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There's a famous scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Ferris's economics teacher (played by Ben Stein) takes roll, and Ferris is absent.

Well, later in the film there's another scene where Ferris uses his home computer to access the school's system, to change his number of absences from nine to two.

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When looking at his computer screen, it shows his basic student information, and his current course schedule:

  • ENG COMP (English Composition)

  • CALCULUS

  • CHEMISTRY

  • LUNCH

  • GYM

  • COMPUTER SC (Computer Science)

  • UTPIAN SCY (Utopian Society)

  • EURO HIST (European History)

But, what about economics?

The course Ben Stein is teaching definitely seems to be economics, since some of the topics include: the Great Depression, the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act, and the Laffer curve.

Was this an oversight by the creators, or, is it mentioned at some point that Ferris perhaps switched courses mid semester? But, wouldn't that still be reflected in his course schedule?

  • 2
    There's a "PAGE 1" at the bottom of the screen - and not all days/periods are covered on the current page – HorusKol May 4 '18 at 6:38
  • @HorusKol So, you're suggesting that Ferris is taking more than 7 courses in a single semester, and, that his school day is longer than 8 hours (where 1 period = 15min)? Hmm... – Charles May 4 '18 at 7:03
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    The day that Ferris skips is on a Wednesday, because when they're at the ball game, Ferris mentions to Cameron that they'd be in gym class at that time. When looking at his course schedule for Wednesday, there's a class for each period interval. So, just going off that schedule, Ferris's entire Wednesday is accounted for. – Charles May 4 '18 at 7:08
  • Also, the baseball game itself was real, and was played on June 5th, 1985, which is a Wednesday. – Charles May 4 '18 at 7:10
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    I don't about US high schools - but I had 12 subjects on the go at the same age in the the UK... But with the additional information about the day, I retract my first comment. – HorusKol May 4 '18 at 7:30
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Since European history is one of the subjects, maybe the course was European history.

The Great Depression was part of European History, causing, among other effects, the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany.

the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act was part of European History, reducing trade between the USA and other countries including European ones, and thus making the Great Depression more depressing.

The Laffer Curve is an economic theory that applies, if valid, to European countries as well.

The list of teachers on the screen is:

ENG COMP HOLLNDR

CALCULUS MCMURRY

CHEMISTRY GUNNER

LUNCH *******

GYM CARLYLE

COMPUTER SCI COWEN

UTPIAN SCY JARDIN

EURO HIST RICE

There are no characters listed with the Surnames of Hollander, McMurry, Gunner, Carlyle, Cowen, Jardin, or Rice.

There are three characters listed as teachers:

Edward Le Beau - Gym Teacher (could be Carlyle)

Del Close - English Teacher (could be Hollander)

Ben Stein - Economics Teacher (and maybe he is Rice teaching European History)

This may be a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. There may have been a change in the courses Ferris was supposed to have during production, and someone may not have got the memo. Thus Ben Stein's character may have been listed as "Economics Teacher" in the credits and "European history teacher Rice" in Ferris' student file.

Since the room numbers seem to be clearly visible in the computer screen, checking to see if any are visible in any scene may be a good idea.

https://i.stack.imgur.com/rzDvH.jpg1

Each of Ferris's courses is four days a week, which implies that every period occupied by a class should be open one day a week except Wednesday & Friday, which perhaps is a study hall at different periods each day. Since all of the classes are on Wednesday there is no room for another one on Wednesday, the day Ferris skips school.

In any case, it seems to me that European History is the course where it would be the least odd or unlikely to discuss economic subjects, especially since 2 out of 3 are historical events.

  • "Since European history is one of the subjects, maybe the course was European history". -- I appreciate your efforts, but it can't be European history because Ben Stein's class was one of the first classes of the day; whereas, if you look at Ferris's schedule, European history is his last class of the day (during periods 30-32). So, just going off Ferris's schedule, it would have to be either Eng Comp, Calculus, or Chemistry, and it's clearly none of those. – Charles May 5 '18 at 12:44
  • Then I think it must be a case of Ferris having a different list of classes according to different persons with different jobs who worked on the production. An Inconsistency – M. A. Golding May 5 '18 at 12:47
  • I'd say you're right on though about why he skips on Wednesday(s).. if you look at his scores, his worst grades are in gym (a C and D). And then, when they're at the ballgame, Ferris makes a comment about how they'd otherwise be in gym class. So, perhaps a large majority of Ferris's nine absences were from him skipping Wednesdays to avoid gym, and because he doesn't have study hall on those days either. – Charles May 5 '18 at 12:51

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