BMW – 218, “By Hook or By Crook”; February 17, 1995


Eric and Jason are planning on going backpacking through Europe over the summer – but only if Eric brings up his grades.

Topanga’s back on the show! After a long absence. But guess what? Cory’s not here. That’s right. Cory’s out sick and won’t be present for the majority of this episode. Perhaps my observation in the last episode that he sounded like he had a cold was actually spot-on. I always feel bad for actors who appear on weekly television series who are obviously ill. I mean, most of them make more money per episode than some people make in five years, but I still bad for them, because they can’t call in sick without completely disrupting everything. There’s one episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun where Kristen Johnston was obviously really sick – every time she spoke her voice strained and broke. But kudos to these actors for hanging on through their colds and whatnot.

Well anyway, Turner is about to hand back everyone’s tests, but it seems he accidentally left his bag on the bus and picked up the completely identical bag belonging to the woman sitting next to him. Why does this happen on shows? I’ve never seen anyone who has a bag that looks like mine. I can sort of understand people mixing up grocery bags, but even then – just a quick glance inside should tell you if it’s yours or not. In any case, Turner was riding the bus because someone basically killed his motorcycle. Shawn recommends his Uncle Mike’s bike repair shop. I’ve haven’t brought up Shawn’s family much, but considering there’s a couple heavy episodes relating to Shawn coming up, I just thought I’d mention that Shawn has a huge number of uncles. I should’ve been keeping track, he’s seriously mentioned at least 5 this season. It’s not clear if they’re his uncles as in his mom or dad’s siblings, or they’re honorary uncles he’s not related to, or what. And I know 5 actually isn’t a lot of uncles, but Shawn just always seems to be pulling relatives out of thin air, who are all quirky and live in a trailer park – meanwhile, we know next to nothing about Cory’s extended family, besides his kooky grandma who’s only in that one episode.

Feeny tells the class – Eric’s class – that they need to study the French Revolution for the test on Thursday. Yeah. That one French Revolution. Eric asks if they’ll need to know who won for the test, and Feeny tells him yes, who won and by how much. After class ends, Eric and Jason approach Feeny, who is just finishing up explaining to one student that the reason he has an F+ is because he did poorly on the exam, but after all, he is Feeny’s nephew. Remember Feeny’s niece, Keri Russell? Where’s she? Was Felicity on by this time? I never watched that show.


Eric tells Feeny that the reason he and Jason are doing so badly is because they always get Cs, and that depresses them. Maybe if Feeny gives them Bs on the next couple of tests, they’ll be so enthralled to know what it’s like to actually get a B on something, they’ll be inspired and do better on tests. Feeny thinks that’s dumb, and instead suggests they get a tutor.

She has several textbooks, and a wooden board – for shop class.

Cory has mono, as in mononucleosis, as in “the kissing disease.” Topanga demands to know who Cory has kissed, and storms out when Cory pretends to be delirious. Have we seen Cory actually kiss anyone who wasn’t Topanga? Cory’s been on dates with other girls, but I don’t think he’s actually kissed anyone on-screen who wasn’t Topanga. How about that. I can completely understand Topanga’s frustration now, I’m pretty curious about who he’s been kissing as well.


So Eric’s and Jason’s history tutor is attractive, but a total ice queen. She gives Jason this gigantic book to read for the test that’s only in a couple days. But she invites Eric to come with her to study someplace more… comfortable.


…Well goodness. Shawn looks like he’s about 9 years old compared to Uncle Mike – hey wait a minute.

...That guy is TALL. iMDB says he's 6'9
…That guy is TALL. iMDB says he’s 6’9″. Holy cow.

Uncle Mike sort of implies he’d like to rough up Turner, but little Shawny won’t let him. And apparently Shawn is the smart one in the family.

Eric and Torie – the tutor – are “studying” at Chubbie’s. Torie asks what a girl should do if she likes a guy but doesn’t want to compromise their work relationship. All Eric knows is that he wants to go to Europe, so he has to pass this test. Torie’s like “hey, I have the answers to the test, let’s just make out” and they do. I’ve never been a tutor, but I don’t think you’re allowed to have the answers to an upcoming test. Maybe Torie is just a grade above Eric and has her test from last year and that’s how she has all the answers, because… well I don’t think tutors are just allowed to have the answers to an upcoming test.

Eric and Jason discuss the test. Jason says it was lucky it was multiple choice, but Eric points out that Feeny’s tests always have 11 choices (as opposed to a regular 4 or 5 choices). Jason doesn’t think he did too well, and Eric knows he didn’t, because he left half the test blank. Eric then mentions in passing that Torie offered him the answers to the test, but he didn’t take them. Just then, Feeny arrives, announcing he’s graded both their tests already. Man, my teachers have never been that speedy with grading assignments – most of the time, by the time they give you your grades for the test or the assignment or whatever, you can’t even remember doing it all and you’re not sure what the grade is even for. Anyway, Jason got a B and Eric somehow got an A-, despite leaving half the test blank. He suspects Torie.

