But in the years since Boy Meets World ended and she struggled to book regular acting gigs, “I didn’t like the fact that because I didn’t have any skills, I was stuck.”Though she actually booked jobs hosting The Dish and Last Night on TV while attending college full time, she never considered abandoning school.“I was at the mercy of somebody else to just give me a job in the years after Boy Meets World ended, whereas if I had gone to college and had when a Plan B and it was something else that I loved, I could’ve walked away at any point,” she says.
” she says, eyes widening at the time between when the boy and the girl met their respective worlds. And the trajectory of child stars—particularly stars of long-running ’90s hit TV shows—during a time like that is well-trodden at this point.There’s the temptation immediately after the series concludes to burn the memory of your precocious TV doppelganger to ash, toss it in the Santa Anna winds, and pray that it floats away from Hollywood’s—and the world’s—memory so that you might be one day considered cast-able as a different character.There’s the temptation to act out, sex up, behave badly, and go wild, so that you might be seen as a grownup capable of portraying mature, complex, and adult characters.And then years later, perhaps recognizing the financial and professional opportunities embracing your pop culture past afford and the outsized popularity nostalgic entertainment has these days thanks to .“I tell you for sure I would probably never have thought to have a relationship with him had he gone up to me right away and said, ‘Hi, I’m a big fan of Boy Meets World,’ I’d have questioned his motives.”Not that Fishel has ever had any ill feelings for fans of Boy Meets World.
She’s one herself, and has always enjoyed, in the years since the show ended, watching the oldest episodes, in particular, when she’d encounter them in reruns.
And in that time, Fishel has gotten used to being inextricably tied to—and often confused for—Topanga, a phenomenon she discusses in her new memoir Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness, which was published this week.
Since 1993, Danielle Fishel has been best known—and in some circles, only known—as as the precociously odd (and now endearingly maternal) Topanga Lawrence-Matthews from the hit TGIF sitcom Boy Meets World, which ended in 2000, and, now, its Disney Channel sequel, Girl Meets World, which premiered this year.
“That’s part of the reason why it’s never surprised me or bothered me that somebody doesn’t know my real name.
What’s easier to remember, Danielle Fishel or Topanga? Topanga—and Fishel—has stuck with us these past two decades, in ways that few television characters actors, particularly ones from children’s TV shows, do.
So the fact that I was lucky enough to do that for seven years, I always looked at that as, yeah, could it frustrate me that no one wants to give me another job, or would I rather look at it and say I was lucky enough to play a character that resonated with people? Being authentic to her was really important.”Throughout our conversation, there are things that Fishel definitely wants to talk about—her fondness for Topanga clearly chief among them.