I guess maybe the “2” is in the episode title because it’s the first episode of season 2…?
Exactly 1 second in and already things are different.
Today beings Cory’s first year of high school, even though he was in 6th grade last year and most high schools in the U.S. these days start at 9th grade. I’m guessing the high school here is a sort of “community school” thing like Degrassi (Degrassi was originally for 7th and 8th grades, and then stuff happened). Amy, who is sporting big 90s Mom Hair, is concerned that Cory must be really nervous.
But Cory isn’t. He’s totally excited. He knows exactly where he is in high school life – at the very bottom of the chain. But he bugged Eric all summer long for advice about high school and stuff, and he even took notes! Speaking notes, here’s a side note: Boy Meets World here is doing that thing where the characters are about to leave to go to school at their high school but it seems to be mid-afternoon outside. I always had to be in school by 8 am, and it was always pitch dark out when I left, so I always resent these sitcoms where the kids are apparently leaving for school at 10 am at the earliest.
Cory’s plan is to make friends with the most feared student in the high school – Harley Keiner. In one fell swoop, he’ll go from no-account monkey to the Most Trusted Advisor of the king of the school. His parents tell him that high school is all about having fun, he doesn’t need a plan. Cue Shawn saying he lost his copy of the plan.
Shawn goes into a meltdown about how he’s not prepared for high school. He wants to stay at the old school, where he was the coolest person, and he was way too dumb for them to let him pass anyway, and he doesn’t want to have to reinvent himself to be cool in this new school. Amy asks him about his sideburns, pointing out that he didn’t have any yesterday, and no one can grow hair that fast – except maybe a werewolf. Is that an upcoming plot twist?? Spoiler: no.
Cory tells Shawn they’ve got nothing to worry about. Eric’s a cool guy, and they’ve got him to help them figure things out! Cue Eric, who has a contract for Cory to sign. The contract of course says that Cory will not make any contact with Eric during the school day nor make any reference to them being related in public. Amy chastises him for being so uncaring about his brother, but Eric has a reputation to uphold, he can’t ruin it by letting people know he’s related to a 7th grader.
Enter Feeny, who definitely should be at school by now. I remember the teachers pretty much always had to be at school at least one hour before the school opened – not before it started, before it actually opened – and I seem to recall a lot of my teachers making references to being at school two hours early, for lesson plans or something.
Cory asks him if he’s going to regret not having him and Shawn in his class anymore, to which Feeny answers with a short “no.” Feeny came over to ask why there is a big rusty bucket in the shape of a car blocking the light into his house. Eric answers that it’s his new car, which I guess he only got that previous evening if Feeny’s only now asking about it. He takes Eric to go move the junker, and Cory and Shawn express excitement about never having Feeny as a teacher again. This is a type of dramatic irony you can only experience as someone who has seen the entire series before. “Never have Feeny as a teacher again” indeed.
Cory and Shawn then enter the beautiful world of high school. Shawn’s still really worried, but Cory is cool, confident, calm, and collected – which is really hilarious, when you think about their personalities later on in the show. They spot a kid around their age who’s only wearing his socks, shoes, and boxers. He tells them some seniors took his clothes, and that makes even Cory a little worried. Suddenly, Frankie Stechino!
Frankie Stechino is the big, territorial bully at the school. With him is Joey “the Rat” Epstein. Not much more needs to be said about a guy whose nickname is “The Rat”. Frankie pushes Cory because Cory was almost in his way. Frankie and Joey sort of rough up Shawn and Cory, and Shawn tells them they don’t want any trouble, they’re just looking for their home room. Joey tells him their homeroom is right there, indicating the lockers. Shawn’s like ‘Hey, you’re right! Thanks!’ and crawls in.
Frankie then turns to Cory, asking him what was he doing, being almost in Frankie’s way? Cory says that, if he was in his homeroom, he wouldn’t be anywhere near Frankie’s way. Then this happens:
Joey: I think he’s saying that if he was someplace else, he wouldn’t be here.
Frankie: What? You saying I’m gay?
Joey: No. No, I didn’t say that. Come on, let’s finish him off.
Frankie: No, I need to be alone with my thoughts.
The two walk off, and Cory lets Shawn out. Shawn is about to go right back into the locker, where it’s safe, until he spots some attractive high school girls with big hair. Cory starts to get really worried – if Harley Keiner is the biggest, meanest guy in school, then who were those guys who were all up in their faces just now? Although, really, Frankie and Joey weren’t that mean. They were threatening and imposing, but they let Shawn go into the locker on his own and didn’t physically harm them, or steal their clothes. Real life and other tv shows have taught me that as far as school bullies go, they were actually pretty tame.
…Speaking of high school girls with big hair!
Well, Topanga’s hair isn’t big anymore. It’s got some curl at the end, but it’s not as wild as it was last season [oh, side note – Alan also cut his hair. His wasn’t as big as Topanga’s to begin with, but it got shorter].
Cory and Shawn are thrilled to see their old friend, and make her walk in front of them. She walks to one side of the hallway and asks what they’re staring at, and turns around. The boys are all ‘un, nothing’, and Shawn asks if she got a new blouse. Topanga says yes, she got it over the summer, and Shawn tells her summer was really good to her.
Topanga: Yeah, well, at least what I grew is real!
And she rips Shawn’s side burns off. No one makes any mention of how Topanga felt Cory and Shawn staring at her budding chest while they were facing her back. But whatever.
The bell rings for homeroom, and Topanga tells them she checked the list and they all have homeroom together, with Mr. Turner in room 118. Man, of course there was a list this whole time that Cory and Shawn didn’t bother to check! That actually makes sense. But Cory is fearful – there’s no mention of Mr. Turner in his notes. What if he was so bad that Eric didn’t want to tell him about Turner?
Suddenly, this cool guy shows up. Leather jacket, sunglasses, motorcycle helmet. Everything about this guy just oozes “cool”. This HAS to be Harley Keiner. Cory immediately goes over to him and kisses up – he’ll do whatever Harley wants, stand in the lunch line for him, hold his coat, even do detention for him! The Cool Guy asks Cory why he doesn’t just do the homework. When Cory protests that he definitely doesn’t want Cory doing his homework, Cool Guy tells him he wants all his students doing homework.
Cory: You’re so mean, they gave you students?
Cool Guy reveals himself to be Jonathan Turner, the teacher. He’s their homeroom and English teacher, and will be there if they ever need to talk with anyone. They’re supposed to read The Odyssey in class, but Cory complains, because he’s Cory. Turner spots an X-Men comic on Cory’s desk, asks him if he’d rather read X-Men than The Odyssey, then tells everyone in class that their homework is to read that particular issue of X-Men – and also The Odyssey. Cory will be leading the discussion on it next class. Cory then declares Turner, who he previously thought was the Coolest Guy in School, to be “Feeny with an earring.”
After class ends, Cory and Shawn venture into the hallway. Cory is bummed about Turner singling him out on the first day, but is ready to move on. He asks Shawn what’s next on the schedule. Shawn says his next class is Earth Science, but… Cory doesn’t have Earth Science next. He has History. While they’re about to have a breakdown due to being separated, a big ocean of extras floods the hallway and Shawn gets swept away. I think this one episode has more nameless extras than all of season 1.
Cory finds Eric and tries to tell him about how awful his day is so far – and it’s only second period! – while still keeping mum that they’re related, and Eric tells him he doesn’t care and pushes him away. Then we hear a familiar voice speak the name “Harley.”
Cory introduces himself, and proposes that, if Harley took a 7th grader under his wing, people would like and respect him even more! Harley tells him that Cory is a lame name, and he needs something good, something that will inspire fear in the hearts of men. Harley then christens Cory “Johnny Baboon.” Eric was a lobster in a previous episode, and Eric always calls Morgan “Weasel”, so I guess all the Matthews children have animal names now.
A squeaky guy appears and tell them that the bell rang several minutes ago, so they need to not be loitering in the hall. He takes out a pad and asks for their names, so of course Cory gives his name as “Johnny Baboon.” Squeaky Guy guesses that he’s being made fun of, and declares “Nobody makes fun of Marion Stempleman!” – get it, because that’s a funny name and he was overacting when he said it – and ushers Harley and Baboon to the principal’s office.
