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'Boy Meets World' #TBT recap: Minkus loses his mind

Editors’ Note: As our love for the just-renewed (!!!) spin-off series Girl Meets World continues to grow, John Hanlon recaps 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 12 | “Once in Love with Amy” | Aired Jan 7, 1994

It’s a complex math question that we’ve all heard in one form or another. Al washes a car in six minutes, while Fred washes it in eight. Working as a team, how quickly can the duo wash it together? Mr. Feeny poses the problem to his class in episode 12 of Boy Meets World, entitled “Once in Love With Amy.”

Surprisingly, the episode begins not in Feeny’s classroom—where so many do—but in the Matthews’ kitchen, with Eric on the phone with a possible date and Amy rushing to get her morning chores done (she has a busy day ahead of her, including her bowling league match at night). When Alan attempts to affectionately offer his wife a rose from Feeny’s garden, she demurs and focuses on getting her children ready for school.

It’s only after the theme song that Feeny arrives onscreen and presents the problem to his students. Cory believes the answer is seven (wrong!), while Minkus believes the answer is “four and a half minutes.” But in a series first, Minkus is wrong in an academic endeavor. “Mr. Minkus, you’re wrong,” Feeny says, leading Minkus to the nurse’s office. Minkus has never been wrong before in class and the shock immediately gets to him, leading to Shawn’s giddiness as Minkus exits the room. On the contrary, Topanga—who communes with the “ancient Egyptian mathematician who first solved this problem”—somehow arrives with the correct answer, but doesn’t allow the curious Cory to see it.

Back at the Matthews home, Cory and Shawn are basking in Minkus’ fall from genius when a clearly unhinged Minkus arrives at the house. His hair is askew and his clothes are a mess. He clearly hasn’t slept. “Now I’m just a brainless pathetic moron without a clue,” he says. “Trust me, it’s not so bad,” Shawn responds.

A few minutes later (after Minkus departs), Shawn tells Cory and Eric that their mother isn’t going to the bowling league game that night because the league ended six weeks earlier (Shawn’s mother is in it too). After the brothers check out Amy’s lightweight bowling bag, they realize that their mother has been lying to them. She isn’t going to her bowling league after all, but is instead planning to have dinner at a fancy restaurant while their father, Alan, attends a managers’ meeting at the grocery story.


Shawn has an idea for the two confused brothers. “Don’t you guys watch NYPD Blue?” he asks. He convinces Cory and Shawn to follow Amy on her trip, a mission that sends them on a series of buses across town. When they return home, they tell Shawn that they saw their mother dancing at the restaurant with a mysterious man.

The scandal deepens.

When Alan arrives home, the boys confront their father and reveal what they saw. Alan seems a little surprised, but then walks to the backyard and greets Amy when she arrives at the house. It turns out that the duo were together on the date in a bid to spice up their relationship. There was no managers’ meeting at the grocery store and the bowling league was a ruse. The couple simply wanted to spend time together.

Amy reveals the truth to the two boys, but Cory doesn’t seem to understand why they needed to lie. In school, though, Cory seemingly begins to understand when he notes that there may not be one correct answer to Feeny’s puzzle. Mr. Feeny, he declares, just wanted the class to think differently, like Topanga and his parents do.

Feeny is impressed. He informs Minkus that sometimes you have to accept that there is no right answer. When Feeny tells Minkus that his “calculations are all for naught,” Minkus responds, “Not necessarily. I think I may have inadvertently discovered the secret of time travel.”

In fact, as the credits roll, it’s revealed that Minkus did discover the secret of time travel, but then questioned his theory and erased his findings. Bad choice, Minkus, bad choice.

Life lesson: Some problems don’t offer simple solutions, and if at first you don’t succeed, commune with ancient problem-solvers for help.

Memorable quote: “Dad’s not our father?” —Eric reacting to the news that Amy spent the evening dancing with Eric and Cory’s father

Note: According to IMDB.com, “The title [of the episode] is one of the standards sung by Ray Bolger, the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz (1939).”

What did you think of the twelfth episode of Boy Meets World? Did Morgan’s absence from the morning breakfast (she arrives in the kitchen after everyone has left) foreshadow her future disappearance from the show? Did you realize that Shawn’s often absent mother was actually in a bowling league with Amy?

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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