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'Boy Meets World' nostalgia recap: Water guns and responsibilities

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “On the Fence” | Aired Oct 1, 1993

The second episode of Boy Meets World, we finally meet the enigma that is Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris), get a little more character development for our favorite best friend Shawn, and see a sassier side of Mr. Feeny.

The episode opens with Cory, Shawn, and Random Friend No. 2 at lunch, discussing which superhero they would want to be their father. Shawn and Random root for Batman, while Cory pioneers for good ol’ Superman. During their discussion, Random whips out his new fancy water gun and proceeds to shoot Minkus in the back of the head with it. Although this action garners some laughs from the cafeteria, Minkus then pulls out a giant briefcase, which holds an even larger water gun with more power than Random’s and Shawn’s put together.

Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris) holds a water gun. ABC

Cory scoffs at his friends’ toys, walks to the drinking fountain, and tells them a standard water balloon is good enough to get the job done. After filling up his balloon, he turns around and sees the entire cafeteria is pointing a water gun at him. It becomes extremely clear to Cory that he needs to get his hands on one of these guns.

After returning home from school, he begs his parents to buy him his own water weapon, but they say $50 is way too much for a toy and to maybe wait until Christmas. “Hey, great, a water gun in December,” Cory responds. “I’ll be the little boy spreading pneumonia.”

Cory decides to take matters into his own hands and approaches Mr. Feeny in the backyard to try to make some sort of payment deal—marking the first backyard Feeny chat of the series. Mr. Feeny tells Cory he will pay him to paint his window shutters for $5 apiece. Cory, who isn’t the brightest bulb, tries to compute how much two shutters for each of the eight windows is worth: “Five times two times eight—what’s that, like 58 bucks?” Feeny grins and tells Mr. Matthews that he has himself a deal.

After painting all the window shutters, Cory admires his work, and Feeny seems to be pleased, as well. Mr. Matthews seems proud of Cory, too—at first. Once Feeny removes one of the shutters, Mr. Matthews sees that his side of the fence has been covered in paint after Cory’s laborious task. Mrs. Matthews scolds Cory for not realizing that the paint would actually go through the shutters, and Cory has more work to do.

Cory paints a fence. ABC

“Well, you got me—I’m an idiot,” he says to his dad.

“No, you’re not an idiot,” his father replies. “You’re a kid.”

“I’m a kidiot,” Cory responds.

So instead of joining in on the impending water war with his friends, Cory is forced to paint over the damage he has inflicted on his fence. Shawn, Random, and a yellow rainsuit-clad Minkus come by his house while he’s doing damage control, and they try to get Cory to join them with his new water gun. Minkus gets pushy, and Shawn tells Cory that “water war brings out the beast in Minkus.”

Minkus dressed as Paddington Bear. ABC

Cory bribes them with $7 and ice cream to help him finish painting the fence. This tactic works at first, but soon the boys grow tired of doing chores, and they ditch Cory for the water war. Cory labors over the fence for a little longer until his dad comes out and tells him that he’s only 11 once, and he should go out and have fun with his friends.

Cory goes to the water war and returns home soaking wet. He sees his dad working on the fence and realizes what a hardworking and great dad he has. He then trades in his fancy new water gun for two smaller ones, and gives one of the guns to his dad at dinner that night.

“Dad, I know you said you had a rough day, and that you only get to be a kid once. But I thought it’d be okay if you came back to visit,” Cory tells him as he hands him the gun. The two start an all-out water war in the family kitchen, and the show ends with Cory, Eric, and Mr. and Mrs. Matthews having a water war while Morgan adorably calls the police.

The show’s second episode delves even further into the life of Cory Matthews, and it begins to shed light on his family situation. We see that his dad is a working-class guy who will do anything to support his family—and Cory realizes that he does in fact have Superman as a father.

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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