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'Boy Meets World' #TBT recap: Professor Cory Matthews?

Editors’ Note: As our excitement for the spinoff series Girl Meets World grows after its premiere, 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 8 | “Teacher’s Bet” | Aired Nov 19, 1993

“We both know it’s not very hard to teach sixth grade,” states Cory Matthews in episode 8 of Boy Meets World. After an opening-scene discussion between Cory and Shawn about Barry Bonds (the $43 Million Man, they call him), Minkus notes that Feeny is clearly underpaid, but Cory disagrees, noting how easy it is to teach. “Nothing about teaching sixthgrade ever changes,” he says.

His thoughts are put to the test when Feeny wisely offers to swap positions with him for the week, in an episode that oddly foreshadows Cory’s occupation on Girl Meets World.

The bet between the two men is a simple one. Cory will teach Feeny’s class for one week, with an exam about the book The Diary of Anne Frank on Friday. If Cory’s teaching methods succeed (and more people pass the test than usual), Cory will earn 20 percent of Feeny’s paycheck for the week. If the failure rate rises, Feeny will win Cory’s new bicycle (a bet that Alan is shocked his son was willing to make).

The show uses the predictable two-characters-switch-positions template with strong results, in part due to Feeny’s willingness to indulge his young Padawan and become one of Cory’s students. Feeny dives into the class headfirst while Cory stands awkwardly in front of it. Of course, the situation works for Cory in the beginning, as the new professor quickly ends the “no hats in class” rule and tells the students to address him as “Hey, dude.” But then the antics begin.

A free-spirited, baseball-cap-wearing, slang-loving Feeny plays poker with Shawn while Topanga sits on her yoga mat (which Cory calls a “yogurt” mat) and Minkus throws paper at his classmates.

The classroom of weirdos suits the new teacher until Alan informs Cory that if Feeny grades on a curve, Cory’s plan will be ruined. Feeny’s perfect score will destroy the curve and Cory will lose his bike. From then on, Cory tries to get serious— wearing a suit to class and trying to exert some control— but he can’t compete with the disorderly environment he helped create.

All seems lost until Cory realizes that discrimination and hatred—which are so prevalent in The Diary of Ann Frank—still exist. Eric’s Asian girlfriend, Linda (guest star Lindsay Price), who was introduced early in the episode, witnesses such discrimination firsthand. During an offscreen trip to the mall, Linda had been called a discriminatory name (the name she was called is never mentioned), and returns to the Matthews home in tears.

It’s in this scene that Cory realizes some people still discriminate. He uses Linda’s pain as an example to his sixth grade students, who are suddenly interested in reading the book. The bet ends with Feeny and Cory facing the results of the week’s exams. It seems that the same number of people passed the exam as did the previous week, so both call the score even. But to his credit, Feeny notes that Shawn improved a whole letter grade on the new exam, and Cory himself learned a few valuable lessons.

Life Lesson: Teaching is harder than it looks, and Mr. Feeny is a much cooler guy than his students believe.

Memorable Quote: “Hey, dude. Sorry I’m late. I was chilling with my homies.”—Feeny explaining his tardiness in Cory’s class

Note: This episode marks Topanga’s second appearance. From this point on, she becomes a regular star of the show.

What did you think of the eighth episode of Boy Meets World? Wasn’t Linda’s storyline a bit too obvious for the show?

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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