Saturday, May 31, 2014

Episode 4x08 "Dangerous Secret"

If you want to see someone try to do what I do, but fail at it, check this out.
That guy gets PAID to write that. Sigh.

Also I tweeted my review of 4x07 to Chris Hardwick. He did not respond. If you haven't read that one, I recommend it. It's a thousand times more fun than this one.

Cory shows up at Shawn's trailer/tardis late at night with paper bags full of various provisions. Cory believes Shawn to be sick and wants to help take care of his best buddy. He even brought flowers. What a lamb. Cory wants to go plug in the humidifier he brought when A LIGHTNING BOLT OF TROUBLE STRIKES.

Ahhhhhh shit, it's one of the ones where they try to be serious.

Cory tries to make his escape, but Shawn follows him outside. Naturally, Cory assumes that Shawn and Claire are doing a little more than holding hands, and Shawn tells Cory to trust him on this one. Claire joins the boys outside and asks Cory not to tell anyone. So this all looks pretty racy to the audience here. Shawn is 15 or 16 right now, and given his history it's pretty believable, while still a little shocking, that he'd be sleeping with this girl.

At Chubbie's the next day, Cory's got his mind set on the whole Claire situation, and once again our hero feels like he needs to catch up to his best friend. Saying that he genuinely feels ready to go further than kissing with Topanga, Cory asks Shawn how to... get there.

Later that night, it's date night for Cory and Tobongos. He lures her up to his bedroom and makes the most awkward sexual advance in the history of Philadelphia. It's two minutes of accidentally playing Barney CDs and stuff. It's sort of unfunny and hard to watch. Eventually he gets the right music on. They start to make out and Cory shoves his hand up the back of his girlfriend's shirt. If Shawn's advice was to unhook her bra while her shirt was still on, I am seriously disappointed, but I guess there's not much else they could have done on ABC.

Topanga's a little weirded out by the moves being laid down and the whole thing blows up as Cory admits that Shawn had a girl stay over and that he and Topanga should be at least as intimate and Shawn and some random girl. "We should be at like ninth base by now", he claims.

So the brakes are thrown on and the night is ruined. I'm not entirely sure what to say about this. It stops being awkward once Cory makes his move, and is well written after that. Topanga doesn't freak out or anything, she's just like "you're clearly doing this for the wrong reasons," ya know? So it's a good scene for that reason, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure we're all adults here and I don't need to spend too much time discussing adolescent wisdom about sex.

 At school the next day, Mr. Feeny smells the smoke between Cory and Topanga and suggests that Cory keep the lines of communication open, regardless of hurt feelings. That's probably the most meaningful thing we're going to get out of this episode, that really is good advice. Alas, it doesn't help Cory as Topanga doesn't "know what to say" to him.

Cory blames everything on Shawn and tells him what happened the night before. Shawn's main takeaway point is that Cory told Topanga about Claire, even though he promised not to. They really should have paid more attention to the writing on this. Cory didn't actually mention Claire by name to Topanga, he just said "a girl", so there's really no problem here.

Later that night, Cory's lurking around at home, so his parents know something is off. They inquire, and our hero tries to distract them by initiating a group singing of Michael Row The Boat Ashore. A lot of shows try to do random-funny, and most fail, but this is random-funny done properly.

So now it's time for THE MATTHEWS BRUTHAS to talk sex in their room. Eric sticks to his classic insult-advice, but he's pretty much right on the money: "these things have gotta happen naturally", "sex is like a bike without training wheels, if you try it before you're ready you're gonna fall off and break your head". It's not the typical preachy stuff that circulated the "family friendly" tv environment of the 90s, and reminds us of this show's previous mature approach to sex in "Wake Up Little Cory" from season 2. Great stuff for the target audience.

Shawn arrives through the window as Eric heads back downstairs.

