August Madness: And The ’90s Champion Is….
You, dear readers, have spoken.
The battle was tough. Some good men lost (I’m talking to you, Backstreet Boys and Skip Its). There were some major upsets (I loved Gel Pens just as much as the next 12-year-old, but who knew they would make it further than Monica Lewinsky?!). There were some huge surprises (Beanie Babies didn’t make it past round 1? WTF?)
But much like the 2008 presidential election, you came out in droves, and let your voice be heard week after week. And with 61% of the vote, you made it very clear that Cory and Topanga were the biggest and best thing to come from the ‘90s. (Side opinion: The mushroom cut that Sean used to rock – not really all that great.)
To say we at CC HQ were shocked is an understatement. Hell, even Cory Matthews himself was speechless.
Seriously, we asked him.
Yes, after getting all nostalgic for those days in Mr. Feeny’s classroom, I stalked Cory Ben Savage online and the next thing I knew, I was chatting it up with him like we were long lost besties. He was genuine, funny and he busted out into song FOUR times (everything from Offspring to classic ‘90s Mariah). We talked about reality TV (he loves the Real Housewives – especially Atlanta), we talked Cory and Topanga and, obvi, we talked CollegeCandy’s favorite topic: the ‘90s.
And, honestly, I’m not sure where Ben Savage was for that entire decade. Maybe he was too busy kissing Topanga and being a star of TGIF to know what was really going on, but the kid didn’t even know what a Tamagotchi was (gasp!). Never had Pogs. Never played with Devil Sticks. It’s safe to assume he never experienced the pleasure of Dunkaroos or Squeeze Its, playing the game LIFE or tossing around a hacky sack. Poor kid.
But either way, it’s been years since we’ve gotten to spend some QT with the guy we grew up with every Friday night. The one who was always there and never seemed to care that you were awkward or had terrible poofy bangs or were REALLY, and I mean REALLY, bad at doing the Macarena. So just for you, dear readers, here’s what you’ve been waiting for; our interview with the one and only Ben Savage:
CC: What are you doing these days you know, now that you’re not on TGIF anymore?
Ben: I’m still acting. I’ve basically been focusing on doing independent films. I really like independent films because there’s a lot more creative control and a lot more creative independence. I really enjoy it. As far as the TV show stuff is going, I’m actually developing my own shows so I’ve been writing a lot and producing and I’m kind of working on developing shows that kind of take off from the Boy Meets World model. I look at TV today and I don’t see a lot of shows like a Friends or a Boy Meets World available for people in their twenties and thirties. And basically that’s where my interests are now – in creating some sort of show that fits that mold.
CC: I feel like with Boy Meets World or Friends you (as the viewer) feel like you actually know those characters on some level and I think the reason why our readers kept voting for Cory and Topanga in our ‘90s bracket is because they feel like they grew up with them. Those characters were a part of our lives for a significant number of years.
Ben: Right. And that’s another thing. Whether it’s our generation with Boy Meets World or Friends or whatever- on a sitcom-based show you kind of grow with the characters, and you watch their relationships play out, and you watch their drama and their love lives and you can really kind of bond with these characters. Unfortunately in reality shows you don’t really bond with the characters the same way. You know, with the kids from American Idol, with a few exceptions, you don’t really hear that much from them once they’ve won the show. And ideally I’d like to create a show that people could sink their teeth into and grow with.
CC: What do you think it was about Cory or Boy Meets World that made it such an integral part of the ‘90s?
Ben: I never really saw myself as an integral part of the ‘90s because I was a teenager too. But without sounding too cheesy I will say that I think it was two fun lovable characters and I think it was a fun relationship to watch flourish and develop. I think it gave people something to follow and be interested in and get excited about. They were relateable characters. I always saw Cory as the neurotic, funny kid that you know, and I feel like everyone has a friend like that.
CC: Okay, so where do you think Cory would be these days?
Ben: I think he’s living happily married with one baby and probably another on the way. Wherever he is out there I hope he’s doing well.
CC: Were you surprised to find that Cory and Topanga made it down to the final two?
Ben: Surprised is the understatement of the century. Flattered and floored is more like it.
CC: So we here at CollegeCandy love the ‘90s. Actually, love might not be a strong enough word to describe our feelings. What was your favorite ’90s toy that you had to have?
Ben: I guess I was obsessed with Nintendo 64. I was a teenager. I don’t even know what a Tamagotchi or yamagoochi or…I don’t even know what that is.
CC: Wait! Back it up! You don’t know what a Tamagotchi is!?
Ben: No! I was working! What is it?
CC: That is unacceptable! You were clearly a deprived teen. They should have those on set for you. It was a virtual pet that you have to feed and empty its poop. And the poop looked like Hershey Kisses. It was total awesomeness and I feel really bad that you didn’t have one.
Ben: I feel bad, too. But I had other wonderful benefits so I can’t complain.
CC: What was your favorite movie of the ‘90s?
Ben: Oh God, I loved every movie from the ‘90s. Would it be too lame to say She’s All That with Rachel Leigh Cook? Honestly, my favorite movie of the ‘90s, because I was fifteen, was probably Braveheart. I was obsessed with Braveheart. I loved the soundtrack. It made me want to go to Scotland and become a warrior. But it faded after a while…after months of therapy, it faded.
CC: Was there a clothing trend from the ‘90s you were obsessed with having?
Ben: I just remember Diesel jeans became really big in the 90s. Diesel jeans and New Balance tennis shoes. That was my thing.
(Writers Note: Ben Savage never rocked JNCOS (or knew what they were), thank god.)
CC: What about a ‘90s event?
Ben: I’d say the biggest let down for me was something really, really ridiculously crazy happening when it turned from 1999 to 2000 and nothing really crazy happened. Do you remember the Y2K scare? It was a bit of a let down all around.
CC: Yes! It was 12:01 and nothing happened and everyone was like ‘well that’s lame.’ Okay, last ‘90s question – who was your favorite band or music group?
Ben: Weezer. Without a doubt. Or Offspring. I really liked Offspring, too. (Busts into song.)
CC: In the battle of the ‘90s geeks, who do you think would win: Urkel or Minkus?
Ben: I’m going to say Urkel because I remember when he…I don’t know. I’m just going to say Urkel. There’s no way I can get out of this without sounding like a jerk. Wait, let me say this as an addendum to Urkel; remember when Urkel made the transition from Urkel to Stephan? Well I think Stephan would beat Minkus. Easily.
CC: Do you keep in touch with anyone from the Boy Meets World cast?
Ben: I do. We talk a lot, but it’s kind of like when you grow up with anyone, everyone kind of goes their own separate ways. But I do still keep in touch and everyone’s doing well and doing their own thing.
CC: What are the chances that there will ever be a Boy Meets World reunion episode?
CC: Tear. Any favorite memories from playing Cory Matthews?
Ben: No favorite memories…they were all great. But I do remember that they always had amazing food on our set!
CC: Okay, so level with me. Girls probably approach you all the time when they’re wasted and are all like “OMG you’re Cory Matthews!” Does that get old, or do you just thank God for handing you the easiest way to get laid on a silver platter?
Ben: (Laughs— perhaps a bit nervously) I was never cool enough to get girls to sleep with me just based on that. I’d say it’s certainly a nice benefit, but most girls need a little bit more convincing to go to bed with me than just that.
CC: What was your favorite TV show growing up?
Ben: Friends, Seinfeld, and Saved by the Bell.
CC: And your favorite show now?
Ben: Real Housewives ANYTHING.
CC: Quality choice. Okay, so where did you go to college?
CC: Looking back on your college years, is there advice that you’d give to college students now?
Ben: Well I think for me, personally, college was my one time to be kind of a normal kid because I’d been working my whole life. When I got to college, that was kind of my four years just for me and so I really jumped headfirst into the whole college scene. I joined a fraternity, I was partying every night, I was obsessed with all the different classes you could take and studying and I went to every football game and [did] every activity that you could possibly do. I was, like, Mr. College for a while. And I do still cry every day that it’s over. I was exhausted because every day I had thirty-five activities to do but I had the time of my life. My advice for kids in college would be for them to just really, really cherish those four years because you’ll never get them back. And they’re not your whole life, but they’re definitely a very special time and you should do all you can to make the most of them- and have a blast.
CC: Drink of choice?
Ben: Daytime: Diet Coke or Snapple Peach Tea. Nighttime: Vodka Soda, Amstel Light.
CC: 5 things you can’t live without?
Ben: Frozen Yogurt, Blackberry, terrific friends, Florence + The Machine albums, and sushi.
CC: Do you have a real life Topanga?
Ben: A hot, intelligent, and devoted wife? Nope, haven’t met my own Topanga yet.
CC: And last but not least… Do you have an ‘awards acceptance speech’ you want to give or anything you want to say to our readers who voted you as the BEST thing to come from the ‘90s? Sadly we don’t have a gold plated trophy to give you, but perhaps we can make you a paper-plate award.
Ben: Thank you, thank you, thank you for voting Cory/Topanga as the best thing to come from the ‘90s. You all had a lot of great things to choose from and I’m flattered that you selected us! However I don’t blame those of you who voted for the Spice Girls….they were pretty damn good! Spice Up Your Life was a pretty damn good song.
(Writers note: I can confirm that Ben Savage STILL jams to Spice Up Your Life. If this were Facebook, I would click the Like button)
And, for all you Cory and Topanga fans out there, just a little taste of what made them so lovable (provided by a serious crazy person superfan.)