BMW – 202, “Pairing Off”; September 30, 1994

Remember how like 4 episodes ago Shawn got a girlfriend and Cory was really jealous and decided he needed a girlfriend just to keep up? Yeah. Not the exact same premise here, but… yeah.


Cory and Shawn are observing a couple making out in the hallway. Feeny comes along and is all “Shouldn’t you two be in class?” because, what with the entire student body being in the hallway, it definitely looks like classes are in session and it’s not just the time between class periods. Cory asks Feeny if he’s going to do anything about the couple making out, and Feeny says no, because they’re young and in love, and also they both have an A- average (that’s an A minus, not just a dash). I find that wildly out of Feeny’s character, to just let two people go on sucking each other’s faces like that, during school hours, in the middle of the hallway. I know maybe back in 1994 they were more lenient on PDAs than they are now – I’m sure some schools would suspend you for accidentally touching someone’s hand while both of you are reaching for a pencil that fell to the floor – but I still feel like Feeny would at least have some objection to this.

The boys spot another couple making out, and Cory wonders if the whole world has paired off, and if so, where’s the list that says what girl he’s supposed to be with? Shawn says, if Cory wants a girlfriend, why not try this blond girl that conveniently walked by them right that second. But Cory only wants a girl he knows, someone he trusts, and is comfortable with…. wait a second…

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.

Well this is just ridiculous.


OH LOOK IT IS TOPANGA. I AM SHOCKED. Cory tells her that as a girl, as his friend, as his girly friend, they should just save themselves time and spare themselves embarrassment and “walk through life together.” But alas, Topanga will not consent to dating Cory this time.

Cory: Is there someone else?
Topanga: There’s everybody else.

Someone get the burn ointment! Ouch! Cory doesn’t know what the problem is, because they’re already standing next to each other, and they look great together!


Topanga doesn’t want to risk their friendship, though, saying that couples always end up breaking up after a few weeks and things are never the same between them. Cory’s willing to take that chance, but Topanga just brushes him off.

The Health teacher is out sick again [irony], and it turns out they have a smokin’ hot substitute.


Shawn is in love. He kind of tries to flirt with her, but she’s not attracted to 13 year olds, and just kind of makes fun of him.

They’re studying reproduction in their Health class.  Isn’t that convenient, they’re studying reproduction on the exact same day Cory decides he needs a girlfriend. The substitute asks Shawn and then Cory if they know what organ holds the eggs. Cory believes it to be the gonads. The sub corrects him – it is in fact the ovaries that hold the eggs – and asks if he knows anything about ovulation or pregnancy. And Cory’s response…

Cory: Well, the man’s got the sperm, and the woman’s got the egg. Now once a month an egg slides down the Philippine tube towards the uterus. The first sperm to reach the egg wins, it gets a medal, it’s born, you name him Cory, you push him out the door, and nothing makes sense for the rest of his life.

Yes, he really did say “Philippine”. The sub congratulates him on his thorough knowledge of the life cycle, and is going to move on to something else, when Cory flags her over, to ask how to get a girl to say “hi”.


Later, Cory spots yet another couple who’s paired up spontaneously. Cory is dismayed, but figures he’ll outgrow being interested in women, or something. And then he sees Turner with the substitute, and then Mr. Feeny with some lady we’ll never see again. This further dismays Cory – here he is, doomed to be interested in females forever, and he doesn’t even know how to attract any of them. I thought one of the previous episodes kind of had a lesson of waiting for this kind of stuff when you’re really ready and letting this stuff happen on its own, but… I guess that was last season, so it doesn’t count.

But Shawn has figured out how to get ladies to notice you. He demonstrates by running his hand through his hair and sort of tossing his head back – not quite the same way they do in shampoo commercials, but basically the same concept. He is immediately noticed by the girl who played Amy Szalinski on “Honey I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show”. According to iMDB, her character’s name here is “Samantha”. She won’t be in another episode for a while, and when she comes back, she’ll be named “Sarah”, and then that’s the only episode she’s in until the Disney World episode where her name is “Kristen”.

Shawn demonstrates the hair toss once again, and another girl from across the hall comes over to him, attracted to his sexy hair, and the two walk off together. Cory tries to do the hair toss too, but as is established, his hair is basically a Brillo pad, and it doesn’t really work. Topanga notices and asks him if he has head lice. Then she effortlessly tosses that golden mane of hers, and some guy notices her from across the hall and tells her he was just thinking about her. Cory decides he needs new hair. Because that worked so well last time.



Eric has brought a new lady-friend over to study for a math test. Amy’s just about to talk Morgan to soccer practice, and when Eric tells Morgan “Hey Weasel, move your stuff off the table”, Morgan reveals that she hates being called Weasel and never liked it, and declares that it’s Eric’s name now. Man, just one episode ago we had rounded off the Matthews children all having animal identities, and now the circle is one again incomplete.

After Amy and Morgan leave, Eric says he and his ladyfriend – Rebecca – ought to take a break before they’ve even started. He asks if she wants anything, like soda or water. But no, what she wants is a tour of the house. A sexy tour, judging by her tone. They go upstairs, and then Cory comes home with Shawn. Strangely, if somewhat predictably, they come in the front door, when Eric came in the back door earlier. Oh boy, if I was the sort of person to make lewd jokes, I would totally make one regarding the phrasing of that last sentence.

Cory is still lamenting his inability to attract women, and I just have to say something right here: Cory, no. You do not want 7th grade girls, or 8th grade girls, or even 9th grade girls. Believe me. I’ve been one. I’ve been around girls of that age. They are insane, and some of the most vicious creatures on the planet. You live in a nice TV universe where no one is ever too mean unless the plot calls for it, so you don’t know. Just, you know… calm yourself.

Anyway, Shawn suggests Cory ask Eric for advice. On the one hand, Eric is dating a different girl every week, so he’s clearly got something going for him. On the other hand, he’s dating a different girl ever week, so it seems that relationships aren’t his strong suit. Shawn leaves right after this, because he’s off to get dates, and he does the hair toss once again, only to catch the attention of a girl across the street.

Cory says he’ll swear off girls for now, and study and get good grades and become a scientist and build a wife. He gets bored 5 seconds after opening his text book, and then hears some funky music coming from upstairs. It’s coming from his parents’ room, so he can only assume it’s his parents. But nope.


Usually after I do one of those “nope” cuts it’s Feeny or Topanga. Thank goodness it wasn’t the case this time.

Rebecca decides to leave, feeling really awkward about Cory having walked in on her and Eric… studying. Cory then blackmails Eric into giving him some advice on how to catch the wily wo-man creature, saying if Eric doesn’t help, he’ll tell their parents about Eric making out with some girl on their bed. The gist of Eric’s advice is that you should stare soulfully at a woman, or into her eyes, or something, and… I guess that’s irresistible.


Conveniently in their English class, they’re discussing the book “Tom Jones”. I’ve never read it, but it’s about a foundling who “grows into a vigorous and lusty, yet honest and kind-hearted, youth. He develops affection for his neighbour’s daughter, Sophia Western.” Mr. Turner specifically says something about Tom Jones being “irresistible to women.”


The class ends, and Cory continues to stare at the blonde girl. She, like Topanga, can feel people staring at her from behind, and asks him what’s up. Cory tells her he really likes her hair, they have a short chat about it, and then Cory asks if she’d like to hang out with him sometime. She agrees. Shawn is impressed.


Amy is a bit down in the dumps. Apparently she’s got three bus-loads of old ladies coming down the art gallery tomorrow, and some of the paintings in the gallery are a bit risque. If you’re having trouble remembering when it was established that Amy was an artist or a gallery owner or anything, well, that would be because last we heard, she was a real estate agent. That was just barely mentioned in one episode (she said she was “showing a house”, which would indicate she works in real estate), and has been seen working on spreadsheets and business-y things sometimes (and by that I mean at least once, probably no more than three times). In fact, in most episodes she appears to be a stay-at-home mom.

Alan tries to have sexy times with Amy, and they kiss and Amy lays down on the bed, only to have her head punctured by some rogue earring, despite her hair helmet. Alan and Amy are then concerned – Amy knows the earring isn’t hers, and it’s certainly not Alan’s, and Alan isn’t having an affair. Amy realizes the earring is something a teenager might wear, and remembers that Eric had an earring-wearing teenager in the house earlier. They go to have a chat with Eric, while I realize this is the first time we’ve seen the parents’ bedroom set over the course of the entire show.


Faced with such undeniable evidence, Eric is forced to confess that he had a girl up in his parents’ room. I’ve never been in that sort of position myself – that is, a “making out in someone’s parents’ bedroom” position – but, I don’t know, I think that would creep me out. I don’t think I could get over thinking “Your parents have sex here sometimes.” I just couldn’t… ugh.

