We begin with Feeny’s class watching a film on puberty. 6th grade seems a bit late to be learning about puberty, I think. We learned about those ch-ch-ch-changes when I was in 5th grade. Considering most girls tend to start menstruating when they’re 11 or 12, it makes a lot more sense for them to learn about that stuff when they’re 10, before it happens, so they don’t think they’re dying or something. They split us up, so the girls were watching the puberty videos in one room, and the boys in another. We didn’t realize until afterwards that we were all watching the same video, so while us girls were learning about menstruating, the boys were also learning about menstruating (and the same thing when we watched the video on puberty for boys). Our guidance counselor was there watching the video with us, and she encouraged us to laugh in order to relieve the tension that was caused by watching a video about puberty with 30 other people. Apparently the boys in the next room could hear us and they thought we were all insane, just laughing like maniacal robots at random intervals…
Anyway, Shawn responds to the film’s line of “responding the Morse code of puberty” by arm pit farting, thereby proving the film’s point about how girls mature faster than boys.
Cory then proceeds to complain about the video – sure, maybe they’ll go through puberty, but that film was terrible, because it was super old, so old that the paperboy was played by George Burns, a reference I didn’t understand until a few years ago. Cory also talks about how puberty really sucks, because he’s seen a guy who went from normal to crater face pretty quickly. I don’t know who, because no one on this show ever gets any visible acne. No one on any show ever gets any visible acne, unless they’re a nerd, or they get one pimple right before graduation/picture day/an interview/the big dance. In some scenes you can tell some people on Degrassi have acne, though. Feeny is just like “yeah whatever, that’s for you to discuss with your 7th grade teacher, which thankfully won’t be me”. Feeny may be the wisest teacher on the planet, but he apparently cannot see into the future.
While Cory continues to go on about how puberty is terrible and he’s absolutely sure he’ll never go through it, Shawn drops his pencil, and he and a Girl We’ve Never Seen Before lean down to pick up. And magic happens.
Cory, who went on to say that he will avoid hormones for as long as he can, and Shawn is totally with him in this attempted escape, turns to Shawn, and notices Shawn is totally dumbstruck by this girl. We are apparently going to ignore the earlier episode where Cory and Shawn agree to never let any stupid girl come between them, only for Shawn to totally fall for the New Girl with the awesome purple sweater.
So later, Shawn asks Cory had to ask a girl out on a date. Cory shares Eric’s method: just dial random numbers until a girl gets tired of you bugging her. The Minkus comes over to give some advice. And also he gives Shawn a Cosmo/17/Covergirl-type magazine that Minkus uses to do research on the wily wo-man creature. And then the GWNSB comes over and asks him out on a date.
One scene later, Shawn is describing his date to Eric. I think he said she paid for the tickets, they split the cost of the popcorn, and instead of actually watching the movie, they threw stuff at the people sitting in front of them. Sounds like a keeper.
Cory walks in and is hurt that Shawn is here, talking to Eric, when Shawn told him he was too busy to play basketball. Eric tells him to scram because they’re talking about guy stuff. Because Cory is actually a guy, this is a grievous insult, as the audience indicates with their use of “oooooooooooh”.
Then Morgan comes in. She’s been waiting in the car – with the keys – for Eric to come and driver her to mall so she can buy a Mother’s Day present. Cory takes a short break from having his feelings hurt to exposit that he also needs to get a present, but he’s just been so busy being a guy refusing to go through puberty that he hasn’t had time yet. So Eric leaves with Morgan, and Shawn continues to gush about how he threw candy at those people with the girl whose name we still don’t know.
Okay apparenlty her name is Hillary. She taught Shawn if you get this particular candy (I can’t remember what they said it was – it might’ve been jujubes) wet before you throw it, it sticks better. Obviously smitten, he says “isn’t she wicked?” and Cory’s just like “hey I’m wicked too, remember? Remember when it was just you and me?” Shawn assures him that it’s still him and… him, and it’s going to be that way forever.
One short screen-wipe later, Shawn tells Cory he’s going to go eat lunch with Hillary. Cory decides that two can play at this “girl” game, and goes to Minkus for some research. Minkus is sitting alone with a stack of like 5 of those magazines – called “Perky” magazine, by the way. I think the only reason Minkus doesn’t get shoved into trash cans and called rude names by the other kids is because the only students who are allowed to talk on this show are relatively nice and harmless.
