Monday, January 20, 2014

Episode 2x12 "Turnaround"

From the time of its posting to this afternoon, my review of episode 2x11 included the words "basic tenants" instead of "basic tenets". For this I am truly, humbly sorry. I have dishonored my legacy. If none of you ever read my reviews again, I will understand.

"Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... For when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Nietzsche

It's time for a Turnaround Dance at John Adams High, where the girls ask the guys. There are some politically-correct types out there that don't like the idea of a turnaround dance, as it suggests that guys have to ask girls any other time. I'm all for gender equality, and I agree in principle that girls are fully capable of being the askers whenever they want. 

But if we're being honest for five seconds, that's not how it works.

I dunno the context of that comic, but I don't need a fucking reason to post Dilbert, okay? 

Anyway, yeah, turnaround dance. Turner is hanging up some posters and Kat Tompkins, that blonde Alice Cooper from a few episodes ago, is playing maybe-I'll-ask-you-maybe-I-won't with him. It's enjoyable to watch.

Also, I've mentioned this platinum haired female extra a few times, and she's already shown up in the first minute of this episode, so let's do something with it. I have named her "The Spectre", and I'll keep track of her appearances, but they won't necessarily be in the pictures.

Spectre sightings: 1

Blocking our view of The Spectre is Eric advising Cory on how to get asked the dance. His advice? Positioning. 

Eric is pulling a Reverse-Cholo by buttoning only the bottom button of his shirt. Do not ever do this.

If we've learned anything from the girl-centric episodes so far, it's that Shawn doesn't give any fucks and Cory gets way too worked up. This one is no exception. 

Shawn gets asked to the dance by a girl named Becky Scholz, pictured above. I know I talked about how all girls on tv hold their books like that, and that shit's the fuckin truth. And I don't understand her style. It's like she couldn't decide if she wanted to be a rebel or a librarian this morning, so she just said fuck it.

Cory commends Shawn on his date, since Becky is "like the third coolest girl in our grade". Now Cory needs a date. "How bout Topanga?" you ask. Well for once the writers actually decided to address their history. Topanga expresses her revulsion toward the "destructive gender biased thinking" responsible for turnaround dances, and adds that she's going to New York for Christmas shopping at the time of the dance anyway. That's a five hour drive from Philly to NY, but whatever. With Topanga out of the picture, Cory sets his sights even higher than Becky Scholz.. He wants Allison Cheever, the coolest girl in our grade. Now, her style, I understand. (And also look how she holds her books)

Spectre sightings: 2 (not in clip)

Woo, plot synthesis catalyzed. Cory's stuck going to the dance with an "ugly" girl (her name is Ingrid). I wrote "ugly" because, despite their best efforts, she's really not that bad looking. At home, Cory gets advice from Eric, like always. Cory's worried that being seen at the dance with Ingrid with ruin his social status forever, but in a rare moment of sage clarity, Eric points out that Cory bailing on his date would look even worse. Further, Eric kicks off one of the best gags of the entire series.

In class the next day, Mr. Turner is actively trying to engage his students in a discussion of Shaw's play Pygmalion. Check out the bulletin board in the back.

"Christmas ...... the world". Poetry.

If you've ever seen that episode of Family Guy where Stewie teaches a Cockney girl to be sophisticated, that's basically Pygmalion. Turner is explaining the themes of class prejudice, which have already started to pop up in this episode. Allison was high class, Cory middle, and Ingrid the callous-handed proletariat, comrade. The Shawn/Becky pairing doesn't really mesh with that, but Becky is more of a plot device than anything. 

The Spectre is risen. 3 sightings. And she's holding her textbook the way I keep talking about.

Awesome, some more literary inspiration. Granted, this scheme is predicated on the notion that Shawn actually read "the pig play", but fine, maybe he read it on accident. At the Matthews house, the boys mock up a collage-woman for Becky to reference while she gives Ingrid a makeover upstairs.

WOOAHHAHHOOO was that a vibrator joke?! That is bold, Boy Meets World. Morgan actually did a halfway decent job of saying that line, so that's cool too. Anyway, Becky manages to complete the makeover in about ten seconds, and Ingrid looks pretty good! But she uses her neck to deliver her lines.

Cory is having second thoughts about this whole transforming Ingrid thing, but she insists, screaming "I want to be popular!" We're at lunch the next day and Ingrid necks out some disappointing news to Cory.

