Friday, August 29, 2014

Episode 5x11 "A Very Topanga Christmas"

The 100th episode of Boy Meets World, how exciting. Based on the title, though, it's going to be a bunch of Corpanga relationshippy garbage.

It is indeed Christmas time, and Cory's making sure his family members don't do anything embarrassing while Topanga stays with them. He pulls Eric aside and shows him the "promise ring" he bought for Topanga, which "means we'll be together forever." Eric comments how precious that is, but also adds that Cory and Topanga are "freaks". See, that one tiny line puts the relationshippy nonsense in a totally different light. In, say, Long Walk to Pittsburgh, or Chasing Angela, we're supposed to believe that this relationship is the pinnacle of success, and everyone should strive for it. So by quickly adding the disclaimer that they're freaks, we can proceed with a much more relaxed perspective.

Amy arrives at the front door with Topanga, saying "look what I brought you for Christmas". Cory responds "Oh look, Miss Topanga-Head," like Miss Potato Head, which is a much better Topanga-name-joke than anything I ever came up with. Alan brings out his "special egg nog", so you know it's time to get blasted. This tradition isn't well received by Topanga though, whose family prefers to drink hot cider around Christmas.

She further insists that they go out and buy a fresh cut tree, instead of Alan's beloved aluminum tree. Even more, she is expecting to open gifts on Christmas Eve, another clash with the Matthews family. Eric pulls his little brother aside while Topanga retrieves her top-of-the-tree ornament from upstairs. The law is laid down. Eric calls Cory out for being completely whipped (without that exact terminology), but Cory insists that he will defy his girlfriend on the matter of the tree's top ornament. He fails.

Mister Feeny has apparently broken into their home as he now enters the living room, ready to read A Christmas Carol to the Matthews family, like he does every year.

This tradition, like all the others so far, is on death row when Topanga decides it would be more fun to have everyone act out the parts of the story. No one defies Mister Feeny. A very clear line has been crossed here.

At The Apartment, the Hunter boys are trying to deal with the fact that they have nothing in common and nothing interesting to do for entertainment. They don't say it, but I'm pretty sure they both miss Eric. Anyway Shawn's history gets reconned a little bit more as he claims he used to dream of having Christmas with his brother, and that now they're going to have the best Christmas ever.

This is suuuuuuuuuuuuuuper boring. Back home, Topanga wakes Cory up at 3 a.m to talk about some bullshit, it doesn't even matter, and Cory doesn't want to be there. Man, they sure are stretching nothing into everything with this episode. It's almost halfway now and all they've done is show us how Topanga's traditions are different from Cory's. There aren't even any jokes, it's just "tehe see how kooky her traditions are". I am not a fan.

Cory, now awake, goes downstairs and finds his father building a model plane on the couch. Apparently he faces a similar ordeal fairly regularly, where Amy wakes him up to talk and then she falls back asleep, leaving him to make models. Cory explains that he doesn't like learning how different he and Topanga are, when he had previously thought they were exactly alike. Even though that's pretty dumb, since we've seen almost zero examples of things they actually have in common. They've always been really different people. Typical Boy Meets World, I guess. Alan doesn't have much advice, but gives his son a model plane to build.

The next morning at breakfast, Topanga continues the execution of Operation: Destroy Christmas, and Cory finally puts his foot down.

I don't know how I can possibly make this review interesting, I'm sorry.

Cory is now at The Apartment with the Hunters. Shawn thinks he's an idiot for ditching Topanga over trivial differences, especially while he and Jack are trying so hard to find one thing that they have in common. I do like that, that we're finally getting another look at this struggle to find brotherhood that they made such a big deal about at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, all Shawn does is mention it, and the focus is right back on Cory's relationshippy nonsense. Topanga shows up, apologizes for Operation: Destroy Christmas, then heads out again.

Honestly the most enjoyable thing in this episode so far is Jack in this scene, doing this sort of running background joke where he doesn't really know who Topanga is. This has actually been a great week for Jack, I've liked him in all three episodes. But it's only a matter of time before it's back to the old ways. The characters are all night and day between episodes this season. Sometimes Cory is Satan, and then Last Tango In Philly comes around. Eric is the only really consistent character.

Anyway Cory says he's going to hang out at the apartment and watch A Christmas Carol on TV, and Shawn and Jack realize they both love ice skating.

Now it's time for the inevitable dream sequence imitating A Christmas Carol. Mister Feeny has taken on the role of Ghost of Christmas Future. The future reveals an obese Cory eating pancakes for every meal, as well as  the happily married couple of Jack and Topanga. WooOOOooo way to go Jack! Japanga have compromised on the Christmas traditions, something Cory didn't even consider.

WOAH SHOTS FIRED. Cory's real sad and some sad music plays. But I'm not sad.

The dream ends and Cory returns home. He gives Topanga the promise ring, and comments that it's a good thing they're different. Topanga agrees and gives him a promise ring as well. It's a sort of cutesy way to show us that they're similar in the ways that matter. Yes, just like the wise sage Eric foretold earlier in the episode, they are both freaks.

During the credits, celebrations are winding down and Feeny harkens everyone over to listen to his reading of A Christmas Carol. It skips ahead to the conclusion, and everyone has fallen asleep.

It's time for a KBM PRO RE-WRITE *guitar solo*

SO THE CAMERA PANS ACROSS THE WHOLE ROOM, RIGHT, we see everybody on the couch, and then finally it's Shawn and Jack in their chairs, but they're both still awake, just sitting there enjoying the story. They don't look at each other or anything, they're just sitting there listening, it's very subtle.

I was so sure that's what was gonna happen while the camera was moving across, SO SURE, what a let down.

Plot: 0.25 - The thirty seconds of Shawn and Jack was good.

Character Development: 0.25 - Shawn and Jack realize this whole brotherhood thing might work out.

Humor: 0.25 - Eric had almost no screen time, nobody else was very funny except that one Jack bit.

Life Lesson: 0.5 - Christmas Future Feeny's comments about compromise in relationships were important, but we don't ever see it implemented. Cory just goes home and gives Topanga the promise ring.

1.25 out of 4.0. It sucks. Almost nothing redeeming going on here. Turnaround in season 2 still holds the title of best holiday episode of the series. Christmas episodes are notorious for being bad across all series, and Very Topanga Christmas is no exception. It was a waste of time.

Thanks for reading, see you Monday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Episode 5x10 "Last Tango in Philly"


It's not the 100th episode though, since I reviewed On The Air twice. Thanks for sticking with me this long. It's been a fantastic journey. There's nothing else special about this post, besides Dancing Guy Logo up there. That will never get old.

During the theme song we all hate, Cory and Topanga take the ALS ice bucket challenge.

As always, the content of the previous episode does not matter anymore. The work-study program no longer exists as we see Angela and Topanga working at a Mexican restaurant. It's their first night on the job, so their boyfriends have decided to heckle them and act like obnoxious customers. The results are hilarious. Who could have ever thought that Shawn and Cory goofing off together would have positive results? The lads wanna hang out with their lasses after work, but the lasses have already decided to go dancing with people from work. An invitation to join them is extended, but Cory and Shawn resolve to go to the gym instead.

Topanga and Angela are approached by two of their coworkers, handsome men with Latino accents named Sergio and Nunzio, asking if they are still coming dancing with them tonight. As you can imagine, Cory and Shawn aren't happy with this situation. At school the next day, they're a bit worried about what happened the night before.

Topangela come up and tease the boys about being jealous of the Latin male models, but insist that they've done nothing wrong. I agree with that, but I'm pretty progressive. I totally understand why a lot of guys wouldn't be comfortable with this. The boys refuse to show their jealousy, deciding to hit the gym until they can "beat the zippers off of Sergio and Nunzio."

I suppose it is now time for these zippers to be beaten off as our heroes arrive at the restaurant, which, by the way, is just Chubbie's with some decorations. But you probably guessed that already.

This is beautiful. It feels like Boy Meets World again. The Shawn and Cory show.

We get some fun antics here at the restaurant and a confrontation with the handsome Nunzio. Nunzio is clearly very jealous of Cory for being Topanga's boyfriend, but he's not trying to steal her or anything, no matter how much Cory believes it.

In The Backyard, Alan's setting up his new satellite dish while Feeny finishes up a little gardening. Eric joins the scene to hold the ladder for his father while he climbs up to the roof. And then a strange woman named Katherine wanders into the shot, and Feeny calls out to her.

This is two houses' back yard. What is she doing in here? That is not a place for people to be idly walking around. Apparently she's headed to Starbucks and totally wants a piece of Feeny's hot ass, but he's oblivious to the flirting and sends her on her way. Eric then explains that she was asking him out. We haven't had much Feeny/Eric interaction this season, apart from that imaginary Feeny, so, again, it's feeling like the good old days.

We're at the gym now, and there's some large, black letters on the wall spelling out "THE GYM", so I'm fairly sure that's where we are. Cory and Shawn use their anger at Nunzio to motivate their weight-lifting, and some jacked women nearby compliment them on their progress. I'm not sure if they have German or Russian accents, it's one of those intimidating ones. Cory calls the restaurant from the gym's payphone to check up on Topanga, but it's closed. For some reason, the answering machine informs Cory that Nunzio, Sergio, Topanga, and Angela can be reached at "The Boom Boom Room". The only conceivable reason for that is that Nunzio predicted Cory would call, and is taunting him.

Cory's now waiting outside Topanga's house for her to get home from dancing at The Boom Boom Room. He does his whole jealous-boyfriend thing, ending with forbidding Topanga to see Nunzio again. The next day, it's THE GYM time again. The jacked girls walk in and greet our heroes, who return the greeting. Apparently their names are Sonja and Cookie. But only Sonja has lines, the same way that only Nunzio has lines and not Sergio. It's odd, honestly, but I guess it saves the show some money. Cory and Shawn talk it over, and decide that the best solution to their problem is to do the same sort of thing to Topangela, by taking Sonja and Cookie to dinner at their restaurant.

Just before they arrive, we see Topangela and Nunzio talking about how men are idiots, and Nunzio admits that he'd feel pretty awful if his girlfriend went dancing with someone as good looking as he is.

Real talk, Nunzio is hilarious. Can we replace Jack with Nunzio? Him and Eric could have some very real adventures together. The writers really messed up on this one. He should at least be a recurring character. Anyway, Cory and Shawn show up with their "dates" and the whole thing blows up in their faces.

Angpanga are pissed, and now Sonja and Cookie are pissed, even though Cookie doesn't have any lines. Jack and Eric are in The Backyard instead of their apartment, and apparently he's screwed things up with his girlfriend-of-the-episode, Lucy.

One of the few solid Jack-jokes in the series. And of course Eric closes it out with his legendary eyebrows.

Feeny joins the scene, returning home from a date with that Katherine woman from before. He inadvertently insulted her poetry and now he's here, confused how things went so wrong. We hear Amy shouting from inside, "It's either me or that satellite dish." I hardly think this issue is serious enough for an ultimatum, it's only been like a day and a half, but fine. Either way, Alan joins the men outside, as do Cory and Shawn shortly after. They're all lamenting their inability to understand women and what they want, except Eric who's actually been the most logical one so far.

The scene fades over to some dance club as the manly men try to brainstorm an answer to their problems. The dance club is "TV full", a phrase I've invented to mean "let's pretend it's full, since we have to move a camera around in there". Like all of the school dances on this show, right, those were "TV full". Anyway, we see that the gang is all here, Topangelanga, Nunzio, Amy, and even Feeny's gal Katherine. If Jack's girl is here, they don't mention it. Though I guess she was stuck sick at home. If that's not enough TV magic for ya, geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet a load of this.

Eric walks out onto the club's stage and announces that men are idiots, but that "this will make up for it." Hot Stuff by Donna Summer starts playing as the boys all come out on stage and to this ridiculous dance number. Buuuuuut I guess it is also pretty funny, especially seeing Feeny up there, workin it.


It does one of those freeze-then-fade-out things as they finish the dance. During the credits, some more dancing occurs, and we learn that Nunzio taught them all that routine. GOD DAMMIT NUNZIO! YOU'RE THE BEST CHARACTER ON THE SHOW! Let's see, Nunzio was played by Jonathan Del Arco, who had decent success for a while after Boy Meets World, but finally landed a recurring role on The Closer from '07 to '12, and now a spinoff of The Closer that's going into its fourth season. Good for him. Also, before Boy Meets World, he played Hugh the Borg, on two episodes of STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION. What. A. Boss.