Cory asks Minkus what those magazines say you have to do to get a girl to go out with you. Minkus says he doesn’t have to do anything, but it’s going to take some work to get Cory in shape to get a girl to like him. Cory says “And you wonder why you sit alone at lunch,” apparently forgetting that Cory himself was actually sitting alone about a minute ago. I’d also wonder why none of the Alternative Friends – the girl in the overalls, the kid with the cape, the kid who was always wearing headphones – are sitting with Minkus, but maybe they all think they’re too cool to sit with a diminutive 6th grader who reads women’s magazines at lunch.
In response to Cory’s sort-of insult, Minkus gives his first dating tip: “Don’t insult the boy with the Perkies.” That line is very disturbing to me. I know the name of the magazine is “Perky”, but considering “perky” is also a word used to describe certain lady-parts…
Minkus asks him what, according to the survey in the September issue, is the number one thing a girl looks for in a guy. Cory guesses it might be spare change, but Minkus says no, that’s number 9 on the list. Personally I would put that at number 5. But no, the number 1 thing a girl looks for in a guy is shared interests. Cory asks for what the second thing is, in case he can’t fake an interest in something – and considering his interests are limited pretty much only to sports and some video games at this point, and most 11 and 12 year old girls in 1994 don’t tend to be into those things, at least not publicly, I could understand him asking – and Minkus says the 2nd thing is “sense of humor”. Cory can live with that.
Now he just needs advice on how to pick a girl to ask out. Minkus says it should be someone you’re comfortable with, someone you’ve known a while. Cory can’t think of anyone besides his mom who fits that description, so Minkus tells him to just go with the first thing he sees in a dress.
Cory asks her what’s up in her life, and she gives an astrological reply. This reminds Cory of a joke – how did the astrologer cross the road? In his Taurus! Topanga doesn’t really respond. Cory asks her if she wants to go to Bob’s Burger World after school or something, but Topanga can’t, because she’s a vegetarian. Of course, Cory says, they’re just going to meet there and then go to the International House of Salads, or the IHOS – which is what I still call IHOP for some reason. Topanga agrees with this plan and says “It’s a date” and walks off, leaving Cory in that classic sitcom predicament – she called it a date! Is it really a date? Are we dating? Do I have to kiss her? This is exactly why more people need to watch more sitcoms, so this kind of confusion doesn’t happen. If you ask someone to go to the movies or out to dinner or something, just the two of you, and you either aren’t really friends or else you’re part of a big group of friends and aren’t usually alone together, you have to make sure you say whether it’s an actual, romantic date, or just a get-together, or a date in the way people say “it’s a date” when they book events that don’t have to do with actual romantic-style dating.
But characters on sitcoms don’t watch many sitcoms.
At the house, Amy tells Alan that Cory has his first date. Alan’s not too excited, because he knows Cory’s just one step away from becoming a sobbing shell of his former self. Then Amy reveals that Cory’s going out with Topanga, and when Alan remember that Topanga is the girl Cory’s always teasing and making fun of, he knows Cory’s in real trouble. Remember this for later episodes when they remember fondly about how Cory and Topanga were totally in love ever since they were 5 years old, or 2 years old, or in diapers, whichever backstory that season is giving.
Cory comes in from the backyard, and his parents sort of tease him about his upcoming date. Cory explains that things have been really weird at school with everyone, ever since they watched the “hormonal telegram” movie. Alan and Amy remember seeing that movie when they were in school, which goes to show that it is indeed quite old – if the fact that it was still on film roles that needed a movie projector, and wasn’t on a video tape or laser disc didn’t clue you in on how old it was. Cory then mentions how Shawn asked out a girl, and then Amy realizes that Cory only asked out Topanga to keep up with Shawn, and tells him it’s not fair to Topanga to ask her out on such false pretenses. Cory sees her point, and calls up Topanga to cancel the date, only instead of explaining what’s going on, he tells her he’s sick and can’t go.
And oh look, Topanga showed up to bring him soup so Cory has to pretend to be sick! Has there ever been a sitcom where the kid called up, saying he couldn’t do a thing because he was sick, and then the girl showed up with soup or something to make him feel better, and he actually was sick and not just pretending to get out of the date or whatever?
Boy Meets World kind of breaks that cliche mold, though, by having Cory reveal almost immediately after Topanga arrives that he’s not actually sick, and just realized he wasn’t ready to start dating yet. He doesn’t even pretend to be sick, really. He says he’s a bit clammy, and then makes fun of the tea Topanga brought him, and then tells the truth.
Topanga ends up being totally fine with his revelation, too. Her parents, Jedediah and Chloe, always say to listen to your inner voice, or something, because it will reveal what’s true for you. She stands there kind of awkwardly and says a few more things, and is really obviously reluctant to leave. She goes over to the door, and then turns back around, and wonders if she can ask Cory a personal question. Cory, although sure this can’t end well, tells her to ask away. Her question is this: why are there socks all over the floor?
