Let me tell you about this one time when I met Ben Savage.
This past February I went to LA with a friend for a couple days to see a taping of Girl Meets World. I have been in love with the original Boy Meets World since my older sister introduced it to me years and years ago. Basically my childhood consisted of Harry Potter, N*SYNC, and Boy Meets World. Eric is quite possibly my favorite TV character of all time and I absolutely adore Cory and Topanga. So naturally, I have been stoked for the new spin-off series since it was announced a few months ago, although like any true fan I know it will never be as fantastic as the original. Nevertheless, when my friend found out how to get free tickets to a taping in Los Angeles, I could barely contain my excitement. Several weeks later, we were on our way to sunny LA!!
Once in LA, we met up with some lovely friends we knew from college who have since moved to California so we had ourselves a little reunion! We arrived at the studio and stood in the line forming outside, which was an odd combination of little preteen kids who was the show’s primary audience and young adults my age who grew up with BMW looking for a continuation to this wonderful part of our childhood. We quickly made friends with an awesome guy standing behind us who had been to lots of tapings before and told us we were in the perfect spot in line to get in. He was an aspiring screenwriter who had recently moved to LA from Atlanta to pursue his dream, and he already lined up a few impressive writing jobs! He attended as many show tapings as he could to get inspiration and grow familiar with the atmosphere he was working towards. Smart kid.
Blissfully enjoying the company of our new friend and another little boy celebrating his 10th birthday with his mom, the studio people started walking down the queue to check our tickets. You see, the tickets to show tapings don’t guarantee you a seat within the studio–it allows you to stand in the first come, first served line. We weren’t worried though since our experienced friend was confident we would get in. However, the studio people gave us a warning–there was a school group coming for the show so there could be a chance we don’t get in. My heart sank. Our friend told us there are about 100-125 seats in the studio and after careful eavesdropping, we discovered the student group could be as big as 45. Quickly counting our place in line, we might need a miracle for us to get in.
They started letting the front of the line into the studio. I prayed silently as we inched our way to the front. Then they cut the line off two people in front of our group. Crap. The school group hadn’t even shown up yet, why do they get special privileges? We were there first! What felt like hours later, the bus pulled up and everyone in line started counting the kids spilling out. 45 exactly. I tried to hold on to a small inkling of hope but everyone around me started getting upset. Did the kids even know what Boy Meets World was? There were several little girls behind us in line who didn’t. WE, on the other hand, grew up with Cory and Topanga, Shawn and Angela, the Matthews and Mr. Feeney. These kids have no idea the depth of the original show, the morals it portrayed, the example it set for my generation!
As we were watching these kids go through security and walk through the studio door, they kept looking at our line with haughty expressions. They knew they were the reason we couldn’t get in and seemed to enjoy our misery. One girl even waved sarcastically as she slipped through the door. I almost lost it. What a brat.
Then a black car pulled up, one you could tell was transporting someone important. Lo and behold, ANGELA steps out of the car!!!! From the original series!!! In that moment, you could tell the true BMW fans from the reaction. My generation was frantically whispering, “Look! It’s Angela!!!”, taking subtle yet stalker-ish pictures while some of the young’uns behind us were confused at the sudden excitement. Trina McGee (her real name, though she will always look like an Angela to me) seemed to be waiting for the okay to enter the studio so while she was waiting, she came over and took pictures with us!!! If we had gotten into the studio in the first go around, we wouldn’t have met Angela!
Flustered with the unexpected excitement, we started to resign to the fact that we probably weren’t getting into the taping. It was a huge bummer, especially since we flew from Denver just for this event. Our friend told us there was an awesome bible study we could attend that night in case the taping didn’t pan out, so I tried to let go of my frustration and figure out what else we could do with the night instead.
Then it happened.
The wonderful studio people came back to our line and LET US IN!!!! They admitted the two people in front of us, our group, and the small group behind us. My inner 90s child was rejoicing and spilling out everywhere!!! We were escorted through security into the studio where the pilot of GMW was playing on the screens to prepare the audience for the storyline. Then the writers and creators of the show were introduced and told us the vision of the show. The creator told us he wanted to keep the theme of BMW alive, full of values and morals, both episodes that will make you laugh and cry your eyes out (the episode when Joshua was born and had to be in the NICU still makes me absolutely bawl). Then he introduced the cast. When Cory and Topanga walked out, I could hardly stay in my seat. I couldn’t help but think “There they are!!! They’re standing right in front of me! This is real life!!!”
For the next three hours, we laughed on cue at various scenes. Cory was definitely the star of the show and just as adorable as he was in BMW. The show as a whole was as I expected it to be–really cheesy and immature like the rest of today’s Disney Channel shows. But there were still lessons to be learned and BMW wasn’t without its cheese as well. They have to appeal to the new generation of kids in order to get them to watch the show so this may be what it takes. Besides, the first season of BMW wasn’t the best either–they eased into the awesomeness. the episode we watched was similar to the BMW episode where Cory was invited to a geek party. The new girl, Riley, actually made friends with the geeks and became their queen. Somehow, that meant she turned into an anime character of sorts because that’s how geeks dress, I guess. The very last sene was akin to the Mr. Feeney moments where we all learn an important lesson of staying true to who we are. There’s hope for the show yet. If anything, watch the episode to listen for my laugh!
After the taping, there was a scramble to the front of the audience section to meet Ben Savage (and the little girls who were the new Cory and Shawn but let’s face it, no one was as excited to meet them). Ben Savage was so nice, trying to talk to as many fans as possible and sign our random pieces of paraphernalia. Finally, right as we were about to be ushered out of the room, we squeezed our way to the front to talk to Ben (I’d like to think we’re on first name terms now). He signed our pages and even took a picture with us. I wish I could remember exactly what we said to each other, but it was such a whirlwind experience, I’m just content with knowing we spoke to Cory Matthews in person and he was the nicest person I could have imagined him to be. I’d say our trip to LA was a success!