Of course Feeny is the principal. I bet if there was an episode where Topanga was about to give birth to her first child and was having trouble finding a doctor, when they finally found someone competent and available, it would be Feeny.
So Principal Feeny asks Stempleman for what Cory actually did. When Stempleman tells him Cory just got on his nerves, Feeny agrees to let Cory go with just a warning, and calls this a practice session for the many meetings the two of them will undoubtedly have in the future. Cory is fine with that, and leaves to go to class.
Cory: My next class is American History, with Mr. Fee… Mr. Feh… Feh… *points shakily at Feeny*
The bell rings and Feeny declares Cory is late for class, even though the reason Cory and Harley are in the principal’s office was apparently because they were already late for class, and Feeny is technically late as well.
Harley is none too pleased with Cory getting him sent to the principal’s office on the very first day, so that the principal knows his face, and also because Harley got a week’s worth of detention, for… loitering between classes, I guess. Harley then asks Cory to meet him in the senior restroom at 3 pm, so that Harley can kill him. I’m sure Cory could just tell him his mom picking him up, or he has a dental appointment so he can’t go, but… whatever.
In the high school cafeteria that looks suspiciously similar to the old school’s cafeteria – almost as if they’re reusing the school set! – , Feeny is all on Turner’s case about using comic books to relate to the kids.
Then we see Cory, who just doesn’t know what to do about Harley. Shawn begs Eric for help, and Eric agrees to give Cory advice under the guise that he’s getting a drink from the drinking fountain. He tells Cory to go the nurse and tell her he’s too sick to stay in school anymore, so he can go home early and not even try avoiding Harley.
Cory goes to the nurse, where two nerds are waiting. I didn’t mention these guys before, but Cory has hit them with doors two times. They both have a broken nose and a sprained arm. They explain that they’re waiting for their parent or guardian to pick them up while hiding safely with the nurse, just like they’ll do every day. Cory decides he doesn’t want to be like these guys, and leaves to face Harley.
Cory gives a speech about cowardice or something. He tells Harley he’d rather be dead than be known as the school coward for the next six years. Harley’s just like “okay then” and is about to pummel him, when Eric shows up.
At first Eric denies knowing Cory, but then confesses that Cory is indeed his little brother. Harley doesn’t really care and is about to beat both of them up, when Turner shows up.
He tells them that it’s 3 o’clock, school is over. Harley tells him that they’re just working out a little disagreement, and when Turner observes that it looked more like he was about to beat Cory into the ground, Harley asks him who the heck he is anyway.
Turner: I’m your worst nightmare. I’m a teacher.
Harley: Oh, teacher. No wonder I don’t recognize you. So what do you teach?
Turner: Oh, English Lit, and kick-boxing.
Turner says that Harley can’t beat up his students, or something. Harley wonders if he could take Turner on in a fight, and Turner tells him no way. Harley’s okay with that, and he leaves.
Cory thanks Eric for being his older brother, and then goes to rescue Shawn from the locker he was apparently hiding in (I actually hadn’t noticed he was in a locker before Cory went to get him). But Shawn doesn’t want out, because he’s in there with a girl, which the audience totally loves.
During the end credits, Cory introduces his family to The Great One, his brother. Then there’s this bit where everyone starts smacking each other in the head, and Morgan tells them all to quiet down because she’s trying to watch tv. There’s a beat where no one does anything, and then Morgan says “That’s power.” And thus ends Cory’s first day of high school, and the first episode of season 2.
So, yeah. Everyone from 7th up to 12th grade all apparently have classes on the same floor, in the same hallway, and they all have lunch at the same time. That’s totally realistic.
It’s funny that this episode is only a few months after the last one, and is already not as Totally 90s. I only saw 10 plaid shirts worn over other shirts! What a shame.
The dynamic between Feeny and Turner is interesting. Feeny is a classic, traditional teacher who sometimes uses crafty methods to get his students to learn things. Turner is a hip, modern teacher who tries to relate to his students to help them learn better.
One More Thing: The boy’s restroom has a fire hose in it. I’ve previously praised this show for its realistic school sets, what with fire hoses and extinguishers actually existing and all, but I think having a whole fire hose in the restroom is a bit ridiculous.