If only all family reunions could be this much fun.
The ATX Television Festival kicked off its second year celebrating all things TV with a flashback to the '90s on Friday. Fans lined up to pack the State Theatre for the festival’s highlight, the reunion of the classic ABC series Boy Meets World.
It’s seems like ages since the sitcom signed off the air of ABC in 2000, but show creator Michael Jacobs and the visiting cast members gave entertaining stories of their time behind the scenes as if it were only yesterday.
Before the panel, ATX Fest screened the series finale, reminding the audience of their last memory of Cory Matthews and friends packing up and heading to New York to finally meet the world. The farewells of the cast were still emotional punches to the gut. The tearful goodbyes of Cory, Topanga, Shawn and Eric to the sage Mr. Feeny resonate today because the actors grew up on screen together.
When the gang came out for the panel, Michael Jacobs was first asked about why the show still holds an important place in the hearts of fans. For him, it was simply because “we never talked down you” and the themes of the show helped to connect with fans, primarily the overriding theme of the “importance of friendship.”
Jacobs noted how the series really took off when Topanga, played by Danielle Fishel, was introduced and provided a complete friendship triangle for Cory and Shawn, played by Ben Savage and Rider Strong, respectively.
Unfortunately, Fishel was unable to make it to the reunion, but was still able to send a pre-recorded message and short Q&A in which she sent her love to Jacobs, her pretend husband Savage, and the rest of the cast and fans.
The other two cast members who were unable to attend were still mentioned often and lovingly by the rest of the cast and Jacobs. Jacobs talked about how William Daniels, who played the stern but supportive Mr. Feeny, had to fit in with this large cast of kids in the early seasons, who all happened to assume that he was British since he could talk properly.
The cast also gushed about the growth of the comedic talents of Will Friedle, who played the role of Cory’s goofy older brother, Eric. Everyone seemed to agree that as the series progressed, they could always count on Friedle to be the wildcard and catch them off guard with another crazy way to deliver a line.
When discussing the finale, it was described as difficult for everyone, especially since many of the actors literally grew up with each other. All were emotionally wrecked after the final scene with Feeny, and Rider Strong admitted to keeping the jacket that he wore in that final scene.
“But it got stolen,” he said, speculating that some hipster is probably running around New York wearing Disney property.
Towards the end of the panel, Jacobs was asked why he thinks now is the right time for the return of Cory and Topanga in Girl Meets World, which was only announced after everyone agreed to visit Austin for the reunion.
Jacobs responded by addressing both the audience and Savage. “It’s a different world than what you met.” The challenges of growing up for the daughter of Cory and Topanga will be pretty different than what this cast went through. Jacobs is eager tackle this new territory, since he is convinced that Boy Meets World could have gone on for more seasons if ABC hadn’t canceled the entire TGIF block all at once.
When CultureMap interviewed the ATX Festival founders, they noted how they would only want to reunite a cast that would actually want to be reunited. After Friday at the State Theatre, it seems that the Boy Meets World cast is just as strong of a family as ever.