Fishel, 41, starred as Topanga Lawerence on the hit sitcom from 1993 to 2000, but while looking back at her first ever rehearsal for the ABC series during a July episode of “Pod Meets World” with former costars Will Friedle and Rider Strong, she recalled how series creator Michael Jacobs almost gave her the boot.
“Michael starts off the notes by saying, ‘Danielle, I’m going to give you your notes all at one time, at the end and I’m going to give everyone else their notes now,’” the Girl Meets World alum said. “’Because if I made everyone sit here through all of the notes I had for you, we would all be here for hours and no one would ever get to go home. So you’re just going to wait for the end.’”
She continued, “From that moment on I remember my eyes welled up because I’m in front of everybody. All of the producers all of the writers all of the cast and all eyes are on me for a second.”
The Arizona native went on to explain that she was a very “bubbly, fast-talking [and] spunky,” child who found it “very hard to speak slowly,” which seemingly annoyed the showrunner, 67. Fishel, who had already replaced another actress in the role, was then sat at a table with her mother at the end of the rehearsal and told, “If you don’t come back tomorrow doing this entirely differently, you are also not going to be here.”
The Dish host claimed that the following day she returned to work having made the adjustments and received a “round of applause” from the cast and crew after Jacobs praised her for doing “exactly what I asked of you.”
Friedle, 45, revealed that Jacobs’ treatment of the PopSugar reporter was a norm on the Boy Meets World set. “[Jacobs] set it up in such a way that 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, make Michael feel good,” the Kim Possible alum explained.
“There were no more threats of being fired, I had done the work and I had shown him that I was worthy,” Fishel agreed. “It totally sets up that you go after that every week. You’re chasing the dragon of Michael approval.”
David Trainor — a director of the show and a guest on the podcast at the time — called the New Jersey native’s behavior towards Fishel “hateful,” before adding, “I don’t want to be associated with anything that guy is associated with. This is just not how you do things. I’m glad it became a hit, but this is disgusting.”
Despite her clash with the writer, Fishel continued with the show for all seven seasons, even reprising her role in the 2014 spinoff series, Girl Meets World on Disney Channel.