Friday, November 28, 2014

Episode 6x13 "We'll Have A Good Time Then..."

At the end of the previous episode, Shawn decided he needed time alone, but it seems that time has come and gone. He's hanging out with Cory again today, as they walk into The Union and coincidentally meet up with Jack. The plot is set in motion when some fellow informs Shawn that an old guy is taking everybody's money at the pool table, and Shawn quickly recognizes him as his father, Chet. The last time we saw our favorite deadbeat was season 5, episode 2, and I for one am happy to see him again. He always brings so much life and energy to the show.

Shawn claimed earlier that he's never beaten his father at pool before, but manages to do so today and win back everyone's money. He doesn't make a big deal out of it though, which is a nice touch. Chet goes to buy a Pennbrook sweatshirt, while Shawn explains to Jack that Chet is going to be leaving soon, no matter how much he insists that he's staying.

The Hunter men find themselves at The Apartment later after lunch. It's pretty much exactly what we'd expect. Chet's got his trademark swagger and starts flirting with Rachel, still insistent that he's going to stay this time, while Shawn lurks in the background knowing all too well that his father has never followed through on that promise in the past. Rachel takes a picture of the Hunters, and Chet takes a picture of Jack hugging Rachel, which is Eric's cue to storm into The Apartment and pull them apart.

Even Eric knows that Chet never really stays.

Shawn and Chet mince words about whether he's staying or not, and the phone starts to ring. Eric answers, and hands it to... Chet... How the hell... Why is no one questioning the fact that Chet just got a call at The Apartment? Not one person comments on how strange this is. Regardless, it's a buddy of his, offering a job in Vegas dealing blackjack. We're given the impression that it's a lucrative opportunity, and Chet doesn't say yes or no right away, prompting Shawn to jump on his case about leaving again. There's this whole whiny self loathing rant from Shawn as he realizes he's exactly like his father, running away from the people who care about him. And I mean, it's sort of true, like with Angela, but he says "I hurt everybody I care about" and that's just being dramatic. It's really only Angela that he's hurt.

Shawn hating himself is somehow the turning point for Chet, who declares that he'll call his friend back and decline the job, but just as he says that, Chet has a heart attack. Or rather, a myocardial infarction, since I was watching House on netflix last night.

At the hospital, tensions continue to rise between Shawn and Jack. Jack has proceeded through this episode as if he knows Chet the same way Shawn does, or at least that's how Shawn sees it. But Shawn's the one who's always had to deal with their father's BS, so.. Gah, I can't think of the right word. I keep wanting to say that Shawn doesn't think Jack deserves to be so concerned, but that's not the right word. It's something like that. It's a compelling dynamic, either way.

Cory and Topanga are talking about wedding stuff, including Cory's vows, which Topanga wrote for him to say, and that shouldn't surprise anybody. Topanga wants to go snorkeling in Bermuda during their honeymoon, but Cory's really only interested in staying in the hotel room.

Damn... That's the realest shit I ever heard.

Angela's there too, and the gang are soon informed about Shawn's father being in the hospital. There really isn't a whole lot going on this episode for a while. First we have Eric and Rachel visiting Chet, but who cares? They have no relation to him at all. The one significant thing is that he asks Rachel to get Jack a birthday gift for him, which she agrees to.

Jack and Shawn argue some more out in the waiting room. Shawn is convinced that he's exactly like his father, always running away from relationships, and Jack tries to calm him down, unsuccessfully. Feeny and the Matthews parents arrive and offer their sympathies and all that to the Hunter boys, and proceed into Chet's room. I feel like they missed a GIGANTIC opportunity in this scene. Shawn grew so much in the second half of season 5, and this is the perfect setup or Feeny to tell Chet how proud he is of Shawn, or something like that. You know what I mean? It just feels like it should be happening, but it doesn't. Their only exchange is an agreement to play pool against each other.

Chet does have a more meaningful exchange with Alan though. He asks him to look after his boys when he's "gone", meaning, once he's moved to Vegas. So indeed, Chet hasn't changed one bit. Shawn is right about him. Feels kind of like when Will's dad ditches him in that one episode of Fresh Prince. I think he even a similar conversation with Uncle Phil that Chet's having with Alan. It hits hard, it's hard to watch.