Turns out, Shawnie's parents are back in town, so he wants to have Claire stay with Cory now. But whyyyyyyy what's the big secrettttttttt. Cory insists that he can be trusted, even though he demonstrated earlier that he cannot, and Shawn relents. Apparently Claire's father, a vice president of a bank, occasionally beats the crap out of his daughter. There's no mention of alcohol but it's sort of implied. And they can't go to the cops since their word ain't gonna mean shit against the VP of a bank. Damn, the 1%'s ability to avoid prosecution, that's some harsh reality that, as far as teenagers go, only the punk rock kids are gonna catch. Even without that, it's an unusually heavy subject matter. In the end, Cory agrees to call Shawn once his parents are asleep.

Claire arrives later that night and comments that the house reminds her of her aunt's place in Vermont. As Cory takes her coat, he sees some bruising on her arm.

Claire is played by Ariana Richards, who was actually Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park, which is pretty cool. JEFF GOLDBLUM and all that. She hasn't seen a whole lot of work since then though.

Anyway, Cory goes to get her a glass of milk, and returns to the living room to find her already asleep on the couch. It's almost an exact reproduction of when Shawn fell asleep at Turner's place right as Turner looked away for a second, back in 2x22.

I am so good at making gifs. Regardless, it's kind of an interesting parallel. Shawn was physically abandoned by his parents, while Claire's been sort of emotionally abandoned by hers. 

At school the next day, Cory insists to Shawn that they go to the police, but Claire overhears and explains that she'll just lie to the cops. She claims that her father just has a lot of stress from work and that she gets in his way. It's actually classic self-blaming, a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, and the reason why people all-too-often stay in abusive relationships. I'm impressed, Boy Meets World. That's real as fuck. Ultimately, Cory agrees to let her stay at his place another night. 

As always, there's a bunch of posters unrelated to English class on the corkboard of the English classroom in the background there.

Later that night, Cory shows up at Shawn's trailer with a very black-eyed Claire. I'd make the obvious joke, but it's probably in bad taste. Heh, bad taste. I guess I made a different joke on accident. Whatever.

Claire breaks down in the trailer and the sad music plays. I guess the boys decide to have Claire stay at Shawn's, since they go back to Cory's to retrieve the pillow and blanket she used earlier. But Cory's parents are lying in wait! They found one of Claire's textbooks that she left there the other night, and the boys spill the beans. Oh okay, they've bought Claire a bus ticket to Vermont to stay with her aunt, which is why the writers had her talk about it earlier (and why I mentioned it). It's a Happily Ever After ending, and it's honestly how I expected it to end, but I underestimated this show. It doesn't end there. Alan points out that there's nothing to stop Claire's father from just going to Vermont to get her back, that their solution is actually kinda shitty. Finally, Shawn accepts that the only way to stop this guy is to go to the police. 

During the credits, we learn from Cory and Boomeranga that Claire has in fact gone to Vermont and her father is in a therapy program. That is an incredibly progressive resolution, instead of "he'll be locked up for a long time". Fascinating. Cory and Topanga kiss and she suggests they "take a lead off of first". Scandalous.

When this aired on TV, there was one of those cheesy PSAs at the very end with a hotline for domestic abuse, but it is evidently not on the DVDs.

Plot: 1.0 - There's the very real question of why Claire even went to Shawn in the first place. He blatantly said that they aren't even dating, so there's really no reason for it. But if we accept that premise, it's a reasonable exploration of how these types of things play out, and the self-blaming was an excellent touch.

Character Development: 0.5 - Cory's goin to boob town.

Humor: 0.5 - There were some really funny lines, but overall it's kinda bogged down by the gravity of the main story.

Life Lesson: 1.0 - For 1996, this is decent stuff. And we're not talkin about Skins here folks, this is a fuckin ABC sitcom. All the stuff about sex is much more mature than we might have expected, especially from Eric, and then there's the whole "don't abuse your kids" thing.

3.0 out of 4.0. I definitely prefer the first seven episodes of this season. A good tagline for BMW is "lighthearted and funny, yet profound" but this episode's seriousness really breaks the rhythm we had established. Every series has to have a couple of these though, so for what they were trying to do it's pretty good.

Thanks for reading, see you Monday. 

All images used under Fair Use. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Episode 4x07 "Singled Out"

"Singled Out" was a game show on MTV from 1995 to 1998, originally hosted by Jenny McCarthy, one of the most diabolical Americans of our time, and Chris Hardwick, the creator of the Nerdist podcast and current host of Talking Dead on AMC. Jenny McShit does not appear in this episode of Boy Meets World, thank GOD, but Hardwick does. 

Eric's moping around the house. He wants to be dating college girls, so he's in luck when a commercial airs for Singled Out, giving him a number to call to become a contestant on the show. In the kitchen, we learn that Cory's tonsils are fucked up and he's going to need a tonsillectomy. Shawn tells Cory about a CNN story on the disappearance of a young boy after a routine hospital procedure, so now Cory and his tucked in shirt are scared. It is truly amazing how Cory transitions up and down the spectrum of logic. Sometimes he's the voice of reason and sometimes he does stuff like this. Either way, Tobasco is our voice of reason today and she's mad at Shawn for making her boyfriend worry.

For some reason this late hour is mail time, as Eric runs into the kitchen hoping for a letter from MTV. And indeed he has been accepted to be on the show. Wouldn't be much of a plot otherwise. The next morning, Eric heads out the back door to speak with Mr. Feeny, but the old man is nowhere to be seen! This perilous catastrophe causes Eric to give glorious birth to the legendary Feeny Call.

So this is the college edition of Singled Out, but Eric doesn't go to college, and the only name he knows of is Harvard. He doesn't want to use Harvard, so he asks Feeny what college he went to. Ah the days before search engines. Feeny doesn't want to take part in Eric's deception, even though it's completely harmless, so Eric ends up going with Harvard in the interview with MTV later that day. The lady says it doesn't even matter and that they only chose him because of his hair. Sounds about right. Gosh, what was this, '96? Was there ever music on MTV?

We're in Cory's hospital room now, and Shawn comes in dressed as a surgeon. This hospital's lack of security is a running gag and it's consistently funny. Shawn's got a newspaper with an article about another kid vanishing off of the operating table. Since we last saw him, Cory has shifted to the other side of the Logic Spectrum, and calls out Shawn's story as tabloid nonsense.

Shawn goes off to deliver a baby. At long last, it's time for Singled Out to begin. The host Chris Hardwick is introduced, who is actually the real host of Singled Out playing himself here on Boy Meets World.

Now, listen, I want you guys to understand the love I have for you, the fans, and for this blog. I am actually going to watch a real episode of Singled Out on youtube now to accurately compare it to this scene.

Jesus Christ this is terrible. Okay so it's a girl eliminating contestants from a pack of 50 guys. The first category was, and I'm not lying, dick size. She will now eliminate either the "Kentucky Derby Winners" (horse sized dick), or the "Kentucky Derby Jockeys" (short guy sized dick). This actually happened, in real life.

Unsurprisingly, she eliminated the smaller dick guys, claiming that she is "from Texas where everything is big" and a whole bunch of dudes left the stage. Like, why would they even admit to it? They fill out a card or something beforehand with their answers to all the questions, and obviously the girl is gonna pick the big dick guys, so I don't know what they were thinking. Her next question is smart guys or dumb guys, and of course she eliminates dumb guys, so everyone who wrote "small dick" would have been eliminated on that one too.

I can't believe this is real. Well, the most realistic part is that Jenny McCarthy is being the biggest toolbag in the universe the whole time. It's honestly somewhat cathartic seeing her do this shit on television. Chris Hardwick is actually a lot of fun to watch here though. Maybe I should start watching Talking Dead. Anyway, it's down to five contestants now. The five introduce themselves (the girl can't actually see any of the contestants, because this show doesn't want to cheapen the love experience with things like appearances, but dick size is fine). Now she eliminates the five down to three with some bull shit that I can't really explain with words. It doesn't look like there's a part two to the episode I picked, so we'll have to stop there, but I checked another episode and it ends the same way as on Boy Meets World. So they're at least staying true to the source material.

Yeah so Singled Out on MTV gets no badges. 0 out of 4. Anyway, here on BMW, it's swapped with a guy in that chair (Eric) and 50 girls behind him.

That guy in the background with the keyboard is the same guy from the real show, too. He looks like a Backstreet Boy.

Eric's first category is "First Date", with the options "Have You Been Naughty" or "Have You Been Nice". Eric accidentally sends away all the naughty girls, and follows that up with accidentally sending away the dumb girls. It's TREMENDOUSLY more enjoyable than the actual show. Eric's reactions to sending away the girls he wants are really funny, and Chris Hardwick is a real treat. So after two categories, Eric's got it down to five girls, (just like on the show, what a fascinating coincidence), and it's time for a commercial break.

After the commercial, it's down to three girls, I guess two of them rediscovered their dignity. From left to right, it's girls 2, 3, and 5. I'm already knee deep in this shit, so I might as well go all the way. There's a guy in the audience that I recognize from the episode of Singled Out that I watched. 

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS CONSPIRACY? WHO IS THIS PALM TREE HAIRED MAN? And since I know you're curious, he got eliminated by the "small dick" answer.

Anyway Eric answers a few rapid fire questions and ends up with Girl #5, Lisa, played by Bridget Flanery, whose career doesn't consist of anything I can comment on.

I'll give you three guesses at what their arranged prize-date is. Don't worry, you only need one. It's Chubbie's. 

It's 12 minutes into the episode now, I don't know what they could possibly do for the rest of this, but here we go. Back at the hospital, Cory's loopy on anesthesia as his family wish him good tidings in the OR. Feeny arrives, having been called earlier by Cory himself. The young man wishes to make peace with his teacher, and directs him to an airport locker containing all of his homework from the past five years. It's one of my favorite jokes from the entire series, but it's too long to put in a gif, so check it out for yourself. 

Oh, it's time for Cory's dream sequence. Well, when you wonder how a show is going to waste time, that really ought to be your go-to answer. His dream is a parody of Ripley's Believe It Or Not called We're Not Making This Up, investigating Cory's disappearance during surgery. It's got John O'Hurley as the treachcoat-clad host, before he was on Seinfeld or Family Feud, so that's cool. He also played the weatherman that Eric replaced back in season 3. This scene is the definition of wasted time, but it's probably a lot funnier if you had been watching Ripley's around that time.

At Chubbie's, Eric reveals that he doesn't really go to Harvard, and Lisa admits that she doesn't go to Columbia. In fact, they both lied about pretty much everything, so it's like a double negative, they're still a good match. It's actually really sweet, if we ignore the whole relationship-based-on-lies thing. 

During the credits, Cory's wooziness milks a few more shitty laughs out of the audience, and Topanga takes him off to find soup. Shawn walks into the empty room, assumes the worst, and starts to disappear himself, with cutting edge 1996 special effects.

The audience laughs during this bit, and that sort of thing always confuses me. They obviously can't see the effects live, so is there just a sign that tells them to laugh at this part? Or is it a laughtrack? If that's the case, why bother? No one is dumb enough to believe that an audience is actually laughing at effects they can't see.

I stand corrected.

Plot: 1.0  - It's really random and feels like a big publicity stunt, but the Singled Out story was entertaining, if nothing else, and I like the reveal at the end that they were both lying. A surgery is a pretty lazy way to keep Cory occupied for an episode, but the writers still had fun with it.

Character Development: 0.5 - This was mostly a one-off just-for-laughs episode, but Eric at least learned that he doesn't need to be a Harvard student to meet a nice girl.

Humor: 1.0 - Chris Hardwick and Eric had great chemistry, their styles of humor synergize beautifully. And the bit about Cory's hidden stash of homework makes me laugh every time.

Life Lesson: 0.5 - It's a stretch, but you don't have to lie about who you are, and a further stretch, usually your lies are going to come out eventually anyway.