Back to the show though, Jack hooks up with Sonja here at the club, and Eric hooks up with Cookie, who still doesn't have lines. She actually mouths out the word "no" when Eric asks her a question, because speaking costs a lot more. And after that dance number, we are DEFINITELY over budget.

Plot: 1.0 - I'm not sure what more you can ask for here. Everyone had their own storyline, and they all came together at the end.

Character Development: 0.5 - Not much, but this is Shawn's first serious relationship, so even though it's not really addressed, it's interesting to see him deal with this whole "jealousy" thing for the first time.

Humor: 2.0 - The same way that Shallow Boy was the pinnacle of Eric-humor, this is the pinnacle of Cory+Shawn humor. It's top 5 funniest in the series for me.

Life Lesson: 0.5 - Men are idiots.

4.0 out of 4.0. It needed some bonus points to get there, but I really think this episode deserves it. Like I said earlier, this episode just feels like Boy Meets World. I've seen some threads on reddit like "What episode should I show someone who's never seen the show before", and I would go with this one. Maybe I'm biased since that's what I did with a good friend of mine a long time ago, and he loved this episode. It is constantly getting real laughs out of me. Who wrote this... Okay, it was Jeff Menell, and he's been writing for the show since season 1. He's done a lot of great episodes.

A perfect score with only two badges. But who cares.

Thanks again for sticking with me for ONE HUNDRED REVIEWS! ONE HUNDRED IS SO MANY! I'll see you fine folks on Friday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Episode 5x09 "How To Succeed in Business"

John Adams High has apparently instituted a "work study program". We don't get any more detail than that. Our heroes are working in the mail room for a big advertising agency, and, naturally, Shawn is goofing off while Cory takes his mail-sorting duties very seriously.  There's another guy in here, real old fellow who's been working in this mail room for 43 years. He's supposed to serve as this ominous "you better impress somebody and get promoted or you'll end up like me" symbol, and hey, it's working. He must have Alzheimer's though, because he did have another job as the original announcer of Oahu Beach Face Savers Presents Knowledge Fever in 4x19.

Shawn comments that he likes this old guy, and Cory's smug, stupid self explains how he himself should be Shawn's role model, not this old guy. Indeed, this corporate world is Cory's "essence", or so he claims.

Look at 'im, wearin a t-shirt with a sweater vest... He's worn that almost every episode this season and it makes him look him a chump.

Upstairs on the senior management floor, we see a sign on the wall that reads "Keller-Marsden Advertising". I can't find anyone with the name Keller involved in the show, although April Kelly was one of the creators, and we can only hope that the other name is a throwback to Jason Marsden. As they deliver the mail, a phone rings at an empty desk, setting today's plot in motion.

Shawn handles an angry client with a surprising level of skill, and the vice president of the company overhears the conversation. His "temp didn't show up today" and so he wants Shawn to replace him. I don't know jack about business, but if you ask ten VP's how they would feel about Shawn answering that phone, you would probably get ten different answers, so I'm willing to accept that this is possible.

At home, Eric (why is Eric even here?) interrupts his mother watching a soap opera, telling her that she desperately needs to get a life and go do something productive.

Amy is compelled to go do... something. This is one of those shots that you probably have to be in the biz to understand. We know there's a TV in the living room, they could have easily done this scene on the couch, so why do it in the kitchen with this tiny little TV? I could throw out some guesses, but for the most part it's a mystery.

Back at Keller Marsden, Shawn's still performing well. In fact, the VP has asked Shawn to put together a pitch for a toothpaste ad targeted toward teenagers. Shawn and Cory are the only teenagers working at this place, so it's still believable that he would ask for Shawn's ideas. Cory insists that a thorough depiction of bacteria and gingivitis is the angle to take, but Shawn's pretty sure he should do an ad about how fresh breath is sexy. As he heads into the VP's office, it's left ambiguous which direction Shawn's going to take. Does he trust himself more than he trusts Cory? That's a pretty interesting question.

Now we're in Eric and Jack's creative writing class, and Mrs. Amy Matthews arrives on the scene. She's not being weird or anything, and Jack thinks she's pretty cool, but Eric is extremely uncomfortable. Especially when she tries to make small talk with his girlfriend.

Girlfriend girl is played by Alissa Ann Smego, who didn't have many other roles, and actually "passed away unexpectedly" last October. That's a shame.

This looks promising though. We've really only explored the parent-child relationships with Alan, and now we get to see Eric interact with his mother.

Topanga is visiting Cory during her lunch break, and makes a comment about a senator, so her work-study has her in... DC... somehow... Either way, she's excelling the same way Shawn is, leaving Cory in the dust. Just before leaving, she comments that Cory should keep looking out for Shawn because "he really looks up to you." WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE! Cory and Topanga are like this inter-dependent conceit-monster. They are disgustingly self absorbed this season. She leaves, though, and is quickly replaced by Shawn, who explains that he went with the sexy fresh breath idea, and it was well received. So he did trust himself more than Cory, and that's great to see. As he turns to leave again, Shawn comments "I guess you're not the only one with good ideas."

That's awesome that Shawn realizes that he can have good ideas, that he doesn't have to rely on Cory. My only gripe is that we already saw Shawn's aptitude for business in the Bed 'n Breakfast episode. Even Feeny said that Shawn had a future there, and now they won't even mention it. Can anybody think of a good reason why that is? Why don't they even mention it? 

The creative writing class claps for Eric as he finishes reading his work, and it's Amy's turn up next. Her story is the seemingly non-fictional account of her honeymoon. "Alan walked toward me and I began to tremble" is where Eric starts to freak out, and the scene fades over to Keller-Marsden before we get any of the juicy details. So the question becomes, can Eric see his mother as a person, a human, a wife, instead of just seeing her as his mommy.

The last four paragraphs started with T. This one makes 5. That's not very good. Try to diversify your writing, folks. Trust me on that.

It's time for Cory to answer a ringing phone, but he screws it all up. The client gets pissed and threatens to move his account to another agency, leaving Cory to get fired. At home, Alan tries to console his curly haired son, but it's extremely hard for me as a viewer to feel any kind of sympathy for this guy.

They must be trying to make us hate Cory. What a terrible person. Alan seriously underreacts by telling his son to give Shawn "a little more credit". We were primed and ready for an Alan Matthews Lesson here, but it didn't happen. Shawn shows up a little later, having recovered the account that Cory almost lost as well as convincing the VP to re-hire Cory. Wow, Cory absolutely does not deserve this guy as a best friend. Damn it, this paragraph started with T too.

Unfortunately for Cory, he's gotta work as a janitor now. He's janitoring the senior management floor when Shawn comes over with the finished toothpaste ad.

Shawn is 100% humble about the whole thing, and seems genuinely distressed that his best buddy is stuck working as a janitor. This episode is making me question my shipping of Cory and Shawn... It's starting to seem like a one-way relationship.

At The Apartment, Eric is swappin spit with his girlfriend from class. The audience manages to withhold their "oooOOOOoo" this time, which I always appreciate. Jack comes home with Amy in tow, since she's going to help him with the current writing assignment.

I feel like with a lot of these gifs, some of the impact is lost since Eric's inflection is important to a lot of his jokes, but either way it's still funny.

Eric yells that college is supposed to be his time, untainted by the presence of his parents. Amy loves her son and doesn't want to make him uncomfortable, even though she really wants to write. So she goes home, leaving Jack to, I don't know, flounder his way through the assignment. Jack is the real victim here.

At home, Feeny gives an Emmy deserving performance as he reads some of Amy's work. It wouldn't translate to a gif at all, so be sure to check that out around 16 minutes. The Eric story comes to a close now, as he comes downstairs and tells his mother to come back to class because she's a good writer. Well that wasn't as profound as I'd hoped for. I mean, she was reading stories out loud about having sex with his father. I really can't blame Eric for being uncomfortable.

As Cory and Topanga arrive at The Apartment for a dinner with Shangela, we discover that Cory has been blatantly lying to Topanga about work when she comments "I know it's awkward for you to be doing so much better than Shawn". I hate you, Cory. Inside, the ruse starts to fall apart when Shawn gets a fax on the machine the company gave him.

