George Feeny: Ultimate Pop Culture Teacher 2019

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March 29, 2019


That’s the refrain we heard over and over again (and saw so much in gif form) as fans carried George Feeny (William Daniels in “Boy Meets World” and “Girl Meets World”) to the end of our March Teacher Madness 2019 bracket.


We thought the competition would be tougher (our own prediction was John Keating, played by Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society”), but we guess there’s no denying the power of the Disney Channel and nostalgia for the ’90s.

In the final round, against another ’90s favorite, Ms. Frizzle from “The Magic School Bus,” Mr. Feeny won by almost a 3-to-1 margin.

Many folks predicted this match-up, and it was a hard choice for some.

“As a child I would choose the fun of Frizz, but as an adult, I choose the wisdom of Feeny,” wrote Heather D.

“While Ms. Frizzle is a fun teacher who can teach subjects in an exciting way, Mr. Feeny can teach both the subject and life lessons you never knew you needed ... sometimes both without the students (and the viewers) realizing they're learning either of them. Feeny all the way,” wrote Melissa B.

“HOW DO I CHOOSE!?!” lamented Katie D.

“This is cruel and unusual punishment,” said Maggie K.

But the bracket didn’t start there – we had to choose our Studious 16 first, in four “conferences,” no less. Talk about tough choices.

Sorry, Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss in “Mr. Holland’s Opus”). Maybe next time, Mr. Thackeray (Sidney Poitier in “To Sir, With Love”). Ben Stein in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Hayley Mills in “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” (the sort of first season for “Saved by the Bell”). Miss Crabtree from “Our Gang”/“The Little Rascals.” The list goes on – and gives us plenty to work with next year.

And while we figured Ms. Frizzle would make it to the final round, it was sad to see office favorites Mrs. Puff (“SpongeBob SquarePants”) and Miss Othmar (Linus’ crush in the “Peanuts” specials) go in the first round. In fact, Miss Othmar lost by one vote to Edna Krabappel (“The Simpsons”), but then got two votes a couple hours after the deadline. Oh, well, rules are rules, as many of our teachers would say.

In assembling the Studious 16, one interesting fact stood out: For a profession dominated by women, it seemed the vast majority of well-known TV and movie teachers are men. But that’s nothing new for Hollywood.

Back in the first round, John Keating vs. Dewey Finn (Jack Black in “School of Rock”) inspired a couple favorite comments:

“I will lose all faith in the world if John Keating loses to any other movie teacher on this list. ‘School of Rock’ was fine, but ‘Dead Poets Society’ was a classic,” wrote Kimberly R. He did make it to the end of the movie rounds, at least.

“I don't think people give Dewey Finn enough credit. He is an example of how you can’t teach a student until you make connections and show them that they matter,” Kristine K. said.

We hope you had as much fun with our March Madness bracket as we did. We’ll leave you with some of Mr. Feeny’s most famous words of advice. Head over to Buzzfeed for the full list:

5 Lessons We Learned From Mr. Feeny

1. What a real hero is.
“But, to me, a real hero is someone who does the right thing, even when the right thing isn’t the easy thing to do.”

2. Take risks.
“Sometimes a sure thing is not the best thing.”

3. You can change the world.
“See, it’s not just enough to leave school and just desire to succeed in this cold, cruel world. Because then you’ve simply become a part of it. You must also have the desire to change it. And to change it, you’ll need your fine mind, and his good heart.

4. Don’t take things for granted.
“Sometimes the things you complain most about are things you care most about. Unfortunately, we don’t always know that until it’s too late.”

5. Do good.
“Believe in yourselves, dream, try. Do good.”
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