What do you know. Another dance episode. Place bets now as to whether or not Topanga is in this episode at all!
Turner expresses surprise that someone of Feeny’s “stature” can’t get some underling to do this kind of work for him. Feeny hands him the stack of posters, forcing Turner to do the work for him.
The school is hosting a “Turnaround Dance”, which means the girls ask the guys to the dance. Yes. It’s a Sadie Hawkins episode. This is the only time I’ve seen something like this not explicitly referred to as a Sadie Hawkins dance. I don’t know why this is. I’m certain other shows around this time had Sadie Hawkins episodes, but I could be wrong. I’m not going to go into a big thing about the concept of “girls ask the guys” dances, by the way. Sure in our society today it seems odd that there should be a special occasion where the girl is allowed to ask a guy out, but it’s so ingrained in all of our heads that the guy asks the girl to dance, he pays for everything, he does the driving, he asks her to marry him, etc… well, what are you going to do? By the way, I’ve never heard of any actual, real-life school having a Sadie Hawkins/Turnaround dance where the girls get to ask the guys out. I’m certain they exist, otherwise why would they keep showing up so much in fictional school settings. Maybe it’s just because I went to school at a different time than 90s sitcom writers.
Shawn and Cory are all for this dance. Instead of sweating it out over who to ask and if she’ll say yes, they just get to hang back while the girls do all the work. You know, assuming any girls are A) brave enough to ask either of them to the dance, and B) any girl actually wants to go to the dance with them.
Eric overhears them and dispenses some advice. The kind of girl who asks you out to this thing tells you where you stand. If a cool girl asks you out, that means you’re cool. If a lame girl asks you out, that means you’re really low on the school totem pole. Yeah… no. I mean, you could say if a girl asks you out, that means she thinks you’re in the same league – which is basically what Eric was saying – but it could just mean that she thinks you’re cute and nice and a television star or something.
Eric tells them to position themselves so a cute girl will notice them at just the right time. Cory stands in the middle of the hall with his arms out, and a girl walks around him, avoiding eye contact. Shawn gets a date with his head sticking in his locker, the girl just going by his butt to identify him, I guess. Cory praises Shawn for his girl-catching luck, and then realizes that while all the pressure is off Shawn in regards to the dance, Cory is still… full of pressure… But, hey!
Look at that. Topanga! But alas, Topanga will not be asking Cory out to the dance. She’s not going, in order to protest the concept of a “girls ask the guys” dance, saying that it means all the other times, girls can’t ask guys. Also her dad’s taking her Christmas shopping in New York the week of the dance.
Cory tries to entice the coolest, most popular girl in school to ask him to the dance. Cory has a fantasy where she actually asks him, and Cory says yes. Then he comes out of his fantasy, and…
Well THAT’S not the right girl! And she’s a NERD. Oh nooo! And her name is even Ingrid. Yuck.
Cory asks Alan and Eric for advice on how to get out of the date with Ingrid. Alan tells him to go out with her, because he said yes to her, and made a commitment, and so on. Eric tells him to go out with Ingrid because if he dumps her and bails on her, all the girls in school will know and will hate Cory. I’m assuming it’s because the subtext will be that he dumped her for not being cool or attractive, because there have been other instances where one of the guys has broken up with… Actually, no. Cory sort of broke up with Theresa and I think all the other times, it was either that the girl broke up with the guy or we just never saw her again. Hm.
Well, Eric goes on to say that all the women will know because women are constantly in communication with each other. Cory doesn’t understand. Morgan walks in and looks in the fridge, while Eric asks Cory if enjoyed the vegetarian chili Amy made last night, and that he believes they really under-appreciate their mother. Morgan leaves, and Cory asks if they can stick with his problem right now. Eric continues to tell Cory that if he breaks the date with Ingrid, all the girls in school will know by the next morning. To be fair, everyone in school seems to know whatever Cory does shortly after he does it, so I don’t know if this psychic female connection would really be to blame if they found out about Cory breaking a date.
Amy then comes in and is very pleased to heard that Eric liked her chili, and asks what the boys would like for dinner tomorrow. Then Eric tells Cory that bad news travels even faster [than good news].