The Spectre must feed. 4 sightings.

Well Ingrid's kind of a bitch! Or is she? How many of you wouldn't do the exact same thing? Emma Watson comes bangin down your door tellin you to dump your girlfriend-of-a-few-days for her? Tell me you wouldn't. You're full of shit. It's Cory's fault anyway, and that turtleneck sure as shit didn't help him. I bet Rick Lawler ain't wearin no Christmas turtleneck. Did Mrs. Weasley make that for you, Cory? 

Shawn got to use that Girls' Network joke that Eric set up for us earlier, and it was hysterical. I love that line so much, and his nonchalant way of saying it is just perfect. That's Allison Cheever again at the end of the clip, in case you didn't recognize her. Jump ahead to the night of the dance, and it turns out that Allison only wanted a ride to the dance from Cory, since she's dating someone else and wanted to hide that fact from her parents. Well Allison's kind of a bitch! Or is she? 

Yeah, no, she's a bitch.

Another Girls' Network bit, and pretty funny stuff from Feeny and Turner. This entire scene at the dance is pure gold. Did you see that girl dancing behind Shawn while he talked to Cory? She is feelin the grooooove.

Ingrid shows up, soaking wet. All the popular kids were talking about how cool it would be to jump in the pool, but in practice it didn't quite work out for Ingrid. Moreover, the guy she brought to the dance finds a dry person he would rather be with. Mutually ashamed of their actions, Cory and Ingrid are about to reconcile when some other "cool" guy comes along and whisks Ingrid away. Alright, now she's a bitch. This brings us back to our pal Nietzsche. Ingrid has become a monster. The abyss has gazed into her. 

I know, I know, a lot of clips, but they're so good! They just had to go for that lame Christmas card ending, though, didn't they. To my great surprise, The Spectre isn't in any of the shots at the dance. She's probably lurking below the stage.

No you're shitty editing.

Anybody watch Shameless? That girl looks like Fiona... (brb) 
I'll be damned, it's her. P.S. you should be watching Shameless.

I seriously love this episode, you guys. I think this is the episode I've watched the most times out of the whole series. If you even slightly care about Boy Meets World, go watch this episode. It's a fun story to begin with and the parallels to Pygmalion are on point. The humor is fucking FANTASTIC from every actor, and the Girls' Network is hilarious. Eric, Turner, and Feeny all provide great support. And at the end we're left thinking "Huh, I'm actually not sure who I feel sorry for." This. Episode. Rocks. I couldn't help including all those clips, there's just so much I wanted to show you. 

I made a compilation of all the Girls' Network bits. Show your friends, your estranged relatives, etc.

Plot: 1.0 - Engaging, moderately unpredictable, based on a cool play. No complaints from me.

Character Development: 1.0 - Cory definitely learned his lesson in this one, and was having doubts about the whole thing pretty early on. Good for him. Feeny ended up being a little less crotchety. 

Humor: 1.0 - Easiest Humor Badge ever. It's difficult writing so many of these reviews since my arsenal consists of "funny", "hilarious", and "hysterical". I try to cycle through them, but sometimes there's no way to avoid repeating myself. I'll start using "humorous" and "comical". 

Life Lesson: 1.0 - "It's all right there, in the pig play." The struggles of class prejudice juxtaposed with the change in attitude that comes from an increase in social status is the heart Pygmalion, and comes through vividly in this episode.

4.0 out of 4.0. Definitely one of my favorites. 

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.

Clips and images used under Fair Use.


  1. For the record, it's only about a 1 hour 40 minute drive from Philadelphia to New York City not five hours as you stated (I know this because my sister lives in NJ about 30 mins outside of NYC and about an hour from Philly so I've been to both cities many times....also because I can google). I'll forgive you for that mistake though because you made a Harry Potter reference. ;)

    1. That's weird... My first instinct for any distance is to just google "x to y" and you're right it's an hour and 40 minutes, I have no idea where that five hours came from.

  2. Yeah, this is exactly how old characters from BMW end up in GMW; they drive or take a train/subway

  3. "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... For when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Nietzsche

    ^ They've used that like 3 times as an open/closing quote on #CriminalMinds
    hence why I remembered it.

    I have absorbed something. Feeny would be proud.