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'Boy Meets World' #TBT recap: High school begins; pants optional

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 2 | Episode 1 | “Back 2 School” | Aired Sept 23, 1994

The reign of Feeny is finally over for Cory Matthews, Topanga Lawrence, and Shawn Hunter. The three classmates have survived elementary school and have now graduated to high school as seventh graders. Gone is the old classroom, the school nerd (where are you, Minkus?) and their not-yet-beloved professor, Mr. Feeny.

Yes, Cory and Shawn are excited to attend a school where Mr. Feeny no longer has power. While Cory’s parents expect their son to be nervous for his first day, Cory is ecstatic. He’s been studying from Eric Matthews’ playbook—the first time he’s really studied anything—and he knows what he must do to survive on his first day in the new school.

“What happens to us now will determine our entire future,” Cory says upon entering the high school. He is confident and ready until he and Shawn—sporting fake sideburns—spot a fellow newbie walking around the hall in his boxer shorts. Seniors took his clothes, the underwear-clad student says. It’s only then that Cory and Shawn are confronted by school bullies Frankie Stechino (Ethan Suplee) and Joseph “Joey the Rat” Epstein (Blake Soper). The encounter—which forces Shawn to hide in a nearby locker—leaves the boys so shaken that their first high school encounter with Topanga is bizarre, even to her:

They hug her enthusiastically.

“What’s wrong with you guys?” she rightfully asks.

The trio soon encounter Mr. Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), their new homeroom and English professor. Cory mistakes him for the infamous bully Harvey “Harley” Keiner (Danny McNulty)—a student that Cory was hoping to befriend (getting on Harvey’s good side was supposed to shield Cory from getting beat up). After trying to butter up Mr. Turner, Cory realizes his mistake. Now Mr. Turner is suspicious of Cory, and asks his class to read the epic poem The Odyssey alongside the X-Men comic book that Cory was reading. Cory’s first big assignment is to lead the class discussion of the two works.

Thinking his day couldn’t get any worse, Cory finally meets Harley. He cozies up to Harley, earning the nickname Johnny Baboon. When a teacher catches them loitering in the halls, though, both are sent to the principal’s office.

At least they don’t have to deal with Feeny … oh, wait. It turns out Mr. Feeny has been named the school’s acting principal. He’s also Cory’s history professor. So it turns out that things haven’t changed much since high school, including Cory’s innate ability to find trouble wherever he goes.

After earning detention because of Cory, Harley has it out for the new student. He asks Cory to meet him after school to fight.  Gulp. Cory’s first day in high school might turn out to be his last day on the planet. Through Shawn, Cory reaches out to Eric—who doesn’t want anyone to know he has a younger brother—for help. Eric is noncommittal, but when Cory faces down Harley late in the day, his older brother appears out of nowhere. Cory was willing to take a beating (“I’d rather be dead than be the school coward for the next six years,” he says), but Eric and eventually Mr. Turner are there to protect him.

Cory survives his first day of high school, while Shawn does more than survive: He ends his day making out with a girl in a locker. High school might not be as bad as they expected earlier in the day, they realize.

Life lesson: It’s better to stand up to bullies than to let them force you to cower in fear. Also, bring an extra pair of pants to high school in case seniors steal your clothes.

Memorable quote: “The legend continues.” —Feeny, after Cory realizes that the professor has followed him to high school

Note: Several important characters are introduced in this episode, including Harley, Frankie, Joey, and, most important, Mr. Turner.

What did you think of this episode? Isn’t it strange that no one mentions Minkus’ absence? Do you think Mr. Feeny expected Cory to arrive in his office on the first day of the school year?

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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