Boy Meets World is one of the most memorable TV sitcoms of the ’90s. Who can resist Shawn and Cory’s epic bro-mance or watching Topanga and Cory’s relationship grow from puppy love to real-deal marriage? The beloved show is still syndicated on TV over 10 years after the series aired its final episode in 2000. Much like fellow ’90s teen sitcom Saved By The Bell, the show didn’t go without its fair share of controversy. Dark stories depict a reality that’s a stark contrast from the characters’ lives at John Adams High School.
Behind the scenes show an unstable environment where child actors were hired and fired faster than the cast could keep up with. There were bad haircuts, DUIs, and even a couple misdemeanor crimes (that thankfully went unnoticed by the network). When the show ended in 2000, viewers were left with a number of character inconsistencies, questions, and disappearances.
Danielle Fishel Was Second Choice For Topanga
It’s tragic to think about Topanga as anyone other than Danielle Fishel, but the part was originally given to someone else. According to Fishel’s memoir, Normally This Would Be Cause For Concern, the original actress was let go for being unable to follow directions. She wrote:
I remember David Trainer, our exceptionally gifted director for the first two seasons, giving her notes on how to improve her performance. She seemed to have trouble there. He’d give her a note telling her to change something, and she’d do it the exact same way again. I felt like a little kid in a classroom; I wanted to raise my hand and say, ‘Can I try?’ Even at twelve, I knew that was unprofessional, so I kept my mouth shut. On set the next day, she wasn’t there. They had let her go, and the executive producer, Michael Jacobs, needed to find a new girl to play Topanga.
Fishel landed the role after scoring a second audition.
So Many Child Actors Were Fired From The Show, The Cast Made A Joke Of It
Cory was originally supposed to have a second best friend, but none of the actors seemed to work out. One was fired after the next. Because Cory’s second best friend always sat in a specific seat in the cafeteria, it was dubbed “the death chair” by the rest of the cast.
Eventually, the writers just gave up on filling the role.
Shawn’s Sister Mysteriously Disappeared Because Of Another Cast Member Being Fired
It may seem kind of shocking for a character to completely disappear, but apparently, the writers of Boy Meets World flipped the script when they let another actor go. In the episode “Cory’s Alternative Friends,” Shawn calls up his sister Stacy. In later episodes, Shawn doesn’t have a sister at all. So, what actually happened to her?
It’s all because an actor got fired. Cory was meant to have another best friend in addition to Shawn. Once the actor who played Cory’s other friend was fired, Rider Strong took that character’s lines. That friend had a sister but it was later decided Shawn would not.
Eric And Alan Matthews Were Also Fired
For some reason, Boy Meets World had trouble finding actors that were a fit for its characters. The show not only recast Topanga and couldn’t decide on Cory’s missing BFF, but they also recast Eric and Alan Matthews after the pilot episode. Originally, Eric and Alan were played by Harry Barandes and Matt McCoy.
They were replaced with Will Friedle and William Russ respectively.
Rider Strong Stole Shawn’s Iconic Leather Jacket, Then Someone Stole It From Him
There’s no denying that Rider Strong looked amazing in Shawn Hunter’s iconic leather jacket. It suited him so well that he swiped it from Disney when he left to attend school in New York. Strong continued shooting Boy Meets World while attending classes, and his beloved jacket was stolen out of his car.
It was never supposed to leave the set, so to avoid getting into hot water, he replaced it with a look-alike. Disney execs never knew the difference.
Three Episodes Of ‘Boy Meets World’ Were Banned For Teen Sex And Drinking
Boy Meets World was undeniably wholesome, and Disney was determined to keep it that way. Three episodes of the series were banned from the Disney Channel for talking about premarital sex, teen drinking, and a scene where Topanga jokingly moons Shawn, exposing her bare bottom. Currently, “Prom-ises, Prom-ises.”
“Can’t Be with the One You Love,” and “The Truth About Honesty,” can be found on YouTube, though they were cut out of the original seasons in 1998 and 1999.
