Episode Title: Boys II Mensa, originally aired Oct. 29, 1933
Cory cheats on an IQ test and decides to run with it. A Mensa representative comes to test him at home, so he finally comes clean to his parents and Feeny.
Before we begin with the episode, let’s just take a moment to appreciate what this episode’s title has for us.
Reference to 1990s R&B boy band? Check.
Allusion to this episode featuring our characters and the high-IQ society, Mensa? Check.
We begin in Feeny’s classroom. Feeny’s about to pass back book reports. Cory has a red clown nose on and is silently creating antics. Feeny catches him.
Feeny: Should I express my usual disappointment or just ask you to guide my sleigh tonight?
Oh, Feeny. You do love Christmas joy and all things that are good. After Cory reminds him that it’s test-driving a Halloween costume, Feeny tells him he has to keep it on for the rest of class. Feeny tells Cory that his C on his assignment is a not one of his better efforts.
Cory: Hey! This isn’t fair! Rick and I both got a C and you praise him but say that I’m a disappointment?
Feeny: Would Bozo please come to the center ring?
Cory: (just to Cory, at Feeny’s desk) Mr. Lewis worked very hard to get his C and I respect him for that. You on the other hand waste your efforts on being the class clown.
Mr. Feeny. Dishing out that wisdom this week left and right. Differentiating so that he’s spurring each student to reach his or her full potential.
Later, in the hallway, Cory and Shawn find the answers to the next day’s IQ test. Cory wants to memorize them to get Feeny off his back and treat him how he treats Minkus. Cory, against Shawn’s advice that it would complicate things, decides that he has to give it a try.
Later, when Feeny is giving the results, he’s explaining that someone scored so high on the IQ test that it wasn’t only the highest in the class, school, or city, but makes him question the ceiling for human intelligence.
He turns to Mr. Matthews.
Feeny: I have clearly underrated you and I bow to your genius.
Cory: It’s no big thing, Mr. Feeny.
Feeny: On the contrary, Mr. Matthews. It is a very big thing.
Cory: Uh oh.
After stressing about it all night, being questioned by his parents, and finding out that a State Department of Education official will be doing a home visit, Feeny asks to meet with Cory the next day at school.
Feeny: Mr. Matthews. I brought you down here in case there was anything you cared to say to me.
Cory: About what, Mr. Feeny?
Feeny: Oh, I dunno. Sports, the weather. The inevitable ramifications of deception?
Cory: I choose sports.
Feeny: Too bad.
Cory: How come?
Feeny: Your new school doesn’t have any.
Cory: For a minute there, I thought you said new school. Hahaha.
Feeny: I did. One that offers an entire curriculum geared towards students like yourself. No mindless distractions such as baseball, football, basketball.
Cory: Wait a minute. What do they do for fun?
Feeny: They study.
Cory: What do they do for exercise?
Feeny: They study til they sweat.
Cory: No sports teams at all?
Feeny: Well they have a highly spirited chess team.
Cory: Chess? Ya know, Mr. Feeny, I’ve been thinking. As fun as that sounds, the smart kids at that school don’t really need me. You and my friends here need me.
Feeny: Oh but we’d be holding you back.
Cory: No you wouldn’t. I could help you teach a class. You and I could be a team. Help teach a class. Two men with IQs working together for the good of all these deserving kids.
Feeny: No I think we’ll have to muddle through without you. The school district is committed to giving gifted children everything they deserve. And I think you’re going to deserve everything you’re going to get.
Cory: I don’t think I deserve anything.
Feeny: But according to the test, you do.
Cory: Mr. Feeny. I’m smart enough to know that you don’t really think I’m a genius.
Feeny: Mr. Matthews, it no longer matters what I think. What matters is that you’re no longer in my class.
Cory: Don’t you love Halloween? No one is what they seem to be.
Cory later attacks Shawn with a Nerf gun and a fun “Searching for Bobby Fisher” reference. He explains that he’s going to be taken away to another school.
Later, the Dolores Umbridge-acting lady who has come to the Matthews household to give the test gives snide remarks about middle class America, working moms, manual labor, and acts like some sort of elitist. Cory finishes the test. The results seem to say Cory is has the IQ of an average 6th grader. But then… A TWIST!
The 1993 version of Dolores Umbridge accuses Cory of cheating… on this new test! She claims he threw the test because he doesn’t want to leave his old school. Cory admits he cheated on the first test. Cory comes clean to his parents about how he memorized the test.
Umbridge Lady: You’ll excuse me, but there are actual prodigies out there who deserve my attention and respect. I can’t waste my time with normal people like you.
Mr. Matthews: Well, you’ll excuse me, but normal people like us have raised our children to be normal kids. I’m sorry if they don’t fit some arbitrary intellectual standard of yours.
Mrs. Matthews: But we’re NOT sorry that they’re well brought up and completely normal.
This is when a storyline I haven’t felt is important at all (Morgan going shopping for a Halloween costume with Eric, ending up a zombie) becomes important as Morgan comes running down the stairs in her zombie costume.
Cory finds out he’s grounded for 2 weeks (AFTER HALLOWEEN! As long as he doesn’t go as someone who cheats on tests…)
Mrs. Matthews: Don’t ever try to be something you’re not.
The next day at school. The bell rings. The clock is ticking down on this episode and it appears our dreams come true as we’ll end the episode with Feeny wisdom.
Cory: Bozo resigns. I’m turning in my nose. I figure as long as I’m giving up being a class genius, I’ll give up being a class clown too.
Feeny: Fair trade. Welcome back to class, Mr. Matthews.
Cory: I guess I thought a guy had to be a genius to gain your respect.
Feeny: All my students have to do to earn my respect is try their hardest.
Cory: I guess that’s why you didn’t bust Rick Lewis for failing this week’s math quiz.
Feeny: That’s right. He did the best he could. He just didn’t understand the material. I consider that a failure of mine. And I will try MY HARDEST to make sure that Mr. Lewis understands the next assignment.
Cory: Well, I think that’s really cool of you, Mr. Feeny.
Feeny (to himself): I’m cool. God help me!
While the credits would have you believe they’re Feeny free, it ends up being a wonderful Feeny/Cory clip. So wonderful, you have to watch it for yourself! Here’s the final five minutes of the episode below. If you want to skip straight to the epilogue scene (surpassing, for some reason I can never understand, the Matthews’ standing up for middle class values & Feeny’s final wisdom to Cory) go to the 3:40 mark.
If you want to watch the rest of the episode, here’s part 1 of 3.
AND part 2 of 3.
So what did we learn this week, Feeny fanatics?
1) Mr. Feeny has always been a symbol on television of what a true educator should be. He differentiates. He takes responsibility when his students who are trying as hard as possible fail. He realizes he needs to improve. In humility, he becomes the best teacher a student could have.
2) The Matthews family stands up for middle class America. The values. The love. The joy. The care. The nurturing. The sarcasm. The Matthews family IS America.
3) Deception doesn’t work.
4) Multiple intelligences matter. As the final scene showed, just because your book smarts don’t stand out or you don’t dominate an IQ test doesn’t mean you aren’t clever, witty, or intelligent in other ways.
5) Feeny always knows. But Feeny, facilitating learning and wisdom, isn’t about yelling at his students or being angry at them. He continually gives them chances to come clean, to do what’s right, and to learn the right way. This continues to keep the students coming back to him, wanting more wisdom, and realizing, day-by-day, Friday night-by-Friday night, week-by-week, that Feeny is very wise and very cool.
Something we’ve known all along, dear readers. Until next time… may the Feeny be with you!
Recent Feeny Friday Entries