Cory comes in while AA (I’m calling Alan and Amy that from now on to save on space and time) are busting Eric, and Cory tells them to go easy on him, because he “taught me how to get what I want from a girl”. I’m sure in light of what Eric was doing with a girl, very unhappy ideas of what Cory meant by that are flashing through AA’s heads, but Cory explains that Eric taught Cory how to get a date with a girl. Then we learn that Cory doesn’t actually know what the girl’s name is yet.


AA wonder how you can ask a girl out without even knowing her name, and Cory goes on to explain Eric’s Foolproof Method, much to Eric’s displeasure. Once again I must quote Cory in full here:

Cory: Well, first you pick a girl. Any girl.
Amy: Just any old body?
Cory: Yeah. Then you pretend you’re interested in her. Now, you don’t really have to be interested in her – I thought you did, but Eric said it wasn’t necessary.

I just can’t help remembering that Minkus said pretty much the exact opposite when Cory wanted to date girls a few episodes ago – although Minkus did tell him to go with the first thing in a skirt he saw.

Amy tells Cory to go to Alan for advice about this kind of thing from now on, and not to go to Eric who has “some explaining to do for his own behavior with girls lately.” Then Cory reveals that he knows exactly what she means, confessing that he kind of walked in on Eric making out with Rebecca on AA’s bed.

Eric says it wasn’t his fault – Rebecca sat down on the bed and patted a spot next to her with a sort of “come hither” look. When Amy’s about to kill him, he takes the blame – he knows he should’ve controlled himself better, but at least he knows his girl’s name, unlike Cory. But he doesn’t know anything else about Rebecca, and Alan tells him that he ought to start letting his brain in on what the rest of him is doing. Cory wonders what he’s supposed to do about getting girls to like him if he can’t use Eric’s method. Alan asks him what he knew about girls before, and when Cory says he didn’t know anything, Alan tells him to just go with that. I seem to remember a certain nerd with giant glasses telling him something about “shared interests” and “a sense of humor”, regarding getting a date, but… whatever.


I… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character with a bottom locker on a TV show or movie before. I know, because it always bugs me that they always have the top locker and there’s never anyone else using the nearby lockers at the same time (well, on all seasons of Degrassi, there’s usually multiple kids hanging out at the same section of lockers – one person taking up too much room and preventing students from using their lockers was actually a B-plot on an episode of Degrassi High). I’m just having so much trouble comprehending that there’s actually an episode of a show where someone has the bottom locker.

Um… well… Blonde Girl asks Cory if he’s ready to go, and Cory asks her if she feels funny about going on a date with him, a kid she barely knows. Blonde Girl says she’d understand if Cory doesn’t really want to go on a date, and Cory asks if she’d just like to get to know him better before they go on an actual date. Then he asks her if she’d like to go hang out and talk somewhere. She agrees, since her previous plans – her date with Cory – have been canceled, so she’s totally free to go on this… not-date with Cory. Also her name Wendy. Cory says “hi” to her, and she says it back.

Overall this is very confusing, because the last time Cory tried to go on a date with a girl, he already knew her really well. Then he learned that he’s not really ready to date. Then in this episode, the same girl tells him she doesn’t want to date him so as not to risk ruining their friendship, so Cory decides to… be friends with another girl before dating her. I just… I don’t really understand.


Eric asks Cory how his date went. Cory says it went pretty well. He decided to do what he did best – he smiled and nodded a lot. He doesn’t know if Wendy actually liked that, but she agreed to go out with him again… even though it wasn’t a date in the first place and aaaah my head is spinning.

Eric is intrigued by Cory’s seduction method, and asks him how he smiled and nodded. Eric does a little demonstration and asks Cory if he’s doing it right, and then I think Cory was supposed to have a line, but Ben Savage totally started cracking up.


What a frustrating episode. It has a good message, I guess – get to know a girl before you date her. Except the one girl Cory already knew didn’t want to date him so as not to ruin their friendship. And Cory already tried dating and it didn’t exactly go well. Compared to “Boy Meets Girl”, the messages start getting really mixed up, and I think even the messages in this episode were a little mixed up.

On the plus side, we did get to see Amy’s glorious flannel nightgown. I wish plaid flannel would make more of a comeback.

Random sidenotes:

According to my iMDB trips, about half of this cast’s episode have either been on Full House or Bones in the past (Topanga was in a couple episodes of Full House – well, Danielle Fishel was. Her character was named Jennifer or something on Full House). The substitute was a character on Baywatch, too. That is, the actress playing the sub played a character on Baywatch. Baywatch didn’t spin-off from Boy Meets World using the substitute teacher as a link. That would be weird.


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