Why Boy Meets World Connected With Fans So Much, According To Rider Strong

Boy Meets World Rider Strong

TV shows come and go, but only a few ever receive the opportunity to become as memorable as TGIF regular Boy Meets World. The sitcom became legendary during its run from 1993 to 2000, and it has carved out a special place for itself in the hearts of millions. According to star Rider Strong, that fan connection was secured by the traditionally comedic show's willingness to also get dark and mature -- which is something that the recently canceled Girl Meets World didn't do quite as often. The Boy (and Girl) Meets World actor said this about those differences and creator Michael Jacobs' possible intentions.

I don't think as dramatic as Boy, mostly because we are on the Disney Channel and they won't allow it. I think if he had had his way, Girl Meets World would have swung just as extreme. And I think that sometimes it misses and other times when it hits it really touches people. I think many people remember Boy Meets World episodes.

Rider Strong recently made an appearance on Kevin Pollack's Chat Show and highlighted the fundamental reason why Boy Meets World (and Girl Meets World to a lesser extent) was able to resonate with fans. The willingness to embrace somber material (while jarring for some members of the audience) simply worked for many of the younger viewers.

By Strong's estimation, creator Michael Jacobs was able to craft compelling comedies that would suddenly make abrupt tonal shifts and take audiences completely off-guard, and these gambles often paid off in this world. However, Disney would not allow that gamble quite as often on Girl Meets World, so the spinoff had far fewer opportunities to take such risks.

Strong went on to point out a very specific episode of Boy Meets World as an example of this phenomenon:

Everyone will know the infamous cult episode of Boy Meets World. It's a classic. My character joins a cult because of a girl, then goes psychotic, becomes completely brainwashed, then my teacher gets in a motorcycle accident and I leave the cult and discover God all in the course of 22 minutes. We did a lot of Very Special Episodes. But that episode ends with me literally over a bedside with somebody in a coma, giving a two-minute monologue. It's super intense, probably more intense than anything Girl Meets World ever did. For some reason on TGIF, we would just do these episodes that were full-on dramas and nobody seemed to notice.

That cult episode (aptly titled "Cult Fiction") has become one of Boy Meets World's more memorable episodes in the years since the show came to an end. That willingness to go to such dark places made Boy Meets World stand out among the young adult-aimed competition, and it has become one of the primary reasons why the show's multi-generational legacy continues to this day.

"Cult Fiction" is just one example, but plenty of other iconic TV sitcoms from the 1990s have become equally beloved for going into dark territory as well. From Saved By The Bell's episode about Jesse Spano's caffeine pill addiction in 1990, to "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse" on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1994, the decade was defined by younger-skewing comedies showing their mature sides and broaching serious topics. That's something that we don't often see in quite the same way anymore.

CinemaBlend will bring you all of the latest and greatest television news as more information becomes available to us, and you can head to the next page to see the Boy Meets World scene that Rider Strong was referring to. And then, make sure to check out our comprehensive midseason premiere guide for more details regarding all of the most highly anticipated spring television debuts!

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.