Rider Strong Recounts Boy Meets World's Journey From 'OK' Ratings to Enduring Cult Hit
But series star Rider Strong doesn’t actually remember it that way at all — at least not during the former TGIF staple’s early years.
“At the time, it was actually a little frustrating for us as a show because we would get good ratings, but we weren’t a hit the way that, say, Sabrina the Teenage Witch — which followed us — was,” the actor shared with TVLine at the Austin-based ATX Festival earlier this month. “Sabrina had better numbers than we did; Boy Meets World was always just ‘OK.’ … There was almost this [behind-the-scenes] sense that no one was really watching our show.”
That all changed, recalled Strong, about halfway through its seven-season run, when “we just started making this show for ourselves in a way. We started doing meta jokes and things that would make us laugh, and I really think it paid off. Doing that built us a little bit of a cult following that’s [now] lasted all this time.”
Referring to BMW‘s recent mainstream resurgence, the actor mused: “I’d like to [believe] we have maintained a fanbase more so than a lot of other ’90s shows because of that” — well, that and the fact that “everyone who was 12-19 at the time [the series was on the air] is now 25-35, and that‘s who controls culture today.”
“I actually never watched the show when it was on the air,” he revealed. “It’s probably because I had my awkward teenage phase when it was on television. I did watch the second season with my family — I was around 14 years old — and when you’re at that age, you hate the way you look and talk, so I hated watching it.”
Come to think of it, he added with a nostalgic laugh, “To this day if I watched Boy Meets World, I think I would still cringe.”Follow @MegMasters