It was 1991 when TV audiences were first introduced to Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), his family, and his group of friends on Boy Meets World. Yet, somehow, the show–which is now streaming on Hulu–remains as socially relevant as ever, while new audiences of teenagers find it and use it as a coping mechanism for a number of problems the younger generation faces.
That’s something the cast of the show is very aware of, and something they took time to speak about during a 25th-anniversary reunion panel at New York Comic Con 2018. Savage was joined by co-stars Danielle Fishel (Topanga) and Will Friedle (Eric) to chat with fans and reminisce about their time on the show–and its spin-off Girl Meets World–when the moderator asked about how it is the show still resonates today, even if the ’90s fashion doesn’t.
“Michael Jacobs, who was our showrunner and is responsible for 99.9% of the show ideas, if not 100% of the show ideas, he’s just very socially-minded himself,” Fishel explained. “He’s got a lot of opinions, and he’s got a lot of beliefs about things that he’s staunch on.”
It just so happens that a lot of those opinions and beliefs are about speaking to younger people about the ideas they face daily, even if the show wasn’t always trying to do that. “I wouldn’t necessarily say they were orchestrated, but they are things he knows are universal subject matters–no matter the time period, he knows you are going to watch them,” she continued. “Even though it was a kids’ show, he wrote a show where kids weren’t being talked down to. So you really learned a lot in every episode… I think it’ll probably be relevant 20 years from now.”
Savage added that the cast took the subject matter of the show very seriously. “The actors were so passionate about their characters,” he said. “If you’re spending 7 years on a series–and now we’ve been with these characters for 25 years–you become very protective of your character. Especially when we went into Girl Meets World, we had grown up with these characters.”
Of course, Friedle made sure to point out how convenient it was that a lot of the issues explored on the show all seemed to happen to one character–Shawn Hunter (Ryder Strong). “I think Michael also liked to find socially relevant issues and then have them happen to Shawn for a half hour,” he joked. “Shawn joined a cult, Shawn drinking, Dad-dying Shawn.”
Unfortunately, Strong couldn’t be there to defend his character’s controversial teenage years, but it was clear that even 25 years later this cast still cherishes the work they did. And while there may not be any new episodes of TV set in the Boy Meets World universe airing right now, the messages put forth by the 158 episodes of the original series–and the 72 installments of Girl Meets World–aren’t going to be any less relevant in the years to come.