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Rider Strong: Boy Meets World Was 'Naive' to Avoid Addressing Interracial Relationship

If the show were made today, it would have an episode about race, insists Strong.
  • Danielle Fishel, Ben Savage, Rider Strong, and Trina McGee in Boy Meets World (Photo: ABC/Everett Collection)
    Danielle Fishel, Ben Savage, Rider Strong, and Trina McGee in Boy Meets World (Photo: ABC/Everett Collection)

    20 years after Boy Meets World said goodbye, Rider Strong, who played Shawn Hunter on the '90s sitcom, is opening up about his character's interracial relationship with Angela (Trina McGee), and the show's decision not to address race head-on.

    "The big question that was hovered over the whole show at that point was, 'Do we address it on the show?' We used to debate it," Strong told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published Wednesday. "We used to outwardly talk about it; me, Trina, the writers of the show. Ultimately, we ended up not addressing it. We sort of went with an optimistic '90s, colorblind optimism."

    Strong recently launched a Boy Meets World rewatch podcast with co-stars Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle, and he said "it'd be great to have Trina on our podcast" to discuss the show's handling of their relationship.

    "We should probably talk about this explicitly because I wonder how she feels about it now," he said. "At the time, I think she was really proud of it. She ended up writing an op-ed in the LA Times at one point being very proud of the fact that we had an interracial relationship on the show and that she was a part of that. I think, if I remember correctly, she was supportive of the idea of not talking about it."

    However, Strong noted that if Boy Meets World was made today, the show would most likely address the issue of race.

    "We had very many issue episodes, but we never made an issue episode out of race... with Trina," said Strong. "If we were making the show now, let's address it head-on. Let's talk about it, let's have it be an issue. I think it probably would've been an issue for somebody in the circle or somebody in their life. I think at the time it felt very optimistic, [but] now I would say [it was] maybe a little naive."

    Boy Meets World is available to stream on Disney+.

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    Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.

    TOPICS: Boy Meets World, Rider Strong, Trina McGee