Boy Meets World / Girl Meets World
FEENY! That was something we heard every week on TGIF’s monster Friday night lineup in the mid to late 1990s on ABC’s popular “Boy Meets World”.
William Daniels was the patient and well classically versed teacher/principal/neighbor “George Feeny” to the Matthews family. He was Cory and Shawn’s teacher through middle school, he became their teacher and principal through high school and their professor in college – imagine that. Regardless of his professional relationship with the Matthew’s children, he was a friend and neighbor first.
In “Boy Meets World”, Feeny never let an opportunity to slip to teach values, morals and life skills to Cory, Shawn, and Topenga as he helped prepare them for life. He taught the standard knowledge in school but his role, and what made him such a beloved and called upon confidant to the children, was his ability to teach those values and problem solving skills.
Don’t get us wrong, the children could play on his last nerve since he could never get away from them, but his impact on their lives can be seen today.
Boy Meets World (Rider Strong, Danielle Fischer, Ben Savage) was a highly popular show that defined a generation. It ran longer than most sitcoms of it’s time. Daniels played a huge part in the success of the show with his beloved character which set up a later spin-off that would come almost 20 years later.
In 2015 the creators of “Boy Meets World” and Disney decided to launch “Girl Meets World” which portrays Cory and Topenga as the parents of Riley and Auggie (Ben Savage and Danielle Fischer revived their roles as Cory and Topenga). Together they help their oldest daughter take on life as they did when they were children.
Anyone who grew up in the 1990s that knew the show was launched on Disney sat anxiously by the TV waiting to see Daniels revive his role as Feeny in some fashion. We got that as Cory who realized he’s helped his daughter grow up thus far to be a responsible, loving and outgoing young lady (from his own teaching – he is her teacher and as her father). He looks across the subway station at a poster of Feeny on the wall when Feeny appears saying “Well Done Mr. Matthews” – a famous phase he used throughout Boy Meets World.
In Girl Meets World they even go back to Cory’s house to dig up a time capsule in Feeny’s yard. Feeny comes and gives advice to his beloved students (Cory, Topenga and Shawn) while giving some advice and wisdom to the new generation (Riley and Maya).
Another cameo appearance came when Mrs.Svorski, a woman who Cory and Topenga’s youngest child Auggie looks up to, dies. Cory realized how short life is and how important people are to our lives and our memories. He went home after the funeral and called Feeny to see if he was OK.
These appearances of Feeny by Daniels is the icing on the cake for this sitcom. I have a feeling this series will be equally as successful as the original.
Other Roles and Accolades
Outside of Boy Meets World and cameo appearances on Girl Meets World, Daniels career boasts success. He portrayed Dustin Hoffman’s father on “The Graduate” (1967). The graduate was one of the biggest blockbuster hits in the 1960s.
Daniels landed what is arguably the most crucial role of his career in 1982 as heart surgeon Dr. Mark Craig on the hit series St. Elsewhere. This character won Daniels two Emmy Awards for outstanding lead actor in a television series (1985, 1986).
Outside of TV and Film he also appeared on stage. He was cast in the show as John and later took over the role of Clarence Jr. He also appeared on “A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof”
Daniels career has indeed touched our lives one way or another. His face is easily recognizable and his work has not only entertained us, but left a mark on our lives as we learned from his characters.
The Total Tutor Neil Haley interviewed William Daniels in an exclusive one on one. Listen to the interview here: