BMW – 217, “On the Air”; February 10, 1995

I want to take a quick moment to apologize if I’ve ever mixed up Cory, Shawn, and Eric. I do that all the time when I’m writing, because it’s usually two of them together, in any combination. I’m pretty sure I’ve caught every instance where I’ve said Shawn and meant Eric, or typed Eric when I meant Cory, but if I haven’t, well… it’s my own fault for not proofreading any of these after episode 5.

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After 10 long years, the school’s radio has returned, with Feeny and Alvin as hosts. Feeny includes on the first broadcast a bit of Michael Bolton and Perry Como, each artist only getting about 45 seconds of air time, with music that doesn’t sound like anything either artist would play. Shawn and Cory attempt to dismantle the speakers in the cafeteria – because of course they’re in the cafeteria. Turner tells them if they don’t like what they hear, go out and do better. I HATE suggestions like that. People on the internet give comments like that all the time – if you say you don’t like someone’s artwork or their Youtube video, they reply “Well why don’t you make something better!” How about no? If I go to a restaurant and don’t like the food, the chef doesn’t tell me to go back into the kitchen and make my own fettucine alfredo, because that’s not how criticism and opinions work! Ugh, well, Cory – whose voice is starting to change notably by this point – says he’s got a voice for radio, and Shawn says he has a face for radio, so they agree to go on.

Also Feeny rounds out the broadcast by playing Menudo. My high school’s Spanish classes had awful, outdated textbooks. One of them had a picture of Menudo in them. It also praised the microwave as being this great, new invention. I’m not even kidding. The home microwave started becoming a common household item in the 1970s. I was in high school not even a decade ago, and our text books were enthralled at how awesome and new microwaves and Menudo were.

Cory – whose voice sounds partly like he has a bad cold and partly like his voice is just dropping due to good ol’ puberty – leaves for his first day of radio broadcast, because apparently Feeny was completely on board with giving Cory and Shawn their own radio show so we don’t get to see the scene where he’s all tut-tutting at Turner about this little experiment in… auditory media…

Well anyway, Eric needs money, and tries to wheedle it out of his parents before he gets a letter. He’s apparently won a sweepstakes (a sweepstake? are you allowed to make that word singular?). Amy warns him it’s just a ploy to get people to subscribe to the magazine, but Eric doesn’t care, he’s going to just sit by the door and wait for Robin Leech to visit. Is Robin Leech still a thing? I think I remember there being Publishers Clearing House sweepstake ads on tv recently, but I think I’ve only ever heard of and seen Robin Leech on shows that were on in 1994.

21702

So Cory and Shawn begin their first broadcast with the only topic Feeny (or Turner, I’m not entirely sure) would give them – “Meet Your Student Council”. They start with that girl who was in one of the first episodes this season, playing a different character. The 9th grade dance is canceled, because they ran out of money, so they’re having a bake sale. There’s not much more to say, although Cory tries to come up with something – he asks what the profit margin for a cupcake is, and Shawn falls asleep. Cory then asks the listeners to call in, to share their thoughts on… bake sales, I guess. Or cupcakes.

Cory tries to create a conspiracy theory-intrigue-accusation air to the show, but that girl – I think her character is Karen int his episode – gets up to leave. But then someone calls in! The guy calling in asks Karen if she’s still going out with some other guy. Cory tries to steer things back towards the bake sale, but Shawn takes over and asks the guy calling in to keep going. Karen says she and that other guy broke up last week, and the guy calling asks her out. She’s all for that and agrees to meet him by the soda machine. I’m wondering why he couldn’t have just talked to her in person, but I guess it’s easier to talk to people over the phone on a radio show in front of the entire school than to just chat with someone in private, and they sure didn’t have Facebook chat back in 1995.

Cory’s a little miffed – Turner told them to stick to the topic, and he wants them to. But Shawn says the show is crazy popular right now – all the phone lines are busy! And then a bunch of girls come in, all wanting to be on the radio.

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Don’t any of these people have a class they should be attending? Maybe with this school have thousands of students and only 7 teachers, they just give everyone a 3 hour study hall or something.

Ah, well, Cory changes the name of the show to “Lunchtime Lust”, so I guess that explains things. I know when I was still in school they only gave us like 20 minutes for lunch, so if you had to buy lunch you basically got 3 minutes to eat, but I know things are different for fictional tv shows set in the 90s – and actual schools used to have way longer lunch periods, I know that for a fact.

The show turns into a dating show – the first three callers get a chance to hook up with the girl – the first girl, the one in the magenta dress, is named Jasmine Fontana. Shawn expresses his approval of this name. Feeny hears this dating show nonsense as he enters the cafeteria, and puts his lunch down in disgust and leaves, presumably to put an end to this nonsense.

