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'Boy Meets World' #TBT recap: The 'Home Alone' episode

Editors’ Note: As our love for spin-off series Girl Meets World grows, 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 14 | “The B-Team of Life” | Aired Jan 28, 1994

Evolution and basketball are on the mind of Cory Matthews in episode 14 of Boy Meets World. He’s thinking about basketball because he just got named to his high school team’s B-squad, and he’s thinking about evolution because that’s the subject of Mr. Feeny’s most recent class discussion. Both subjects ultimately come together in “The B-Team of Life.”

The episode begins with Cory, Shawn and their new friend Harris (Ahmad Stoner)—where did he come from?—checking out the team roster for the new season. There’s an A-team of the best players, a B-team of the second-tier players, and then there are those who don’t make the team at all. Before checking the roster, Cory says that he would rather be off the list than on the B-team, but when the trio look, they realize that Shawn and Harris are on the A-team while Cory and Minkus (!!!) are on the B-team.

“It’s gotta be a typo,” Shawn says—but Cory responds, “It’s handwritten.”

In class the following day, Cory is late to Mr. Feeny’s lecture about evolution because he wanted to talk to the basketball coach about his predicament. Despite his hopes, he finds out that there was no mistake in the selection process. Cory is supposed to be on the B-team. When the class ends, Feeny speaks to Cory about the situation. In a rare case of Feeny using reverse psychology, he encourages Cory to quit the basketball team.

“As far as basketball is concerned, you are the dodo bird,” he says, leaving Cory frustrated but encouraged. Cory can make it up from the B-team, he realizes. He just has to work hard to do it.

Cory returns home and finds Eric lifting weights in their bedroom. After being dumped by Heather, Eric is willing to do anything to become cool, so he’s following a Make Me Big magazine article about becoming muscular in 30 days. Cory doesn’t care. He goes downstairs to talk to his parents, but finds that both are preoccupied.

Amy is cooking with Morgan, and Alan, when he arrives, is distracted by Eric, who wants $36,000 for a new car. To get their attention, Cory conjures up a story about a magnificent basketball game that featured him shooting the winning basket with the crowd shouting his name. When his family is thrilled for him, though, Cory admits that he sat on the bench the entire game because he’s on the second string, and he couldn’t tell his parents because they were too busy with their other children.

“Being second string at basketball is hard enough,” he says, “but I’m only on the second string of my own family.”

A parental discussion between Alan and Amy leads her to coin the term “middlepause” (“Is that a scientific term?” Alan asks.) about Cory’s middle-child angst. In the meantime, Cory is encouraged by Shawn and Harris, who tell him that other basketball players have gone on to greatness after being second string. When he’s inspired about possibly playing in that night’s game though,  the basketball coach (another new character on the show) asks, “Matthews, why are you suited up? The second team doesn’t go to the away games.”

To make matters worse, Cory returns home to face a situation similar to the one Kevin McCallister faced in Home Alone. No one is at the Matthews’ house, and he has no idea where they could be.

The mystery of the disappearance is solved after Cory tries to steal chicken off of Mr. Feeny’s grill (“Survival of the fittest,” he argues when he’s caught). His ever-patient professor informs him that the Matthews family went to Cory’s away game.

When Cory asks why they would go to the game, Feeny responds, “One would assume that they wanted to watch you play.” When Cory says that second-string players “only sit on the bench and rot,” Feeny responds, “Well then, one would assume that they went to watch you rot.”

After some convincing and Cory’s attempt at fake-crying, Feeny agrees to give Cory a ride to the game.

When the Matthews clan return home, they celebrate Cory’s big victory. Not only did Cory get to play, but he also scored six points when three first-stringers were fouled out. Cory is excited enough to nearly apologize to his parents for his harsh words earlier. “When you’re 11 and you start hanging out at a lot of other sixth graders’ houses, you get to know a lot of other parents,” he says, “Believe me, I know the difference between the good ones and the bad ones.”

That’s the best he offers in terms of an apology. (“What do you want from me? Blood?” he says when they think he has more to say.) The episode ends by showing a different side of Mr. Feeny. Cory tells his classmates about Feeny’s crazy driving when they went to the basketball game, with Cory believing that the Mr. Feeny they know at school might only be the Clark Kent side of him.

The world may never know the other Mr. Feeny, he thinks.

Life lesson: Don’t trust magazines called Make Me Big (fact!). Also, being a middle child has its drawbacks.

Memorable quote: “Now there’s a Mom who cares.” —Cory reacting to a Hard Edition news story about a mom who killed a troop of scouts when her daughter didn’t sell enough cookies to win a competition

Note: Topanga is nowhere to be found in this episode, and Harris—a new character we’ve never seen before—makes an appearance as a close friend of Cory and Shawn who eventually disappears (like all of their other “good friends”).

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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