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'Boy Meets World' recap: Cory's father faces off against Feeny

Editors’ Note: As our excitement for the upcoming spinoff series Girl Meets World builds, John Hanlon will recap the original series that ran from 1993–2000, reminding us why we fell in love with Cory Matthews, Topanga Lawrence and Shawn Hunter in the first place.

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Father Knows Less” | Aired Oct 8, 1993

In the second episode of Boy Meets World, Cory Matthews realized that his father Alan, who would work tirelessly to keep his family happy, “was” Superman. The third episode of the series slightly undermines that conclusion in its depiction of Alan facing off against Mr. Feeny. Alan may be a great father, but his faults take center stage here, as he harshly criticizes his son’s beloved teacher.

The episode begins innocuously enough, with Cory and his father preparing their lunches side by side in the kitchen. Both pack bologna sandwiches (with at least two dozen pieces of bologna in them) and snacks into their lunch bags. Alan pours potato chips into his bag, while Cory packs chocolate chips. Amy offers them apples (“Momly food,” she calls it, as opposed to the “manly food” they were preparing). The proceedings are interrupted by Leonard Spinelli (guest star Willie Garson), the assistant manager at Alan’s grocery store, who arrives at the house. He tells Alan about  a massive wine spillage (“an imported French tidal wave”) in the store.

Alan postpones his planned trip to see the Blue Angels with Cory, but attempts to make it up to him by waking him up in the middle of the night to watch a possible Phillies no-hitter on TV.

The decision leaves Cory sleepless the following day and, after answering one question (out of 40!) on a Mr. Feeny quiz, he falls asleep. Feeny fails him — his only answer was wrong — leading to Cory telling his parents about the incident. Amy grounds Alan for waking up Cory (when Cory asks if she can ground him, Alan responds, “In certain ways, yes.”) This all leads to Alan confronting Feeny and asking for a makeup test for his son.

Feeny declines the request, arguing that he needs to prepare his students for the real world. He adds that if Alan was a teacher, maybe he would understand that.

Alan responds to Feeny in the harshest way possible:

And maybe if you had a son and were trying to find time to spend with him in between your job and fixing the car and insulating the attic, you’d understand what I’m talking about. But you don’t have a son, George, so how could you understand?


Feeny stands by his guns. “This conversation is over,” he says, before returning to his house.

“Ah, Dad. You got Feened.” Cory says.

Alan, so noble in the prior episode, really becomes a jerk here before realizing his mistake. When Spinelli interrupts Alan’s plans with his son the following day, Alan recognizes his mistakes.

Feeny also admits his own misgivings about the situation in an evening chat with Cory. Feeny tells Cory about once wanting to stay up with his dad the night World War II ended. As a boy, Feeny had been told that he couldn’t have butter and new sneakers during the war because such supplies were being shipped overseas, but when the war finally ended, all he wanted was to stay up and listen to President Truman’s speech. His father wouldn’t let him.

“It is important that a boy spend time with his father,” Feeny eventually tells Cory. He even notes to Alan that if he was a father, he probably would’ve done what Alan had done. In the end, Alan and Feeny seem to reach a mutual understanding — knowing that both acted on behalf of Cory’s well-being. As the episode ends, Cory is back in bed, and his father tells him that if something happens during the middle of the night, he’ll always be there to tell Cory about it … in the morning.

Life lesson: Sometimes it’s OK to stay up late for father-son bonding … but it shouldn’t happen the night before a Feeny quiz.

Memorable quote: “It’s hard to picture you as a boy. Did your parents call you Mr. Feeny?” — Cory asking Mr. Feeny about his childhood

Note: This episode really provides a nice three-dimensional look at Mr. Feeny and helps to show why he is so protective and supportive of Cory, whom he often looks over like a father should.

What did you think of the third episode of Boy Meets World? Were you shocked by Alan’s harsh attitude to Mr. Feeny? If you were Mr. Feeny, would you have given Cory a makeup quiz?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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