The ‘Boy Meets World’ Cast Reunited, And Now We Know How Topanga Got Her Iconic Name
Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong, Trina McGee, Matthew Lawrence and Will Friedle got together to tell some fun, behind-the-scenes stories.
OK, you might have to sit down for this one.
Boy Meets World, arguably the star show of the late 1990s’ stacked TGIF lineup, premiered almost 30 years ago (on Sept. 24, 1993). Yes, it’s been nearly three decades since the world first met Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) and Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel) as they navigated the trials and tribulations of middle school, first loves, family issues and everything in between.
So, fittingly, five of Boy Meets World’s stars — Fishel, Strong, Trina McGee, Matthew Lawrence and Will Friedle — reunited over the weekend for ‘90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut, and they dished on what it was like growing up in the public eye and how certain things came to be on the show, like Topanga’s very memorable name.
“I think the truth is there was a woman who created the character of Topanga — she was in the writers' room — and I think she wanted the character to be a flower child,” Fishel explained during a panel at the convention. “And she picked the name Topanga because in the San Fernando Valley, where the show was filmed, there is an area called Topanga Canyon, and that canyon was kind of a known hippie hangout in the '60s and even still is a kind of flower child-y area.”
However, according to Boy Meets World creator Michael Jacobs, the name had less of a romantic origin and more of one born of necessity.
"The story that Michael Jacobs tells is that he was in the car on the freeway when the writers called and that he needed a name for this character, and he was at the Topanga Canyon offramp on the freeway," Fishel said.
"So the joke he made is that had they called him two minutes later, she could have been named De Soto," she added. "It's really funny, but I don't know that that's the true story, so there's both!"
Jacobs might not have been as concerned with such a pivotal character’s name because, at the time, she was only slotted to be on a single episode, “possibly recurring,” said Fishel.
"She wasn't supposed to be on forever," Friedle, who played the very silly-but-lovable Eric Matthews, said to Fishel. "And then you came in and killed it, and then it changed the whole show."
The Boy Meets World cast members also sat down and caught up on Good Morning America, and gave viewers a much-needed dose of warm and fuzzy nostalgia. Strong noted that the cast was always cracking each other up while filming, like when Friedle was hiding in a couch in their apartment. “We were constantly making each other laugh,” Strong said.
Fishel also revealed that she was the catalyst behind the legendary hair-cutting episode, where Topanga chops her hair in the middle of the hallway.
“It came about because I had never cut my hair since I had been 3 years old, and I was sick of just having super long hair… I wanted to cut it during our hiatus,” Fishel explained. But then Jacobs asked her to wait because he wanted to write an episode about it.
And, of course, what Boy Meets World reunion would be complete without some sage advice from Mr. Feeny? Actor William Daniels, who played the iconic teacher, made an appearance via Zoom and ended his very sweet message with a “Class dismissed.”
“Well thanks for making me cry this morning!” Fishel laughed while wiping away tears. Watch the entire GMA appearance below.