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‘Boy Meets World’ #TBT recap: Pranking Mr. Feeny

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 3 | “Notorious” | Aired Oct 7, 1994

Since they entered high school— or more accurately, the seventh grade— at the beginning of season 2, Cory and Shawn have wanted to become popular. In the season premiere, Cory even attempted to cozy up to the school bully to establish some credibility (that plan failed outright). But now in the season’s third episode, the potential for possible “greatness” stands right in front of them.

As Shawn says about a possible prank the two could easily commit, “We’d be notorious. We’d be legends.” That’s a reputation they both want, but what are they willing to do to get it?

The prank Shawn’s referring to is one that would undermine Mr. Feeny, who has now officially become the new principal at their school. Eric has been dating the editor of the high school newspaper and learns that an upcoming issue features the headline “New principal is Feeny.” When Cory and Shawn are left alone (never a good idea) in the newspaper’s office, they see that they can easily change that headline. Both make jokes about the idea, but Cory would never do something like that. Shawn, on the other hand, would—and when Cory turns his back, Shawn changes the headline to “New principal is Weeny.”

Of course, all of the characters react differently to the prank.

Cory is appalled by Shawn’s actions, but of course Shawn—the prankster who blew up a mailbox in season 1—is proud of his “achievement.” The school editor is furious, promptly dumping Eric and leading him into the arms of bossy Southern belle Desiree (Sydney Bennett). Amy, on the other hand, is concerned by what her son could’ve done (Eric tells his parents that Cory and Shawn might be the culprits), while her husband, Alan, shrugs it off. “Isn’t that the greatest thing you ever saw?” he asks.

The real victim is Mr. Feeny, who attempts to hide how personally he takes this prank. He walks around the high school visiting each classroom and asking who was responsible. No one confesses. Soon enough, the controversy has died down, with some students believing that the misspelling was a simple mistake. To correct that perception, Shawn paints over the glass on Mr. Feeny’s door, again changing “Feeny” to “Weeny.” Shawn has made his mark, but to what end? He can’t take credit for it, or he’ll face the consequences (and he knows how dire they could be).

Cory, once again, is caught in the crosshairs. After Shawn blew up the mailbox in the first season, Cory protected his friend by hiding him from the authorities. Here, the janitor has named Cory as a possible suspect. Not only was Cory seen leaving the newspaper office, he’s caught with paint on his fingers outside Feeny’s door. The once-simplistic prank has spiraled out of control, and now even Harvey’s friends have upped the ante. Believing that his position of power as Harvey’s right-hand man is at stake, Joey adds a correction in the newspaper, which notes that Feeny’s real last name is “Weeny” repeated 11 times.

Fortunately, Mr. Turner’s class has been reading The Scarlet Letter so Cory knows a thing or two about notoriety. He also knows that even though Mr. Feeny is a lot older than them, he too is trying to establish his reputation at the school. It’s Feeny’s first year there too.

In his office, Mr. Feeny asks Cory for the name of the responsible party. When Cory refuses to give it, Feeny shows a newfound respect for him. Cory is surprised. As the principal, Feeny says he wants Cory to rat on his friend—but he adds, “As your teacher, as someone who lived next door and watched you grow up, I never expected it for a moment.”

Cory’s reputation is intact, but Shawn’s reputation suffers a blow in the episode’s final moments. He accidentally outs himself as the responsible prankster in front of Feeny. Feeny, however, refuses to punish him outright. Instead, he has a better plan.

“I will be watching you every moment of your high school career,” he tells Shawn. “You are my new special friend.”

Life lesson: Loyalty is more important than protecting yourself—and always look over your headlines before you print a newspaper.

Memorable quote: “I will now return you to your lecture on the letter A.” —Mr. Feeny after seeing the letter “A” on the board in Mr. Turner’s classroom.

Note: According to IMDB.com, this is the first episode since season 1’s “Teacher’s Bet” in which Topanga (Danielle Fishel) does not appear.

What did you think of this episode? Should Cory have told the truth about Shawn’s prank? Do you think Shawn regrets getting Cory into trouble?

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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