Long before Adam Scott's memorable work in Severance, for which he earned two Emmy nominations last year, and earlier on Party Down and Parks and Recreation, he appeared on several episodes of the 1990s TGIF sitcom Boy Meets World. Not that he remembers it fondly. At all.
Scott explained this on Monday's episode of Pod Meets World, the rewatch podcast hosted by his former co-stars Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong and Will Friedle.
"It was my first time being on a real set that's, like, built on a stage," said Scott, who played Senior in an episode of the second season, which aired in 1994, and then Griff on three more episodes that aired in 1994 and 1995. "When I came back later, it was the same thing, where I just couldn't believe how perfect everything was, and the air was this perfect, like, crisp, cool temperature all the time, and there was food everywhere. Everyone was so nice. And so I just, you know, had no idea how I was supposed to behave … It was a completely alien environment. I was just so nervous and freaked out the entire time but, at the same time, thought, 'Wow, this is really, like, high livin.' ... I remember a lot of it really vividly because it was such a brand-new environment."
Scott had previously appeared in a 1992 REM music video and on the short-lived 1994 series Dead at 21, but nothing as big as Boy Meets World.
He was in his early 20s, and most of his co-stars were teenagers. Still, Scott acknowledged that he had been too nervous to approach them and say hello.
"Do you guys even remember me being around?" Scott asked, explaining that he had two different "awkward interactions" on the show that showed he just "had no idea how to behave" back then.
"Literally, this has been tugging at me for 29 years," Scott said of the first. He recalled being backstage, with co-stars Ethan Suplee and Blake Soper, while they watched the final scene of the second season being filmed.
"The scene ends … everyone just erupts and starts cheering. Blake and Ethan high five and hug, they come up to me and high five and just cheering," Scott said. "Then Blake and Ethan go up to you, Rider, and they give you a high five and hug you and, after they do that, I'm like, 'Hey, congratulations, buddy,' and I give you a high five, and I go in and hug you. And as I do that, you push me off and you give me this look like, 'Wait a second, who the f*** are you?' and then you ran away."
The story was a crowd-pleaser. Strong said he didn't remember the encounter, and it didn't sound like him, because he's generally a hugger.
"To some extent, that means it wasn't a traumatic experience for you," Scott cracked. "But I remember just being like, 'Oh, no, no, no, no! I'm sorry! What just happened? No, no no.'"
Looking back, Scott said, he could understand the then-15-year-old's reaction to a stranger. However, Fishel disagreed, pointing out that Scott had appeared on the show several times by then, so he wasn't a stranger.
"I, again, had no idea what I was supposed to do," Scott said. "It seemed like we were all supposed to be joyous and hug each other but, oh god, it was horrifying."
Because of this incident, Scott was surprised to hear the show wanted him back for a Season 3 episode.
He also remembers that, around the same time, he would peruse the internet for any mention of himself. One of his discoveries was a post on message board by someone claiming that they knew Topanga (Fishel) and that, according to her, no one liked Scott.
Fishel assured Scott that that had not come from her.
"For one thing, that just wasn't true. Nobody didn't like you, that was not the situation," she said. "The second reason was because I didn't talk about Boy Meets World at school. If someone asked me a question I would, but it wasn't super cool to be gone from school all the time. And I was at a new school, I would have been in like seventh grade at that time."
Scott wasn't surprised that Boy Meets World stopped calling after his fourth appearance, although the show continued for another four-plus years.
"As a self-hating actor," Scott said, "I just figured, 'Oh they finally figured out that I can't do this, and I'm terrible,' and just never asked any questions."
Later in the decade, Scott had a recurring role in another teen show, the drama Party of Five. His breakout role wouldn't come along until the 2008 Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers.