When Danielle Fishel took a break during hair and makeup prep for a PEOPLE photo shoot to get a snack, Ben Savage stopped in the middle of his interview and stared.
“Well, don’t you just look beautiful,” he teased his longtime friend, whose hair was in curlers.
“Thanks! I think I’ll keep it like this all day,” Fishel, 33, responded sarcastically, patting her locks with a smile.
“If I didn’t talk to Danielle for a year, we’d pick up right where we left off,” says Savage, 33. “You spend so much time growing up with someone, there’s a level of comfort.”
It’s been years since the pair costarred as Cory and Topanga on ABC’s beloved ’90s sitcom Boy Meets World, now being revamped as Disney’s new series Girl Meets World, premiering Friday (9:45 p.m. ET). But it’s clear from their familiar banter that the pair is as close as ever.
Fishel, after all, was Savage’s first kiss. Neither of the stars expected, though, to reprise their childhood roles.
“I had gotten used to my quiet little life in Orange County and now everything is so out there,” said Fishel, who married longtime boyfriend Tim Belusko in October 2013.
After Boy Meets World, Savage and Fishel both attended four-year universities – Stanford and California State University, Fullerton, respectively. Savage majored in political science while Fishel focused on psychology.
“I was just so afraid of being the center of attention in the classroom because I didn’t want that,” Fishel told PEOPLE. “For four years, every time you start a semester there’s a little bit of whispering and then it goes away and nobody cares at all that you’re there.”
On the street though, Boy Meets World fans never stopped caring about the model TV couple, recognizing Savage and Fishel as their characters.
“Yesterday a guy came up next to me and said, ‘Excuse me? Are you Danielle Fishel?’ and I was like [gasps] ‘YES!’ I took a picture with him and as he walked away my girlfriend said, ‘I can’t believe he knew your real name,’ and I said, ‘I know He probably Googled it right before he came up to me.'”
“The name Topanga will stick with you. For seven years, and for, I guess, now 21 years, I’ve been in people’s living rooms as Topanga. That’s what makes sense – it doesn’t bother me at all.”
And now, with Topanga and Cory’s return to Girl Meets World, viewers will get to watch them grapple with adulthood and parenthood.
Says Savage of his character: “Cory is the same. Still funny, still neurotic, still sweet still likes cake. It’s a show that I’m proud of.”