Another Boy Meets World riddle was recently solved in an episode of the Rewatch podcast, Pod Meets World. Trina McGee, who portrayed Angela Moore for the sitcom’s last three seasons, revealed why she wasn’t part of the series finale.
“This is an area we haven’t covered yet. I was told in a weird casual way by a very important person that you all went [showrunner] Michael Jacobs, and you said, ‘We don’t want her in the last episode. She’s kind of taking our light.’ [That] was the gist,” said McGee, who played Shawn Hunter’s (Rider Strong) girlfriend on the show. “I was told after I filmed what the show was before the last episode called ‘Angela’s Ashes’ when I left. When Michael announced to me that we were going to do another show about Angela I was so happy as I didn’t know this would be the show before the last show.
Co-hosts Strong, Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle were shocked and appalled by this claim – and felt terrible that she was told that 22 years ago.
“I remember after we taped the show I said to one person, ‘Why aren’t we on the last show?’ Because I know the last show was the one with the ratings and the crying and all that stuff. I got the impression that you all got together and didn’t want me on the last show, for some reason I’d take some shine or something,” she continued. “It hurt me a lot for a long time. To make matters worse, people of color tend to look at things a little more closely at times. So I had cousins who called me and said, ‘How come you weren’t on the last episode? They just gave you the whole show to distract you and not be on the show with the real ratings?’ Some of my cousins, my family members have told me that… I’ve honestly had that in my head for 20 years.”
Friedle was not happy about the demand. “Let’s say for the record, Trina, that never happened,” he said. “That’s not competitiveness, that’s sociology. That makes me puke. This is the next level.”
McGee kindly replied, “I believe you. I can tell from your reactions. I’ve had this in my head for so long, and I’ve never seen this show. I always felt, uh… That hurt me for a long time.”
While Fishel and McGee recalled being pitted against each other, the men said it wasn’t the same for them.
“It’s true that we weren’t pitted against each other, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say we weren’t manipulated,” Strong said. Friedle replied, “Oh no, that’s different. Constantly manipulated. But it wasn’t whispering in one ear, whispering in the other ear about something else.”
During the episode, McGee also looked back at an op-ed she wrote for the Daily News defending the fact that “Boy Meets World” didn’t address Shawn and Angela being in an interracial relationship. She shared on the podcast that her publicist and husband actually wrote the piece that was published under her byline, but that she disagreed.
“I was very confused at the time about whether or not to talk about it — I had two areas of thought: my job and humanity,” she said. “It wasn’t quite my organic point of view. Funnily enough, Lorraine Toussaint wrote a rebuttal to the Daily News that said, “No, you must acknowledge that these are two different races coming together…” If I had to do it again and I could take my real stance — with hindsight and everything – I would have written the opposite article.”
Strong also recalled speaking to McGee about the issue and also wondered why they weren’t talking about it.
Prior to the family sitcom, McGee had starred in several black-cast sitcoms, including A Different World, Martin, and Family Matters.
“Coming off black sitcoms, I always had to have a black meter like this… My black meter was probably down to 2. I remember when I was shooting the episode “Angela’s Ashes” my black meter was kind of off and I was like a 9. Michael came over to me and his note was, ‘Hey Trina, just turn the Thelma Hopkins eight notches quieter,'” she said, noting that the producer was referring to the black “Family Matters” actor. “I knew exactly what he was talking about and I knew it. … There are so many things you guys are so lucky about that you didn’t have to think about it.”
Years ago, McGee and Friedle shared an interaction they had on set that he says completely changed his life. They recounted the conversation on the podcast and noted that McGee emerged from the dressing room on set in a red headscarf.
“In my head, I didn’t attach any cultural meaning to it. I saw a person I thought was my friend but didn’t know very well wearing a big red hat. That’s all I saw,” Friedle explained. “I was like, ‘You’re part of the cast, which means I’m going to make fun of you as much as I make fun of you [of others].’ I thought, ‘I’m going to make fun of her red hat.’ As far as my stupid, privileged mind has seen. Just before moving on for my part, I walked by and said, “I love your syrup,” and continued on to the set thinking, “Boom, Zing! I only got her because of her hat.’”
After the scene, McGee told Friedle that his comment referring to her as Aunt Jemima was out of order.
“I remember saying to you, ‘I thought that was like calling me the funny green giant.’ You said, ‘No, that’s not the same at all.'” Friedle said. “Never take time as an excuse, but in the mid ’90s I had no idea the cultural significance of the character of Aunt Jemima, any of that stuff… I had never heard of that! I was ashamed.”
After she explained the offensive comment to him, he apologized and they hugged – but he was “literally shaking” afterwards. McGee recalled feeling “very small,” to which Friedle replied, “How could you not?”
“It literally changed my life,” he continued. “That moment was the moment I thought you can’t just say stuff. You can’t throw stuff out there because you find it funny and walk away. You could hurt people.”
https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/trina-mcgee-boy-meets-world-series-finale-racism-1235376236/ Trina McGee Explains Why She Wasn’t in the Boy Meets World Finale