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'Boy Meets World' recap: Cory and Topanga's first marriage

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 15 | “Model Family” | Aired February 4, 1994

“They were too perfect,” Cory notes in episode 15 of Boy Meets World. Of course, he isn’t talking about his television family—who have proven imperfect time and time again when Morgan eventually disappears without anyone noticing. He is referring to the family on Leave it to Beaver.

Mr. Feeny shows his class an episode of the classic 1950’s program, which Cory and Shawn quickly dismiss as unrealistic. The professor then asks the students to build their own “model” families. Much to the students’ dismay, Feeny tells Minkus and Shawn to act as brothers while Topanga and Cory are asked to act as their parents (Cory, of course, is shocked. Marry Topanga? Such a bizarre concept).

The trick of the project is that Minkus and Shawn have to write up a description of their perfect sibling while Topanga and Cory have to write up a piece about their ideal spouse. Then those given such descriptions have to act those roles out accordingly.

At the Matthews home, the quartet discuss their assignments. Topanga learns what Cory is looking for in a spouse (“My ideal wife wouldn’t care how dirty my room is”) and offers this unforgettable gem: “Why don’t you just marry Shawn?”

Searching for his own ideal mate at the mall is Cory’s older brother, Eric. He’s hanging out with his long-term friend (why haven’t we heard of him before?), Jason (Jason Marsden). When a good-looking woman named Alexis (Kathy Ireland) walks up to him, Eric is willing to accept anything she says. She offers him a modeling career and soon he’s paying $90 to have his photos taken. When he returns to his house, Cory informs him that he’s been tricked into paying for photos that no one is ever going to see.

When Alan and Amy learn about their son’s mistake, they take different approaches. Alan wants to yell at his son while Amy wants to let him make his own mistakes (she wins the argument when Eric admits that he was fooled and decides to go ask for his money back). Eric returns to the mall—learning from his own mistake—only to find out that Alexis has a modeling job lined up for him. Eric then quits his job at his father’s grocery store, making a whole new mistake in the process.

When Feeny’s class returns to session, the “model family” led by Cory and Topanga talk about their family’s make-believe dilemma. Minkus, the rebellious son, had determined he wanted a tattoo and the parents had to deal with that situation. Cory, acting like Topanga would, argues that Minkus should use his own body the way he wants while Topanga, acting as Cory would, just says no to the tattoo. Well, Minkus—ripping off his shirt—argues that he didn’t care what they thought and got the tattoo on his own. (“Minkus, you’ve got a dark side. It speaks to me,” Shawn says.) While Cory complains that Minkus failed at the assignment, Feeny notes that children making terrible decisions is a natural consequence of having a family.

Speaking of terrible decisions, Eric learns too late that his new modeling position has him dressing up like a lobster and sitting in a dunk tank where he will get dropped into a “tub o butter.” When he realizes his mistake, he goes to his father and asks for his job back and a second chance, like his father once gave him in Monopoly. Eric says that when he landed on Boardwalk during the game, his father always protected him from the negative consequences.

“You called it a misroll and let me roll again,” he says.

Alan, noting that Eric isn’t a child anymore, states that he won’t always be there when his son needs him. He can’t offer his son the job back—he’s already hired someone else—but he will give Eric his old job working nights and weekends. His son begrudgingly accepts the position.

Life lesson: There is no such thing as a model family… and Minkus has a dark side.

Memorable quote: “I wouldn’t know.” —Mr. Feeny responding to Cory’s contention that “it’s easy to sound smart when you got the best writers in Hollywood writing everything you say.”

Note: On the IMDB.com page for this episode, Jason Marsden is credited with playing a character named “Jason Marsden.”

What did you think of the fifteenth episode of Boy Meets World? Did you notice that Cory didn’t seem as offended at the prospect of marrying Topanga as he would have in an earlier episode?

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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