21704

And indeed Feeny does, putting the German Ludwig on the radio for Lunchtime with Ludwig. You may call in vith your requests, but Ludvig vill not take them.

Everyone in the hallway applauds for Cory and Shawn when the exit the radio room/video editing room/newspaper office/bathroom/principal’s office. Cory tells Feeny that it’s clear everyone loves them, so why take them down? Feeny says not everyone loves them, so basically tough tomatoes.

Later, Feeny dismisses his class. He tells everyone that their next class will be about the Bill of Rights. Cory and Shawn jump on this, pointing out that the first amendment is the “Freedom of Speech” one, and doesn’t that freedom apply to everyone, in every kind of media? I’m no expert, but, um, no. Any entity is allowed to censor speech it finds lewd or inappropriate (a newspaper can refuse to publish something that has racist slurs, for instance), and schools especially are allowed to censor anything lewd, inappropriate, or disruptive (so you can get in trouble for swearing or wearing Confederate flag shirts). I know there’s also some sort of deal with private property versus public property when it comes to the first amendment, but I’m not sure where a school would figure into this. Either way, if the principal of the school finds a dating show – which was supposed to be a show involving simple interviews with student council members – that is broadcast on school equipment, on school grounds, during the school day, to be inappropriate, he he every right to shut it down, although Cory and Shawn could appeal to a higher authority if they felt this was unjust.

But I’m no expert.

21705

Jasmine tells C and S that all the girls in fifth period gym were talking about their radio show in the locker room, and asks when they’re going to be back on the air. They don’t know, but they do come up with a brilliant plan – they’re going to go back on the air! Yes, their plan is “we should go back on the air!” That is the entire plan. Turner passes by and the boys try to talk to him. He tells them it’s entirely up to Feeny to let them back on the air. The boys protest, saying Turner is the faculty adviser (despite Turner being the new teacher at school), and Shawn says Feeny is totally breaking the first commandment! Oh, Shawn, that’s not what it’s called!

By the way, looking back at the first episode of this season, Shawn and Cory were comparing schedules, and Shawn had Earth Science after Homeroom, while Cory has History. Later on in the episode we find out he has History with Mr. Feeny. So the last few episodes that have shown Shawn in the same History class as Cory have either been completely wrong, or else Shawn forgot he was taking Earth Science and he’s going to find out he failed the class at the end of the year. Or else the show just forgot.

Eric is getting a ton of magazines. He’s apparently subscribed to one magazine per letter of the alphabet, to increase his odds of winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. Alan encourages him to come back to the grocery store and spray lettuce. I’ve never thought about this before, but… was that a thing? I remember grocery stores having automated produce sprayers back in 1994 (I remember my local store would always play rain-related songs when the water came on – I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that they don’t do that anymore), but I guess that must have been an actual part of the job at a grocery store – spraying vegetables. Why don’t they do that anymore? That would be great for workers who are disabled, or elderly, or this is their first job or something. It seems pretty low-impact and easy enough. Obviously that couldn’t be the only part of the job. Maybe there could just be like a janitorial position at grocery stores specifically for those type of people, where you spray the vegetables, and straighten up things, and clean messes, but you don’t have to carry heavy things or talk to people. Speaking as a disabled person myself, I would totally be down with that sort of job, even if the pay wasn’t exactly high.

Gosh, several reviews in a row of being succinct, and here this one’s back to being extremely wordy again. Ah, well. Nothing I can do, besides delete everything I wrote, which I’m not going to do.

21706

Turner confronts Feeny about censorship and stuff. Feeny says Cory and Shawn “overstepped the boundaries of good taste,” and Turner asks who determines what counts as good taste? Feeny says it’s Feeny, which makes sense, because he’s the principal of the school. I spent 12 years complaining about how unjust the school system is, and now I’m just agreeing with Feeny about things all the time. But, seriously – censorship is always a good topic to debate about, but freedom of speech works a little differently on school grounds. Really, as I understand it, the first amendment basically just says that the government can’t, say, burn you at the stake for being a Protestant, or for saying you don’t like how the president seasons his meatloaf. If the principal of your school thinks having a call-in dating show at his school is out of line, well, too bad. Call a lawyer.

In any case, Cory and Shawn have taken over the radio. Turner had just convinced Feeny to give the boys another chance, as long as they had proper supervision, and now they ruin everything by blasting loud, generic music over the p.a. system. Feeny is on the hunt for the boys, looking in all the rooms – all two rooms in the school. Shawn accidentally lets it slip that they’re in the janitor’s closet, so of course Feeny finds them. He brings them to Turner so he can speak to them, because…?

Cory tries to defend himself and Shawn, saying they just wanted to go on the air, and Feeny was mean and 1st amendment rights and so on. Turner asks if they really thought this was a good idea, and says that the first amendment doesn’t grant them the right to turn the school into a rave. Seriously, they could at least have played some… hm… what music was popular in 1995? The only thing I can think of is Michael Bolton. Maybe that’s why all the music they played in this episode is generic instrumentals, and not because of copyright infringement and licensing.

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Well, Turner tells the boys to try to explain themselves over the air, surreptitiously flipping the switch to “On Air”. The boys explain that they were just trying to find themselves, and being cool radio personalities made them somebodies, instead of leaving them lost in the shuffle. You know, this is like 5th “finding yourself” episode this season. I’m a little sick of it.

Feeny calls in and says they did a commendable job, and asks Turner what he thinks an appropriate punishment for the boys would be. They agree on a month’s detention. I was going to call that unjust, but they did commandeer school equipment and tie a German ambassador’s son to a chair. That’s way worse than watching an R-rated movie on tape without your parents permission.

During the credits, Alan encourages Eric to go out and do stuff, but Eric doesn’t have money, or friends, so he’s just going to stay inside. Then the doorbell rings.

21708

Robin Leech. How ’bout that. He has a $10,000,000 check, and Eric just about wets himself in excitement. But it turns out the check is for their neighbor – apparently they have a neighbor who isn’t Feeny – but the neighbor isn’t home right now. They tell Robin Leech to wait on the couch, read one of the 26 magazines, and just leave him alone. Are really weird end credits scenes going to become a common thing on this show? Last episode had Elvis give Alan half a million dollars and no one even batted an eye at it.

Well… this episode was something. It wasn’t really about the first amendment, and Cory and Shawn wanting to find themselves in a sea of other people came almost out of nowhere (there was just a bit of a hint of it at the beginning), and we didn’t see the other students in the school accepting them or anything. There was just those girls who wanted to be on their show to hook up with other guys, and the people who were cool with them playing music over the P.A. system. I already talked about schools and the first amendment at length earlier (I apologize for any inaccuracies in those earlier rants – as I said, I’m no expert, I just reported things as I understood them). No one in the episode thought they were really cool for having the show, people just thought the show was cool. And, seriously, this had to turn into another “Cory tries to find out who he is” episodes? The last one where he tried to find his place even involved Alvin and the student council (or at least the student class president)!

Last episode, Cory dealt with people not thinking he’s cool and dangerous by riding a rollercoaster. This episode, he deals with the first amendment – just kidding, it was about finding out who he is – by spending 5 minutes of screentime broadcasting a stupid radio show.

Basically, I don’t think this plot was well-handled. It wasn’t exactly a new story, and while it had the potential to be a good life lesson, it really didn’t end up teaching anyone anything. Really, what exactly was the lesson of this episode? Don’t commandeer your school’s radio equipment?

At least there was a cool Eric subplot. Eric subplots are always the best.

Plaid:
Shirt – 10
I’m noticing that most of the episodes in 1995 so far have a much lower plaid count than the episodes of 1994. There seems to be about the same number of people in every episode, it’s just that not as many people are wearing plaid.

Last season I know I commented on the fact that Topanga wore some of the same dresses more than once (and Minkus had that vest). This season, Cory wears some of the same shirts more than once. Once again I have to praise the costumers for adding that little bit of realism, because it’s very annoying on shows where no one wears the same outfit twice, particularly if the character complains about not having any money, yet they apparently have hundreds of outfits and possibly burn their clothes when they’re done wearing them so that no one ever sees them in those clothes again.

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3 thoughts on “BMW – 217, “On the Air”; February 10, 1995

  1. (so you can get in trouble for swearing or wearing Confederate flag shirts)

    Kinda funny reading this, 2 years later, when the whole Confederate flag issue is all over the media

    1. I know when I was still in school they only gave us like 20 minutes for lunch, so if you had to buy lunch you basically got 3 minutes to eat, but I know things are different for fictional tv shows set in the 90s – and actual schools used to have way longer lunch periods, I know that for a fact.

      ^ We got 40 minutes in elementary & 75 in high school.

      1. Didn’t you say in another comment you live in Toronto, though? I think it may be a cultural/country divide here. I went to seven different schools (in three states) below college/university-level (across 12 years of schooling) and they were ALL like I said – only like 30 minutes of lunch. They didn’t even make lunch longer when we started having longer class periods.

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