Let's all jot down in our Boy Meets World notebooks that we have definitive proof of Cory lying to Topanga. We're going to come back to that later in the season.

Next Shawn gets a call on his new cellphone, and Angela mentions that the company also give him a credit card, and Cory breaks. He shows Topanga that all he's received from the company is his ring of janitor's keys. I'm not sure why he has those right now. Anyway, everything comes to light now. Shawn says it feels really good that he's doing something on his own for once (forgetting about the B 'n B, of course), and he's overall calm and level-headed and understanding. He really is a way better friend than Cory deserves right now.


And there's also the slight issue that IT'S NOT THE FIRST TIME. Cory spent the entire second season being jealous of Shawn! That's what I fucking loved about this show, they were both screw-ups/failures who were both jealous of each other for different reasons, with different skillsets, trying to make their way together. But now the whole message is "Shawn is finally becoming as good as Cory," and nobody wants that. I sure don't. That being said, Shawn does go off in his own direction again in future episodes, but for right now, I don't like it.

During the credits, Amy reads a story about giving birth to Eric, and the second-hand embarrassment is so strong that I can barely even watch it.

Plot: 0.75 - I liked it for the same reason I liked the B 'n B episode. It's fun to watch Shawn be good at things. And because I hate Cory right now, it was also fun to watch him fail.

Character Development: 1.0 - Even though the "I'm as good as you!" thing pisses me off, Shawn is making progress with his lack of self worth.

Humor: 0.75 - Once again, Eric deserves a lot of the credit. The old guy was funny too.

Life Lesson: 0 - Don't be like Cory. That's this review's life lesson, don't be like Cory. But as for this episode, I can't really think of anything.

2.5 out of 4.0. It definitely felt more like a sitcom than the last two episodes, without all the TRUE LOVE crap. That made it enjoyable for me, not having to deal with all that crap I hate. But "You don't have all that crap I hate" wouldn't really sell at Hallmark. And honestly, looking back, when does Cory succeed without Shawn? When are all these times that Cory keeps talking about? Yeah Shawn screws up most of the time, but either Cory screws up too or he's not even involved. They took that relationship inferiority complex from the last two episodes, and tried to expand it into an overall inferiority complex, and it doesn't really match up with the history. But then, it never does.

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Episode 5x08 "Chasing Angela (Part 2)"

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'entrate.

Shawn is on another date at Chubbie's. You know, I'm surprised that Shawn's most significant reputation is as a playboy. He really ought to be known as the guy who takes girls to Chubbie's. Shawn's date is doing an obnoxious cheer that just spells out his name, and some extras in the background are staring.

So that's about par for the course, but as we saw in the last episode, Shawn is growing past this stuff. On the other side of the restaurant are Angela and her date, some guy telling the story of how he “saved the day” at a football game. Then he asks her if she wants to make out. Angela is as bored as Shawn, and we're supposed to react like “wow they would be totally not bored if they were together,” which I guess is true if we accept everything from the last episode.

On yet another side of the restaurant are Cory and Topanga, who clearly never have anything to do besides watch Shawn go on dates. They've been doing this pretty consistently. Cory wants to interfere and tell Shawn that the contents of The Purse belonged to Angela, citing “this is the woman of his dreams, the woman he could spend the rest of his life with.” Is that right, Cory? Because last episode you told Shawn he was stupid for falling in love with a purse. Topanga insists that he stay out of it though, since Shawn demanded at the end of 5x07 that Cory stay out of his personal life. But Cory, of course, doesn't listen. He detaches Shawn from the lips of the aspiring cheerleader and tells him about Angela and The Purse. Between the little summary Cory gives now and the “last time on Boy Meets World” at the beginning, there was no reason to even watch the last episode. Shawn has a surprisingly rational response to this news.

Okay when I said “rational” I meant half rational. I like that he's going back to his actual experience instead of saying “Oh Angela is the purse girl? Now I love Angela!” So that part is rational, but thinking that he would have fallen in love with Angela after two weeks is not so rational. Then again, if we accept the previous episode, then Shawn is capable of loving very quickly. So under that premise this is a well thought out response. It doesn't matter though since Cory responds with his special brand of nonsense.

