Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Episode 7x02 "For Love and Apartments"

Sigh. I hope this review doesn't ruin your New Year's Eve.

Even though we ended the last episode with Shawn agreeing to go to Pittsburgh, we begin this episode with him not wanting to go anymore. I'll level with ya here Shawnie, I don't wanna go either. Topanga and Angela show up to "get the rest of [their] stuff," which presumably is in the room they lived in. It's needlessly antagonistic to just waltz into Cory's room like this.

Cory tries to cheer everyone up, but it doesn't work and Topanga takes it personally because she sucks. Then Angela, with absolutely no basis for saying it, looks at Shawn and goes "I just can't be in a relationship right now." Yeah, he knows, Angela, did you just come here to shove it in his face again? This is awful. Shawn resolves that he'll do anything to get Angela back, so the two boys head off to Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Eric and Jack are hanging out in what used to be Topangela's dorm. The girls never show up to get their stuff, so I don't understand what they were doing here in the first place. The boys have way too much to say about the Backstreet Boys poster on the wall, so they both decide it's time to leave. I 'on't care. Do you care? Here's a picture of a bunny.

We find Jack and Eric at Brew Lagoon asking Feeny for advice. He suggests they stand up to the "bullies", the three girls. And that's what they're gonna do. And I'm not looking forward to it.

Cory and Shawn have arrived in Pittsburgh and are preparing to start meddling. Shawn suggests that they first figure out why Mama and Papa Lawrence split up in the first place, a stunning display of insight- but Cory swats down that idea immediately because he doesn't think it matters. This is fucking ridiculous. At the very least, we get the first use of the phrase "Topangela" in the show.

So that's nice.

Jedediah Lawrence invites the boys in, though he doesn't seem happy to see Shawn for an as yet unexplained reason. He's played by a new actor, so this is the third incarnation of Jed that we've seen. He doesn't even have the same hair color, it's like they just picked the first guy who walked in to the audition. Cory is so super duper condescending in this scene, it makes me furious. He's explaining how he believes in love and love's purpose, and that Jed has "forgotten" how love works. "I'm eighteen and have had one long term girlfriend who I almost cheated on once so you better listen to me, buster."

It looks like Jed might be coming around, but then we learn that Rhiannon is the one who kicked him out. I guess the boys just sort of assumed it was the other way around. So we hop over to Rhiannon's place, and she's played by a new actress with a different hair color. Cory starts spitting his usual spiel, but it's not getting him anywhere.

Boom, done, case closed, can we all go home? Cory is insufferable right now. He's acting like it's impossible to fall out of love, even though that's exactly what happened with Rachel and Jack, and Cory didn't seem to care one lick about that.

Who could have possibly read this script and said "yeah this is fine let's put this on tv." Is it supposed to be endearing? Or cute or romantic? WHAT IS IT? WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO BE THAT I'M NOT GETTING?

You know, I ate a can of Chunky soup about two hours ago, and I'm already hungry again. It's delicious but it goes right through me...

So Cory sort of fibs that Jed really wants to sit down and talk with Rhiannon, so she agrees to see him. At The Apartment, Eric and Jack demand the apartment back which is stupid since Jack willingly gave it up in the previous episode. Jack says that the girls are just bullies and that he's never backed down from a bully, EXCEPT WHEN HE BACKED DOWN AND GAVE THEM THE APARTMENT.

Topanga challenges the boys to a "steel cage match" for The Apartment. The boys decide that they're afraid of Topanga just because she crushes a soda can on her forehead.

As absurd as this situation is, that is probably one of Jack's funniest moments, just because he completely nails the timing, gesturing, and facial expressions. Doesn't matter though, since the professional wrestler Mankind breaks down the door to The Apartment and offers to be the referee.

.......Yup. Alright.

 So the fighting starts with Rachel taking a swing at Jack. I don't know why Rachel's fighting since she gets to live here regardless. Jack doesn't want to hurt Rachel, but she has no problem slamming his face into a plate of hamburgers a few times. Yeah you read that right. Rachel tags out to Angela, who also slams Jack into the table. Things aren't going very well.

This is pretty damn stupid, but Mankind has a funny voice, so that almost makes it enjoyable for me. Has any other sitcom featured professional wrestlers? We've had like twenty on Boy Meets World. It's weird. Whatever. The girls win. Also the door isn't broken anymore.

Jed shows up at Rhiannon's place, It looks like some Hollywood Magic might get these two back together, but thankfully Boy Meets World remembered that it's not supposed to be bull shit. We learn that Jed's in love with someone new, and even though he and Rhiannon reach a level of amiability here, they're still as divorced as ever.

Then all of this would happen.

Jokes aside, that line is pretty awesome. I talk about this every time it comes up, and we haven't had one in a while, but I love those moments of self awareness where someone (usually Cory) says that they don't know anything. I said in the past that it's a recurring theme, and as you can see, I wasn't making shit up.

At some point in the near future, we find everybody in a classroom a few minutes before class starts. Cory admits to Topanga that they went to see her parents, and of course her immediate reaction is to take personal offense and get angry at him.

FINALLY. Thank you, Shawn. Jeeeeeeeesus, it's about time.

Shawn explains that Cory did everything for her, and she cools down. Cory admits that "sometimes love just dies" and Topanga doesn't want to speak with him further. Taking their seats, Cory tells Shawn "Now it's over."

Well in all reality it should be over at this point. This is definitely new though, with Cory finally accepting it. That alone is enough to convince a first time viewer that this might actually be happening, which, if nothing else, makes a powerful statement about Cory's character.

During the credits, Mankind hangs out with Jack and Eric and I guess it's probably funny for people who follow wrestling.

Plot: 0.25 - The only reason I didn't give it zero is because Rhiannon and Jed didn't get back together. I would have given up on the series however many years ago if Cory had been successful.

Character Development: 0.5 - Cory believes that his relationship with Topanga is over. I would give it the full point if I didn't know that it's only temporaryAnd also the "What if we don't know anything?"

Humor: 0.5 - Mankind, Eric, and Jack were okay.

Life Lesson: 0.5 - Sometimes, love just dies.

1.75 out of 4.0. It had some redeeming qualities, but not nearly enough. The whole wrestling scene lasted wayyyyyy too long, it was obvious they were stretching for content. The whole thing is devoid of content, really. Cory is the most naive he has ever been, and it's almost painful to watch. It's certainly annoying and frustrating. And as I explained in the last review, the whole apartment situation is fucking ridiculous. I really want this arc to be over.

There's been a lot of talk in the comments about Season-7-Eric, and at this point I'm still undecided. He had to deal with stupid nonsense situations in this episode, so I don't think it's fair to judge yet.

Thanks for reading, see you in 2015.

All images used under Fair Use.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Episode 7x01 "Show Me The Love"

Hope you all had a good week last week. Good enough to compensate for how shitty this week is going to be, at least as far as this blog is concerned. These episodes are actually physically painful to watch, and not just because they make you punch the screen over and over.

This marks the first time that the title sequence is carried over from the previous season. 5 to 6 used the same general thing, but 6 added shots of Rachel. This time nothing is different at all, which is a bit of a let down.

One last thing before we dive in. I'm just gonna directly paste a comment on my review of Bee True from a lovely Anonymous.

Hey man! Just wanted to share this with you. Micky Dolenz directed this episode, right? Rider Strong recently told an AWESOME story that happened behind the scenes when they were filming this episode. It involved Strong, Dolenz, and... Justin Timberlake. (Apparently the guys from N*SYNC were hanging out a lot on the set in the 6th/7th season because Danielle Fishel was dating Lance Bass)

You should listen to the story. It's worth it, it's only a couple of minutes. It starts in the 52:17 mark:

It really is hilarious. 

Shawn and Cory kick things off with a bit of meta humor about how they've got Feeny as their teacher for every course this year. Yeah don't drink that joke all in one gulp, cuz it's all we've got for another twenty minutes. The boys proceed into The Dorm, where they mope and complain about their love lives. Shawn seems pretty miserable and comments that the previous year was terrible. That's confusing, since in the finale of season 6, Shawn says to Eric, "I feel really good about my life right now." So there's your lesson folks, personal fulfillment and satisfaction are worth jack when the girl you like doesn't want to date you.

So we're already frustrated with the setup, and that's just Shawn, who's secondary here.  Topanga shows up with the news that her parents officially filed for divorce that morning, and things are pretty awkward and tense.

Those aren't suspenders, they're her backpack straps. Even though she took off her backpack when she came in.

The Chubnomenon's power reaches all the way out to The Dorm today, causing Angela to show up just in time. Shawn mentioned earlier that he asked Angela to be his girlfriend again somewhere between seasons, and she hasn't really given him an answer yet, so he's still sort of waiting on that. Topanga explains that she no longer thinks love exists, and then walks out without making any sense.

What?! This is fucking ridiculous. Not only has Topanga changed into a completely different person, she's taking poor Angela along for the ride. "If love exists then why do people hurt each other all the time?" Where do you even start to explain how fucking stupid that is? A few sentences from Topanga here have convinced Angela not to be with Shawn. For crying out loud, on the list of a thousand reasons not to date Shawn Hunter, this is the one she listens to? I'm already exhausted with this.

Now, okay, alright, in 7x04 we're going to learn that Angela's mother walked out on her family, which is supposed to justify Angela's quick boarding of the Topanga Crazy Train here in this episode. Something like "my mother walked out so I'll inevitably walk out on you". But then why has she never been afraid of being with Shawn before?! I'm asking questions that don't have answers, this plot is a disaster, so let's move on.

Cory and Shawn are going to be following the girls around forever, so they all end up at Brew Lagoon, where they find Jack and Rachel. Keeping with the theme, Jack and Rachel have broken up too, but it seems like they're still good friends. Jack, by the way, has turned into a bronze Adonis in between seasons, and Rachel's hair is a little longer, which I think is a nice improvement too. The boys follow the girls outside now, and they are quickly replaced by Eric, who has a huge announcement to share with everyone in The Union.

I like this because, as Eric explains, it symbolizes his efforts to make changes in his life. There was that point in early season 5 where Eric magically had shorter hair without any comment from anyone, but we're probably not supposed to remember that. Either way, he sits down to talk with Rachel and Jack, and this whole scene is classic Eric, really funny stuff. It gives me the strength to go on.

Outside, Feeny finds the warring Corpanga, who quickly drag him into the argument. Feeny uses blatant common sense to explain to Topanga that she must only look at herself and Cory when making decisions about herself and Cory. Even this insane incarnation of Topanga isn't crazy enough to argue with Feeny, so she goes off to think about what he said. Don't get your hopes up though.

Ahhh, at long last, the (I think) only instance of the Eric Call from Feeny. Awesome.

Eric explains his haircutting metamorphosis, as well as the fact that he's been sleeping in Feeny's car at night since he got kicked out of the apartment. Eric believes that he can move back in with Jack and Rachel now that they've broken up, and thus won't be sleeping in Feeny's car anymore. Again, classic Eric, very funny.

At home, we're seeing something pretty rare, a Morgan plot thread. I don't think we've seen one of these since Alexandra Nechita. Although, it's really a joint-venture between her and Alan. Anyway, she's got her very first date tonight, with a boy in the 8th grade. This is one of the most overdone sitcom stories ever, where dad's being overprotective of his little girl.

Apparently Morgan is in the 7th grade now, which means it's time to investigate. Okay I couldn't come up with anything, but there's gotta be a moment somewhere in the first two seasons where Amy or Alan or Morgan mentions how old Morgan is or what grade she's in. I'm curious if she follows the same time skipping as Cory and Shawn, or if she ages linearly like Eric (who turns 16 in season 1 and graduates at the end of season 3). I'm assuming it's the latter. First grade in season 1 sounds about right.

Topanga and Angela arrive at The Dorm to give their verdicts on all this bull shit. Spoiler, their verdicts are bull shit too.

This is fucking ridiculous! his is the same girl from Long Walk to Pittsburgh? From Starry Night? IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSEEEEEEEEE.



So, what, is she just never gonna date again? It's completely incomprehensible. And Angela tells Shawn they can't be together either, obviously. Ugh. This is the second time Topanga has broken up with Cory. The second time. And they had a mutual breakup in season 3. IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON CORY. Anyone who can break your heart so flippantly is not worth hanging on to.

The boys try to console one another, and reason out that the girls are probably moving out of the dorm to get away from them. Indeed they are, as Eric and Jack find out at The Apartment, where Rachel has invited Topangela to move in.

There was  one-sentence exchange at Brew Lagoon in that early scene between Jack and Rachel that may have POSSIBLY implied a desire to maybe adjust their living arrangement, but Rachel absolutely took that way too far. Like how the fuck could a rational human being not check with Jack to make sure he was moving out? This makes me angry.

It cuts over to The House where it's finally time for Morgan's date. She's wearing something she calls a "tankini", a mix of a tanktop and bikini top, and even I think this one's a little too much for a 13 year old's first date. The boy arrives at the door and Amy brings him into the kitchen. He's got that 90's-as-fuck spiky gelled hair. We learn that it's the boy's first date, which makes everyone a little more comfortable, and Morgan manages to make it out of the house in her "tankini".

A group-effort-guilt-trip occurs at The Apartment, and Jack's a big pushover when Rachel's involved, so now he and Eric are stuck with nowhere to live. Eric is still hilarious though.

Cory sees his parents quickly resolve their fight about Morgan dating, and "realizes" that Topanga's parents can resolve their problems if they simply remember that they love each other. And who better to remind them than the Cory and Shawn Dream Team.

During the credits, Jack and Eric are shown having dinner in the backseat of Feeny's car. It's worth a good chuckle.

Plot: 0 - Pbbbbthhhhhhh

Character Development: 0.25 - Alan accepting his daughter's growing up is worth some points, I guess.

Humor: 1.0 - Eric was great throughout, and Cory had a lot of funny moments too, even though I didn't really mention them.

Life Lesson: 0 - God dammit, Topanga.

1.25 out of 4.0. This is only the beginning. We've got another three or four episodes of this frustration. Hopefully Eric will be consistently funny. That's about all we have to look forward to right now.

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Episode 6x22 "State of the Unions"

There was no commented response to me comparing that guy to Jon Stewart in the last post. I thought that was hilarious. Also, I completely forgot to mention in 6x19 that that episode was directed by Mickey Dolenz. How cool is that? Though I have no idea why he decided to be so involved with this series.

Well we're here. The place where it all goes wrong. Hopefully I can keep from going insane after this point, but you can expect at least one "This is fucking ridiculous" in each of the next five or so reviews.

Topanga finds Cory at Brew Lagoon in The Union with the news of a recently available date at the wedding hall. Cory explains that he's been having more nightmares about marriage, and it's a funny little bit as he explains his most recent one. He adds, though, that it's not enough to dissuade him from getting married so I don't know why he brought it up. Topanga offers no advice or consolation, and just doesn't seem to care at all. Nice.

Cory wonders how she can be so certain and unafraid of getting married, and this is where it all starts to crumble. She says "I just look at our parents, Cory." Yes, Topanga is using the fact that her parents and Cory's parents got married young and remain deeply in love to convince herself that her marriage with Cory will work out. That, instead of, I don't know, how much she loves Cory, or how well they've always gotten along, or that she has faith in their relationship, no no no, that would be silly! Forget that nonsense. They'll be fine because her parents are fine. Who, by the way, are coming into town to discuss the wedding.

Is it weird that she called him "Feeny" in that context? Amy and Alan almost always call him "George".

So Feeny and Bolander are hanging out with Amy and Alan in their kitchen, relaying the news about their upcoming wedding. Amy insists that they have the wedding in her living room, which... um... okay, sure... but that's all secondary to Cory storming in and declaring "Big trouble." He's using his angry-anxiousy voice, you'll know what I mean if you hear it, it's always hilarious. This is some high quality stuff from Cory.

The scene moves to the living room after Feeny and Bolander leave, where we learn that Cory is taking every precaution possible for the meeting with Topanga's parents. After the events in "Long Walk to Pittsburgh" and him keeping Topanga from going to Yale, Cory is understandably worried that her parents hate him. To mitigate as much damage as possible, he's prepared index cards of Do's and Don't's for his own parents to follow, including no impressions from Alan, and no singing from Amy.

I don't think we've seen Topanga's mother before, but that's definitely not Peter Tork, who played Jedediah several times in earlier seasons. Now we've got Anette O'Toole as Rhiannon Lawrence, who I only know as Clark Kent's mother on Smallville, and Michael McKean as Jed, who played the lead singer of fictional-but-now-sort-of-also-real band Spinal Tap in This is Spinal Tap. O'Toole and McKean have proven that sometimes the Irish and Scottish don't hate each other, since they're married in real life.

Meanwhile, Eric finds Shawn at The Union, and Shawn offers a listening ear for Eric's troubles, adding "... can we do that..?", which made me laugh. They take it one step further by reminding us that they lived together for a whole year and still never really got close. It's always nice when the show laughs at itself. So Eric explains that he's lost everything: his home, Rachel, Jack, and now Feeny. He doesn't mention Tommy though, which I think is a wasted opportunity. Shawn suggests that perhaps Eric was more in love with the competition with Jack than Rachel, which seems to strike a chord.

Fortunately, Shawn Hunter is here to dispense the fortune cookie enlightenment he obtained during his road trip. It doesn't really resonate with Eric, but he appreciates the sentiment, and resolves to search for his own fortune cookie enlightenment. On the other hand, as is the way of this show, the content is less important than the sentiment. I do like the idea of Eric and Shawn buddying up, and their chemistry is obvious right away.

At home, the four parents are socializing in the living room while Cory and Topanga spy on them from the kitchen.

This is fucking ridiculous. Who does this! On principle alone you shouldn't be comparing your potential marriage to anyone else's marriage, let alone using someone else's success as the driving force for your own. It's just so stupid, but I don't need to sit here harping about it since Cory's gonna do that for us soon enough.

The parents have some playful argument about television shows, and Alan ends up doing a terrible impression of Johnny Carson, directly against the rules on Cory's index cards. Jedediah starts a hushed argument with Rhiannon about some nonsense, making everyone feel awkward, and showing the viewer that this marriage may not be as stable as Topanga thinks. Baby Joshua cries, perhaps as a result of the hushed argument, it's hard to say, so Amy sings him a lullaby, another strike against Cory's rules. Alan mumbles out another bad impression, the third strike, prompting one of my all-time favorite Cory lines.

The family portrait above the fireplace there caught my eye, and I noticed that it's an updated portrait with Lindsay Ridgeway as Morgan, so I did a little investigating. The portrait from season 1 with Lily Nicksay lasts all the way through season 3, which is interesting since Ridgeway takes over mid season 3 and Nicksay is not present in season 3 at all. It's not until the beginning of season 4 that a new portrait is above the fireplace, the same one that's still there now. TRIVIA. BOY MEETS WORLD. LOOK AT US. WE'RE HAVING FUN.

Jed steps outside to get some air and to get away from the argument (that he started), and Topanga pulls her mother into the kitchen to talk about what's going on. She says the same "you guys make me confident in my totally-unrelated-to-you relationship", and her mom tries in vain to explain why this is fucking ridiculous. 

At The Apartment, Jack and Rachel are still making out on the couch. That's endurance, folks. Eric shows up to explain what he realized with Shawn earlier, that it was more about the competition and that he was never really in love with Rachel at all.

They've still got the boxes of Popeye's on top of the fridge.

Eric leaves with a weight off his shoulders having reconciled with his friends, but Rachel appears to be shaken by all this talk of Jack and Eric "competing" for her. We don't get much else here, so we'll have to wait to see what comes out of this. Not that we care, right?

In The Living Room, things unravel as all the talk of marriage and happiness causes Rhiannon to break down and admit that her and Jedediah have fallen out of love, and it's clear that they're going to divorce, if they haven't already. There's one exchange in particular that's always stuck with me.