Rider Strong Almost Quit The Show
Rider Strong was uncomfortable with his level of fame. He wanted to go to college – not be a child actor. When Strong was old enough to go to college, he almost quit Boy Meets World. Instead, execs worked out a special deal. They changed Boy Meets World‘s production schedule so Rider could do both. He attended Occidental College in Los Angeles while filming before going on to finish his degree in English at Columbia University.
What would Boy Meets World have even been like without Shawn?
Danielle Fishel Worked At Bloomingdales For A Time Following The End Of The Series
When Boy Meets World ended in 2006, Danielle Fishel struggled to find work. She chose not to attend college and was unqualified to do anything besides act. Fishel became a customer service representative for Bloomingdales.
Eventually, the former child-star attended college and graduated from California State University, Fullerton when she was 31.
Topanga’s Sister, Nebula, Mysteriously Vanishes
Topanga was painted as a free spirit in the first couple seasons of the show. It shouldn’t be shocking that the same parents who raised the free-spirited bookworm also had a daughter named Nebula. However, Nebula mysteriously disappears shortly after her introduction. In one episode, Topanga introduces Eric to her sister, only to never mention her again.
So where did she go? It remains a mystery, and Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage are as equally dumbfounded as the rest of us as to why she was suddenly written off the show.
Fans Thought Mr. Turner Died In A Tragic Motorcycle Accident For More Than A Decade
In season four of Boy Meets World, Mr. Turner gets into a life-threatening motorcycle accident. Mr. Turner is never seen on screen again, and it’s assumed he died. For what reason? Fans aren’t really sure.
It turns out that Mr. Turner pulled through. In Girl Meets World, we find out that he actually lived and ended up having a daughter who appears on the spin-off.
Danielle Fishel Had A Secret Tattoo That Was Accidentally Shown One Time
Tattoos are hardly PG according to Disney standards and Danielle Fishel had a tattoo hiding in plain sight during the whole series. Her thick head of hair covered it, barring a single episode where wardrobe gave her pigtails. In the episode, you can see tiny Chinese letters on the back of Fishel’s neck.
Fishel has two tattoos and has since said she wishes she could laser one of them off.
Rider Strong Hated Being A Teen Heartthrob
Rider Strong is Cory’s best friend on the show, the lovable bad boy Shawn Hunter. Though Rider’s role on the show quickly escalated him to teen heartthrob status, he was never comfortable with it and hated being in the spotlight.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Strong describes his fame as sort of unsettling:
Somehow it was me, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and a few other guys that were on safe shows, but our characters were relatively edgy. And while our characters weren’t doing drugs or anything provocative, we were portrayed as angsty rebellious teenagers that teen girls went crazy for. It would just be weird to go somewhere and have groups of girls scream and hyperventilate in front of you.
Rider Strong Hated His Haircut
Shawn Hunter’s haircut was almost not a thing – in fact, he hated it. If Rider Strong didn’t inadvertently walk into the audition with his new hairstyle (a suggestion of some girls at a sleepover), Shawn Hunter might have looked a little bit different.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Strong admits that he was stuck with his horrible hairstyle until the show was canceled. He told them:
I hated my hair. I came to the audition with that hairstyle, got the part, and the director Michael Jacobs never let me cut it from there on out. A bunch of girls at a sleepover told me to wear my hair like that — parted down the center — and I was 12, so I listened. It was my version of Christian Slater. But my hair is wavy and they would straighten it on the show and it would take forever. I wanted to cut my hair so bad, but the only time I got to was when we found out the show was going to be canceled.
Rider Strong And Will Freidle Had To Be Separated On Set
Normally when you’re separated on set it’s because you can’t stand each other. That couldn’t have been further from the truth for Rider Strong and Will Friedle. The pair was actually the best of friends and couldn’t stop laughing when they worked together.
This slowed down production, so writers rarely put the characters of Shawn and Eric in scenes together.
Danielle Fishel and Rider Strong Got Married On The Same Weekend – So Their Costars Had To Choose
No one likes to be forced into picking sides when it comes to friends, but Danielle Fishel (Topanga) and Rider Strong (Shawn) put their costars in this situation when they scheduled their separate weddings.
Fishel and Strong got married on the same exact weekend – and Fishel was allegedly livid when she found out he picked the same weekend and leaked the details to the press.