In Turner’s English class, they’re discussing Pygmalion. And thus we have the parallel plot for the episode. Turner talks about how how you walk, speak, whatever affects how people perceive you. No one in class has anything to say about that, despite them being 13 year olds, who tend to run in the “overly judgmental of trivial aspects of appearance” category.
As the class leaves, Shawn has a brilliant idea – what if they change everything about Ingrid, so that she looks cool? Like if they… mold her, as if from clay, into a shape whose very gait, speech, and so on makes other people perceive her in a positive light? By Jove, what an idea! Hrm… Well, yes. And Shawn’s date for the dance, Blonde Pixie Cut, is going to help.
Blonde Teacher – I think her name is Catherine? – tells Turner about how all these guys she talks to are such dopes, hanging on her every word in the hopes she’ll ask them out (the humor, of course, being that Turner is such a dope himself). She pauses, and then tells him bye and leaves. Turner beats his head against one of the posters, and Feeny tells him to use a hammer.
Shawn and Cory look over various images of women, cut out from magazines, to decide what they’d like to see on Ingrid. Cory tells Morgan to bring one picture up to the two girls, and Morgan says the girl in the picture is scary-looking. Cory tells her that boys like that, and, well…
Amy: Boys shouldn’t like that. Look at these women, they’re starved! They’ve had lifts and implants all to just make them look like some idiotic male fantasy image of women. Where did you find pictures like these?
Cory: In the magazines on your nightstand.
It really is something that women’s magazines have basically not changed at all since they were created.
Morgan announces that Ingrid is coming down. Blonde Pixie Cut – whose name is Becky, I’ve learned – comes down first, and Shawn comments how impressive it is that they made Ingrid look just like Becky! Oh, Shawn. No, HERE’S Ingrid:
The audience “WOOOOOOOOO!”s and Cory is obviously impressed. Shawn, however, is not. This saddens Ingrid Ivarsson – a remarkably Scandinavian name if I ever heard one, and I had a Swedish roommate for one year – and confuses Cory. Ingrid’s beautiful! What’s wrong with Shawn?!
Shawn admits she’s pretty, but he thought they were going for cool. Gorgeous doesn’t equal cool. She doesn’t have the right attitude. He points to some girl in a magazine – the magazine lady looks cool, exotic, and looks like she’d have some kind of foreign name, and so Cory concludes that they have to give Ingrid a foreign name as well. Ingrid points out that her name is foreign – Swedish, in fact (didn’t I tell you it was a super Scandinavian name?). Her mom’s family lives in Sweden, and her aunt Uma has a house on the beach. Shawn is enthralled – she’s Swedish, like from Switzerland (Shawn’s mistake, not mine), and in Switzerland, er, Sweden, they do in fact go topless on the beach. Shawn tells them that he can make Ingrid super popular by the next day with this information. Cory isn’t so sure about this, but Ingrid wants to be popular.
Shawn tells a group of people that in Sweden, where Ingrid’s family lives, people sunbathe in the nude, and go to school in the nude, and do everything in the nude. “At the gap, they only sell hats!” I could really go for some Ikea chocolate cake right about now… Ah, well.
Cory asks Becky, Ingrid, and that blonde girl Cory wanted to go out with originally, if they’d be up for hitting a pre-dance smorgasbord. No one answers, but Ingrid says she needs to talk with Cory. Becky and Blonde Girl leave. Ingrid says she’s really popular now, and some really cool guy actually talked to her, so she’s going out with him, and is dumping Cory. She thanks him for being understanding and then leaves. Immediately, Shawn arrives and says he just heard what happened. Cory is a little disbelieving – it just happened – but Shawn says he’s tapped into that girl network Eric was talking about earlier. He was also only like 5 feet away before, but we’ll go with the girl network thing.
Then Blonde Girl who Cory wanted to ask him out shows up and asks Cory out. Cory and Shawn are unsure if this is really happening. But Blonde heard what just happened with Cory and Ingrid, and she needs someone to take her to the dance, so why not ol’ Brillo head? (She didn’t call him that).
