Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Episode 2x04 "Me and Mr. Joad"

This episode was penned by Jeff Menell, one of the two responsible for episode 2x02, which was fucking awesome. So we're in for a good time here today.


Right away we jump back into the best Eric-story of the series so far, the Desiree Captivity (original name, do not steal). She's given Eric a new pink pager to alert him of her needs. He receives a page and his wonderful mother tries to keep him away from the succubus, but our boy is just too quick.


The students are reading The Grapes of Wrath for Mr. Turner's class. Whenever Turner assigns them a book, you can bet it'll come up in that episode's story. 

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I love this. It's progressive, relevant, and timeless. Good humor and strong commentary on the American school system. Throw in some guns and drugs and we might as well be watchin season four of The Wire. So Turner makes a deal with the class that he won't give them a test if they actually read the book and participate in class. Mr. Feeny the traditionalist catches wind of Turner's quid pro quo and the two debate the merits of this plan. Ultimately Turner agrees to give them a test on the grounds that if the the students do well, that is, if they actually did the work without threat of a test, then Feeny won't meddle again. 


If you think that picture is funny then we could probably be friends.

Back at home, Jason and Mrs. Matthews are busting Eric's balls about being completely whipped and it's pretty funny. Amy sprays Eric's pants with water in an attempt to make him stop acting ridiculous, and then Desiree shows up. (Eric is wearing a towel in his pants to hide the water.)

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I think the "North against South, rematch" from Jason there is a Civil War joke since they live in Pennsylvania, which is hilarious. Can we replace Morgan with Desiree somehow? She's awesome, and actually provides interesting content to the show.  


Fuckin troll ass Desiree. It's a shame Sydney Bennett doesn't have twitter, I want to profess my love.

Next day we're in Turner's class. Turner tries to give the test to the students, but they refuse and, inspired by The Grapes of Wrath, march out of the class room singing Look for the Union Label, which is a seriously dated joke referencing this old commercial http://youtu.be/QO7VUklDlQw?t=23s . They all left their stuff in the classroom though. I don't know when they plan on going back for it. 



The racially diverse students have apparently marched to the cafeteria and, high on their imagined power, make outlandish demands about changes to the lunch food. Some ethnic girl's LSD kicks in during this take. 


The two teachers arrive and Feeny shows everyone that HE has all the power when he threatens to take away their school dance and football season and stuff. The students cave except for Cory and (reluctantly) Shawn. 

Eric decides he's finally had enough of Desiree's succubusiness (HAH! just made that up) and breaks things off.

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My heart has been torn asunder. It's Minkus all over again.

Mr. Turner shows up at the Matthews house to deal with Shawn and Cory. He explains that they've  misinterpreted the themes of Grapes of Wrath since they don't actually have jobs and they can't actually go on strike. The boys then share their new understanding with Feeny.



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I don't like Rider Strong's humble submissive voice there. It just doesn't work. Ben Savage has a good "I learned my lesson" voice though. It sounds like the writers thought they were being clear here, but I'm not sure what they want us to take away from this. Was this aimed at high school students, telling them that they can't just do whatever they want? That's not really worthwhile. I don't think any class of students has ever tried to go on strike before. So the message can't possibly be "you can't go on strike", but then what is it? Cory just said explicitly that his situation is unrelated to the one in Grapes of Wrath, so why did we do this?


                                    

During the credits two guys are leaning on a trash can as though it weren't a giant container filled with garbage.


That's gross, guys. And it's absolutely bewildering to me that they have that pay phone in the hallway. When I started high school everybody had cell phones (Razr was pretty hot at the time, if I remember correctly), so I genuinely don't know if that was a real thing schools did or not.

During the credits we get one last tantalizing look at our beloved Streetcar Named Desiree.


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Those. 
Boots. 
This scene mirrors one from the last episode with the "say yes, puddin" thing, so that's pretty funny. 

Plot: 1 - Regardless of whether or not the life lesson came through, it was still a fun story. We got to see the teaching philosophies of Turner and Feeny clash, which is always good, Cory and Shawn were inspired by literature, and Eric and Jason concluded the Desiree Captivity arc, which I loved.

Character Development: 1 - Turner and Feeny both learned a little more about teaching, Eric broke the spell of a succubus, and Cory and Shawn know not to go on strike again.

Humor: 1 - Consistently funny throughout. It was interesting, Cory and Shawn took on more serious roles in this episode and most of the humor came from other people. It worked out well.

Life Lesson: 0.25 - I covered this in detail, I'm giving some points because there's probably something there that I'm missing.

3.25 out of 4.

Thanks for reading, see you Friday.

Clips and images used under Fair Use.




16 comments :

  1. 1) A Civil War joke is original to you? Really?
    2) We had a pay phone in my high school. Cell phones didn't hit it big until I was a senior...I think the Razr came out when I was in college.
    AAAAAAAANNNDDD now I feel old.

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    1. I like how it was written. "You and me, just like the Civil War!" wouldn't be funny, but "North vs South, rematch" is funny. And Eric is basically Desiree's slave, so there's a second layer to it.

      Or maybe I'll laugh at anything Jason Marsden says.

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  2. "Some ethnic girl." Racism is so hilarious! Never mind that every human being has an ethnic origin, not just people of color. Instead, let's just describe everyone in terms of their relationship to whiteness and treat not being white like a big fucking joke. Comedy gold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You're a piece of shit.

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    1. Let me get this straight. Every human is "ethnic", so calling a human "ethnic" is racist?

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    2. The rules change every couple of weeks or so. Just remember that we were always at war with Eastasia, and everything will work out.

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    3. I'd say the piece of shit is the guy that doesn't want to leave any contact information after talking smack.

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  3. Cell phones started to become more common between 7th-9th grade, but the school I went to still had working payphones. I didn't get a cell phone until 10th grade, so I used the payphones for about three years.

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  4. Yep my school had a bank of like four payphones in a row in our main lobby by the cafeteria. And I too now feel old.

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  5. Um, this takes place in 1994.
    Why would the kids have cell phones?
    Especially since they were big & blocky

    This isn't 2007, RAZR-boy

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    1. I meant "bewildering" like "the early 90's were so different, I can't imagine seeing a payphone in my own school." I obviously didn't expect to see cell phones on the show.

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  6. Damn, people are so rude in the comments! Remove sticks from butts!

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  7. I'm not sure if you remember this but I think that john adams high from boy meets world is also ridgeway high from icarly

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  8. I'm currently rewatching all of BMW with my fiancee, since she just bought the whole series on DVD. We got to this episode, & it struck me--this is the first time Feeny is unequivocally in the wrong.
    It's wrong of him to force Turner to lie to his students. It's wrong of him to expect the students to just bend over & take that without complaint. And it's wrong of him to punish the entire 7th grade for what this one little group of them have been doing, unplan, for about 5 minutes, even if that one little group is also wrong to strike.

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    1. Yeah you're absolutely right, they came right out of the gate in season 2 showing us that Feeny's way isn't the only way, or even always the right way.

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    2. True that, & that was very responsible for the show to do. I guess we got a glimpse of that in season 1 with Alan & Feeny's mutual understanding over the baseball game, but that was more of a "nobody's wrong" moment.

      The fiancee suggested that Feeny isn't quite yet accustomed to his new principalness....principality....whatever--& that the power is going to his head.

      (Fyi, we got the DVDs because BMW isn't on Netflix, where we also just watched GMW for the first time, which led me to your review blog for that show, which led me to this blog. I enjoy myself a good funny review blog from time to time, and you & Christian don't disappoint.)

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