“I Dream of Feeny”? Don’t we all, kid. Don’t we all.
Well, here we are. The finale of season 1 of the GREATEST TGIF SITCOM EVERRRR. Or at least the greatest one that I have clear memories of. Which puts it in first place ahead of exactly two other shows.
Cory and Shawn are making some kind of gross boy smoothie – it’s got milk, peanut butter, an unpeeled banana. Shawn wants to put a raw egg in, but Cory says that’s going too far – they ought to scramble it first! But Shawn wins, by telling Cory that Sylvester Stallone eats tons of raw eggs, and doesn’t Cory want to be big and strong like Stallone? That’s such bull plop. Everyone knows if you want to help yourself get large while you’re young, you eat four dozen eggs. And then when you’re grown, you eat five dozen eggs, and you’ll be roughly the size of a barge.
The boys are about to make the smoothie, and Cory shows smarts – just because they’re two boys with a blender, he says, doesn’t mean they have to make a mess! But Shawn is too good for this logic and demands the lid be left off the blender.
Right then, Amy comes around the side of the house. Cory begins freaking out, and tells Shawn to cover for him – he wanted to use the lid, remember? Amy finally enters the kitchen, takes a quick look around at the mess, and then just goes right back outside without saying anything.
The boys spend about 2 seconds attempting to clean up, and Shawn tells Cory to be careful not to get anything on his geography book. Cory wonders since when did Shawn care about geography, but it seems they have a big geography test coming up, and Shawn actually wants to study for it. Shawn quizzes Cory by asking him what the capitol of North Dakota is, and Cory answers with something that sounds like “Bamf”.
The boys then discuss if they should try to conveniently be sick on the day of the test. Shawn says he’s used up all his fake illnesses, and the next time he says his grandma died, Feeny wants to see the body. Cory wonders why it always has to be them with some fake illness to get out of stuff. Why can’t Feeny ever once get sick instead?
Topanga has taken up a yoga position to increase brain performance for the test.
But, shock of all shocks, there is no test! They have a substitute! Feeny has missed class for the first time in his entire career, or for the first time since World War I according to Shawn. The substitute doesn’t have access to Feeny’s lesson plans, so she asks what the class was supposed to do that day. Minkus is about to be that one kid who always tells the substitutes things, but Shawn covers his mouth and tells the sub that they’re supposed to write a 3-line poem about their life.
This is great news for the sub – she majored in epic poetry in her university! And did her dissertation on Beowulf. She hopes they can get through the firs third of it before lunchtime. And then the opening credits play at 5 minutes in. Usually they come at around 2 minutes.
Topanga discusses Feeny’s absence with the Boys. Cory reveals that Feeny missed class because he wished it the day before. Topanga believes him, because the power of the mind is an awesome thing, or something. Cory then theorizes he’s like a member of the X-Men, but he has the power to make people sick. Then Minkus comes over and says he’s not in the mood to exchange insults, because he’s not feeling well. Shawn and Topanga are awed by Cory’s powers affecting not only Feeny, but Minkus, but Minkus reveals he’s feeling down because Mr. Feeny is in the hospital.
Back at the house, Amy is writing a “get well soon” card for Feeny. Cory wonders what the point of the card is, and Amy explains that, through the power of positive thinking, Feeny will feel better quicker and get out of the hospital sooner. Cory asks if the opposite of positive thinking is possible – if someone wishes someone to get worse, would it happen? Alan tells him that’s a basic principle of voodoo, and why is he asking this stuff anyway? Cory says it’s for no reason, he’s just talking and words are coming out of his mouth.
Cory confesses to Eric that he totally made Feeny sick, with his mind. Eric tells him there’s no way that Cory thinking would’ve caused Feeny’s appendix to burst. This actually makes Cory more concerned – if Feeny has appendicitis, that means he has to have an operation. The last time anyone he knew had an operation, they died on the table. But, as Eric points out, that was just their cat, who fell out of a tree, and was in an operation to get his head sewn back on, which is a REALLY gruesome joke for this show.
Cory asks God for a sign, any sign, that Feeny will be okay, and the duck windmill Feeny had set up the day before falls over.
Minkus sums up what they read the day before, and Cory just explodes. He asks when the heck is he ever going to need to know anything about Beowulf. And he really just keeps going about how useless Beowulf is, and… yeah. I have to say, I agree. I think it’s useful to learn about influential literary classics and whatnot, but not once have I ever needed to know anything about Beowulf in any setting that wasn’t directly related to epic poetry where the main character is named Beowulf.
But to be fair, I don’t think they’ve gotten to the part of the story where Beowulf chops Grendel’s arm off and beats him to death with it. That’s pretty awesome.
After Cory finishes his rant about Beowulf being a useless thing to know about, he then wonders what kind of person names a baby Hrothgar, and then asks why he needs to know geography. Now, personally, I think geography is a bit more useful than Beowulf in the grand scheme of things, but I’m still waiting for the time when knowing what the capitol of Estonia is comes in handy.
Cory thinks they should just sit in a circle and talk about whatever they want, and also the substitute should make them cupcakes. The substitute looks like she’s about to smack him, but then tells him he’s right. If he hadn’t said what he did, she could’ve wasted her entire life on… education. Disgusting.
Cory eagerly prods Shawn awake, and the sub pulls out a plate of cupcakes that she baked right that second. And here it is clear that unless the substitute is even more magical than Feeny, this is some sort of dream. Minkus gets up and says something Minkus-y, and the sub tells him to “stuff it, nerd boy”.
Feeny appears and asks who the new teacher is. Cory says her name is Karen – she’s cool, so they’re on a first-name basis. And he explains that they’ve done away with math, geography, whatever else. Cory also tells Feeny that he probably got sick because of all the stress he put on the students, because of karma. Feeny really ought to loosen up a bit, says Cory. Feeny asks if this is what he means by that, and he throws a cupcake at Shawn’s head.
Shawn tells Cory to quit it, and Cory of course tells him that it was Feeny who threw the cupcake. Shawn is disgusted at such a sick joke, and Cory is confused. Feeny explains that Shawn can’t see him, because Shawn isn’t the one responsible. Responsible for what, you and Cory ask? Why, for killing Feeny!
Okay, well, Feeny died in the hospital. Cory didn’t physically kill him.
…Okay Cory didn’t kill him at all. Cory wakes up screaming from this dream, and proceeds to tell Eric about this horrible dream, without even checking to see if Eric was awake, or even in the room. When Eric doesn’t give any sort of response, Cory finally looks over to his side of the room.
Cory tells Feeny that, since he’s awake now, Feeny can’t be here. Those are the rules. Feeny scoffs as Cory’s earthly rules. He’s dead now, so he can be wherever he wants! Cory apologizes, telling Feeny that he only wished for him to get the sniffles, he didn’t want him to die. Feeny tells him it started with the sniffles, and then he walks through a wall.
The next morning finds Cory awake before anyone else in the house, sipping coffee at the kitchen table. I have to give props to Ben Savage and/or the makeup department. Cory really does look a sleepless zombie here. And I would know – it’s Finals Week at my college right now. I’m sure I’m not looking any better than Cory is.
Alan asks Cory since when did he start drinking coffee, to which Cory replies “I always drink coffee after I kill a man.” Alan basically tells him to stop being such a goof. Feeny’s got appendicitis, which Cory did not cause, and Feeny is still alive anyway. Cory asks why he keeps seeing Feeny all the time, and Alan tells him it’s because he feels guilty.
Cory explains that he just wanted to get out of a stupid geography test, and again asks why he even needs to know geography anyway. Alan tells him about this awful teacher he had in 4th grade, and how, when he first got a job as a box boy in the supermarket, he got promoted really fast because he had up long columns of numbers faster than the cash registers. He learned that skill in that teacher’s class, even though he was that kid who was always saying “I’m never gonna need to know this!” By the time he learned that he did actually need that knowledge, it was too late to say thank you. Cory somehow learns a lesson about thanking your teacher for teaching you things you need to know when you’re older – even though being able to add a lot of numbers at once is a lot more useful in the grand scheme of things than knowing that the capitol of North Dakota is not in fact Bamf.
Cory also learns that, since Feeny is just a manifestation of his guilt, he can make Feeny go away – or at least the image of Feeny, since trying to make Feeny go away was what got him into this mess in the first place.
So Cory goes to visit Feeny at the hospital. He brought Feeny a plant. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that the show didn’t do that classic sitcom thing where the visitor thinks the person they’re visiting was in some terrible accident and wrapped up head to foot, or that they’re dead because their bed is empty, or something, and then they give this big confession in anguish about something… I remember that happening on The Nanny a couple of times. I also somehow remember that happening on this very show later on.
Cory says he understands that Feeny’s just trying to teach him something useful. When Cory leaves, he tells Feeny thanks. When Feeny asks him what the ‘thank you’ is for, Cory says he doesn’t know yet.
Cory tries to fix Feeny’s duck, and Feeny appears home unexpectedly early. He asks for Cory to help him plant the geranium Cory brought him at the hospital. Cory is skeptical – his puny plant, taken out of its nice, safe pot and put in the ground? Feeny says something along the lines of ‘it’s weak now, but with a good foundation, it will grow up to be strong and bountiful’ and then finishes with “as long as no one wishes it ill”. Cory gives Feeny a look like he’s wondering if Feeny is actually psychic.
Topanga tells the three boys if they concentrate, they can light the lightbulb, because of positive thinking. As usual, Cory and Shawn make fun of how much of a weirdo Topanga is, and Minkus says the problem is they aren’t taking the experiment seriously enough. He tells them if they just concentrate really hard on something they really want, it will happen.
So Cory and Shawn focus and….
Quantum Leap Minkus out of existence.
There you have it, folks. The explanation for why we never saw Minkus until they graduated high school. He was forced to Leap out to a different part of the school.
SO. This episode. Not really a season finale for the ages. This episode could easily have taken place at any point in the season, and that’s totally fine, for how this season was. It was just an episode-by-episode “boy learns something” show, so it makes sense that the season finale didn’t have any earth-shattering changes or anything. As the format of the show changes slightly later on, we’ll start getting some more season finale-ish finales, but not for right now.
There was a good lesson in this episode. I still stand by my statement that, sure there are things you learn in school that you say are useless to learn but end up being really helpful later on in life, BUT there are a ton of things that are really useless later on in life. I had to learn the order of a bunch of Chinese emperors for one class. You can guess how often that knowledge came up while I was ringing up items at Macy’s over the holidays, or how useful knowing what the molecule chain for glucose turned out to be after I stopped taking biology class.
Besides those gripes, it really IS a good message – a strong foundation can turn even the weakest seedling into a strong and healthy plant… or something. Maybe a lot of stuff they teach in school is ultimately useless knowledge, but it’s still knowledge, and knowledge is power, after all!
This is the first episode that doesn’t have Morgan in it at all.
Awesome moment: The Feeny clones in the kitchen. That scared the crap out of me.
The outfits on this show are only going to get tamer from here on. It’s a shame, I really liked all the plaid shirts and Topanga’s awesome dresses, but oh well.