If ever there was a nostalgic TV show romance to envy, it’s Cory and Topanga’s from Boy Meets World. In case you need a refresher, Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) develops a crush on Topanga (Danielle Fishel) all the way back in Season 1, when they’re in middle school. They date throughout high school, and in the final season — their college years — they get married. Girl Meets World (a Disney Channel series centered around Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley) confirms the couple’s marriage is still going 15 years later (swoon). But with both shows now over (GMW ended in 2017), fans have been craving more Cory-Topanga moments. Thankfully, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel’s new Panera ad delivers.
Cory and Topanga’s romance worked for a lot of viewers because they grew up right along with fans. In Season 1, Cory admits he’s not ready to date, and the two have a "non-date" in which they play video games, as befits middle school life. High school sees them get together but then break up over small dramas that feel outsized amid first love. Even their engagement follows the college experience’s ups and downs, as Topanga first craves the commitment to feel secure in her future, only to question it later when her parents announce they’re getting divorced.
Girl Meets World brought everything full circle, with the reveal that Riley’s parents were still together after their move to New York City in the Boy Meets World series finale. But in the new Panera ad, it seems the road to true love still has ups and downs… until discovering a flatbread everyone can agree on brings them back together.
Beyond the nostalgia factor of bringing these sitcom stars back together, this ad is a veritable smorgasbord of throwback rom-com references. From the Love Actually-style signs in the window to the "You had me at…." from Jerry Maguire, the commercial hits all the feel-good buttons at once.
This isn’t the first time Panera has gone all-in for its Valentine’s Day ad campaign. In 2018, the company held sweepstakes to cater the wedding of one lucky couple who got engaged in its stores. For 2019, there was the debut of the "double bread bowl" for two.
But even if this year’s Boy Meets World Meets Flatbread is a standout to fans, one thing hasn’t changed: This Valentine’s Day ad comes with a promotion. In this case, it’s a "TGIF" (Thank God It’s Flatbread) promo code that makes every online-order Panera flatbread half price, effectively making your date night a buy-one-get-one-free deal. It may even lead to leftovers in the fridge for breakfast the next day. Pair them with a Boy Meets World marathon for the ultimate morning-after activity.
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