a long and fruitful relationship with the poetry world, from trenchant commentary on why poetry readings make good makeout spots to collegiate experiments in poetic expression to the multi-episode “Shawn moves in with the Matthews family” arc written by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. Only two of those things actually occurred over the course of the show’s seven seasons, and yet none of them made it into the Boy Meets World slam poem recited by Samuel L. Jackson on last night’s Tonight Show. Approaching the rhythmic laundry list of plot points like it’s another goddamn superhero he has to persuade to join the Avengers, the actor coolly rattles off rhymes in between puffs of an e-cigarette—this in spite of Topanga’s season-one admonishment that “any man who smokes is a pig.” (Pigs, as another beloved pop-culture product of the 1990s would remind us, are filthy animals.) Before assigning such incredibly specific verses to Jackson, you think someone at the Tonight Show would’ve done their research.
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