Danielle Fishel, Will Friedle and Rider Strong, who starred as Topanga, Eric and Shawn, respectively, on the show, launched “Pod Meets World,” an iHeartRadio rewatch podcast, on June 27. During the first episode, “TGI-Happening,” Fishel explained why the show’s leading man isn’t part of the project.
“Ben Savage is doing his own thing. He’s doing Lifetime movies. He’s busy. We would love for him to have been a part of the show. We asked him to be a part of the show,” she explained of the actor who appeared in all 158 episodes of “Boy Meets World,” as well as all 72 episodes of the Disney Channel spinoff, “Girl Meets World.”
Fishel added that the three co-stars began discussing doing a podcast in 2018 after attending a fan convention.
“We talked about it with Ben and Ben was like, ‘I’m not sure it’s really my thing,’” she recalled, noting that after they took some meetings, they circled back with him again to make sure he didn’t want to be part of it. “He said, ‘It just really is not my thing,’ and we have respected that. It’s not his thing. That is why Ben is not here.”
The group plans to rewatch all of the show and will welcome guest stars including William Daniels, Trina McGee, Betsy Randle, William “Rusty” Russ, Maitland Ward and Matthew Lawrence.
During the introductory episode, the three hosts explained that they have very different relationships with the show. Both Fishel and Friedle watched it all when it was airing, but haven’t seen it since; Strong has only seen four or five episodes ever and is now rewatching with his 7-year-old son.
While recapping the pilot, Strong shared that he bonded with Friedle immediately upon meeting at auditions, but didn’t begin growing a true bond with Savage until a few episodes in.
“Ben was really into sports, and I was not. A lot of the first early episodes, he wanted to play basketball with the other kids,” he said. “Ben was working a lot. He was in every scene — that’s a lot for a kid! So, he would be gone. He was sort of distanced. He was very much in his own world. I remember him working and being busy, needing to learn his lines and also going to school. He was sort of, at that point, Hollywood royalty for us. His brother’s show [‘The Wonder Years’] was such a hit. He was the person who knew what we were doing more than any of us.”
He also added that “Boy Meets World” began as a family show rather than a school show, so the focus was on the Matthews family — and Strong was the best friend, not a member of the family. Of course, it developed into something much more.