3.0 out of 4.0. I recommend watching this episode just for the sheer novelty of it. Sometimes shows will parody a real game show, but this was a direct carbon copy of the real game, so it's definitely fun to watch. At the end of the day though, I've gotta ask why. And how. It's so strange that this happened. I could understand if it was a parody, but it's not. Very peculiar episode here.

Thanks for reading, see you Friday. Here's the link to the Singled Out episode I watched, if you're curious:

All images used under Fair Use.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Episode 4x06 "Janitor Dad"

Quick review of the first episode of Girl Meets World. It could have been a lot worse. Maya's actress is really good. Ben Savage is still great. The story didn't really seem like a pilot story, it would have worked a lot better if we knew a little bit about the characters first. I probably laughed more than I did during the BMW pilot, so I'm hopeful. Also, the poster in the subway station at the end was a throwback to the subway episode of BMW.

Back to the task at hand. Amy is sabotaging Alan's store by convincing all the customers that they don't actually need the equipment they're looking at. That seems uncharacteristically stupid of her. Oh, I see, it's an outpouring of her protective-mother-ness. Alan originally asked for her help since the store is so busy, but it's time to look elsewhere.

I gotta say, they're getting a whole lot of mileage out of this new store. That was a great idea by the writers.

The next scene is Eric and Alan interviewing the candidates. They're all sort of dorky balding guys who do not, in fact, have technical knowledge of outdoor gear, but they're also not mothers, so 1 for 2 there. One of the applicants is named Mervyn, and is played by Willie Garson, who previously played Alan's assistant at the store, Leonard Spinelli. Like every other time they recycle an actor, it could have just as easily been the same character, but whatever. Next scene, some Grizzly Adams lookin guy shows up looking for a job. The impeccable convenience of this event is not lost on Eric and Alan. 

At the Hunter trailer the next morning, Virna serves her son a sticky bun and a Flintstones vitamin for breakfast, which I think is pretty funny. She wants to heat up Shawn's breakfast, but finds bills in the microwave.

Much as I like him, I gotta call out Chet on this one. If you're going to hide months and months of overdue bills, the microwave is not a clever place for it. Apparently Virna's been working at the movie theatre every day, but Chet's sitting around unemployed. Shawn recalls his mother's desire for things to be different, and convinces his dad to pick up a job. At school, Shawn pranks some kids to spill milk on themselves, and Topanga comments about Shawn picking on people weaker than him. That sounds like a moral point we're going to circle back to later. And so it begins, as the janitor who shows up to clean the milk mess is none other than Chet Hunter.

Boy, episode titles don't get much more straightforward than "Janitor Dad". This show is weird with titles. Sometimes we get some shit like "Grandma Was a Rolling Stone", which, like, what the fuck are you talking about, and sometimes we get "Janitor Dad".

Back at Alan's store, the mountain man from before, named Ezekiel is doing the opposite of Amy. He's selling everyone way more than they need, albeit with good intentions, giving the Matthews men a kick to the moral groin.

At school, class begins and some asshole named, I dunno, it's probably Dirk or some shit like that, is giving Shawn a hard time about his dad being the new janitor. I mean just look at this guy, he's like half porcupine.

Cosplaying Sonic the Hedgehog or some shit, whatever. And look, there's a poster for the BooOOoOogie Down Halloween dance coming up. You gotta love those small details.

Turner intervenes before the fists start flying, and then begins the lesson. He talks about The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, and its portrayal of drastic class differences in the future. BOOM BAM BIBBITY BOP BOW. Literature inspired themes, we're back home boys and girls, back in the arms of the, you know, your loved ones, or whatever. Turner wants to show them some of the film so they get a better idea of what's going on, and Chet comes in to set up the AV equipment. Jesus christ, I just said "AV", that's depressing. The porcupine makes fun of Shawn some more, and Cory tells him to shut the fuck up. Apparently his name is Crandall, which I think excuses his bad behavior. I would probably be a serial killer by that age if I had to go around answering to "Crandall" all the time.

