Your Favorite 'Boy Meets World' Actor Was On 'Veronica Mars' In A Role That Presents A Dark Alternate Reality
You know, it may seem insane to think that Boy Meets World and Veronica Mars' worlds could merge, since, looking back, the shows appear to be entire generations apart. Not to mention they have huge tonal differences. That's why Shawn Hunter AKA Rider Strong's appearance on Veronica Mars acts as a quite frankly terrifying link between the ABC family sitcom and CW neo-noir. You may have blocked it out of your memory for fear of watching the BMW bestie behave so abhorrently, but look again: Strong made a substantial cameo in the show, and it makes us wonder about a dark alternate universe where Shawn went off the deep-end.
To backpedal, Strong's actual appearance in the Season 3 episode, "My Big Fat Greek Rush" as part of a Wallace-Logan subplot (Veronica is busy doing an exposé on Theta Beta, as one does). The unlikely duo are assigned opposing roles in a mock Stanford Prison study, Wallace as a guard and Logan as a prisoner. Strong falls on the guard side, and pretty immediately dives into the role of the group leader slash sadist, berating 1/3rd of the freaks from Freaks & Geeks and the other inmates. "The Pina Colada Song" blasts like the soundtrack to hell, and, suffice it to say, there will be no group hugs on this show.
What's especially daunting about this is trying to bridge where Boy Meets World ended and Veronica Mars falls into that. As a technicality, the former ended in 2000 with Topanga and Cory heading to New York, and Shawn and Eric tagging along. This Veronica Mars episode aired in 2006 (see, generations apart), so Shawn would've been in his deep 20s and out of school unless he was getting his masters. Barring that technicality, there's a dark world you can conjure up for Shawn here.
What if, instead of tailing behind the happy couple, Shawn was left behind? What if he ended up finding his way to California, transferring to Hearst? He retreated into the happy fantasy that he would never separate from his best buds, all the while creating a crazed, cruel persona that we see raising havoc on the Hearst College "prisoners." When we see him dropping the act to Wallace, it's just his split personalities at work.
OK, maybe that seems a little convoluted, even for Veronica Mars. I'm sure that girl could've uncovered the truth if she wasn't busy uncovering that whole pot-growing scheme (what a buzzkill).
Ultimately, this doesn't 110 percent sell because Strong's character is going by "Rafe" although, again, my theory makes him insane, and he's really playing a role-within-a-role here, so who knows? That, and Shawn definitely shows up relatively sane in Girl Meets World, and hearsay is he stayed near the fam until Riley was born. But, hey, it's cool to imagine the BMW getting the VM treatment... and, hey, given the bizarro murder episode on the former show, we can't completely dismiss the possibility of a darkened Boy Meets Veronica Mars universe with a evil alterna-Shawn.