Boy Meets World boss threatened to fire young Danielle Fishel

Danielle Fishel recalls Boy Meets World creator threatening to fire her when she was 12

Danielle Fish
Photo: JC Olivera (Getty Images)

Many people have warm memories of boy meets the worldincluding cast members Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong and Will Friedle, who started a review podcast (Pod meets the world) for their iconic ’90s sitcom. While they love rewatching the show, working on it apparently left emotional scars.

In a recent episode, Fishel recalls when she first got the role of Topanga – after another actor had already been cast. Within days, she was on set and had her first “marathon note session” with series creator Michael. Jacobs and the cast.

“Michael starts off the notes by saying, ‘Danielle, I’m going to give you all your notes at once, at the end and I’m going to give everyone else their notes now, because if I make everyone sit here all the notes I had for you, we’d all be here for hours and no one would ever be able to go home. So you’re just gonna wait for the end,” she shared. “From that moment on, my eyes are filled in because you know, I’m in front of everyone now – all the producers, all the writers, all the actors and all eyes are on me for a second.”

Fishel started sweating just remembering the awkward moment, remembering, “He went through every line of mine and what he wanted and what I wasn’t doing right and how badly I needed to talk. … What I know specifically was said, “All I know is, if you don’t come back tomorrow doing this a completely different way, you won’t be here either,” in reference to the girl that I had replaced.

After being overwhelmed with pressure, Fishel and her mother ran her lines late into the night for her to succeed the next day. It paid off, as she recalls Jacobs saying the next day, “Applause Danielle, you did exactly what I asked you to do. Thanks thanks. Congratulations, it was wonderful.”

“He praised me on some specific things and then he started taking notes. There were no more threats of dismissal, I had done the job and showed him that I was worthy” “It totally sets up that you’re going after this every week. You’re chasing the dragon of Michael’s approval.”

Hopefully it doesn’t ruin anyone’s childhood, but the three co-hosts were all in agreement about the unhealthy environment fostered by Jacobs’ pursuit of endorsement. Friedle reflected, “He set it up in such a way that right now when he gives you the standing ovation, it’s like the sun is shining on you. It had nothing to do with your acting. It was just to make Michael feel good.

Strong also claimed the sitcom could be a “damaging” environment, going so far as to say her performance was “not acting”, but “puppet-like”. Of Jacobs, he recalled worrying that “someone will get fired if something goes wrong or if we don’t make that person happy”.

“It didn’t allow me the creative joy of discovery, experimentation and the recognition that there is no right or wrong in art,” Strong said of the show in his outfit. The perils of child celebrity are indeed many.

[via Variety]

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