Eric and Cory leave for the dance, with their womenfolk picking them up on account of it being a turnaround dance. Before he leaves, Cory asks his parents what they’ll be up to, and they give a really boring answer – they’re gonna decorate, wrap presents, be in bed early, whatever. As soon as the sons are out the door, Amy pull up a tray carrying a wine bottles, glasses, and some snacks, and Alan turns on some music. They decided to give each other massages before they go on to do… other things.
Cory and Blonde arrive at the dance. Cory’s ready to party. Blonde thanks Cory for taking her to the dance, and now she’s going to go join up with her boyfriend. This confuses Cory. When she asked him to the dance, he was assuming he meant they would be at the dance together, not that they she literally wanted him to take her to the dance and that’s it. It turns out her boyfriend is a 9th grade, and her parents don’t like that, so she always gets some other guy to take her and then she meets up with the boyfriend there. I don’t know why her friends couldn’t agree to take her, or in this case since it’s a “turnaround” where she’d be doing the taking anyway, why she couldn’t have just gone by herself and told her parents she was meeting someone there.
Blonde thanks Cory and leaves, and then Shawn immediately appears and expresses his condolences, once again confusing Cory because the dumping literally only happened a few seconds before. I didn’t see him in the room like the last time, but he could easily have just overheard the conversation. Ah, well.
Ingrid arrives, soaked. Apparently all the cool people were standing around the pool, saying how cool it would be to jump in, so she jumped in. No one else jumped in, because apparently the cool thing is to just talk about jumping in. Her cool date dumped her for some dry people, and her contacts fell out in the pool.
Ingrid concludes that being cool just isn’t for her. Cory apologizes for changing Ingrid, because he and Shawn changed her for themselves and not for her. Ingrid knew that’s why he did it, and that’s why she didn’t feel so bad about dumping him. They have a chat about how being cool isn’t important, and how knowing that you are who you are is great. Then some proto Jonathan Taylor Thomas asks her to dance and she immediately dumps Cory again.
Shawn teleports into the scene, saying he just heard what happened. Cory, having wised up, assumes he heard it through the girl network, but actually it was because he was standing within earshot this time.
Shawn’s date is in the bathroom, like always. Because definitely in the 20 seconds of screentime she had, I got the impression she was a constant bathroom primper. Eric arrives and gives Cory some flack about getting dumped twice – well, now three times. But then Eric reveals that his date’s old boyfriend was in town so she went to hang out with him instead. I could see Eric dancing with her right at the beginning of this scene, so… wow. Just wow.
Some guy comes by and asks if the guys want a picture to remember this magical night. Eric initially tells the guy to drop dead, but Cory says if they all smile now, in twenty years they can all pretend that their dates were just in the bathroom. Shawn points out that his date actually is in the bathroom, and tells Eric and Cory they have to say “dumped” instead of “cheese”.
During the credits, Cory and Eric come home to find this terrifying sight:
Eric sends Cory upstairs. Eric looks fondly at his parents, picks up something off the tray – I think a nut – goes part-way up the stairs and throws the thing at Alan and then runs the rest of the way upstairs. Alan and Amy wake up, Alan asking if Amy feels all warm and snuggly. Amy tells him not to stop, but Alan says it’s time, because he’s been giving her a massage for… checks his watch… “SIX HOURS?!” Amy tells him “Ten more minutes,” and, the end.
What an episode. I like these ones where the episode seems to have a moral, discusses the moral, and then just totally wrecks it so you have no idea what to learn. I mean it. I like it because, well, not every episode has to have a good, valuable moral. I think this episode was a good life lesson, if not necessarily a “moral” (I know morals and life lessons are sort of the same thing). Here we learned that cool people will think they’re too good for you, even if they weren’t cool before. It doesn’t hurt anything, just live with it.
For a final sidenote, the actress who played Becky was in some Friday the 13th movie, and is either alive or dead. I know you can say that about pretty much anyone, but there was a “in memoriam” post for her on some website that appeared to be pretty credible, but then a recent picture of her was posted on some Facebook page, talking about this recent project she was in. So… I think she’s still alive.
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