In the end, Shawn attacks Crandcupine and ends up in Feeny's office. Shawn explains the situation, and ultimately Feeny passes the decision of whether to keep Chet employed at the school to Shawn, citing the possibility that his father's presence could be disruptive to his education. It's a great little scene. Like I always say, the dynamic between Feeny and Shawn is really powerful (see City Slackers review). 

Shawn and Cory eat lunch in the hallway and Cory is taking special care not to make a mess, for the convenience of Shawn's father.

Crandall comes up with some loser friend of his and talks shit about Chet again, and the crowd goes oooooooooooo even though it really wasn't that much of a burn. Just then, Feeny passes by and Shawn suggests terminating his father's employment, in the heat of the moment. Mr. Feeny agrees to fire him in a couple days after finding a replacement janitor. 

At the store, it seems that Ezekiel has sold out the entire stock of rock climbing shoes, but to people who Alan thinks have no business climbing rocks.

You can see his mouth keeps moving after he says "successful", but I can't quite hear it because THE WORST EXTRA IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD walked in front of the camera/microphone right as he says it. I think he says "right Dad?", but we'll never know for sure.

Ezekiel shows up with "terrible news from the Hill Country". His "momma's took sick". I'm quoting him directly because he's funny. So Ezekiel's gotta take off, but he's leaving his niece Lonnie to help with the store. She's listed in this episode's credits as "Lonnie", but IMDB has her as Loni, I'm not sure what's up with that.  

She's played by Jennifer Campbell, who hasn't had any acting work since 1999, but she was on a few episodes of Baywatch, which is strangely common for women on this show.

At home, Shawn details his humiliation to his mother, who holds a very different opinion. She's genuinely proud of Chet for finally not-being-full-of-shit, and Shawn looks real introspective with his pouty lips practically bursting out of the screen. The old man comes home, beaming with self satisfaction, waving his first paycheck in the air. It's honestly pretty heart warming, the actor behind Chet is so fucking good at this stuff, and Virna does a great job too. 

I've never touched on this before, but the interior of Shawn's home is WAY too big to be a trailer. Yeah, I know, "bigger on the inside", shut up.

Shawn shows up at school early the next morning to convince Mr. Feeny not to fire Chet. He really spills his heart out, and as usual Rider Strong nails the heck out of it. Feeny agrees, and admits that he was never going to fire him in the first place, that "this was never about your father, Shawn, this was always about you".

Clearly, Topanga is continuing not to care about her appearance.  

Shawn makes a mess and cleans it up in front of that Crandall guy to prove that he's not embarrassed by his dad's job anymore. During the credits, Lonnie sells a massive crossbow to Willie Garson as Eric looks on with love in his eyes. But she proves to be much tougher than he is and sort of beats the crap out of him on accident.

Plot: 0.75 - What's not to like? The store-story wasn't the best we've seen, but it was a fun intermittent break from the seriousness of the main story. 

Character Development: 1.0 - The entire Hunter family grew three sizes that day. Chet got a job, Shawn respects his father, Feeny provided the path for Shawn to find his way. *see edit below for more*

Humor: 1.0 - Certainly not as standout as the last episode, but still consistently funny.

Life Lesson: 0.75 - Topanga's line about picking on weaker people did sort of lead up to Shawn getting harassed by Crandall, but the characters never mentioned it. That line from Topanga was really quick and subtle, it would deserve the full point if it hadn't been so easy to miss, or at least if they'd explored it a little more.

3.5 out of 4.0. - This season is rocking out so far. Six episodes in a row without being focused on Cory, and if memory serves, we won't be seeing a Cory episode next week either. I love Chet, I love his relationship with Shawn, and this episode was a showcase of that. Great stuff.

