“Father Knows Less”
|Season 1, Episode 3|
October 8, 1993
The show opens on father and son making hearty sandwiches to take to see the Blue Angels navy flight demonstration. Cory is particularly excited to be spending time with his father but his plans come crashing down, along with a shelf at the supermarket. Assistant manager, Leonard Spinelli, comes to the house in person to deliver the bad news of a broken shelf, among other chaos, and since Alan is manager of the supermarket, he has to cancel plans with Cory, though he promises to make it up to him.
Alan returns home late and wakes up Cory to watch the end of a Philly's game that's stretching into the seventh inning. While eating their potato chip stuffed sandwiches, Cory thanks his dad for waking him up and his dad is happy enough to finally spend time with him. But he advises Cory not to tell his mother about their little father-son bonding. The next day in class, Cory falls asleep and fails a test. He tries to explain why he stayed up past midnight but Mr. Feeny refuses to accept any excuse.
When Cory tells his dad, and inadvertently his mom, Alan sheepishly explains to Amy his reasoning before resolving to ask Mr Feeny to give Cory a make-up test. Both Cory and Alan go see their neighbor, and though Mr Feeny understands, he refuses to change Cory's grade. Alan is surprised and upset, asking why Mr Feeny won't change the grade. Mr Feeny considers it his responsibility to teach all his students the same and Alan thinks the teacher would be more sympathetic if he had a son. With that, the conversation is over, and both neighbors return to their houses.
With Cory upstairs, Alan talks to his wife and admits he knows it was wrong to keep Cory up late and try to weasel his way out of paying the consequences. She in turn understands why he did it. Assistant Manager Lenny comes back with another problem. Before leaving to deal with it, Cory and his father talk about why Mr Feeny was right. Alan believes he failed as a father by keeping his son late and wishes things were different but they're not. Later on, Cory knocks a ball into Mr Feeny's porch and gets caught sneaking over to retrieve it. Mr Feeny surprises Cory by inviting him to sit and talk. He relates a story where, as a child, a young George Feeny asked to stay up late with his father to listen to President Truman. His father wouldn't let him because it was a school night but Mr Feeny believes the real reason was because the older man didn't want his son around his drinking buddies. Mr Feeny concludes that it's important for a boy to spend time with his father.
With the small grocery fire under control, Alan returns to see Cory and Mr Feeny sitting in the garden. After sending Cory to bed, Alan alludes that Mr Feeny was right and he'll make sure Cory goes to bed on time every night. Conversely, Mr Feeny hints that he understands why Alan did what he did and he'd likely do the same if he had a son. Both men bid each other good night. Meanwhile, upstairs, Cory asks his mom why his father and his teacher changed their minds about who was right. She tells him that sometimes two adults can think different ways about something. Though Cory is a bit confused about that reasoning, his father is certain about Cory going to sleep on time. Alan promises that he'll always be there to tell Cory if he misses anything.
- Ben Savage as Cory Matthews
- Rider Strong as Shawn Hunter
- Will Friedle as Eric Matthews
- William Daniels as George Feeny
- Lee Norris as Stuart Minkus
- Lily Nicksay as Morgan Matthews
- Betsy Randle as Amy Matthews
- William Russ as Alan Matthews
- Willie Garson as Leonard Spinelli
- Tommy Brown IV as TV Announcer
Lenny: Mrs Matthews? (shakes Amy's hand) Leonard Spinelli. I'm Mr Matthew's assistant manager.
Amy: Lenny, I know who you are. You've had dinner here maybe 20 times.
Lenny: Oh, well I'm just never sure if I really make an impression on people.
Cory: So, what'd I get?
Feeny: Well, you answered one question out of forty and got it wrong. So, what grade do you think I'm going to give you?
Cory: Can it be found at the beginning of the word "fajita"?
Mr Feeny: Si señor.
Alan: Look, I don't understand why you're making a federal case out of this.
Mr Feeny: Maybe if you were entrusted with the education of thirty-two 6th graders you would understand what I'm talking about.
Alan: And maybe if you had a son, and you were trying to find time to spend with him between your job and fixing your car and insulating the attic, you'd understand what I'm talking about. But you don't have a son, George, so how could you understand?
Lenny: Mr Matthews? (puts out his hand) Leonard Spinelli. I work for your father.
Eric: I know that, Lenny. I see you at the store every day. Look, you're the assistant manager. I'm just a box boy. Why don't you call me "Eric"?
Lenny: That would make me intensely uncomfortable. I blanch at the thought.
Alan: (clears throat) I uh, just want you to know I'm going to have him in bed every night when he's supposed to be.
Mr Feeny: Well, I want you to know that if I did have a son and the opportunity presented itself to wake him up to watch a baseball game or to listen to the president on the radio... or for absolutely no reason at all... (thoughtful pause) Well, goodnight Alan.
Alan: Goodnight, George.