Welcome back, Feeny fanatics!
Episode Title: “Class Pre-Union” Originally aired November 26, 1993.
Episode Summary: Mr. Feeny gives an assignment to the class to predict where their life will be by their 20th class reunion, and a special guest appearance from a legendary Hall-of-Fame pitcher!
As always, for those of you wanting to keep score at home, here’s the link for the full episode!
This week’s episode begins with Minkus as King George versus Cory as George Washington in a debate moderated by Mr. Feeny. That Tory scum Minkus is all about defending what King George does for the colonists and Cory suggests that Americans don’t need the British goods and can just get them from Japan. Feeny, as usual, is flabbergasted. Once again, Cory doesn’t seem to understand the value of learning history.
Feeny: If we do not learn history, we will be doomed to repeat its mistakes.
Cory mentions that he’s much more concerned about his future. Feeny, ever the vigilant teacher looking for a teaching opportunity on the fly, has an epiphany… probably the greatest one since the apple fell on Sir Issac’s head. That idea is to see if they can avoid their mistakes before they happen.
The assignment: Create personal histories for yourself as if you’re returning for your 20th high school reunion. What is your occupation? Do you have children? Are those children wrecking havoc upon their sixth grade teachers?
After Minkus shows a bizarre amount of confidence saying he’ll marry Topanga and Topanga saying she’s unsure she supports the institution of marriage (always the lib, that Topanga), the boys begin to plan their future for the pre-union.
Cory decides that he wants to be a Phillies center fielder. Minkus says he’s taking over Microsoft and other tech companies, along with having a child with Topanga named Rainbow Einstein Minkus. Topanga, wearing a toga that removes the hostile competition fashion often creates, is now President of the United States, a country with no military or nuclear weapons (taking the seduction out of the office) and where the men are kept underground only to be used for breeding. (Minkus says he’ll take it.)
Young Mr. Williams dresses like Feeny and Feeny sees right through the ruse.
Cory reveals that his personal history has him playing major league baseball since 11th grade. Feeny challenges him about his salary compared to inflation, his investments, and to what extent he’s thought through this history. Feeny hits him on having a baseball card, but no clue as to how his affairs are managed, no education to figure that out, and no marketable skills once the ball-playing days are over. Feeny gives him an INCOMPLETE until Cory thinks it through more thoroughly.
As usually happens, Cory discusses his problem and disappointment with his father, who discusses how dreams change – from being an architect to wanting to be a good husband and father… possibly even of a Phillies center fielder. We also see how much Cory loves and admires his father’s job. These are the heartfelt moments of the show that, when looking back, so appropriately sum up life and its various paths. And, as usual, Mr. Matthews shows what an admirable father and husband he is.
In side plot #1, Morgan and Amy Matthews are negotiating geniuses sticking it to the rich people.
In side plot #2, Eric is claiming no blame for being victimized by being pushed up against the locker and kissed.
And back to our main plot, Mr. Matthews puts one more reason up on the board that we should start having “Mr. Matthews Mondays” by having legendary baseball pitcher Jim Abbott walk out of the Matthews kitchen. Cory and Eric are shocked. Cory tells Jim Abbott that he is whoever he wants him to be.
Cory can’t understand how Jim Abbott could be in their house. Jim Abbott has heard that Cory wants to be in the big leagues someday. Jim Abbott tells the story of a high school coach who told him he shouldn’t and couldn’t go to the big leagues. Cory asks if he rubbed it in that coach’s face. Eric assures him that Mr. Abbott wouldn’t do that. Jim Abbott tells us he sent him a tape of his no-hitter, but loved that coach because he showed him an application to the University of Michigan.
Ya see, according to Jim Abbott, that coach knew that he needed a big league education in case big league baseball didn’t work out. #brilliant
Jim Abbott also talks about how great it is that he has a big dad who lets him have big dreams… and sends a complete stranger 63 telegrams. Then, a bunch of Cory’s friends show up with baseballs to sign. And Minkus shows up with a basketball. Sigh.
Later, Cory is tossing the ball in the air to himself and catching it. Ah, yes, the classic boyhood moments. Then, his ball goes over Feeny’s fence and Feeny quite crotchetily (it’s a word – adverb of crotchety – just go with it – not the Adam Sandler/Brooklyn Decker/Jennifer Aniston film) tosses it aside mentioning, “When you start respecting my property line, I’ll start respecting your property.”
Cory mentions to Feeny that he, his dad, and Jim Abbott had a talk about his future and they decided that he was going to be a pro baseball player. But they also decided he shouldn’t go pro until he graduates from college.
Feeny: Sounds like this Abbott fellow had his future well planned out and worked hard to get where he is.
Cory: You have no idea how hard, Mr. Feeny.
Feeny: Well, you did better than I expected and I guess you deserve something.
Cory: Is this your way of telling me you’re changing my incomplete to an A?
Feeny: It’s my way of saying (dumping a box of balls out on Cory’s side of the fence) PLAY BALL!
Our final scene shows us that the Matthews marriage still has that special spark and Cory interrupts things as they start to get steamy…
And that wraps up another exhilarating Feeny Friday! What did we learn about our Fantastic Feeny this week?
1) It would be easy, once again, to write Feeny off as too strict and a dream-crusher, not at all the true hero of this episode. BUT, let’s look closer – without Feeny, Cory’s never sad and disappointed. If Cory’s never sad and disappointed, he doesn’t find out how awesome of a dad he has. If he doesn’t realize that, he never gets to meet Jim Abbott. If he never meets Jim Abbott, he doesn’t learn his lesson about education AND get all his balls back from Feeny. Who started this chain of events? That’s right… our fearless Feeny!
2) Feeny respects property rights.
3) Feeny understands the importance of learning from history.
4) Feeny encourages revolutionary thoughts in his students’ minds, without endorsing them and actually critically assessing them.
5) Feeny is just the freakin’ man!
And there’s another exciting edition of… FEENY FRIDAY!
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