Boy Meets World’s Rider Strong Says He Was Deeply Unhappy About Cory And Topanga's Sex Storyline: 'That Was Incredibly Irresponsible'

You may be wondering what the cast of Boy Meets World is up to now. Well, series tars Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong, and Will Friedle began their own rewatch podcast for the show. Pod Meets World began in June of 2022, and the show's premise is simple enough. The three cohosts watch episodes of their long-running 1990s sitcom while sharing memories from their time on set as well as never before heard behind-the-scenes anecdotes. The group gets quite candid about their experiences on the show and, during one particular episode, Strong got honest about why he thought Cory and Topanga's sex storyline was "incredibly irresponsible."

In a recent episode of the podcast, Rider Strong, famous for playing series bad boy Shawn Hunter, recalled a particular installment that made him feel very uncomfortable and upset with the adults on set. The episode in question is the 22nd of season 5, titled "Prom-ises, Prom-ises." The episode is one of three that Disney banned from airing in syndication based on content. The story centers around whether Danielle Fishel's character, Topanga, and star Ben Savage's character Cory will have sex for the first time. Strong revealed his displeasure with the show stemmed mainly from its unwillingness to discuss safe sex. The Boy Meets World alum said: 

I remember really not liking the prom episode while we were taping it. I remember being very upset during that entire week. I was very upset with the adults on our set, the way that they were approaching this, specifically because we were not discussing safe sex. The fact that we would not bring up Cory and Topanga using condoms or having a discussion about birth control at all, and yet the entire episode was about whether 'will they' or 'will they not.'

The star went on to say that he was so upset with the storyline that he voiced his concerns with the show's creator and executive producer, Michael Jacobs. The actor explained that after he made his case, the producer didn't give the type of response that he was hoping for. Rider Strong continued:

I just remember being so upset, and I brought it up. I remember talking to [series creator] Michael [Jacobs] about it, saying, 'Can we talk about this?' Maybe you, generationally, don't understand that, but we were growing up in the era of AIDS, this is something that we have to talk about. When you are discussing losing your virginity, you discuss how you're going to do it and how to be safe about it. And he completely blew me off and told me it was a ridiculous thing to worry about and that we don't even need to discuss it. And I felt at the time that that was incredibly irresponsible.

Danielle Fishel echoed her fellow cast member's memories of discomfort. Though she couldn't remember a specific incident, she did recall feeling uncomfortable for "similar reasons." The Shawn Hunter actor went on to discuss how only a few short episodes later, during a note session, the creator's apparent hypocrisy further upset him:

And then I remember, like three episodes later, we were doing an episode where we make a joke about sharing razors, where Cory and Topanga talk about sharing razors in college. And I remember during a note session Michael Jacobs saying, 'You know, I recently read that hepatitis can spread through razors. Are we being irresponsible?' And I just remember being so pissed. I was like, 'Oh, now we're going to talk about hepatitis.' But for whatever reason, the notion of discussing safe sex was off the table, even though the entire episode was about having sex.

Though the former cast members and podcast hosts have been open about the difficulties they faced working on the sitcom, it hasn't stopped them from praising the show for the subjects it did handle, nor prevented them from maintaining a relationship with the series and its creator. Will Friedle recently spoke about how "unbelievable" it Is the TGIF series still resonates with fans. Friedle, Fishel, and Rider Strong all returned for the sequel series Girl Meets World. Though the sequel show was canceled by Disney Channel after its third season, it was popular with viewers, and the actors seemed to have had a decent time reuniting with the former cast and crew. 

While episodes like "Prom-ises, Prom-ises" were banned by Disney from re-airing on television in syndication, they have been restored in their proper order. It's possible that contemporary audiences are watching those installments and forming their own opinions about what was and wasn't handled sufficiently.

The banned episodes of Boy Meets World, along with the entire series and sequel spinoff, are available to stream with a Disney+ subscription. For all your small-screen news and upcoming premieres, check out CinemaBlend's 2022 TV schedule to see what is coming soon. 

Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing.