|Season 1, Episode 15|
February 4, 1994
Ed Decter & John J. Strauss
"There is no model household. There are no model parents. A family is a living, breathing thing that requires constant adjustment and change."
"Model Family" is the 15th episode of season one of Boy Meets World, and the 15th of the overall series. It first aired on February 4, 1994. The episode was written by Ed Decter and John J. Strauss, and directed by David Trainer.
'Leave It to Beaver' is shown in Mr. Feeny's class as a segue into an assignment about the ideal family. A group of four, with a mother, a father, and two children, would have to work together to solve problems. Cory argues that they already did that assignment in the previous grade but Mr. Feeny doesn't care. Each student will write a profile of their ideal family member. Shawn and Minkus are paired as brothers, which means Minkus must write a profile of his ideal brother, portrayed by Shawn, and vice versa. Cory is laughing at Shawn's predicament until he gets assigned as their father and Topanga as the mother.
Eric and his friend, Jason are at the mall striking out with girls when an attractive woman comes up to Eric and offers him a modeling job. Jason is adamant Eric doesn't abandon him for some strange woman but knows when he's beat and leaves. Meanwhile, at the house, Cory and his model family are go over each other's profiles. Topanga's model husband is in tune with mother nature while Cory's model wife reads like a friend who's supposed to let him win at games. As an only child, Minkus has a forty-page booklet on ideas for his perfect sibling which Shawn immediately (and literally) discards. Eric interrupts the not-so-model family to tell the kids he was discovered at the mall and they inform him he was scammed. He paid $90 for modelling photos and when his parents come home from shopping, Cory tells them what happened.
Suffice to say, Alan is furious over his son forking over $90 for pictures but Amy takes him outside and convinces him not to yell at Eric. Instead, they should hang back and let Eric learn from his mistake. It works to a point, when Eric meets them outside, on the way to the mall to get his money back. But as soon as he gets to modelling woman's mall kiosk, she tells him she got him a modelling job at the mall. Eric gets home to inform his family that he's going to quit his job at the grocery store to pursue modelling. Amy decides to try things Alan's way and after a lecture, Eric is still convinced his mall gig is the way to go so Alan lets it go. Cory more than anyone is surprised and thinks his dad is making a mistake but Alan seems to think Amy was right about Eric going through with the potential mall mistake and learning something from it.
The next day, Cory's model family are giving their presentation to Mr. Feeny. Cory is sporting a Navajo headband, Topanga is in a Phillies jersey, Shawn is rocking a glasses/sweater-vest combo, and Minkus has abandoned his glasses for an gas station looking shirt. The problem they have to solve is "older brother" Minkus wanting a tattoo. In the end, he reveals he got a temporary tattoo, without telling anyone. Cory is upset that Minkus screwed up the assignment but Mr. Feeny tells him otherwise. Real families have to adapt to things that happen, whether expected or not. Life isn't perfect like 'Leave It to Beaver'. That's something Eric finds out when he shows up to his modelling gig, only to realize he has to dress up in a lobster costume to promote a restaurant. What's more, he has to get into a dunk tank in front of everyone, including his family and some girls who had been fawning over his "male model" status. His friend manages to dunk Eric in the tank of butter to win a free lobster dinner.
Later that evening, Eric gives an impressive pitch trying to win his job back but his father already filled it. After some pleading, Alan relents and gives Eric the weekend night shift. Cory figures Eric should take it because he won't be using his Fridays and Saturdays date nights after the girls who saw him as "lobster boy" tell every other girl about it. Eric accepts and goes to his room. Cory compliments his father on how he handled the whole situation, evoking Mr. Feeny's words about how "a family is a living, breathing thing". He ends up implying he may have gotten a tattoo. The end-credits tag shows Cory at the mall, flexing in front of the modeling woman. He's trying to get "discovered" but she's not interested. She ignores him for a while and finally manages to chase him away by asking for $90 needed for a modeling portfolio.
- Ben Savage as Cory Matthews
- William Daniels as George Feeny
- Betsy Randle as Amy Matthews
- Will Friedle as Eric Matthews
- Rider Strong as Shawn Hunter
- Lee Norris as Stuart Minkus
- Lily Nicksay as Morgan Matthews
- William Russ as Alan Matthews
- Kelly Packard as Tracy
- Stephanie Dicker as Erin
- Matt Kirkwood as Photographer
- Kristopher Kyer as Mall Announcer
Special Appearance by
- Kathy Ireland as Alexis
Cory: You just love dangling that little string of hope in front of us and yanking it away, don't you?
Mr. Feeny: I had a cat.
Shawn: I bet it hung itself.
Jason: Eric! Take me with you!
Eric: Why would I do that?
Jason: Because I am your friend. We have been friends since we were, like, what? Three years old? You're gonna dump me for her?! You make a decision buddy, right now! Choose: me or her? (he looks at the smiling supermodel) ...See ya!
Cory: You know what the tough thing is about being married?
Alan: Actually *being* married?
Topanga: Okay, you live under our roof. We make the decisions. No tattoo. Tattoo, you, no!
Cory: A person's body is his temple. If our son wants to ornament his temple with a tattoo, let him worship in his own way. Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō... (to Topanga) you are so bizarre!
Topanga: I've decided without benefit of discussion with my spouse ‒ (to Cory) because that's the kind of husband I know you'll be! ‒ the tattoo will have to wait.
Eric: Hey, come on! Don't throw that, Jason. I mean, we've been best friends since, what? We were three years old? Who you gonna listen to, some girls you don't even know or me? (Jason looks at the smiling girls) ...See ya!
Alan: Eric, I can't fire somebody just because you suddenly want to come back.
Eric: Dad, do you remember when I was little? And we used to play Monopoly and I'd roll the dice and land on boardwalk while you had a hotel on it?
Eric: Well you called a miss roll and you let me roll again.
Eric: Well, dad, this modeling thing. I, I miss rolled.
- The clip shown in Mr Feeny's class was from the 1950s sitcom, 'Leave it To Beaver'. It was from season 2, episode 1, titled "Beaver's Poem". However, part of the poem was edited out (probably to shorten the clip).
- "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō" (chanted by "Ideal Husband" Cory) is a Buddhist mantra taken from the Lotus Sutra, meant to be chanted to attain enlightenment. It can be literally translated to "I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law."