Boy Meet World – 103, “Father Knows Less”

Ugh, this is another episode about Cory and Alan. Look, I like Papa Matthews and everything, but it just seems like there are an awful lot of episodes about him and the kids. I don’t think there are actually a lot, it just seems like there are.

Anyway, the show opens with Alan and Cory packing bag lunches.

I was hoping the show would open with a shot of the school so that could be a thing, but oh well.

Cory and Alan are going to a baseball game and are going to see the Blue Angels. Whenever the Blue Angels are in town, they have to close part of the highway for a while, so I’m not too fond of them.

The doorbell rings, so Mrs. Matthew goes to answer it. On the way there, she hears Eric on the phone with Heather, telling her to just wear a turtleneck. Aw, yeah, Eric gave Heather a hickey. You go, Eric. By the way, I’m starting to wonder if Heather is going to be like Heather Sinclair on Degrassi in that we’re never actually going to see her.

Anyway, at the door is Alan’s assistant Leonard Spinelli, who’s… not… Jerry Lewis? I don’t know.

There’s some problem at the grocery store where the two of them work. Apparently the shelf of Perrier over the produce section collapsed and pierced all the produce and spread to the Alka Seltzer aisle. Why is there an entire aisle for Alka Seltzer? It’s like on tv commercials where they’re standing in a grocery store telling you to buy the product and the entire aisle only has hundreds of the exact same product and nothing else in it. And why did they have cases of Perrier over the produce section, instead of in the stockroom? So many questions…

It’s some big emergency, so Alan has to go help take care of it even though it’s his day off and he had plans. I’m not sure why they really need him, though. The assistant manager is there. It sounds like all they’d really need to do is close the store for a few hours and get a mop and a lot of paper towels. Alan could come in at the end of the day or the next day to take care of whatever paperwork would be necessary, but I just don’t think he would need to be there right now.

Much later that day, Eric and Cory are asleep. Alan comes in and tell Cory that the Phillies are playing on the West Coast, and various baseball-related terms are thrown about. I gather the game is exciting, though. Cory runs downstairs to watch it. Alan asks Eric if he’d also like to watch the game, but Eric is naked and taking a math test, so he can’t.

So Cory and Alan are downstairs, pigging out on junk food – specifically potato chip sandwiches and soda. And can we take a minute to appreciate Cory’s can of Pepsi?

Just look at it. Cans look so different now.

Alan reveals that he hasn’t told Mrs. Matthews about this little bonding session. I’m sure this will be important in a future argument. Except Mr. and Mrs. Matthews never argue that much. They each present their side of the argument, one says they’re disappointed, the other knows they did something bad, and they discuss how to fix it. It’s sort of refreshing, considering all of the tv shows in recent years where the married couple argue endlessly about nothing at all.

…Back at school, Cory’s class has just finished taking a test. For some reason the camera is showing the classroom from the right side now, after showing it from the left in the first episode. Also, spoiler alert. This classroom set is going to be used for the next 5 years.

Cory is asleep, and has apparently only answered 1 question out of 40, and even got that wrong. Cory says he was up til after midnight for the baseball game. I know Cory’s 11, but I’ve stayed up after midnight plenty of times and still managed to stay awake in school. Well, usually I get sleepy around 1:30 in the afternoon, but still.

I’ve just remembered Mrs. Matthews is named Amy. I can’t recall if they’ve referred to her by name yet. Anyway, Amy is shocked and disapproving that Alan let Cory stay up that late on a school night. She tells Alan to go fix it. I totally called that earlier.

Alan and Cory go outside to talk to Feeny. Alan and Cory say that this kind of baseball game comes alone once in a lifetime (Cory even citing actual statistics to back him up), Feeny says that a good education is more important then staying up to watch one stupid baseball game.

They all have really good points. In the long run, staying up to watch a game or a tv show probably isn’t going to matter much whereas being well-educated in reading, writing, arithmetic, whatever is probably going to matter much. But on the other hand, when you’re 50 years old, what are you going to remember more? That evening spent with your father, watching baseball, or where tomatoes were originally cultivated?

Alan tells Cory he’s going to take him to the YMCA to play some tennis. Amy says she’s really proud of Alan for wanting to spend time with Cory, even if making up him stay up late and fail a test wasn’t the best result.

