Remember that blonde girl Cory sort of went on a date with that one time? I’m sure she shows up again, but…. where is she? That’s sort of a problem with this show. Shawn and Cory (and Minkus in the first season) are the only characters consistently in all of their classes. I don’t have vivid memories of Saved By the Bell, but I do know they had a set of really minor characters who were always there, so we didn’t have this weird paradox where there seems to be 80 people attending one class but there are only 12 desks.
Wow, whatever’s going on, I’m in!
Topic for this episode’s English class is Shakepseare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, which I’ve actually read! Hooray! Turner says it’s gripping stuff that would’ve glued people to their seats – cut to the kids in the class, all falling asleep, with Shawn actually falling out of his chair.
Turner doesn’t understand the unenthusiasm (…underenthusiasim? I don’t know) – we’ve got this innocent young girl, everyone spreading lies about her, saying she slept with some guy, and we all think she’s killed herself. But the kids aren’t buying it. Topanga says they just can’t relate to characters like that, with Cory saying that no one acts like that – no girl wants to kill herself over something a boy says about her. I’m not even going to touch on that subject.
Turner says Cory has a point, and says maybe they should go around and ask people what they’d do in such situations. Everyone has to split into pairs, and to show how mature they are, they have to pick who they’re pairing with, and it has to be boy-girl pairs.
I would also like to say, despite my opening complaint, I actually recognize some of the kids in the classroom from earlier episodes. There’s this one girl whose haircut I admired, for being pretty nice and stylish and not overly 90s.
Also, I always found the part of Much Ado About Nothing with Hero and whoever else really boring and lame. Not because I didn’t find it believable, but because everyone was a moron about it, and Hero didn’t really have much of a personality. The plot with Beatrice and Benedick was my favorite part.
…Anyway, I’ve paused the episode to type up the last few paragraphs, right after Feeny has walked into Turner’s classroom. I can already hear him disapproving of Turner’s radical teaching methods.
Turner defends himself, saying that they give all the students these books with scenes of classic romance, but we don’t know anything about what they think about love and sex. Feeny points out that the kids don’t really know what they think about that stuff either. Feeny foresees a problem with giving a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds a video camera and a license to talk to each other openly about sex. I kind of agree with Feeny here. Maybe if Turner had added some guidelines – like they can’t talk about such-and-such, you have to keep it PG, etc – but I too foresee problems with letting 13 year olds go out, completely unsupervised, with school equipment, asking anyone from age 12 to 18 what they think about love and sex, for an English class.
Turner keeps on defending himself – he wants the kids to see how classic literature applies to a modern age, make the connection themselves, etc. I would like to point out that several episodes ago, Cory did indeed make a connection between classic literature and his own life, and then everyone shot him down, telling him he was just a kid and didn’t know enough about the world to really understand the book yet.
Feeny still thinks it’s a bad idea – he doesn’t want the kids exploring stuff about sex until they’re out of his jurisdiction, but Turner thinks that’s a really “antiquated” way of thinking.
Cory is adding style to their video, by randomly running around and going all shaky-cam on the thing. They decide to start interviewing kids just as the bell rings, but everyone goes to class, so there’s no one to interview. They decide to just ask what Topanga thinks about sex and stuff. I have to go full quote on this.
Topanga: Some people say, “Sex? Great anywhere, anytime.”
Cory: Who says that?
Topanga: Every boy in the world.
Cory: Oh, yeah.
Topanga: To boys, let’s face it, sex is just a goal. It’s something they’re after and they’re not really sure why. I think sex is part of a special kind of love that you feel for a very special person.
Cory: Yeah, fine! Now let’s wake up the audience! *Cory does crazy filmwork in the hallway again* It’s a chase scene! Oh yeah! We’re going!
Then Cory runs into Joey The Rat and asks what’s going on. Cory explains they’re making a video on sex, and Joey asks what it’s about (duh), and asks if he can be in it. So Cory asks him what he thinks about sex.
Joey: Okay, sex is very beautiful, especially within the confines of a loving, monogamous relationship, preferably marriage.
Cory: That’s really nice.
Joey: Hey, thanks. Hey, is it alright if I say hi to my kids?
Hey, Joey could be married. I don’t know how old you have to be to be married in Pennsylvania, and we don’t actually know how old Joey is. The actor playing him was in his early 20s when he was on this show, so, hey, he could be married and have kids. Although not any kids in Turner’s English class, hopefully.
They ask Shawn, who materialized from nowhere, and Shawn says that love is great. When Topanga asks him if he’s ever fallen in love, he says “5 times a day”. Then Harley comes out of nowhere and pushes him out of the way, demanding to know why Cory is filming in his hallway. I never noticed before, but Harley has big dimples in both cheeks. He’s making this really menacing face but with this prominent dimples, so it looks kind of silly.
Joey and Harley threaten Cory, telling him he needed to pay all these fees and get permits from Harley to film, but if Cory lets Harley beat his face in, they can work out a discount. Cory suggests that maybe they could avoid all that if Harley felt personally involved in the film. “Picture it: ‘Sex – starring Harley Keiner.” Harley accepts.
So Cory asks what Harley looks for in a woman. Harley tells him it’s a deeply personal matter, and then calls Joey in to tell Cory what Harley thinks. Joey doesn’t actually say anything before it cuts to Topanga checking off a list. Cory wants to know who they’re talking to next, and Topanga suggests that Cory be the next victim. Cory protests, saying he’s a strictly “behind the camera” guy, he’s got a visual style going, etc, but Topanga wrestles the camera from him.
Topanga notices Feeny noticing them, and asks him if he has an opinion on love and sex. Feeny tells them yes, as a matter of fact, and his opinion is “Not on school property”, which I think is the best advice he could’ve given.
Turner’s opinion is that love is more important than sex. It’s the most important thing in the world, and the only thing that makes sex worth having. Cory asks if he’s never been in love, to which Turner replies “Not yet.” Then Cory asks him he’s ever “had, you know”. Turner doesn’t really answer.
Eric doesn’t so much answer any questions, but behaves as if he’s in a dating service video. Next up are Amy and Alan. Cory tells them to talk about “s-e-x”, and Amy asks “On camera??”, while Alan wants to know what the heck they’re teaching Cory at that school.
Amy goes first, and says sex is like voting. It’s a privilege that you may choose to exercise when you’re old enough. Well-said Amy, but the difference is, if you choose not to have sex, then people don’t call you an idiot who ought to be thrown out of the country for being unpatriotic and bastards who don’t even care what happens to anyone (never personally been called that, but that’s just what my Facebook looked like around the last presidential election – only phrased in a more mean way).
Amy goes on to say that you only want to vote for someone you’ve known awhile and have strong feelings for, so you don’t end up getting stuck with someone for a long time. Alan says that he agrees that sex is like voting – you go behind a curtain, you do your thing, and you go back and do it again… in four years.
Cory and Topanga are editing their video, probably in the same room that has the bathroom, principal’s office, Feeny’s history class, newspaper office… I guess the video is due the next day, so Topanga calls home to say she’s at Cory’s house, so they can stay and work on the video. Cory calls his parents to say he’s at Cory’s house before Topanga takes the phone from him to ask if it’s okay if he has dinner at her house, where they’re allegedly working on the project. Where are the other kids in their class working on editing their video? We will never find out.
While Cory watches an illuminating video interview with Janitor Bud, Topanga lays down on the floor. Cory tells her she better not be sleeping, and she says she isn’t, she just needs ten minutes. Cory says that’s fine, he’ll just edit this thing himself, as his eyelids become heavier and heavier.
At the Matthews home, Amy is worried about Cory. She just called the Lawrences, where there was no answer. Alan suggests perhaps they’re voting – and hey, election day 1994 was just 4 days after this episode aired, so who knows? Oh wait, he meant they were voting. Alan figures they’re probably just bringing Cory home, and Amy is placated by this possible explanation, and goes up to bed.
Alan is still asleep on the couch, indicating he was not woken by Cory coming home the night before. Alan tells a worried Amy that Cory’s probably just upstairs in his room – maybe he was really quiet when he came home. We never see them reacting to him not being there, so I think this whole scene is here for… well… I don’t know. Maybe the episode ran 30 seconds short.
Feeny is at school early, despite previous episodes making it seem like he leaves for school sometime even after the students would be leaving. Janitor Bud has something interesting to show him:
Janitor Bud tried poking them with his mop, but to no avail. Feeny clears his throat and that wakes up the sleeping beauties. Feeny tells them they have a lot of ‘splaining to do.
Feeny does call their parents to explain that both kids are safe and in the school. Feeny tells the two that they’ve violated rules and stuff, and before Cory can completely ask Feeny what he thinks they could’ve possibly been doing, he realizes what Feeny must’ve thought they were doing. Topanga more calmly asserts that nothing happened, they were just editing their video and then they fell asleep. Now, I know they were both found is a sort of odd and compromising position, but if they had been having sex… why would they have put all of their clothes back on and then fallen asleep on the floor? If they were doing, ah… other things, it would make even less sense that they decided to fall asleep in the school afterwards. Personally, I would believe Topanga’s story even if I didn’t already know it was true.
Feeny tells them an incident like this calls for immediate action, but he’s not sure exactly what to do, so he tells them they are dismissed for the day. Personally, I think I’d go with giving them detention for being on school grounds when they weren’t supposed to be, but they were confined to one room, didn’t destroy any property or anything, and the only thing anyone knows for sure was that they were asleep on school grounds after hours. But this is the same universe where someone was grounded for two weeks for watching an R-rated movie while another person was grounded for two weeks for driving without a license which is an actual crime, so… who even knows what sort of punishment would be appropriate in this universe?
Cory and Topanga leave Feeny’s office, and are greeted with applause from all these hall loiterers. I guess Janitor Bud told everyone what’s up. Harley and Shawn call him the man, and Joey asks him if he really slept with Topanga. Cory doesn’t really know what to say, until Harley asks him if he really is the man or just himself. Cory then says he’s the man, and I think they give Cory a can of spray paint in celebration. Topanga, obviously upset, hurriedly walks away, and then Feeny arrives from nowhere and goes to have a chat with Turner.
Turner says of course this isn’t what he had in mind for this project, and Feeny wants to know what he was expecting would happen, giving teenagers an assignment on sex and then leaving them unsupervised. Turner still doesn’t think he was in the wrong, and says he trusted the kids. Feeny demands to know whether he still thinks that trust was justified, and Turner says he’ll know when the project is finished. So.. if the project actually wasn’t due that day, couldn’t Cory and Topanga have just worked on editing it for a few hours after school each day, instead of doing it all in one night? It seems like it would be a hard thing to leave and then come back to, but at least they could’ve avoided all this mess.
Cory’s reading in the kitchen when Shawn stops by. Shawn wants to know if his parents came down hard, and Cory says his kids are grounded. Cory said in the last episode was just going to eat little Chewbacca and Plankton anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter much. Cory’s under 24 hour surveillance, which disappoints Shawn, because everyone is waiting for him down at Chubbie’s. When Shawn tells him everyone thinks he’s a god, Alan comes in asks why that is. When Shawn says it’s, uh, because everyone noticed how well brought up Cory is, Alan sends Shawn home, and asks Cory. Cory explains that everyone thinks he slept with Topanga, because he technically did, and didn’t bother to clear up what he meant because everyone thinks he’s really cool now.
Amy comes into the kitchen and announces that Topanga has arrived, wishing to speak with Cory, even though the living room door never opened and we didn’t hear anyone knocking or ringing the doorbell. Amy and Alan leave the two alone. Cory tells Topanga that there’s a lot of talk, and that’s just the way it is. Topanga tells Cory to take her right there, right then, because everyone already thinks they had sex anyway. Why not do it for real? When Cory tells her to stop, Topanga says “What’s the matter, Cory? Aren’t you the man?” Cory says he only said what he said because everyone wanted him to say it. All Topanga wants is her good name back. She tells Cory that he used to be a good friend, but she doesn’t know what he is anymore, and whatever he is, she doesn’t like him.
In Turner’s class, they’re about to watch Cory and Topanga’s movie. There’s some extra students in there, including Harley, and Feeny comes in asking basically if Turner is crazy for showing this movie, especially since Turner hasn’t even watched it. Turner says they’ll let the kids decide, and Cory thinks if they don’t watch it, no one will ever learn anything.
Cory added an interview with himself. He says he didn’t want to be in the movie because he didn’t have much to say about sex, because he doesn’t have any experience with it. He goes on to say that if he lets people think he does have experience in that area, it’s not fair to the person they think he had that experience with, and he’d like to apologize to that person. Then videotaped Cory tells Shawn to stop the camera, but Shawn tells him to say how much he loves her. Cory denies this, so Shawn asks why he went to all this trouble if he doesn’t love her. Cory says it’s because she’s his friend, now turn the camera off. Maybe he didn’t have enough time to edit this part out of the movie, I don’t know.
Oh, hey, Harley’s gonna miffed that his part was cut out, huh?
So right after I wrote that, there’s a part in the credits with Harley. He thinks the books they have to read in class present a false image of romance. His idea of romance is a moonlit night, out with the girl he loves, when her voice calls out “Hey! You’re crushing my cigarettes!”
It’s really nice to know that this plotline – shamed and humiliated girls whose names have been slandered due to a humiliating lie – is just as relevant today as it was in 1994 and in the 1600s. That’s progress.
Ugh, man. We’ve got 24 episodes to go before we get to one of my favorites.
Looking at the episode list, season 3 has a LOT of episodes I like. Yaaaay.