When Trina McGee was cast in Boy Meets World for its fifth season, she was joining a show that already had a core group of characters fans had been watching since they were preteens. But, McGee's character, Angela, fit right in as Shawn's (Rider Strong) on-and-off girlfriend and Topanga's (Danielle Fishel) friend once the group got to college.
Recently, McGee reunited with Strong, Fishel, and fellow co-star Will Friedle, who played Eric, on their Boy Meets World rewatch podcast, Pod Meets World. And she revealed something that left her co-stars shocked. According to McGee, someone working on the show told her that she was not written into the series finale because her fellow actors didn't want her there. Now, over 20 years later, they've all gotten to share their sides of the story. Read on to find out what McGee and her former castmates had to say.
McGee was on the show for three seasons.
McGee joined Boy Meets World in Season 5 and became a series regular for Seasons 6 and 7, the final two of the show. She is credited on 59 episodes that aired between 1997 and 2000.
McGee did not appear in the series finale, "Brave New World," and instead, her final episode was the penultimate one, "Angela's Ashes," during which her character leaves Shawn behind to move to Europe to spend time with her father.
McGee says she was told her co-stars didn't want her in the finale.
During her appearance on Pod Meets World, McGee said that a "very important person" working on the show told her that she was not written into the finale, because the other stars of the show didn't want her included.
"This is some ground we have not covered," McGee said (via Variety). "I was told, in kind of a weird, off-handed way by a very important person, that you guys all went to [showrunner] Michael Jacobs, and you said, 'We don't want her in the last episode. She's somehow taking our light.' [That] was the gist of it … I was told that after I shot what was the show before the last episode, [which] was called 'Angela's Ashes' when I left. When Michael announced to me, 'We're going to do another show on Angela,' I was so happy … not knowing this was going to be the show before the last show."
She added that she knew the last episode was "going to be the one with the ratings and the crying and all the stuff" but that she was under the impression that none of the other actors wanted her there for it. "That was really hurtful to me for a long time," McGee confessed.
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Her family was concerned.
McGee explained that people close to her reached out and theorized that she had been strategically given an episode to focus on her character—so that she wouldn't make a fuss about being cut out of the finale.
"To make it worse, people of color tend to look into things a little harder sometimes," the now-53-year-old star explained. "So I had cousins calling me, saying, 'How come you weren't in the last episode? They just gave you that whole [episode] so that you'd be distracted and wouldn't be in the [episode] with the real ratings?' Several of my cousins, my family members were telling me this … I have honestly had that in my head for 20 years."
She said she also wondered why Maitland Ward, who played Rachel, was in the last episode, since she had also joined the show later into the its run.
Her co-stars denied the story McGee was told.
Fishel, Friedle, and Strong were surprised by the account McGee gave on the podcast, and explained that they never told anyone they didn't want her to be in the finale.
"Can we say for the record, Trina, that never happened," Friedle said. "Did not happen," Fishel added. They then said they'd "swear on everything … swear on my children."
McGee said, "I believe you. I can tell by your reactions. I have had that in my head for so long, and I've never watched that show [the finale]. I've always felt like, ugh … That hurt me a long time."
"That's not competitiveness, that's sociopathy," Friedle added. "This pisses me off. This is next-level crazy."
McGee has spoken out before about facing racism on the show.
As reported by BuzzFeed, in a series of tweets in 2020, McGee posted about not being accepted by three of the stars of Boy Meets World. She claimed that she was on the receiving end of racist comments but pointed out that Strong was not one of the actors she was talking about.
"Called aunt Jemima on set during hair and make up. Called a bitter [expletive] when I quietly waited for my scene to finish rehearsing that was being [expletive] up over and over due to episode featuring my character. Told 'it was nice of you to join us' like a stranger after 60 episodes," read one tweet. She wrote in another, "Said happy hellos to be greeted with blank cold stares. Dissed for believing in God in front of extras. [Expletive] was real. All truth. stayed nice. Not mad. Just feeling free to comment on 20 plus years of disrespectful behavior"
She's since made up with at least two of those co-stars.
McGee later shared that Friedle was the one who made the Aunt Jemima comment and that he apologized to her at the time, as well as in a "three-page letter" more recently. She made it clear that they had moved on. Fishel admitted that the "blank cold stares" comment was about her and that it happened when McGee guest-starred on the Girl Meets World spinoff years later.
As they both explained on the new podcast episode, they felt they were pitted against each other on Boy Meets World, so it's no surprise that they wouldn't have had the warmest feelings about each other.
"You made me a better person, Trina, all the way through," Friedle said on the podcast. "I like trusting you guys," McGee said. "It feels really good."