So Topanga runs off in a very Shawn Hunter-esque fashion.

We fade over to Feeny's wedding, located in scenic The Living Room. But hey, it's free. Shawn and Angela arrive together and have a fun little conversation. It's really well placed and well timed. This is the season finale and these two have had some real turbulence this season! So this dialogue serves to round everything out and leaves us with a nice and comfortable feeling about their friendship. I like it. But it's completely forgotten when the camera moves across the room and shows us that Eric is Mister Feeny's best man. Ahhhhhhh that's so sweeeeeeeeeettttttt.

This is the second time they've had that exchange, and I want to point out again that Feeny is hesitant to say he loves Shawn, Cory, and Topanga in the future, so this relationship really is something special. Gets me every time.

They talk a little more about how Eric's thinking of doing some traveling, and it's implied that he won't be here when Feeny gets back from his honeymoon, and that perhaps they may not see each other again. It'd make me SUPER nervous if I didn't already know that Eric is right there in the first episode of season 7. I'm watching it now, and yeah, there's no mention of Eric's traveling at all.

The procession begins, so Feeny and Bolander begin to exchange vows, and they're pretty well written. I'm a fan. Topanga spends the whole time sobbing in the audience because today is all about her. She doesn't even clap after "you may kiss the bride".

Maybe I'm being too hard on her, but... Mmmmmm I really don't think I am. Her parents are there watching the wedding too, but I can't imagine why.

So Feeny's officially married. Cory gets a phone call from the wedding hall and he tells them that that date that opened up (mentioned at the beginning of the episode) isn't going to work. It's just music and the logo during the credits, so that's the end of season six!

Plot: 0.5 - Eric was good. But the fuckin... MY PARENTS ARE MARRIED SO WE'RE GONNA BE MARRIED FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRR... Ughhhhhhhhhghghghghhhhhhh.

Character Development: 1.0 - Despite her thoroughly flawed logic, Topanga is suddenly afraid of getting married, which is significant for a while. Eric reached a resolution with Jack and Rachel, Shawn and Angela are in a good place, and Feeny got married! Good shit.

Humor: 1.0 - Cory was really solid. What the hell are you doing?!

Life Lesson: 0 - Topanga is usually intelligent, practical, and logical. There was none of that today. For fuck's sake, Shawn's dad died, but did that make him think life was a waste of time? No! It did the opposite! Shawn has a new sense of purpose and a desire to make the most out of life while he can (what I called "fortune cookie enlightenment" earlier). Good for Shawn! Similarly, you might think that Topanga would want to cherish her love with Cory for however long it lasts, but she decides instead to figure the whole thing is a waste of time and just fall to pieces. This is not the strong Topanga I've praised in the past. This is a stupid plot device and I don't like it.

2.5 out of 4.0. - The Matthews Bruthas make this worth watching, but it's still a close call. And it sets up the plot for the first five or so episodes of season 7, so if you're playing along, this episode is fairly necessary.

Thanks for sticking with me for another season. We've had a lot of lows, but also some really high highs. Rachel somehow became more of a centerpiece than Angela by the end. I've mentioned a couple times that Angela draws all of her lines from Shawn, but now that I think about it, is Rachel ever in a scene without either Jack or Eric? Not very often, that's for sure. I'm rambling, let's just close it out.

My post-season break lined up nicely with the week of Christmas, so I'll see you guys again on the 29th. If you're in the Christmas spirit, I recommend, as always, Santa's Little Helper from season 1, Turnaround from season 2, and Santa's Little Helpers here in season 6. One step further, I recommend The Muppet Christmas Carol and the Sam Adams Winter Lager.

Again, I am eternally grateful for your support. I love talking about this show with you. All the best!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Episode 6x21 "The Psychotic Episode"

The entire time I was writing the 6x20 review, I kept reminding myself to mention the Popeye's Chicken, but I never did. The whole time, there's boxes from Popeye's, the restaurant, on top of the fridge in The Apartment. Usually they use generic names like "Cola" but I guess they cut a deal with Popeye's for that one? I dunno. It's strange.

Also, fair warning, I have never bothered to watch (or read) Psycho. The guy in Eric's story in this episode is supposed to be inspired by it, so that's gonna be lost on me.

The episode kicks off with a dream sequence, where it looks like Eric's gonna move back in to The Apartment and Rachel is kissing everyone because RACHEL IS PRETTY AND IT DRIVES THE PLOT. Cory and Shawn wait for the elevator, and Cory pushes Shawn into the open elevator shaft as soon as it opens. Cory wakes up screaming and blames it on the "puppet dream", and reminds Shawn that he is his best friend, though he's really just reminding himself.

Is Cory going to murder Shawn at the end of this episode? Could be! Guess we have to keep watching!

In Feeny's class, Shawn is performing a magic trick which, as he assures Mister Feeny, is definitely part of his report of Louis Pasteur. But oh, this is a dream sequence too, and Cory strangles Shawn to death with some magic rope. In his deathy writhing, they do some sort of effect that's like... Shawn kicking the camera? Or the dream shattering? I don't really know, but Cory wakes up again.