Meanwhile, Leonard Spinelli returns. There’s a problem at the store. Alan brings up a point I was sort of making earlier – the whole reason they hire an assistant manager, such as Leonard, is so there’s someone to assist the manager (Alan) when he’s not there. Leonard seems to think his job is just to tell Alan when something is happening at the store so he can take care of it instead of Leonard.

Alan and Cory are about to leave, and Leonard says that from now on he’ll handle things when Alan isn’t there, and he’ll definitely make sure that they don’t put the lighter fluid next to the rotisserie chickens again.

…Why was the lighter fluid next to the rotisserie chickens in the first place? It seems like a bad idea just on its own to have lighter fluid in a place that sells food. Usually that kind of stuff is sold towards the front of the store. Or in supermarkets which are different from grocery stores. What the is wrong with the people who run this store? Putting cases full of bottles on a shelf over the fresh produce? Putting lighter fluid next to slow cooking chicken? Maybe Alan really should be at the store more often so these things don’t even have a chance to happen.

Alan apologizes for having to leave Cory again, and he says he was wrong for keeping Cory up last night.

Later we see Cory outside hitting a tennis ball with his racket when he accidentally knocks it into Feeny’s yard. He climbs over the fence to get it.

This is possibly the only time we’ll ever see Cory in Feeny’s yard.

Feeny catches Cory, because he was sitting out in his yard in the dark. He has a table set up that appears to have some alcoholic beverages in it, and there’s an additional lawn chair sitting out there. Yeah, that’s not creepy in the slightest.

Feeny then asks Cory if he’d like to have a drink. Cory eagerly accepts.

But it turns out it’s apple juice. And maybe Feeny was sitting in his yard with two chairs in the hopes that Cory would come over to talk to him. You know, Feeny doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends.

Feeny talks about growing up during World War II, and how he couldn’t always get what he wanted – butter on his toast, new sneakers, etc. One day, Feeny heard that President Truman was going to be on the radio to announce the end of the war. He asked his father if he could stay up for it. His father told him no, because he had school the next day. Cory asks if it was because Feeny’s dad wanted him to have a good education, but Feeny says it’s because his dad just didn’t want him hanging around with him and his drinking buddies.

Feeny then says the next day at school, he was well-rested and ready to learn, but now, 50 years later, he can’t remember what it was he learned that day. Which is pretty much what I was saying earlier. I’m not sure if I’m just really clever, genre-savvy, or if it’s because I’ve seen this episode so many times that it’s been ingrained in my subconscious.

Alan shows up and tells Cory it’s time for bed. He tells Feeny that he’ll have Cory in bed every night when he’s supposed to be from now on, but Feeny tells him that if he had a son, he’d let him stay up to listen to the radio or watch a baseball game or just for no reason at all. If I’ve got this right, the teacher is saying that education is less important than life experiences. If that’s not a sign you should just drop out of school right now, I don’t know what is.

In the next scene, Cory’s laying on his bed and Amy shows up to tell him goodnight. He has questions about, basically, who’s right, and Amy tells him that sometimes two adults can have two different ideas and both be right.

Alan comes in and says that he’ll always be around to tell Cory what he missed. It’s then implied that Alan and Amy are going to have sex.


This episode was sort of weird. I guess the main point was just what Amy said – that two people can have opposing viewpoints and still be right. By the end of the episode, both Alan and Feeny have changed their views… sorta. Of course Feeny still won’t let Cory make up the test he failed, but we know that Feeny totally understands where Cory and Alan are coming from. But I’m not sure Alan really learned anything. There wasn’t any big thing about how education is important. Cory failed one test and then Feeny was like “Hey, life experiences are just as important if not moreseo than school”, and then Alan decided that Cory was never staying up late again.

I think the obvious solution here would be to make Cory study for his tests and whatever, then take a nap, and then let him stay up to watch baseball games. Teenagers do that kind of crap all the time. Sure Cory’s 11 right now, but, hey.

Most of this is sort of moot anyway because Cory will basically stop being interested in sports completely, later on.

I’m excited for the next episode, though. Why? One word: Topanga.


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