BMW – 214, “I Am Not a Crook”; January 13, 1995

21401

Cory and Shawn are picking out what extra-curricular activities to participate in. This is like the third time this has happened on this show. Seriously. I don’t remember extracurriculars being required in my school days, so I don’t know what the big deal with them is on this show – especially since they stop participating in whatever activity it is by the next episode anyway.

…Well, nothing sounds good to Cory. He wonders why there can’t just be a club for guys who don’t fit in anywhere, and when Shawn suggests he just start a club like that himself, Cory says they probably wouldn’t let him in.

In Turner’s class, presumably just homeroom at this point, he announces that elections for the 8th grade student president will be held next week. I hate student council election plot-lines on tv shows. When I was school, the student council elections were either held towards the end of the school year, or right at the beginning. The candidates would put up posters on posterboard all of the school, and all the posters would say is “Vote for (candidate)”, maybe something a little more clever, and it would just be written with paint or a glitter stick. That was it for campaigning. There was never a debate held between the candidates, there was no campaigning other than maybe someone giving out pieces of candy with their name on it. And then when it came to voting, pretty much no one cared and no one voted. And you know what the winners of the election got to do? They got to go to meetings at 7 am every week, and pick out the prom theme. None of this “I will make sure Kool-aid comes out of the drinking fountains!” and “If I am elected president, homework will be made illegal, and all the teachers will be replaced by robots!” stuff. Pretty much all that happened was the winners got something extra to put on their college applications.

Turner tells them to remember that it’s a student election, not a popularity contest, and you don’t want to vote for some football player or cheerleader (who, in my experience, were not the type of people to run for student body president anyway), you want someone honest, loyal, decent. Shawn tells Cory that sounds like him – maybe Cory should run! Turner calls for nominations, and Cory nominates one of those Saved by the Bell nerds, and then Shawn nominates Cory. Cory at first tries to turn down the nomination, but then goes into an inspirational speech about… change. Or something.

21402

Cory is afraid for his chances, though, because there’s apparently about 400 students in their grade and he doesn’t even know most of them. So there’s 400 7th graders and the only nominees come out Turner’s homeroom class? Shawn has a plan, though – make a campaign video. Shawn tries to get Topanga to say Cory is sweet and cuddly for the video, but she refuses. They try to get Eric to be a cool older brother on camera, but instead Eric mentions Cory’s scallop allergy (how embarrassing, he’s allergic to something a lot of people are allergic to!), and his Scooby-Doo thermos, and his fuzzy bunny footie pajamas. Later, Amy walks in on them filming a scene and picks up the script. In this script, it is revealed that Cory’s parents are dead. Shawn says it’s because research shows that parents are cool, so being an orphan makes Cory super cool.

21403

Feeny tells this one kid that he has to have his paper in soon, or he’ll get a bad grade. As Feeny leaves, Shawn approaches the kid and suggests if Cory gets elected, they can just get rid of Feeny. You know, even as a little kid whose school didn’t have student council elections or student body elections or whatever (we don’t have those in most elementary schools), I knew these kind of promises were crap and couldn’t actually happen in the real world. I haaaaate student election episodes.

Saved by the Bell Nerd is holding an election rally in the cafeteria, because the school only has like 4 different sets so where else would it be. Nerd declares that students should be paid for learning because teachers are paid for teaching (it did always bug me that people would always say “well learning is your job!” but we never got any sort of salary for it), and that homework is stupid because why should students be punished because the teacher can’t fit their whole lesson in one class!

Shawn stands up and asks how they can listen to Nerd. He gets straight A, and has been making the other kids look dumb for years! So Cory stands up and… Well, he says he sure hates this whole 5-day school week. He declares that, with the apparently unlimited power being the 8th grade student body president will give him next year, he will make Thursday and Friday part of the weekend, and Mondays will be optional. Nerd, whose voice begins channeling Minkus, tells Cory he can’t do that. Cory points out that he can’t pay students to learn, and Nerd is like “oh yeah well I’ve got a thing!” and runs off to get something to show to everyone.

Feeny and Turner, who apparently have no classes to teacher other than Cory’s, watch the rally for a few minutes, have a discussion about something – I don’t know, probably about how dumb these kids are – and then leave. Nerd comes back with a girl named Paula, who tells a story about how she was in 3rd grade with Shawn, and one day Shawn said that all girls were icky. This completely scandalizes everyone attending the rally. Shawn stutters and explains that he was only 8 years old then. He loves girls now! This causes Nerd to accuse Shawn of being a flip-flopper – if he changed his mind about girls, who knows what else he’ll change his mind about!

21404
The girl in the blue dress played August on 3rd Rock from the Sun, btw.

Cory points out that Shawn isn’t even running, but Nerd says that Shawn represents Cory, and if Cory lets a one-time sexist run things for him, then Cory is… also sexist? Okay anyway, Cory fires Shawn. This upsets Shawn. Shawn leaves, and Eric comes in. He asks Cory how the campaign is, and the audience goes “wooooOOOOOOOOoooo” for absolutely no reason. They’ve never done that for Eric before, Eric didn’t do anything cute or sexy or anything. He just said “So how’s the campaign going?” and the audience cheered for some reason.

