As soon as it was confirmed Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel had officially joined the cast of the “Boy Meets World” spinoff being developed for Disney Channel, fans started wondering whether Rider Strong would follow. On Nov 28. Strong weighed in on his thoughts about “Girl Meets World,” and addressed the question of Shawn appearing on the show.
Between 1993 and 2000, Strong played Cory’s best friend Shawn on “Boy Meets World” (“BMW”). He was Cory’s confidante, the yin to Cory’s yang. A darker, more brooding character than Cory, Shawn needed Cory’s level-headedness and optimism – and the stability offered by the Matthews family. But Cory needed Shawn’s loyalty and sensitivity.
So it’s only natural “BMW” fans immediately wondered whether Strong would appear on “Girl Meets World” (“GMW”). As a regular cast member, an adult Shawn might provide a similar balance for an adult Cory. Alternately, a recurring role or guest appearance on “GMW” would let fans of the original show learn how Cory and Shawn’s relationship has evolved.
“BMW” fans now have an answer, sort of, to Strong’s possible involvement with the spinoff.
Rider Strong says he has “no official involvement” with “Girl Meets World”
On Wednesday, Strong issued an official statement saying he currently has “no official involvement” with “GMW.” He did, however, leave open the possibility of an appearance on the show.
Strong, now a director, screenwriter and producer, wrote at length on The Strong Brothers Magic Show about the continuing influence of “BMW” on his life:
“‘Boy Meets World’ was a defining aspect of my life, and I cherish those seven years. It was never just a job – on a personal level, many of my best memories and friendships were formed because of it.
“So I am extremely happy for Ben and Danielle to be able to continue the story. At this point, I have no official involvement in ‘Girl Meets World.’ There might be a chance to see some of the ‘BMW’ cast in a guest spot, and I think it would be nice to find out where our characters have been all these years. But ‘Girl Meets World’ will be, and I think it should be, it’s [sic] own show. It will be about Cory and Topanga, their daughter, and a new set of characters.”
Strong’s response comes just two days after Fishel talked about “Girl Meets World.” In her Tumblr blog, Fishel mentioned Strong had been involved in conversations about the spinoff, as had other members of the cast, and its relationship to “BMW.”
In February of this year, Strong wrote about Shawn for Bullet Media, speculating about where the character would be now. In it, he also addresses how he sees Shawn, in retrospect, fitting into “BMW.” The article, well worth reading in its entirety, says in part:
“The dark truth is… Shawn has been locked in my basement for 12 years. It’s really best for both of us. I’m able to move on (well, except when people confuse me for him), and, as a fictional character, he’s much safer down there.
“Let’s be honest, more ‘Boy Meets World’ would only further ruin his life. Being The Dramatic Storyline in a 22-minute comedy series takes its toll. It was never easy for him to live a sitcom existence, where poverty can be a punch line, where alcoholic parents can be funny, where no matter how much you learn – no matter how much Mr. Feeny sets you straight – you come back the next week, making the same old mistakes. And the laugh track roars.”
Strong’s writing suggests he deeply values the years spent on “BMW,” notably the relationship he formed with the cast and members of the creative team. But while he leaves open the possibility of returning for a guest spot on “GMW,” Strong also seems okay with letting his fond memories of playing Shawn remain just that…memories.
His statements also express what Fishel did in her post, ideas which bear repeating for those of us excited to see what the present holds for our beloved TV characters.
In “Girl Meets World” the Disney Channel will try to offer another generation of viewers the kind of special relationship with its younger characters that the “Boy Meets World” viewers experienced with Cory, Topanga and Shawn (as well as Eric, Mr. Feeny and the rest of the extended “Boy Meets World” family).
“Boy Meets World” fans know, as well as anyone, that creating those relationships is a very worthy goal.
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