Ben Savage (Cory), Rider Strong (Shawn) and Will Friedle (Eric) were reunited this past weekend at Awesome Con in Washington, D.C., marking the first time all three of them have attended a convention together. Boy Meets World was one of my favorite shows growing up, so I loved getting to see the three of them talk, reminisce and answer fan questions for 45 minutes. Here are a couple of takeaways from their panel.
1. The Show Wasn’t Immediately a Cult Classic
Will Friedle said, “When we were on the air, we weren’t that popular. We just kept going on [with what we were doing]. It wasn’t until the second run that we got popular.” Rider Strong shared similar sentiments. Strong said that he doesn’t think they could’ve gotten away with a lot of things on Boy Meets World had it been more popular during its original run. “It definitely allowed us more freedom,” Strong said.
2. The Girl Meets World Experience
Ben Savage was a bit apprehensive at the start of Girl Meets World, because it had been 14 years since they’d played their characters. “I wasn’t sure whether to play Cory as goofy or serious.” But once he was convinced to do it, he said everyone was committed to replicating the experience of Boy Meets World for the child actors on Girl Meets World. To make this happen, they ended up bringing back as many cast and crew members as possible.
3. The Importance of the Angela/Shawn Relationship
One fan asked Rider Strong about the importance of the Angela and Shawn relationship and what he thought about it. Strong told the audience that having the role of Angela played by a black actress was a “conscious” choice, because the show was too white. He also said they ended up hiring a black, female writer to help with the character of Angela, because–up until that point–the writers’ room had been old, white men.
In terms of importance, Strong said they were constantly having conversations behind-the-scenes about whether to address the issue of “race,” and ultimately ended up never addressing on-screen the fact that Shawn was white and Angela was black. Strong said he doesn’t know whether he agrees completely with that decision today, but Trina McGee Davis (who played Angela) definitely agreed and even wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on the issue. Regardless, he said that the storyline was important and effective, because it was one of the first interracial couples on a sitcom network show.
4. Will Friedle No Longer Does The Feeny Call
After a fan asked Friedle if he would do the iconic Feeny call, he admitted that while he can do the Feeny call, he no longer does it as he passed the torch to Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter on Girl Meets World. “I was doing a show called Thundercats and Larry Kenney, who was the original Lin-O, was doing the Thundercats’ ‘Ho’ and he was at a convention, and they said, ‘Will you do the Thundercats’ ‘Ho?’ And he said, I’ll do it one more time and then I’m passing it on to Will,” Friedle explained. “So I went to the set of Girl Meets World and I did it in front of the audience one last time and I passed it to the girls. So it’s officially theirs now.”
5. Those Timeless Lessons
A fan mentioned that Boy Meets World is still relevant to so many today, because the show’s lessons are still relevant. Ben Savage agreed. “Thematically, I think the lessons do hold up because they are timeless,” he said. “At times, they sound a little generic but they’re important [regardless].”
Stay tuned for more of our coverage from Awesome Con.