Who's having fun yet? Me? You? Nobody? Ok.

At The Union, Shawn explains the situation with Cory's nightmares to Angela and Topanga. We see Eric sleeping on his parents' couch, and he is quickly woken up from his dream about Xena by his mother. Eric complains about not having a room, and asks Morgan, who is in the room as well, doing homework, if he can stay in her room, but of course she says no. So Morgan was there listening to Eric talk in his sleep about banging Xena the Warrior Princess. Awkward.

He tries to move in to Cory and Shawn's dorm next, but as you may have seen in the logo, that doesn't work out.

We may be locked in for another edition of "Eric saves the episode" today, folks.

Eric runs the same gambit on Topanga, and is equally unsuccessful. He ends up sleeping on the pool table in The Union, and is found by Jack and Rachel who plead with him to move back to The Apartment. He refuses, and for once Eric is not overreacting or being needlessly flamboyant. I wouldn't want to live with that either. Regardless, he starts shouting in The Union that he needs a roommate, and eventually Jon Stewart offers Eric a room in his apartment.

It's actually some actor named Charlie Newmark, but he hasn't done anything except this, really.

We have another dream sequence now, two minutes long, but there's some content this time, at least. Dream Feeny's class ends, and he gives Cory some advice about his Killing Shawn dreams. It's some nonsense dream-interpretation gobllyblargh about how Cory needs to forgive Shawn for his "cross country" drive a few episodes ago. It's better than nothing, I guess, and eventually Cory kills Shawn again, with a baseball bat this time. He wakes up in class, yelling to himself about how much we wants to kill Shawn.

Heh... That blonde girl behind Cory, she's convinced this is her big break. Just has to really nail her reaction here and she'll get discovered for sure.

I also want to mention that they're studying Hamlet here in Feeny's class, which has got to be like the SEVENTH time we've seen Hamlet in this series. Cory explains his murderous dreams after class, which is humorous, and ends up giving Shawn an entirely nonspecific forgiveness, in accordance with Dream Feeny's advice. I'm sorry, I'm so bored by this episode, I don't understand. Maybe it's the fact that we've spent five out of the last ten minutes in dreams? Is it my natural aversion to dream sequences?

Eric moves in to Jon Stewart's apartment, and so far it seems too good to be true. He's even got a really hot and friendly female neighbor named Sheila. Her last name is like, Shaggart or something, Jon Stewart kinda mumbles it when he introduces her, and it's not in the credits or her imdb page. The point is, the first syllable is "shag", prompting Eric to do an Austin Powers impression, which is even more cringey than "Oh my god they killed Kenny" in And Then There Was Shawn. Shelia is played by Leslie Danon, who was also in 5x04 as a girl named Lisa, as well as 40 episodes of a show called, and I swear this is a real name of a show with at least 40 episodes, "Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills."

That is a real show. And a real disaster. Look at this 30 second clip, the dark haired girl is Sheila in this episode of BMW.

THAT JUST HAPPENED. ON A KIDS' SHOW. I'm sure Eric would like to see that. And hey, she doesn't look very tattooed to me.

Boy that was definitely the most fun I've had writing this. Back to the grind. Cory has another screaming nightmare, of which Cory gives a pleasingly comical description. He goes to Real Feeny for advice, as well as complaining about Dream Feeny's bad advice. Well I'm real damn glad we wasted an hour on that scene with Dream Feeny then. Real Feeny suggests that Cory try to finish the dream, to see what comes after his attempt at murdering Shawn.

Jon Stewart is watching The Weather Channel and invites Eric to join him. The task proves difficult, however, since one chair is his dead mother's chair, and one of the couch cushions is where "Uncle Dave died". They do a cute little bit where Jon Stewart has to call Eric on the phone from only a few feet away rather than directly talk to him, and a lot of the humor is owed to Will Friedle being amazing.

Eric is about to get the fuck out of crazy town, but Sheila shows up in a towel, apparently having locked herself out of her apartment.

Arite let's get Cory's dream over with and move on with our lives. He pushes Shawn down the elevator again, but doesn't wake up this time. He follows it up by murdering Jack, Eric, Rachel and Angela. We're expecting Topanga or his parents next, but OH MY GOD IT'S



Dream Lauren-Not-Lauren claims to represent everything Cory's giving up by marrying Topanga, all the girls he'll never get to date. Hey, alright, that's actually a real thing, worrying about what you might be giving up by committing to someone for the rest of your life. The journey here was pretty boring, but I like where we ended up. Anti-Not-Un-Lauren goes down the elevator shaft of her own will, and then Topanga shows up in a wedding dress. Cory tells her that he "killed them for us."

So yeah the dream is telling Cory that everything's going to change and he's going to be giving up a lot of his life when he gets married. After waking up, he explains this revelation to Shawn, who confirms that everything is going to change once he ties the knot, but Cory says, sullenly, that he doesn't want it to. Interesting, that's actually fairly compelling, but hardly worth the work we had to do to get here.

During the credits, Eric seems to have adapted well to Jon Stewart's craziness, right up until Jon Stewart wants to introduce Eric to his mother's skeleton.