It's finally time for Shawn and Jack to have their turn in the room, and... I don't know I've watched this scene five times and I'm still not sure what to write. I mean, you kinda just... have to see it... But Shawn and Chet finally get all of their issues out in the open, and tearfully agree that they need each other. It's a fantastic scene, they really nailed this one.

Shawn thinks the only way to stop being like his father is with his father's help, and Chet promises that he's going to stay this time. Shawn believes him this time, and so do I. Chet pulls out the gift he had Rachel get for Jack, and just as Jack starts to open it Chet has another heart attack. The last thing he says here is "I'm sorry, Shawn."

Everyone's gathered out in the waiting room while Jack finishes opening the gift, but we don't quite see what it is yet. A surgeon enters the room and informs the Hunter boys that their father died on the table.

That's honestly one of my favorite shots in the entire series. Rider and Matthew look perfect right there, and Alan's reaction is absolutely heartbreaking. I love how they wrote the surgeon's line too. There's no warning to the audience, we're not prepared for this at all. Even Feeny is convinced that Chet's going to make it out. But the very first thing he says is "We lost him..." and it hits you like a train, just "holy shit...". Extremely well done, extremely emotional, A+.

The last shot of the episode shows us what that gift is, and it's a framed picture, the one Rachel took earlier of the three Hunter men.

There's no "during the credits" in this episode, and that was absolutely the right call.

Why did the writers want to emotionally devastate Shawn so completely? It seems almost sadistic, but it's also excellent. As a writer or creator, you have to push your characters to their limits to see what they're really made of. The extremes are where we can truly explore a character. So while we're all obviously hurting for Shawn, we're also caught in the development, and we want to see where he goes from here. On the other hand, killing off a character is a classic technique for boosting ratings mid-season, so I guess it depends on how cynical you want to be about this.

Plot: 1.0 - I think I have adequately explained this already.

Character Development: 1.0 - Shawn.

Humor: 0.5 - It was about as good as you could hope for, for an episode this dark. Cory and Eric snuck in a few jokes, and Chet was funny in the first half.

Life Lesson: 1.0 - "I need you dad."

3.5 out of 4.0. Honestly the score doesn't matter. You'll either love or hate this episode. For the casual viewer it will seem needlessly dramatic and sad, and really not what you're looking for in a sitcom, but if you're invested in the characters like I am, it is exceptional.

Thanks for reading, see you Monday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


For reasons that are difficult to explain, today's post isn't gonna happen. So we'll see the continued emotional demolition of Shawn Hunter on Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Yanks!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Episode 6x12 "Cutting the Cord"

Hey everybody, quick announcement. My current goal in life is to be an animator, in fact I quit my high paying job in the tech industry to focus my time onto pursuing that goal. I just finished my second Flash cartoon, where I did all the animating and voice acting, and it's on youtube. It's not that good, it's not that funny, and if you're not familiar with Super Smash Brothers it won't even make sense. But it was still great practice for me, and it turned out significantly better than my first cartoon. So if you want to support me outside of this blog, you can like the video or subscribe to the channel, or just leave a comment saying it's terrible. Or you can just keep enjoying the blog, because that's awesome too!

The first 45 seconds of the episode remind us what happened with Shawn and Angela up to this point, that they broke up, kissed on Christmas, then were officially declared "over" by Angela when Shawn couldn't make up his mind. Reasonable, since there was a month gap between episodes 11 and 12. That's pretty much a guarantee that the Shangela relationship going to be this episode's focus, so right out of the gates I want to run away and shut down the blog. But sometimes, you just gotta see things through to the bitter end.

Alan is AWOL, so Amy has taken Eric with her to Lamaze breathing class, and of course he turns the whole thing into a circus. Sometimes Eric's idiocy is hilarious, but I have a hard time getting into the humor of him tormenting his pregnant mother. Alan shows up though and takes over, and Eric is asked by the police chief from Psych to be her Lamaze partner since her husband is currently deployed in the Navy. To ask Eric for help, she must be even dumber than he is.

Alan explains that he was late because he was out looking at motorcycles, which is television-speak for midlife crisis. Big Man Matthews has always been one of the more compelling characters on the show, so I'm definitely interested to see where this goes.

Over at Chub- err, The Union, Shawn and Angela have arrived with what is effectively a restraining order, restraining Cory (and Topanga, but mostly Cory) from interfering in their personal lives any more. First thing that comes to mind for me? It's about damn time. Shawn informs Cory that both he and Angela are fine with being apart, and that they both have dates tonight.

For reasons unknowable, Shawn has decided to double tonight with Cory and Topanga. It worked out for the best though, since Shawn's being a real downer, and Topanga helps Shawn's date understand that it's not her fault. This scene is actually really funny because, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, Shawn and Cory get to play off of each other.

Cory's right, Shawn was the king. They've gone to great lengths here to show us that this relationship with Angela has done something special to Shawn, but I still can't feel sorry for him since this is completely his fault. He actively chose not to get involved with Angela again at the end of episode 11. She told him she loved him, and he said he wasn't ready. It's been five and a half seasons of Shawn sabotaging himself, and I'm running out of sympathy. In the "last time on Boy Meets World" at the beginning, they even left out the part where Shawn tells her he's not ready. It actually kind of made it look like Angela's fault, and the episode has been framing Shawn as the victim! I don't understand what the fuck the writers are doing.

This is a sitcom, so it's only a matter of time before Angela and her date, Ron, arrive at this restaurant as well. Shawn instantly springs to life when he sees Angela, pulling his date over to him and yelling out the punchline of some joke as if he's been having a great time. Rongela come over to the table and make introductions, and I gotta say, Ron is Mister Steal Yo Girl. Real sharp lookin guy with a radio voice, and those 90's-as-hell double earrings. Shawn doesn't stand a chance, and quickly falls back into his depression.

At The Apartment, Eric is reading a book on pregnancy because that's his shtick for the episode.

Hey, I learned something today. That's good television.

Alan arrives at the door to discuss motorcycles with Eric. It's obvious to everyone in the room that he's having a midlife crisis, no matter how much he denies it. This is Alan Matthews we're talking about, though, so we shouldn't expect his developments to be so one-dimensional. And indeed, we learn that he's always tried to be a friend to his sons, as well as a father, and now he feels too old to, you know, throw a ball around or whatever with his new kid.

Oh Alannnnnnnn, you try so hard to be a good father ;___; Seriously, you gotta love this guy. And holy shit, we made it through a whole scene without anyone trying to bang Rachel.

The restaurant where all these dates are taking place is having a karaoke contest tonight, and Rongela are the first contestants, which of course motivates Shawn to compete as well. We have to sit through like a minute of Rongela singing The Shoop Shoop Song by Cher. Once again Ron is making me question my sexuality, this time with his singing voice. Topanga and Cory are up next, doing Springsteen's War. Cory's hilariously enthusiastic, while Topanga doesn't seem to be a fan.

Look at those HIPS. That is absolutely amazing. I really don't understand why Ben Savage couldn't find his way into any other shows after this, he really is genuinely funny.

Shawn and his date, Kelly, are up now, doing I Got You Babe. After a bit, Kelly tries to hold hands with Shawn as they sing. That weirds him out, leading to the inevitable and predictable "I can't do this." That sad clarinet music plays as they walk off opposite sides of the stage.

Back at Lamaze, they're learning to burp babies (see the logo at the beginning), and Eric's partner goes into labor. Alan takes command of the situation, handling it expertly, and takes the woman off to the hospital. Alan is the man.

Shawn is sulking over at The Union, on the big couch that is apparently always reserved for him and his crew, like at the coffee shop on FRIENDS. Anyway Cory and Topanga try to console their friend, but he understands that everything is pretty much his fault. He comments that he'll never be able to have a relationship like Corpanga's, but they remind him that they're freaks when it comes to romance. Of course, that's inconsistent with all the times Cory's tried to get Shawn to have what he has, but at least this time Cory is making some sense.

"I'm my own worst Eskimo." Has there ever been a more loveable angst-factory than Shawn Hunter?

Shawn declares that he needs some time alone from everybody while he pulls himself together, and then it cuts over to The Apartment. Amy, Alan, and Eric arrive with pizza and what looks like a six pack of beer, to unwind after driving whatshername to the hospital. The actors make certain to direct the labels toward the camera to inform us that is in fact root beer, don't wanna get any craaAAAaaAAaaAaaazy ideas.

Eric has conveniently decided to save his moving speech for after they got here, and unloads it right away. It is pretty sweet though, about how Alan not only helped that woman, but helped him when he froze up and lost his cool when things got messy. Eric explains that that's what's really important in being a father, and that he'll always be able to do that, even for this new kid on the way.

Root Beer brand root beer. Because anything else? It wouldn't be free!

In all seriousness though it's a great scene. Alan is a wonderful dad and to hear this all coming from his son's gigantic heart is very sentimental.

Everyone except Shawn is now hanging out at The Union having a great time, even Ron is there. Shawn walks up to the door outside and observes their good time, but decides to walk off camera instead of joining them.

During the credits, Cory and Topanga (but really Ben and Danielle) are singing War again, and this time Danielle has as much enthusiasm as Ben. It seems like they start improvising, and they're both laughing pretty hard, it's a lot of fun to watch. Why can't they be this much fun during the actual show?

Plot: 0.5 - More Shawn and Angela drama, blah blah blah. We spent like five minutes at a karaoke restaurant. Hard to give points for this. But I liked Alan's story, as always.

Character Development: 1.0 - Alan Matthews starring in the Alan Matthews show. Shawn didn't really develop much, he's still sulky and angsty, but at least he seems to have grown up a bit from his high school serial dating.

Humor: 0.75 - Cory and Topanga were both pretty funny, Shawn had his moments too, enough to cover for the fact that Eric wasn't really very funny in this episode.

Life Lesson: 1.0 - Eric's conversation with Alan at the end about being there for his children is really inspiring.

3.25 out of 4.0. Well I certainly liked it more than I thought I would. Cory being silly and Alan being the best dad ever are the highlights. And the restraining order against Corpanga's interference bodes well for the future. They're both much more fun when they're not butting in to Shawn and Angela's business.

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Episode 6x11 "Santa's Little Helpers"

This season has really been letting us down so far. Maybe we'll get our shit together for Christmas today.

Mister Feeny is filled with Christmas spirit, and not the alcoholic spirits, and is decorating The Union with some small Christmas trees. The janitor promptly deposits the tree in a trash bin, citing University policy, so thank you Michael Jacobs for making it very obvious how you feel about the holiday political correctness.

I am completely unaffected by the things people say or display around me, including holiday well-wishing, so I simply cannot muster the energy to get worked up over what holiday greeting someone gives. However, to be fair, it is literally unconstitutional for a government affiliated organization to favor one religion over another. That's straight out of the first amendment. I'm not sure if a public university falls under that category, I'm just saying that the argument in favor of political correctness is valid in certain circumstances. But in general, I don't think it matters.

Back to the show, we learn that Rachel is staying in town for the holidays, and Jack's airline ticket to the Bahamas got "messed up" so he's stuck here too. Eric barges into The Union dressed as Santa, apparently he's got a job as a mall Santa, and he signed up Rachel and Jack to work with him. Without asking them, of course, because he's Eric. Mrs. Claus will be played by Rachel, while Jack is going to be an elf, despite his reluctance.  Feeny makes a small joke about how Eric is getting paid more than he does. The gross underpayment of teachers has been a consistent punchline throughout the series, which is a choice I really appreciate. Michael Jacobs has a serious respect and admiration for teachers, and he's totally unrelenting about it from the very beginning. It's a tragically underrepresented topic on television, so good for you, Boy Meets World.

Cory convinces Shawn to stay with him and Topanga at his parents' house, and independent of that fact, Topanga convinces Angela to stay with them as well.

That is hilarious to me. Topanga doesn't even acknowledge the sex part, honing in on the Shawn part. Recall that Topanga discovered Shawn still loves Angela at the end of Poetic License, and Cory learned Angela loves Shawn at the end of Friendly Persuasion. Cory and Topanga both confess those secrets now, and realize the blooming potential for Shangela to reunite over the holiday. Not that we care.

Tensions rise almost immediately at the Matthews house. The road is paved for some real sitcommy business for the rest of the episode. As always, they've failed at really making the audience interested. Meanwhile, at the mall, Eric is being a very progressive Santa.

A bus of kids from an orphanage arrive to see Santa, and the mall manager wants them to hurry them all through since they're not going to buy anything regardless. Eric on the other hand wants to pay them all special attention. And here I thought the writers forgot who Eric was, after he didn't know how to be "caring" in episode 3, and was a total sociopath in the previous episode. But now he's back to his big-hearted self, thank goodness.

Eric gives a handheld game he was playing earlier to the first kid who comes up. This gives The Apartment Crew a real sense of the power of charity, so they go off to buy gifts for all of the children, with Alan's credit card and the money Jack was going to use in the Bahamas.

After helping out the last of the children, Eric develops a real God complex, and vows to give every needy kid what they want for Christmas. Jack and Rachel point out that they have no more money, so Eric resolves to "get creative", which is essentially just stealing presents from under the tree at home, as well as all of Mister Feeny's fruitcake gifts. I do not envy the orphans who get those for Christmas. I guess I don't really envy any orphans... You know what I mean.

We waste some more time at home, and eventually Eric "Robin Hood" Matthews and his merry men head out to wherever they're going to distribute these gifts, even though it's Christmas Eve. Cory and the others take their place, after "accidentally" going to a couples-only ice skating rink. Topanga The Wise wants Cory to stop pushing Shangela so hard, but she really ought to know by now how futile it is, trying to stop the Cory train once it's rolling at full speed.

Alan is irrationally excited about stringing popcorn.

So yeah, while it's difficult to stay invested in Shangela, at least Cory's being extremely entertaining. His neurosis is really annoying sometimes, like in Chasing Angela when it's coming from that place of high-horse superiority, but here it's just hilarious. It's a difficult line to walk, so we should appreciate when they pull it off correctly like this.

Alan has apparently been snorting that snowy Christmas powder, because he almost immediately forgets about the popcorn and wants everyone to watch as he turns on the Christmas tree lights (and it explains his previous popcorn-stringing enthusiasm). Cory positions Shangela under some mistletoe, and the lights really set the mood, and they're quickly overwhelmed by all the outside influences and kiss passionately on the stairs. I can hardly blame them, I am absolute sucker for Christmas lights. My old supervisor had Christmas lights in his office year round. I'm not really sure why, but it was kinda cool. God I miss Wisconsin, that snow was so beautiful. Anyway...

That kissing situation is somehow resolved off-camera, and now they're back to avoiding each other. Shawn tells his best friend not to make a big deal out of it, and Cory spills that he knows Shawn wrote that poem for Angela pretty recently. So now all the secrets come out, and Shawn and Angela bail to talk things out.

Eric "Robin Hood Santa" Matthews Claus finishes giving away his family's gifts to the children, and one little boy named Tommy who had been there the previous day comes back to return the firetruck Eric gave him.

Tommy says he didn't believe Eric was really Santa when he asked for the truck, but now he does believe and wants to ask for something else. I SMELL EMMY BAIT. If he doesn't ask for parents, I will eat my shoes. Okay yup, asked for parents. And then the sad music played while The Apartment Crew were left speechless. That's just lazy cliche writing, I'm sorry.

Shawn and Angela arrive at The Union to talk because like I said in a previous review, this is the new Chubbie's and there's nowhere else to go. They're let in by that same janitor from before because he's too old to give a shit.

Angela spills her heart, and Shawn does his usual self destruction routine, claiming that he's still not sure he's ready to commit to her.

Damn, there's that strong Angela. You go girl. She really shouldn't have to deal with Shawn's bullshit, and she's decided that she's had enough, and tells him that they're done for good. Granted, Shawn is still a young guy and I don't blame him for being scared of commitment, that's a big part of his character, but I also don't blame Angela for being sick of it. I like how this played out.

Elsewhere, out on a bench in the snow, Eric's having a desperate chat with his nondenominational higher power. I feel the same sort of "wait, what?" as when Shawn did this in Cult Fiction, just because Eric's never done anything like this before, but it is Christmas, so I guess it's more acceptable? I don't know, whatever. Eric asks some tough questions, like hey how can you let this kid Tommy just not have parents? So Eric "Robin Hood Santa God" Matthew Claus Christ takes it upon himself to be responsible for Tommy's happiness, which is insane, but not exactly out of character for our big-hearted goofball.

It's touching, whether you're religious or not, just because we the viewer have such an emotional connection with Eric.

At home, everyone discovers that Eric has Robin Hood'd their presents, and Jack and Rachel confess to being involved. Just then, Eric arrives, with Tommy trailing close behind him. He's invited Tommy to spend Christmas with them, and promised that they can hang out on weekends.

I really like Cory's line there, and I love Feeny's nod of approval. Look at that shit.

That is some pride right there. It's all really very sweet.

During the credits, Feeny reads A Christmas Carol to the gang, a tradition we remember from A Very Topanga Christmas, so I like that touch. Shawn and Angela show up just as Feeny reads "dead as a doornail", which is also a very nice touch.

Plot: 1.0 - That Emmy bait moment was cringe worthy, but the rest of the Robin Hood story was fun. And while we're not too interested in the Shangela relationship, I do like the story they were given in this episode.

Character Development: 1.0 - Eric "Robin Hood" Christ.

Humor: 1.0 - Cory was great, and Eric had his moments. Shawn had to stay dramatic this episode, but it worked out.

Life Lesson: 0.5 - Charity makes you feel good. Doesn't mean you should steal your family's shit and take responsibility for a kid's happiness.

3.5 out of 4.0. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. Again, the strongarm attempt at making us feel sorry for Tommy was overdone, but otherwise it's pretty darn good. Thorough character consistency and good humor.

Thanks for reading, see you Monday.

All images used under Fair Use.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Episode 6x10 "And In Case I Don't See Ya..."

So far this season, The Apartment crew have been in the background, falling in love with Rachel as a side story. "Maybe when Eric's the main character, he'll have a real story, one where Rachel isn't treated as a sack of meat," you say, with a glimmer and a twinkle in your hopeful eyes. This is the episode where we learn that that theory is bull shit.

Eric's trying to get some studying done in the coffee shop half of The Union, adjacent to Gambling Dan's old sidekick, Louie. Dan himself is probably off gambling with people much younger than him, as usual, while it looks like Louie's been kicked to the curb. They won't mention anything about it though, since, as we know, the writers just don't give a crap. 

Louie's taking out the (inferred) frustration of losing Gambling Dan by hating everyone else in the room. He and Eric are about to bond over their lack of human connection, when the PA system announces the "Harvest Mixer" on the 2nd floor, which is invitation-only. Even Louie has an invitation, while Eric does not. So he's unpopular and unhappy about it. Definitely sounds like a Season 2 Eric problem. Not a college student problem.

Remember in The Truman Show, how his wife is always doing those blatant product placement lines? Well Eric starts doing that at The Apartment, to the annoyance of Jack, and even quotes Truman's signature line, "And in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight!" Except Will actually says the line wrong, switching evening and afternoon. 

Jack walks into The Union to discover a horde of students watching a live feed of The Apartment. Eric has turned his own life into a sort of Truman Show. He's desperately trying to be the star, but the horde only cares about Rachel, who you can see wrapped up in a towel behind Eric on the screen.

I just pulled up my review of 6x01 to see where we meet Rachel, and I said the whole dynamic would be based on "Rachel is pretty, and thus ___ occurs." And indeed, there we are

Elsewhere, Cory and Shawn, THE DREAM TIME, have taken Mister Feeny out for an extravagant brunch, in an attempt to get extensions on their midterm papers. Ahhhhh, you feel that? That's that Boy Meets World feeling, our two heroes having school related shenanigans. No relationship drama, no marriage talk, Shawn doesn't have any new hobbies... It's delightful. And it's funny. These are the situations where Shawn and Cory thrive off of each other. This is the best version of their personalities, and I'm already laughing and having a good time. 

The boys explain that they're really overloaded with their other courses, and Mister Feeny cordially agrees to give them a few days' extension. Very reasonable. 

On The Eric Show, Eric's teaching the audience how to eat soup when Jack storms in demanding an explanation. Eric explains his twisted desire for popularity and Rachel reappears, still wrapped up in her towel, to the cheers and applause of The Horde. She storms off in disgust, though, when Jack explains the situation

Eric's rocking some stubble in this episode. It makes him look 5 years older, I like it. 

Feeny hands back the midterm papers at the end of his class, and our heroes both managed a B thanks to that extension. They promise the Feenster that they'll keep up that level of work on their next paper, and he points out that the "next paper" was due yesterday. Clearly the boys expected another extension since the first one was so easy to get, but Feeny isn't playing along. He's silently insulted at the boys' attempt to take advantage of their history and friendship, and gives them both F's on that paper they didn't turn in. So here's our second conflict for the episode. Topanga, thoroughly displeased with her own B, chases Mister Feeny out of the classroom. I'm usually not a fan of her perfectionist gags, but this one was pretty funny.

Later, Feeny is having coffee with Amy and Alan in their kitchen, because he has no life, when Cory and Shawn show up, because they also have no lives. They're pretty disrespectful to their teacher, who quickly leaves since he's tired of their shit. Alan brings down the hammer though. He's not going to tolerate them talking to Feeny that way and demands an explanation. As we already know, their explanation is immature, so Alan tells them both to grow up. Awesome work from Alan in this scene, there's so much Boy-Meets-World-ness going on with this story, I love it.

Eric is dressed as Christof from the Truman Show now, and he's got a control board to mastermind The Rachel Show at The Union, surrounded by The Horde. 

This is by far the most evil thing Eric ever does on this show. I can't even believe they wrote this. They're completely sacrificing his character for the sake of this stupid Truman Show gag. Rachel has already made a clear display of her disgust at this hidden camera show bull shit, but now Eric's doing it even worse than before. It's insane. Rachel's taking the whole thing in unbelievably good humor, but that doesn't last long.

Eric's even placed a brick wall outside the door so they can't get out. Their only means of escape is through the window over the sink, down the fire escape, but Rachel can't go that way because she's scared of the garbage disposal, which Eric turns on from his control board. She freaks out, and we get a flashback of Rachel grinding her stuffed "Bunny Baby" in her sink's garbage disposal as a child. So yeah Eric is deliberately torturing her right now. Is it supposed to be funny? I really don't get it. Even The Horde turns against him.

There's that thing about stones and glass houses, Louie, but in this case I'm going to have to agree with you. 

Jack has gained all the humanity that Eric has lost, seen as he makes a genuine effort to comfort her and talk her through her fears. Eric realizes what a sociopath he's being today, saying "I just hurt the only two people who tolerate me..." and encourages Rachel to conquer her fear, not that that makes up for anything. She makes it over the sink, and sends a bow toward the camera, the same way Truman does at the end of the movie, before heading off to The Union to murder Eric. Which she does. 

Shawn and Cory take Feeny out for one more brunch. They've apparently already apologized off-camera, a somewhat unsatisfying resolution, and this brunch is just gravy. The boys went ahead and wrote those papers that they didn't turn in, but Feeny gives them F's anyway, causing them to take back their food in a huff. The whole bit is humorous and fun to watch, but it's really not the resolution I was hoping for for this plotline.

During the credits, Jack explains to Eric that he now has a huge advantage in their contest to win Rachel's heart. It's true, but it only reinforces the point that Rachel serves no other purpose as a character. The twist is that she shows up with Louie, asking for some privacy.

Plot: 0.5 - Being generous for the Shawn/Cory story. Eric exploiting Rachel's body on television to get popular is pretty awful. And now at the end everything is just back to normal? What the fuck.

Character Development: 0.5 - Once again going to Shawn and Cory, realizing that they're still pretty immature, and Alan reprising his role as an authority figure.

Humor: 1.0 - Cory, Shawn, and Feeny were hilarious. Topanga's bit was good, and Louie was pretty funny too. Even Jack had some good moments, but Eric was a total let-down.

Life Lesson: 0.5 - Don't take advantage of your friends. Whether expecting special treatment, or exploiting them on television. 

2.5 out of 4.0. Eric is a fucking sociopath, but other than that it's fine. The Cory/Shawn story had a ton of potential. They were still great, by the far the best thing about this episode, but I wish they had a better resolution. Maybe one day Rachel won't just be a sack of meat.

Thanks for reading, see you Friday.

All images used under Fair Use.