Exclusive! 'Boy Meets World's Ben Savage Spills on Going From Child Star to First-Time Director!
By Leanne Aguilera
"Life's tough, get a helmet."
Any kid, teen, tween, or adult who had a television in the '90s can tell you that the above quote is a hilarious piece of advice from the cult series Boy Meets World. For more than seven years, Mr. Feeny taught Cory, Topanga, Shawn – and an entire generation watching from home – valuable life lessons that applied to life before Y2k.
Now in this age of iPhones, Internet, and an unbreakable connection to all things social media, a new show is looking to continue the wholesome legacy that Boy Meets World left behind: Girl Meets World star Ben Savage has stepped back into his childhood role of Cory Matthews to help teach a new generation of kids. Savage is stepping behind the camera for the first time as a director to transform these lessons from the script onto the small screen.
Savage will make his directorial debut in tonight's all-new episode of Girl Meets World, and after watching it we can confirm that it will most definitely please fans, both new and old. Not only is the half-hour jam-packed with countless Boy Meets World easter eggs, it also tackles a highly relevant issue that many teens (and adults!) these days are struggling with.
So how daunting was sitting in the director's chair for the very first time? "I think the first episode for any new director is probably a little nerve wracking and a little stressful," the 33-year-old admitted to ETonline. "But I think the episode turned out really well. I’m really proud of it."
Savage, who has been acting since he was five-years-old, grew up right before our eyes as loveable goof Cory Matthews.So when Savage was approached with the opportunity to direct his first episode of Girl Meets World, it was his 28-years of experience in the industry that gave him the confidence to finally step behind the camera lens.
"I’ve worked in front of the camera for so long, and I’ve worked with so many directors since I was a kid, so it didn’t feel as overwhelming or stressful as I thought it was going to be," the star explained. "It kind of was a natural fit, directing. It just felt like something that I was very comfortable with, and I kind of had been prepping for it my whole life."
Ben's brother, The Wonder Years star Fred Savage, has also been bitten by the directing bug, and Ben was able to get some advice from his big bro before tackling his heartfelt episode. "We talked, and he gave me some pointers and we discussed the show. I've learned a lot from my brother. I've also worked with so many great directors throughout my career that I was ready for this challenge and I was ready to become the director."
So what can fans expect to see in tonight's touching episode? Remember that iconic Boy Meets World episode when Cory's existential crisis about his hair leads Topanga to hack off her hair to prove a point? Well tonight's Girl Meets World explores a similar theme.
"The episode is really dealing with the struggles of beauty, so we explore the lesson of outer beauty versus inner beauty. And I think what is so interesting about this episode is that we kind of differentiate ourselves," Savage said. "I think a lot of shows, especially those oriented towards kids, would say, 'Oh no, beauty doesn't matter at all. It’s all about what’s inside.' And while that’s true, I think that we take greater lengths to say that outer beauty matters very much as well and to deny that would be a lie."
The GMW star continued, "All anyone has to do is look at Instagram and Twitter and Facebook to see that outer beauty is valued as well. So I think the inner beauty/outer beauty struggle is something that kids these days are struggling with, and I think it is very important to us that we address the issues that kids in today’s society are dealing with."
Like its flagship series, Girl Meets World aims to weave life-lessons into their wonderfully comedic tapestry of story-telling, and this episode is certainly no exception. "This exactly is why we wanted to do this new show in the first place, so we could address the issues that young kids are dealing with today," he explained. "That’s what we did on Boy and that’s what we're doing on Girl as well."
Don’t miss Ben Savage's directorial debut in tonight's all new episode of Girl Meets World at 8:30 p.m. on Disney Channel.