After seven seasons together as one of TV's most iconic couples, Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage will always be a part of each other's life. "The fact that I am 39 years old and 28 of those years I have known Ben Savage—and not just known Ben Savage, but sometimes worked, you know, been very, very, like, in his face for more days than not," she said. "It is one of those relationships that you have to ride the wave. Sometimes we are regularly in touch, sometimes we have not been so in touch. But, the one thing that has always remained constant is that whenever we see each other, it's like no time has passed." Now as adults with families, they get to experience each other in new roles.
"To see him as an uncle and to hear his stories about his nieces and nephews, he's such a good uncle. He's so good with kids," she said. "To have Adler and introduce Ben to Adler and his comments that he makes—I have a private Instagram account for our son and Ben regularly comments just adorable, funny little things on average pictures." As she sweetly summarized, "Aside from it also seeming like a marriage, for better or worse, this person is forever in my life. Good and bad, thick and thin, we are together forever."
While it's been more than two decades since Boy Meets World aired its final episode in May 2000, social media, streaming platforms and the Disney spinoff, Girl Meets World, have helped give the ABC sitcom a renewed lifespan for new generations. Of course, all those years ago, the show's future longevity was unforeseen, especially for Fishel, who was not even originally cast in the role of Topanga.
"They hired somebody else for it and then they ended up letting that person go halfway through the week and I replaced her," she recalled. "It was only supposed to be one episode, maybe two episodes, and then it became doing many more episodes than that and then I was eventually a series regular."
As she also pointed out, it was hard to gauge public reaction to the show with the lack of social media and widespread Internet usage as we know it today. "Other than getting ratings and it being a moderate success, there was no way for us to know what people really thought of it," she explained. "The fact that after it went off the air it just became more successful and resonated with so many more people and that it continues to resonate with so many people today, I never in a million years could have predicted such a thing."
While fans watched Cory, Topanga and co. through seven seasons of school and life experiences, there's one lesson from the show that Fishel holds above the rest. "I think my favorite lesson from Boy Meets World was, overall, that you don't have to be blood to be family," she shared. "I think one of the reasons that sticks out to me so much is that, as we get older and you start to pick and choose the people that you want to have in your life and certainly the people you want to have close to you in your life, and you realize that a lot of your family are people you have hand-selected, not necessarily people you were just born into knowing."
"That's one of the lessons from that show that I think is so impactful," she continued, "Especially seeing the relationship that Cory and Shawn had, which is just like the most classic bromance of all time. But, I love the idea of really being able to choose—you can choose the people you consider to be family. You don't have to share blood."
Nearly 21 years after the show's final episode aired, some filming moments still stick with Fishel today, including their season three episode filmed at Disney World, which featured her real-life friend at the time, teen heartthrob Andrew Keegan. "I really enjoyed doing the Disney World episode," she said. "It was the first time I had ever been to Disney World, so that was really fun."
With Ben Savage co-starring in Panera's "Forever Flatbreads" trailer and older brother Fred Savage directing, it was just like old times for Fishel considering Fred directed her in two episodes of Boy Meets World back in the day. "That's the only opportunity I've ever had to be directed by him," she recalled to E! News, "so knowing I was going to get to work with both brothers and doing something so fun, I was just really excited about it."
As for the siblings, their dynamic has not changed. "They work really well together. They obviously have a shorthand with each other and I think one of the things I have forgotten is that Fred called Ben 'B,' which is such a cute nickname," she shared from filming the trailer. "There were a couple of times that after we would do a take of something, Fred would go 'B! B!' and I would think, This is so cute—I can almost hear them as kids with Fred calling him 'B.' So, I thought that was adorable."
While she's now a mom to 19-month-old son Adler, Fishel hadn't thought about watching her famed TV show with her child one day. While he has seen some references to the series, like posters and a Topanga doll, that's the extent of his Boy Meets World exposure so far.
"It's funny that I've literally never imagined that I could sit down and watch Boy Meets World with him, but someday I will be able to," she said. "I don't know. I wonder if then he's going to think it's cool or if when he's in junior high or something, he's going to be like, 'Mom, no! First of all, the show is so old!'"