*EDIT* After a small reminder from a valued colleague, I have some more I want to say. Recall episode 2x22, "Career Day", where Chet lies to Turner's class about doing cool jobs and stuff, and makes Alan feel inferior. By the end of that episode, Virna's run off with their trailer and Chet goes to find her. This is in DIRECT CONTRAST to Janitor Dad. Now that Chet actually has a job, he comes into Turner's class once again, but this time to his son's embarrassment. Further, Virna does the opposite of what she did in Career Day as she explodes with pride and love for her husband. EVEN FURTHER, Alan is now in a job that he loves! We've done a total 180 from how things were in Career Day. And that's damn good story telling. I love this show.

Thanks for reading, see you Monday. A lot of people have asked if I'm going to do blog reviews for Girl Meets World. I'm not planning to right now, because I will inevitably compare it to Boy Meets World over and over, and that's really not fair or interesting, but who knows.

All images used under Fair Use.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Episode 4x05 "Shallow Boy"

So there's a girl playing cutesy lovey music outside Alan's store for tips. It's pissing everybody off. In fact, Alan would prefer the old sweaty smelly guy who spits on people. He sends Eric out to deal with her, but she flashes him a big old smile and ends up giving her his money.

Good old Eric. Alan has a stroke of genius as he suggests that Eric take her on a date, and then ask her to stop singing at their store while on the date.

In Mr. Feeny's class, they're talking about politics for some reason. Shawn and Cory fail to spark any interesting conversation, but Topanga posits that the most pressing issue of the time is the decline of the American family. Shawn takes this a little personally since his family situation is in the crapper. It's a fairly lackluster scene that's probably just setting some groundwork for future conflict. Topanga is wearing a shirt that's tied up in front for the third time in two episodes. In 4x04, she had one at the beginning, and then a different one at the damn funeral scene, and now this.

So I think it's fair to say that nobody in the production crew cares about Hair Today Goon Tomorrow. Again, this is not a comment on how women dress, just on consistency. She was supposed to be above superficiality, but now she clearly cares very much about her appearance.

In the hallway, Cory and his best bud make plans for a guys' night since Topanga's busy. But wait, she's actually babysitting, which Shawn points out is a great opportunity for some unsupervised late night intimacy. What it really means is that we're almost certainly going to have to endure a painful child actor giving Cory and Topanga a hard time.

Now we're at Chubbie's for Eric's date with the singing girl, whose name is Corinna.

She's played by Leisha Hailey, who has worked sporadically since Boy Meets World, including 70 episodes of some piece of crap called The L Word, and a smattering of voice acting on American Dad.

She can't stop singing during this date. She sings her answers to Eric's questions, sings about whatever she sees and whatever she's feeling, it's a nightmare and everyone at Chubbie's is appropriately annoyed. It's kinda like an episode of The Office, ya know? It's funny, but you're constantly trying to look away.

Cory arrives at the place where Topie is babysitting and promptly receives a Wet Willy from the kid who's supposed to be asleep. The red flags are raising, but it actually takes a fun turn. The kid, Billy, asks Cory if he wants to play his N64, which Billy calls his "Nintendo 64-bit". I mean, that's where the name comes from, but nobody in the history of space and time has ever said that, so I dunno. Anyway it's fun, because Cory is really excited to play video games, and really wants to do all the childish things that Billy wants to do, while Topanga insists that he go back to bed.

Naturally, this kid is terrible at saying his lines, his emphasis is all over the place, and his hair looks absolutely fucking stupid. How could someone let their kid go on cable TV looking like that? Whatever.

Cory continues to undermine his girlfriend's authority and she gets pretty angry. The scene ends with the two boys running off to watch TV against Topanga's orders.

Back at Chubbie's, Eric is dying. Corinna keeps going on about innocuous nonsense, clearly unable to pick up on social cues.

She starts singing another new song, and customers start running away. This scene is some of Eric's finest work. You can see him boiling up as he tries to sneakily ask for a waiter to bring the check, several times. Corinna says she's excited to spend the rest of her life with Eric, and then the cap comes off. Every single line coming out of Eric is hysterical, and the delivery is perfect. If you have two and a half minutes, I cannot recommend this scene enough. I will laugh at this scene until the end of time. You can find it here.

