From 1993 to 2000, Danielle Fishel starred as Topanga Lawrence on the hit ABC sitcom Boy Meets World.
The show and its later spinoff, Girl Meets World, took Fishel from childhood to adulthood, as viewers watched Topanga and Ben Savage’s Corey Matthews progress from their first kiss in middle school to marriage and a child of their own.
But while the show is fondly remembered by elder millennials who came of age along with the characters, it seems that Fishel’s recollections of the show that made her famous are much more complicated.
Along with co-stars Rider Strong and Will Friedle, Fishel is the host of a new podcast entitled “Pod Meets World.”
On a recent episode, Fishel opened up about an incident in which she says Boy Meets World creator Michael Jacobs threatened to fire her because of her “bubbly, fast-talking [and] spunky” personality.
“Michael starts off the notes by saying, ‘Danielle I’m going to give you all of your notes all at one time at the end, and I’m going to give everyone else notes now because if I make everyone sit here through all of the notes I have for you, we would all be here for hours and no one would get to go home,’” Danielle recalls of a cast table read early in series’ run.
Fishel explains that she was just 12 years old at the time, and her nerves made it “very hard to speak slowly.”
“From that moment on, I remember my eyes welled up because I’m in front of everybody,” she continued.
“All of the producers, all of the writers, all of the cast and all eyes are on me for a second.”
Danielle says that Jacobs proceeded to compare her to the previous Topanga actress whom he had fired after being unsatisfied with her performance.
“‘All I know is if you don’t come back tomorrow doing this entirely differently, you are also not going to be here,’” she recalls, according to In Touch.
Fishel says she went home and worked on her lines with her mother, eventually learning to slow down her delivery.
The following day, she says, Jacobs effusively praised her performance and assured her that the part was hers.
“He stands up and all the writers stand up and says, ‘Let’s give Danielle a round of applause,’” Fishel recalls.
“‘You did exactly what I asked of you, thank you. Congratulations, it was wonderful.’”
So the story has a happy ending, but it’s still disturbing to know that a 12-year-old was subjected to such harsh criticism and such a high-pressure work environment.
“We’ve had enough time away from the show that we can actually honestly look back at it and have adult eyes and 2022 eyes, and see how Boy Meets World affected what ended up being the rest of our lives,” Fishel recently told Insider about the decision to launch a podcast.
Clearly, the 41-year-old, who is now a mother herself, has spent a lot of time thinking about how she and her young castmates were treated on set.
And we hope she’s received a heartfelt apology from the people who mistreated her.