Welcome to Teen Beat, a new column here at Movies.com that catches you up with the teen heartthrobs of the "Teen Beat" years and lets you know what they've been up to since then, and where you can find them right now.
A quick survey of my female twenty-something friends yielded one name as the source of much tweenage sexual frustration: Shawn Hunter.
From 1993 until 2000, Shawn Hunter was the aspiring-Judd-Nelson bad boy on TV’s Boy Meets World. He was played by a heartthrobbin’ young teen idol too-appropriately named Rider Strong.
Rider Strong made sure an entire generation of women who grew up in the ‘90s only wanted to date “bad boys” in plaid button-down shirts and metal necklaces.
It was the height of the magazine Teen Beat’s popularity and Strong’s face was no stranger to its loud, colorful cover: “Rider Strong Tells Us His Dream Date!” “Who is Rider Strong’s Dream Girl?” “What Does Rider Strong Dream About?” Sooo dreamy.
Strong’s Shawn was troubled, yet good-hearted; sarcastic and brooding; deep and sexy. Plus, look at his hair! It was so artfully shaggy that it had magical wind-swept powers. It cured lepers. It turned water into wine. It brought out his bright blue eyes.
Topanga, girl, were you blind?
So where is Strong now? Let’s make Mr. Feeny proud and do our homework.
Questions You Might Have About Rider Strong Today
Did Rider Strong act after Boy Meets World?
Yes. One of this very first studio films separating him from the BMW franchise was 2002’s Cabin Fever. Cabin Fever is an Eli Roth horror movie about five college grads who go into the woods and contract a flesh-eating virus. Is Rider Strong shirtless in it? Yep. Is it terrible? Yep. Was there a sequel? You bet your diseased butt there was!
According to IMDB, he next did more TV, some theater, a few short films and popped up for a cameo in Cabin Fever 2: Live Free or Cabin Fever. (JK, it was called Snakes in a Cabin. JK, it wasn’t.)
Is Rider Strong still working in Hollywood?
Yes. In 2008, he wrote, directed and co-starred in a family drama called Irish Twins with his brother, Shiloh. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Irish Twins Trailer from The Strong Brothers on Vimeo.
But unfortunately, the horror genre sucked him back in. In 2010, he starred in a thriller called Darkening Sky, about alien abductions in which he broods and has long hair. (Now we’re getting somewhere.) Next, he was in The Penthouse, a cheesy sex comedy with Kaley Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory and the singer Mya. The cover of the DVD is so Photoshopped it looks like the actors are made out of cardboard.
In 2011, Strong and his brother wrote and directed the short film The Dungeon Master about a group of young adults who relive their youth by playing Dungeons & Dragons. It also screened at Tribeca, and will show at this year's Fantastic Fest later this month.
A movie about playing D&D?! Is Rider Strong ANYTHING like Shawn Hunter?! Answer: No, because...
Did Rider Strong graduate from college?
Sure did. He’s a total smarty-pants!
Rider Strong graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University in 2004. This is what happens to actors who don’t fall asleep during their classes, James Franco! They graduate with honors! Then, they get their Masters in Fine Arts from Vermont’s artsy-fartsy Bennington College. That is some decidedly un-Shawn Hunter stuff.
Aside: In my mind, Shawn Hunter started writing punk songs for a very popular band in New York City where he, Cory and Topanga got three-way married in the year 2035, as soon as it was made legal.
Does Rider Strong get involved in politics?
He does. In 2008, Strong co-created and starred in the first-ever political ad to run on Comedy Central. It was in support of Barack Obama. Whew. He was also the voice for the audiobook The Obama Revolution by Alan Kennedy-Shaffer.
We probably should have seen this coming since Shawn Hunter was the first character on Boy Meets World to be in an interracial relationship. So progressive!
Is Rider Strong on Twitter?
He is. His Twitter is listed as @onthestorm. He’s got over 22,000 Twitter followers, but no little blue Verification check mark. Could be Ben Savage or Will Friedle pretending to be Rider Strong! Proceed with caution.
Did Rider Strong somehow remain a teenager forever through the powers of TGIF programming and 90s child stardom?
Nope. Rider Strong is 31-years-old now. In 2008, he played a teacher in a movie called Spy School. Shawn Hunter is old enough to have played a teacher!
Wait, stop, put the bottle of vodka down. You’re not too old. Oh my god, you can still go to Paris and see the Mona Lisa. You can still open that cupcake shop. You have plenty of life left to live. You’ll even find love one day ...
Is Rider Strong single?
...But not with Rider Strong, because he’s got a long-time girlfriend who looks like this.
You know what? Maybe pick that vodka bottle back up. In a few hours, you’ll buy all the Rider Strong Teen Beat posters eBay has to offer and maybe even Cabin Fever on Blu-Ray.
So worth it.
Is Rider Strong still hot?
He is! His hair is shorter and sometimes he has a questionable goatee, but the eyes are still piercing. He's like a more mature Shawn Hunter now. He's like ... well, Mr. Turner, I guess.
Gaby, do you know someone who was in Cabin Fever 2?
I do! My friend Caitlin Coons plays a pregnant teenager in it. She dies in the bathroom during prom. She has no scenes with Rider Strong. It was the first thing I asked when I found out she was in it.
Gaby, what's your dream role for Rider Strong?
Oh, well, since you asked: I'd love to see him play a less serious character than we're used to. Some of his best moments on Boy Meets World were actually comedic. The guy's got timing. Maybe he could let loose in some kind of well-done romantic comedy like Love Actually or Crazy, Stupid, Love. For god's sake, would it kill Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling to sit one out?
Has Rider Strong read this yet?
Yes, he has. He said the following on Twitter: "Ha. Pretty accurate actually. Except I haven't had a goatee since 1999."