It's about a thousand times better with sound.

Corinna gets angry and starts playing some minor chords and singing an edgy song about how Eric's a dick. It's called Shallow Boy, which holy shit, is the name of the episode. And this time, the people at Chubbie's are enjoying her music.

 At school, Cory requests the company of his girlfriend at the cafeteria for Taco Bar Tuesday. But she's off her rocker about somethin or other, starting with "YOU WOULD FEED TACOS TO OUR CHILD?" Apparently she's worried about the well being of their potential post-marriage child, but Cory is as confused as I am. Oh okay, "You'd rather be pals with our kids than a strong responsible role model," inspired by his behavior with Billy the previous night.

Well this is just ridiculous. Cory shouldn't have undermined her authority, but she is blowing this way out of proportion. I mean this is the exact reason why you're not supposed to have kids at 15, because you're still immature and shit. Give him 10 or 20 years Topanga, jesus christ, then worry about his ability to be a father.

Later, we're at the Camping Store. I need to come up with a consistent term for this place. Eric's listening to "Sounds of the Sleeping Sled Dogs" over the store's loudspeaker, and it sounds really damn weird. I can't justify it at all. Watch this scene, it sounds so weird. Shawn and Cory have arrived with Corinna's new CD for Eric to listen to. The first track is Shallow Boy, the one she was singing at Chubbie's, but that doesn't prove anything! This album could be about anybody.

Oh. It's even being played on the radio. What a pickle.

At home, Cory's reading a book about how to be a dad, and Eric comes home with the new title of "maladjusted woman hating loser freak." Yes, Corinna's got a new song on the airwaves, and Morgan comes downstairs singing along with that new tune on her pocket radio or walkman or somethin, Iunno. The last part we hear Morgan sing goes "I think he likes boys, if you know what I'm saaaayiiiiin."

There's not much to say about all this except that Eric is hilarious and Topanga is losing her mind. Alan comes home with a note from Corinna, she visited him at his store, requesting to meet Eric at, you guessed it, Chubbie's. Corinna arrives in a Steve Jobs turtleneck, and is basically trying to milk anger out of Eric so that she can write more songs. In a moment of convenient plot driven intelligence, Eric sees what's going on and starts to sing The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow to get Corinna back to her old self. In the end, she can't resist, and it looks like Eric's in the clear.

Again, not much to say, it's just funny. At home, Cory sends Morgan to bed on time, and Topanga is watching off to the side for some reason. Morgan's wearing her totally awesome cow slippers again, and she actually said her lines like a legitimate actor today, so everything except the convenience is decent. Topanga explains to Cory that by the time he is old enough to have a kid, she suspects he'll be a pretty good dad. What the fuck changed from when she was losing her shit earlier? Just implied off-screen insight? That's slightly unsatisfying. I guess we'll finally get to find out how good of a father Cory is later this year. This is actually the most pertinent background episode for Girl Meets World, which is interesting. We'll see if any of this stuff comes up again.

During the credits, the radio plays Corinna's latest single called "Fuzzy Wuzzy Wuv", and it's shit. I mean, all of her songs were shit, but now the radio guy thinks so too.

Plot: 1.0 - I love the Corinna story. It's unique, creative, and not entirely predictable. It might seem like it's going to end up like the Wendy story, where Cory ends up missing her, but indeed we have a completely fresh story here.

Character Development: 0.25 - Eric doesn't really change at all, and Cory, I don't know, he's planning on being more responsible or something?

Humor: 2.0 - I'm giving bonus points to humor to boos the score since Development and Life Lesson are lacking, and this episode deserves a good score.

Life Lesson: 0.25 - Some people are just crazy.

3.5 out of 4.0. This episode is thoroughly laugh-out-loud funny. Eric is amazing. What's interesting is that the main character for the first five episodes has been, in order, Eric - Topanga - Alan - Shawn - Eric. No Cory-centric stuff yet, and they've all been really strong episodes. Very interesting.

Double Humor Badge.

Thanks for reading, see you Friday!

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