Ohhhhhhhhhh mannnnnnnnn. First of all, “everything you've ever wanted”? Try everything he's wanted since the last episode. But this show has a habit of turning a single episode into ALL OF HISTORY. Second, what the frickety frack!? Cory is revoltingly pretentious about love at this point in the show. I miss the good old days when Cory was so sure he knew nothing about anything. That was easy to relate to and identify with. But now he's supposed to sound wise and it doesn't work at all.

Shawn goes over to Angela's table, and she's not making out with her date. I'm kind of disappointed by that, honestly. If Shawn can kiss his date and not care, why can't she? As always, I am confused by her hair.

Everything else aside, she is a pretty good actress. And if I didn't know the future, I probably wouldn't have a problem with her at this point. She's at least got some hobbies, unlike Jack. Shawn starts giggling and looks back at Cory who reminds him to “look into her eyes”. Shawn does so, and is left speechless. And so it begins. Cory is going to be completely unbearable after this...

At school the next day, Cory's got this shit-eating grin and says “hey hey, Shawny's in love!” Yup, unbearable. Shawn's afraid to talk to Angela though, so he hides in the janitor's closet. Joining us now is Topanga Lawrence with a bunch of anniversary balloons from Cory. He also claims to have made reservations at some restaurant. WOW CORY. MISTER MASTER OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS OVER HERE, with this boring ass balloons and dinner anniversary plan. You're all talk and no game, Cory. No game. And there's probably a timeline issue with their anniversary being this early in the season, but what does it even matter at this point. God, look at me. I've been broken. They've broken my continuity-loving spirit.

Now Topanga's being unbearable as well, “awww that's so sweet”, “that's so cute”, talking about Shawn's nervousness, not the balloons. Doesn't seem like she cares about the balloons. But she should, because the world is running out of Helium. Angela comes over and asks Shawn if he wants to get food later, and also gives him a seashell that she claims reminded her of him. Hell of a better gift than balloons.

At The Apartment, Jack's finishing up a phone call with his mother, who has informed him that she and Jack's stepdad are going on a cruise during Thanksgiving. Jack comments that he'll have to have Thanksgiving all alone. Except that's not true because he could easily have Thanksgiving with Shawn. I swear, 90% of the time the writers forget that Shawn lives in this apartment too. Their whole brotherhood storyline completely vanished after those first two episodes. Anyway Jack asks to eat with Eric and his family, and ultimately they decide to host Thanksgiving for everybody there at the apartment. While all this happening, Eric makes himself a peanut butter and cereal sandwich, which calls back a joke from a past season where Morgan was making silly cereal sandwiches. It's subtle, though, and I appreciate that.

Back at John Adams, Shawn's taken up residence in that janitor's closet where he is currently reviewing his “black book” of girls' phone numbers.

Hmmmm.... IS MORGAN IN THERE? Or maybe it's Grandma Matthews.

This scene is more of Cory being the Love Guru, while Shawn's scared of giving up everyone in his book for a relationship with Angela. He says that a committed relationship is a new and foreign concept to him, but I thought that changed with Dana back in season 3. Honestly I'm still rooting for Shawn and Dana. But in the end, he realizes that the only person in the book he really cares about is Angela.

Now Jack and Eric are up to some WILD AND CRAZY ANTICS. Eric is trying to make an ice sculpture of a turkey and Jack made some shitty pumpkin pie.

Even when it's Jack doing something silly, they still rely on Eric for the punchline.

Jack starts to freak out, but Eric assures him that his family doesn't care about Thanksgiving very much. Just then, Alan shows up and tells the boys a story about how much Thanksgiving means to him. It is “the most important day of the year”. And then he leaves. Isn't that what telephones are for? That was a waste of gas, Alan. Think about the environment.

Time for a Chubbie's date. Shawn is playing Vivaldi's Spring on the jukebox, the same thing he did at the end of the last episode. He's recreating the same date he tried to have while returning The Purse. It's clear that Angela doesn't know about Shawn and The Purse yet though. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? That's ridiculous! Nosy ass Cory and Topanga, getting in everybody's everything, never bothered to tell Angela that Shawn already knows all this shit about her? “Aww they're a match made in heaven, even though he went through all her shit and she doesn't know about it.” And the girl whose purse it was never bothered to mention who this guy was that found her purse? Bah, I say! Bah!