Cory explains that he’s been practicing shooting the balled up socks into the laundry basket on the living room table. Topanga tells him she envies his athletic ability. Cory says he’ll give her some pointers. Tip 1 – get some ammo.
Yeah. Tip 2 – color commentary. Cory demonstrates by running around the living room, jumping on the couch, and giving the same kind of wild story he did during the “The B Team of Life”, finally throwing a ball of socks into the basket. And the crowd goes wild! Topanga’s still not really sure, so Cory comes up with the color commentary for her. He goes through a whole thing while she just stands there, and when he finishes by saying she got a slam dunk, she just walks over to the basket and gently drops the socks in.
Cory explains that basketball is a lot more fun when you actually, you know, move, and tell her to try to make a shot again, only this time he’ll try and block her. So she stands along the fireplace, takes one small step to the side, Cory immediately blocking her, and then a step to the other side, with Cory right there to block her. Then she just effortlessly tosses the socks over Cory’s shoulder and makes a basket.
Cory is impressed and high-fives her. After their hands meet, Topanga gets this really crazy look on her face, and then Cory starts laughing like an idiot.
Topanga praises Cory for helping his dad out with the laundry. Cory says they’re a really progressive, modern family, so his mom actually does the laundry [that was indeed a joke, although it wasn’t really phrased like in-show]. He’s helping out because Mother’s Day is coming up. Topanga asks him if his gift is helping out with the chores, and Cory asks her if she thinks he could get away with that being his only gift. He still doesn’t know what to get her, and asks Topanga what she’s getting for her mom. But at their house, they don’t celebrate Mother’s Day, believing it to be a commercial blahblah greeting card industry blahblah; however, her mother did ask for a Dust Buster.
She tells Cory to just think with his Right brain – the creative center – and he’ll come up with something. Cory is concerned, saying all these years he’s been thinking with the wrong brain – you know, right brain, wrong brain? Ahahaha.. Then Topanga says he can’t go wrong with something from the heart, and Cory says “right one or left one”. Topanga finds that line pretty funny, and this causes Cory to start laughing like an idiot again.
Shawn shows up, back from his second – and last – date. He’s a 13 year old burnout – his words. Eric and Shawn ask Cory how his date went. Of course, Cory didn’t have a date. He canceled it. All that happened was Topanga brought him some “aura juice” and he taught her how to shoot a basket, and then they talked about what they’re getting their mothers for Mother’s Day. Shawn and Eric are like “Okay, she brought refreshments, you picked the activity, and then you shared interests. Sounds like a date to me.” Then Cory’s just like ‘oh, you’.
At school, Cory confronts Topanga to tell her they definitely did not have a date. Topanga says she’s not into labels, but if he says it wasn’t a date, it wasn’t. Then Cory thanks her for her idea of writing a poem for his mom for Mother’s Day. His mother cried. Topanga tells him tears are the thank-you notes of the soul, and Cory says she really knows a lot about women. Topanga tells him of course she does, she’s going to grow up to be one. Then she fixes Cory’s collar so it’s not sticking up funny, and walks away. Cory pops his collar back up, thinks about it, and then puts his collar back down.
During the credits, Cory and Shawn talk about girls. Shawn says it’s really awesome that they both survived their first dates and stayed best friends through it all. Cory says it’s always going to be that way – they’ll be best friends through second dates, proms, engagements, marriages – with Shawn adding “second marriages” – and basically, no girl will get between them.
Then Hillary and Topanga walk in opposite directions through the hall, saying hi to their respective boys, and Cory and Shawn tell each other “later” and run after their girls.
This was a cute episode. I thought it was kind of neat that the focus of the episode wasn’t on Cory being all jealous of Shawn spending all his time with that girl. I mean, it started that way, but it didn’t end up being that way. I’m not entirely sure what the message of this episode was – maybe that you can’t force puberty and “feelings”, they’ll just come on their own. I enjoyed Cory and Shawn repeatedly saying they’ll be best friends forever, considering how they end up in the later seasons – with the joke being that Cory and Shawn are already husband and wife, and any girls who come along are just their very best friends.
There were some super 90s outfits in this episode. Hillary had a denim vest on in one scene. Then there was that dress Topanga was wearing in the last scene… and the shirt Amy had on… and also Amy’s hair… I do miss some 90s fashion. I feel like there was a really good mix of fashionable, comfortable, and reasonable in the 90s, whereas today you can be fashionable OR reasonable OR comfortable/potato.
Next episode is the season finale!