This summer, the new spin-off of “Boy Meets World” (called “Girl Meets World,” which revolves around Cory and Topanga’s kids) will premiere. Rumor has it that he’s filmed some scenes, but odds are William Daniels, 86, will not be in every episode. I think it’s prudent to discuss the reasons we all identify with his character, Mr. Feeny, especially now that we’re older.
1. You’re smarter than most of the people in your life.
Odds are you’ve caught a few reruns of the show. Maybe you’ve obsessively DVRed it and you still cry during the finale. Either way, if you grew up watching it and you catch an episode every now and then, you have probably realized that most of these characters are absolute idiots. No wonder Feeny always looks so frustrated. Whether it’s Cory falling for Lauren, Shawn joining that cult, or literally any moment Eric is on screen, you watch every episode and just shake your head wishing they’d listen to the life lessons you yell at the screen.
2. You find yourself sounding like a fortune cookie.
You have friends, and those friends may occasionally ask for advice. Though you do your best, ultimately whatever advice you try to give them just comes off sounding like what you read off of your fortune cookie last night. Maybe it accidentally sounds like a motivational poster or one of those pictures with the famous quote on it that your one friend tweets ALL THE TIME.
3. Nobody knows where you’re from.
The popular teacher was from Boston, but even his closest friends often thought he was British. If you don’t have a pseudo-regional accent and you’re remotely new to your job or city, nobody knows where you’re from. They will try to guess, and often they will remember the first letter, or the right city in the wrong state. Maybe they remember that one sports conversation where you mentioned a team you’re a fan of. I feel your pain, Feeny.
4. People think you’re stuffy and boring, but you aren’t.
Whether it’s interns or friends who are still in college, they are still living free lifestyles. As you transition into your postgrad life, some sort of routine will develop. The youngsters around you won’t understand this. They will assume that any regular bedtime schedule or financial responsibility is just a sign that the fun part of you no longer exists. They will just assume that you aren’t cool enough. It’s up to you whether or not it’s worth hopping in an amazingly dangerous rollercoaster to prove them wrong.
5) You are a loyal friend.
Feeny isn’t just a teacher; he is a friend. He stands up against bad teachers, bullies, a cult leader, and even a professional wrestler for the sake of those kids. He sticks by them even when they don’t deserve it, and he pushes them to be better people. He staunchly claims he has no favorites, and as the show closes he confesses to an empty classroom, “I love you all… Class dismissed.”
6) You have an Eric in your life.
C’mon… you know you do. Everybody has that guy who is fun to be around, but an absolute doofus. If you’re lucky, he’s your best friend in addition to being a wide-eyed buffoon. He’s like a dog that is just brimming with excitement to be your friend and have an adventure with you. Nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, given your new stuffy lifestyle, you need someone like him to help you break out and have fun.
William Daniels has had an impeccable career; he was in “The Graduate” and “St. Elsewhere”, and he was even the president of the Screen Actors Guild for a few years. But to an entire generation, he will always be the lovable Mr. Feeny, and with a character as memorable and impacting as him, I can’t help but be proud to say I’m like him.