Plot: 0.25 - I was gonna go zero until the part with Fake-Lauren.

Character Development: 1.0 - Cory suddenly realizing how drastic marriage is is pretty significant. I'm really glad this finally came up.

Humor: 0.5 - Eric was good, Cory was okay sometimes.

Life Lesson: 0 - If your dream gives you advice about dreams, it's probably bull shit.

1.75 out of 4.0. I didn't enjoy it. But maybe that's just because I've been doing this for three hours. Like, if I sat down with some lunch and spent 20 minutes watching this episode, I'm sure that would be fun. I think I've done that before, actually, when someone mentioned in the comments back in season 5 that we'd see Lauren again. So maybe it's just that I had to draw it out for three hours that really made it suck. I'm gonna go watch Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills.

Not really though.

But maybe.

Thanks for reading, see you Friday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Episode 6x20 "The Truth About Honesty"

Our four heroes are all in the bathroom at the same time because friends love to shower and shave as a team. As usual, Angela seems completely superfluous. She has lines, which is better than usual, but she doesn't actually contribute anything. But hey, she signed a contract, might as well write her into the show. Cory is grossed out by Topanga having used his razor to shave her legs, and honestly I'm surprised Topanga even shaves her legs at all. Actually, back in "Cory's Alternative Friends" in season 1, Cory says "You're going to be one of those girls who doesn't shave her legs, aren't you," and she answers that she hasn't decided yet. I know you've all been on the edge of your seats since then, this plot thread taunting you with its dangling threadiness, so here you go. We finally have the answer. 

BOY MEETS WORLD REVIEWED. FIVE STARS. Critics are raving, "Yeah it's okay but I'd rather just watch the show."

Anyway Cory lies about being grossed out, but Angela tells Topanga the truth (they're all still in the bathroom), so Topanga decides to make a giant mountain out of the smallest molehill I've ever seen. Like those molehills in Banjo Kazooie? Smaller than that. Topgangrene declares that they have to be 100% completely honest with each other from now on. Cory thinks it's a good deal, but Shawn can see danger from a mile away. Well, from the other side of the bathroom. I don't know how far that is.

We've transitioned to the coffee shop side of The Union, and I'm seeing on the side of a mug that this place is called Brew Lagoon. I probably should have caught that a long time ago. Topaljs;dj comments that "My Petite Chou" is playing at the university theatre, and I swear they used that earlier the series. It's not a real movie, and it sounds so familiar, so it must have been on this show... 

Cory, inspired by his new honesty powers, declares that he doesn't want to see My Petite Chou. Or the Icecapades! Because he can't get in trouble for honesty now, and darn it, he doesn't like the Icecapades! Eric strolls in with, allegedly, Joshua in a baby carriage, but it's pretty obviously empty. Jack and Rachel show up next, exhibiting what I've decided to call "The Chubbie's Phenomenon", or Chubnomenon. The Chubnomenon is characterized by people independently showing up in quick succession. Apparently Jachel are having their "first dinner party". Everyone agrees to go, except Eric who doesn't want to deal with the emotional turmoil of being there.

Eric takes "Joshua" outside and pulls a Shawn, that is, woos a woman with lies by pretending to be the baby's father when she takes interest. And it's about time too. Eric hasn't had a girl since Jennifer Love Fefferman in 5x17. Amy and Alan continue the Chubnomenon, and actually pretend to be Joshua's grandparents to help Eric. They're probably just sick of Eric crying over Rachel, and will say pretty much anything at this point to get him to move on.

It's time for the dinner party, and we join our heroes in the elevator up to Jachel's apartment. Topanga has styled her hair in a way that I can only describe as "crinkle fries", and Cory is... well, see for yourself.

See? He wants to eat it. Cuz it looks like french fries.

He plays the "you want me to be honest" card again, describing in vivid detail how much he hates the crinkle fries hair. Funny stuff. Angela doesn't have any lines. 

Inside the apartment, Rachel is inspired by Corpanga's honesty deal to play a version of Truth or Dare for people that are afraid of dares. I mean, for God's sake, what if they dared you to say a bad word?  Anyway it's called The Honesty Game, and you draw a name out of a hat and ask that person a question, which they have to answer truthfully. 

Everyone is laughing at Jack's erection, and he's embarrassed. 

That was just too perfect, I'm sorry. But seriously, pants are so frustrating, that shit happens all the time.

 The running gag of the night is that Jack is too passive and doesn't voice his opinions, which certainly wasn't the case when he was constantly calling Eric a moron in every episode prior to this one. It's still pretty funny though, Matthew Lawrence does a great job with it. Eric arrives at the party with the girl he met earlier, Dana. As Shawn eloquently points out with a posh accent, this should be interesting since Eric has told Dana nothing but lies. Refer back to the logo to see Eric's opinion of Toplorable's hair. 

Crinkle Fries draws Shawn's name from the hat, and asks him who he wants to spend a no-strings-attached night with, out of everyone on earth. That is a seriously saucy question for Topanga, like, I would expect Cory or pretty much anyone else to ask that before Topanga. Regardless, he says Angela because the writers aren't quite finished boring us to death with that. At least she has an interesting response.