21405

Cory is up late, working on his campaign promises. His promises include getting Baywatch to film at the school, and getting them to build a pool complete with a water-slide – forgetting that just a couple episodes ago, one character jumped in a pool at a dance that seemed to be held at the school. Alan asks why he’s making this stuff up, and Cory says it’s just to get elected. Once he has the position, he’ll work on stuff like getting the graffiti cleaned up, and some other stuff I can’t remember that he said. Alan asks something along the lines of “who do you think you are”. Cory responds that he’s Cory Matthews – Honest, Loyal, Decent. But Alan doesn’t accept this – honest to the voters? loyal to his best friend? decent enough to kill off his parents?

So at school the next day, there’s a class presidential debate. We learn that Nerd’s name is Alvin, and also because nominations were never officially closed, Shawn has decided to join the race. Also a quick line from Feeny suggests that apparently this entire student council election was one of Turner’s Wild and Unconventional Teaching Plans, which I think is the most nonsensical thing in this entire episode. It’s not like Turner invented student council elections! Maybe by “little experiment in democracy” Feeny just meant… No. He couldn’t have just been referring to Turner letting Shawn participate because that doesn’t make any sense in-context. This whole thing doesn’t make any sense. Turner is an English teacher. Feeny is the history/social studies teacher. If anything, this should be his Unconventional Teaching Method, but it isn’t because student body elections have existed for longer than this show, and there’s no way Turner could’ve brought this up as they were reading, say, Pride and Prejudice, as a way to get the kids to relate to the story on a real-life level (I know the plot of book doesn’t have anything to do with this; just go with it). This whole episode just makes less and less sense and I – I’m gonna have an aneurysm if I keep thinking about it.

So Shawn starts the debate by declaring to everyone that he, Shawn Hunter, used to have cooties. He says this to get the sympathy vote. Cory accuses of Shawn of only participating to get back at him, and Shawn accuses Cory of lying to the voters by making outrageous campaign promises he can’t possibly keep. Cory reveals he only did it because Shawn told him to, and when Shawn gives the old “Yeah well if I told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”, Cory reveals that he did actually jump off a bridge once because Shawn told him to.

Nerd Alvin asks the voters if they think they can be led by a guy who’s dumb enough to jump off a bridge, and Cory and Shawn gang up on him, saying it was just a mini-golf bridge and Cory only jumped off to get Shawn’s ball. Cory says there’s no room for name-calling in this election, and then calls Alvin a four-eyed, frog-voiced creep. Alvin defensively declares that his mother does not buy his clothes, and then resigns and runs off stage when he realizes no one said anything about his clothes. One guy makes fun of his outfit, because apparently all of these 13 year olds have their own jobs where they get money to buy their clothes by themselves. This reminds me of a scene from The Simpsons…

Jimbo: Nice PJs, Simpson. Did your mommy buy ’em for ya?
Bart: Of course she did. Who else would have?

Feeny tires of this nonsense and tries to dismiss the congregation, but Cory objects. He thinks they should still have a chance to talk to the people. Cory gives a speech about how he entered the race to find out who he is, and now he’s a bad friend, and so on, and he’s withdrawing from the race, so everyone should vote for Shawn. Shawn objects to this, saying he’s even worse than Cory. He told Cory to say all that stuff, and Cory’s a good guy, and then Shawn withdraws from the race as well. That girl who told everyone about Shawn thinking girls are icky is upset, saying she wanted a good president, but Shawn just asks her if she wants to get a burger and they leave.

21406

Feeny once again tires of this nonsense and tries to dismiss everyone again, and tells Turner that his “little experiment in democracy” (again – apparently Turner invented student body elections) has left the 8th grade leaderless for next year. Turner is disappointed – he was looking forward to Cory’s 5 day weekend.

But as everyone begins to leave, Topanga stands up. She cant abide by this lack of leadership, and brings up the graffiti all over the school, the out-of-date textbooks, the cafeteria food… most of which has to do with the school budget and isn’t something the 8th grade class president can really change, other than putting together a fund raiser that somehow raises enough money to replace at least two dozen textbooks and pay to get good food for a school that apparently has about 2400 students (if there’s 400 in just the 7th grade, I’m assuming there’s that many for the other 5 grade levels the school has), but… well the voters are all for Topanga and her campaign of being a hard-working voice for the people. Also she promises to get a water slide.

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During the credits – which sadly are not gag credits that say Topanga was in charge of everything – Amy and Alan discuss Cory’s campaign. Alan talks about how Cory made promises he didn’t keep, and how that’s bad. Amy brings up the time Alan promised to take her to Paris, which he has yet to follow up on. Alan sees Amy’s point and pledges to bring Amy to Paris over the summer. He leaves for some reason, and Eric asks if it was really true that Alan promised to take Amy to Paris. Amy says he did promise that – just now.

So, I think we all learned a valuable lesson about being honest, loyal, and decent.

I don’t even want to discuss this episode, I just hate student election episodes so much. Maybe the four schools I went to from 6th through 12th grades were just weird and didn’t have candidates actually debating and campaigning and promising things that they couldn’t possibly do, and every other school in the country actually has this kind of stuff happen. Degrassi is the only show I can think of where the candidates didn’t pledge crazy stuff, but there was still a student debate, and an actual campaign, and posters. And I’m pretty sure Stephanie on Degrassi Junior High made some outlandish promises (in addition to saying she’d kiss every boy who voted for her).

I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

Plaid count:
Shirts – 18 – I’m seeing that the average number of plaid shirts per episode is about 19 now.
Skirt/dress – 1

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