Turns out that Angela is still going out with that football guy, but luckily Cory is waiting in the wings and advises Shawn to just tell Angela how he feels. You need to brace yourself for this one.

I could write a BOOK on that line right there, “Why can't we be Cory and Topanga?” It says so much about Shawn's character and where his character arcs have taken him. Hidden in that line is the question “Why can't I have what Cory has?” and that is MASSIVE! HUUUUUUUUGE! “Why can't I have a real home, and real parents, and a real brother, and a real romance, and go to college...” Every step of the way, Shawn feels like he's got the knockoff brand compared to Cory. And if Cory weren't so smug about the whole thing this could have actually been amazing.

Unfortunately, Angela just says she's sorry and has to go.

At school the next day, Shawn's falling apart and tells Cory he's just gonna go back to using his black book.

Which reminds me that there was a BBC comedy called Black's Books. Funny show. Anybody seen that?

Shawn is being realistic about all this, saying hey, I tried, I got hurt, time to let go, Angela doesn't want what I want. I'm gonna directly quote Cory's response to that: “She doesn't know what she wants. I know what she wants.” The audience doesn't laugh at that or anything. That's his most infuriating line yet. And then he tells Shawn a story about how he kissed Topanga when they were four years old. It has nothing to do with anything, and also bull fucking shit he did. I can't handle this episode you guys. I have never hated Cory so much. Shawn reacts to this story with “I want what you have,” and Cory replies “Then go get it.” Ughhhhhhhhh.

Another Chubbie's date, it's Angela and that football guy from the beginning again, his name is Ted. Shawn interrupts their date and Ted offers Shawn a french fry. I like this guy, I'm gonna be honest. He's really cool and funny for this whole scene. Shawn's busy trying to explain to Angela why they're perfect for each other, but I can't even focus on it because his leather jacket is making so much noise. I'm not kidding, watch this scene, all you can hear is his jacket. Ted takes his fries and bails because he's the coolest guy on this show, and Angela looks like she's been convinced to go out with Shawn again.

We're at a restaurant called Barelli's now, where Cory has made reservations for Shangela, and this is also where Topanga will be joining him for their anniversary dinnner because god forbid Shawn go on a date without Cory. Also their waiter is the stylist from Hair Today Goon Tomorrow (EDIT No he's not. They're not even remotely similar looking. I am an idiot). Corpanga arrive and Cory just stares at Shawn and Angela the whole time. Frustrated with Cory's ridiculous behavior, Topanga yells “What's happening to us?”

So she's not as completely insane as Cory, and is equally annoyed by him as I am. Shawn and Angela both feel like this place is too fancy, so they order burgers because they want to “be themselves”. Shawn claims he has no idea what he's doing, which is pretty damn clear. Topanga and Cory start yelling at each other because Toperarkldajklsdf doesn't want to be an old married couple at 17. They cool off and Cory claims that he was only doing all this nonsense because he thought that's what she wanted, which is just a HUGE fucking lie. Agreeing to actually behave like they're 17, they knock everything off the table and start making out on top of it. It might even be funny if I thought this relationship made any sense at all. NAUSEA WARNING: Angela comments that she wants “what they have” and she kisses Shawn. Thank god this scene is over now.

It's Thanksgiving time now at The Apartment, and all the boys have is “an Easter basket and a Santa Claus”. Now everybody arrives and oh look Thanksgiving isn't ruined since they all brought the food.


Plot: 0.25 – Pfffffff

Character Development: 0.5 – Cory sucks. Bad. But Shawn has entered a serious relationship, and whether we like it or not, it is development.

Humor: 0.5 – Eric, as always, was hilarious, but he didn't get a lot of screen time.

Life Lesson: 0 – Easier zero than the time travel episode.

1.25 out of 4.0. It sucks. Watching it only made me angry. Cory was genuinely insufferable. That's not what we watch this show for. We don't want Hollywood romance and star-crossed lovers. This was a huge step backward.

Thanks for reading, if you managed to get this far. See you Monday.

All images used under Fair Use.