Topanga and Cory have some... interesting faces there.

Angela makes it clear that this has to be no-strings, no commitment, no emotional attachment, and then they head into... someone's bedroom. Now see that's the most interesting thing Angela's ever done. But I guess that's not saying much. Rachel asks Cory what he would change about Topanga if he could change any one thing, literally the third time this question has been asked tonight, demonstrating just HOW MUCH FUN this game can be. Props to Topanga for asking something else.

Everyone including Topanga expects Cory to make some comment about sex, but he actually says he doesn't want Topanga to need to be perfect all the time. This is confusing, since a few episodes ago he demanded that she act like the old Topanga, who, in addition to being "weird", needed to be perfect at everything. Regardless, she doesn't agree that she always needs to be perfect, and proves it with the harshest thing she's ever said.

Rachel is either as shocked as I am, or she, like Cory, wants to eat Topanga's crinkle fries. She did make tater tots, but it's just not the same.

Even though Topanga blatantly crossed the line, she decides that she is the victim and leaves the party, with Cory chasing after her. Rachel blames herself since she started The Honesty Game, but Jack explains that the party would have been bad no matter what. That's a touching sentiment, and Rachel appreciates it because she's not Topanga.

We take a trip over to the love shack, which is actually Rachel's room. Huh. My money was on Eric's old room. Poor Rachel. Shawn and Angela are going at it pretty hard while some cruiseliner saxophone music is playing in the background. Shawn's having trouble following the statute of "no emotional attachment", which is slightly backward from how things ended between them with Shawn unable to make a commitment, but I'm sure this will develop more as we go on. 

Well I'm... pretty sure it's Rachel's room, but... I guess you never know...

OKAY HERE WE GO NOW, Cory and Topanga are in the elevator to leave and they deal with the whole Yale shit pretty quick, BUT THAT'S NOT IMPORTANT HERE. Topanga comments, as they embrace, that she just wants to be able to use his razor, that she doesn't want a relationship that's just two individuals living under the same roof. Cory is still grossed out by the idea, even more by the idea of her using his toothbrush.  Oh, crap, we have to go back to the love shack real quick, but remember this, I love where this goes.

Shawn decides that it's a good time to confess his love to Angela, who really doesn't want to hear it, and then pushes him off the bed. 

Shawn realizes that he's starting to adopt some of the relationship values that Cory and Topanga have, and he's not exactly happy about it.

OKAY HERE IT IS, back in the elevator, Topanga's exploding about how ridiculous it is that Cory won't share his toothbrush if they're going to spend the rest of their lives together. Cory asks her if she can handle real honesty, and that is exactly what he brings to the table. "The truth is, I could never share any of my personal items with someone who won't even show me her tushie!"



What really seals the deal is that Crinkle Fries almost immediately agrees that that's fair. She's been demanding total emotional connection while holding back the physical connection, and because she's a rational human being she is able to admit that that was a bit one sided. Awesome. That is the kind of relationship development you want to see. A+. 

Corpanga re enter the party, with Cory declaring that he has "seen the promised land", and I mean, as far as I'm concerned, boobs are the promised land, but Cory is allowed to have his opinion. Angela and Shawn leave the party for some reason now. Sure the moment was ruined in the bedroom, but they might as well eat, I dunno. 

Eric goes on to claim that he is also Batman. As we all know, Will Friedle was the voice of the new Batman in Batman Beyond, which was an awesome cartoon, and it started airing a few months before this episode aired, so yeah, nice work, writers. Eric has been hilarious.

During the credits, Cory uses Topanga's deodorant in The Bathroom, which she thinks is gross, so I can't actually tell if we made any progress at all. Shawn follows Angela into the bathroom, another instance of the Chubnomenon, but he claims that he's not following her and doesn't care about her at all. She gives him a big smooch, but he stands his ground. Angela leaves the bathroom, raising the question of why she came in here to begin with, and as soon as she's gone Shawn hops over for a cold shower. The Hunter Boys' erections are out of control in this episode. 

Eric never got his tater tots :(

Plot: 1.0 - I don't have any real problems with this. I don't know anyone who hosts dinner parties at 19, but it was a fine excuse to have an ensemble episode. We haven't had a good one of these in a long time.

Character Development: 1.0 - Shawn's feelings for Angela re-emerge, Jack and Rachel actually seem like a genuine, functioning couple, and Cory and Topanga make some progress in their relationship as well. Great stuff, although Eric is still stuck in his lie-tacular situation. He doesn't seem to mind though.

Humor: 1.0 - Everybody was great. No complaints.

Life Lesson: 1.0 - Physical intimacy matters. And keeping it no-strings-attached might be harder than you think.

4.0 out of 4.0. Going into it, I didn't expect to give it a full score, but I really have nothing bad to say about it, and a lot of good things. Some real relationship developments happened here, and it was a lot of fun getting there. Anything negative in the writeup was just for comedic effect. I hope by now it's clear when I'm being negative for humor and when I'm being negative to be critical.

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.

All images used under Fair Use.