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Mr. Feeny and Cory Matthews in "Boy Meets World"

Image Credit: Mr. Feeny and Cory Matthews in "Boy Meets World"

'Boy Meets World' #TBT recap: The softer side of Mr. 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 to 2000, reminding us why we fell in love with Cory Matthews, Topanga Lawrence and Shawn Hunter in the first place.

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “Killer Bees” | Aired Oct 22, 1993

In episode 4 of Boy Meets World, Topanga Lawrence was introduced, and Cory’s slight affection for her made him show his softer side. In episode 5, it’s Mr. Feeny whose softer side is showcased. In fact, if this episode had a theme, it would be that young people can and should connect with the adults in their lives.

The episode opens with Feeny singing Minkus’ praises for receiving the highest score on a recent geography quiz. Cory mocks Minkus for always getting the top score. When Feeny gives Cory his graded quiz, he notes that Cory has a lot to learn where geography is concerned.

“There is no East Germany anymore,” Feeny says, pointing out a flaw in Cory’s exam before noting that the school textbooks the class are using are old and the maps are out of date.

Soon enough, Feeny notes that Minkus has been chosen to represent the school in the regional geography tournament. The winner of the tournament would serve as the batboy at the opening game of the World Series, a prize that Cory would love but that Minkus couldn’t care less about. After Cory brings Minkus home that evening (“Call my mother,” Minkus says as he is forced into the Matthews kitchen), Cory offers Minkus a deal so that Cory can take his spot in the competition.

“When you guys play Bombardment, could you not aim the ball at my head?” Minkus requests, and Cory accepts the deal.

That decision leads Cory to become closer to Mr. Feeny. Once Minkus drops out of the tournament, Cory jumps in — offering to learn whatever Feeny has to teach. He’s ready to do whatever it takes to win, he says, and Feeny begrudgingly accepts the offer. This leads to a role reversal: Cory becomes fascinated by geography, studying in and out of the classroom, while Minkus tries to become a “regular guy.” For Minkus, that means watching Beavis and Butthead, and wearing baggy yellow shorts and a backward cap.

Cory’s budding relationship with Feeny stands in sharp contrast with Eric’s tumultuous relationship with his parents in this episode. After learning that his parents have tickets to the same Aerosmith concert that he and his girlfriend Heather do, Eric is horrified. Why are his parents doing this to him? he asks. Eric can’t even enjoy the concert, he says afterwards, because his parents dressed like teenagers and danced in the aisles. After the concert, Alan sits down with the couple and tells Eric that when he was growing up, he wanted cooler parents, so Eric should be happy that he has youthful ones he has.

“Live with it,” Alan says.

In the end, Cory falters at the geography exam (“Are these guys working from a different globe?” he wonders). He’s asked, “Do whom do they [the Tuamotus] belong?” He doesn’t know the answer and begins talking about the Sandwich Islands, a subject that he’s more prepared for. He doesn’t win the geography bee. At school the next day, he realizes that Minkus — who has returned to his normal self — might have won it. Cory tells Feeny that he tried his hardest. Feeny accepts that, and then offers a Cory a look at the latest geography exam, which Cory aced. With only a moment’s hesitation, Feeny puts up the test up alongside the five geography awards that Minkus has racked up over the years.

“We won,” he says, and the professor gives Cory a high-five in celebration.

Life lesson: Giving your best and trying as hard as you can is more important than winning. And Mr. Feeny is the man.

Memorable Quote: “Your mother and I are at an awkward age. We’re parents but we’re not dead yet.” — Alan talking to Eric about attending the Aerosmith concert at their age

Note: Of all of the Boy Meets World episodes I’ve seen, this one is my absolute favorite. The scene with Mr. Feeny saying “We won” always brings a tear to my eye.

What did you think of the fifth episode of Boy Meets World? Is it just me, or does the “We won” scene get you choked up as well?