And indeed, it was she. Somehow. Eric confronts her, and tells her the reason he didn’t want to cheat was so he could prove he could do things on his own (considering the fact he would couldn’t have gotten more than a 50% on that test on his own… point proven?). Torie tells him he’s too pretty to worry about being smart, and Eric takes offense that she thinks he’s a dunce. Then he walks into the girl’s bathroom.


Add that to the list of uses for that same door. Also, how long has the Sex Ed sign looked like this?:

“Sex, Ed?”

Turner’s bike is good as new. And it only cost him $1500! This is apparently an outrage. I know absolutely nothing about auto repair other than the fact they overcharge you, so I have not much to add here. Turner and Uncle Mike are about to go head-to-head – and considering Uncle Mike is like twice the size of Turner I think it’s pretty obvious who would win – when Shawn comes in. He scolds Uncle Mike for fighting, and goes over the bill, although Mike assures him it’s completely legitimate. The first thing Shawn finds is 1600 hours of labor, which would be over two months of nonstop work. Shawn tells Mike that Turner is his teacher, and you mess with Turner, you mess with Shawn. The audience goes “oooooooooooooooh” at that, and that Mike claps Shawn on the shoulder with a resounding “My brother’s son!” So it seems this uncle is definitely related to Shawn. Huzzah. Mike agrees to lower the price to $300, the price he originally promised to charge, and he laments that Shawn’s mother is not alive to see the man Shawn has become. After a second, Shawn points out that his mother is still actually alive. But, in a few episodes… well, we’ll get to that.


Eric is studying for the big test. I have no idea what test this is. They already took a test. Is this the next week? Does Feeny just have two tests per week? Cory’s still sick with mono and I know that you can put you out of commission for a while, so I’m assuming it must just be the next week, but it’s not clear at all.

Well, as you can surmise from that screencap, Eric calls up Torie. He asks if she can go over some of the important points for the upcoming test, so she just reads off the answers from the test. Eric still wants to do things the honest way, but Torie tells him the test is tough, he’ll never get to Europe if he fails, and he can just write the answers down anyway and decide if he wants to cheat later.


That girl in the corner looks like Wynona Rider. I’m certain it isn’t, but… doesn’t that look like her? Anyway, Eric appears to cheat off the answers written on his hand, as disappointed 90s music plays.

Eric comes home and his parents praise his good work. They even bought him a backpack for his trip to Europe! You know, Eric’s only a sophomore or a junior at this point. Is it really okay for him and one friend to go backpacking through Europe, alone, for an entire summer? Especially with neither of them being especially smart. I don’t know, a 16 year old can go on his own through an entire continent for two months, but a 13 year old can’t wait an R-rated movie for two hours in his own home? (Can you tell that’s still really bugging me? I don’t think I’ve brought it up enough.) Eric thanks his parents for being proud, and says he’s real proud of his own schoolwork – so proud, in fact, he’s going back to the school right now.

Eric goes to Feeny’s office to talk about summer school, and he confesses he cheated on the test. Feeny asks who gave him the answers, and Eric says it was some guy who was in Feeny’s class last year. Eric reveals some low confidence -he’s just a pretty face, never going to be smart or do anything special. Feeny tells him it’s his laziness that’s holding him back, not his ignorance. He says a pretty face is just a pretty face if it’s not trying (or something), and pretty girls on a beach are just pretty girls on a beach unless you know that beach was where 50,000 troops landed to “begin the liberation of Europe.”

Torie arrives, for some reason. Feeny speaks to her, explaining that Eric just confessed to cheating, and that as his tutor, she should know. Torie asks if Eric said she gave him the answers. Feeny says “As a matter of fact, he-” about to say Eric said some other guy sold him the answers, but Torie interrupts Feeny to give Eric a big “I can’t believe you, Eric! I just tried to help you! How could you do this to me?!” Eric says “I didn’t,” recalling an earlier episode where Shawn outed himself similarly (remember, the New Principal is Weeny thing?).

Feeny says the big question is “how could you do this to him?” Torie says she just didn’t think Eric could do it on his own, that he wasn’t the student type. Feeny asks if she thinks of herself as a teacher type, just writing people off like that. He tells her “Well, this is what I get for selecting a pretty girl to be a teaching assistant.” Torie takes offense to that, and Feeny asks if she resents that – if growing up with a pretty face means she’s had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously, and perhaps she should’ve been able to relate to Eric much better on those grounds?

Feeny tells her she may leave, but doesn’t fire her. When Eric asks why, Feeny explains it’s because he doesn’t write people off like that. He then tells Eric he’s a lot smarter than he looks, and he’ll look forward to getting to know him better during summer school. That’s a nice ending, but, really, what evidence is there for Eric being smarter than he looks? He’s not exactly the wisest person when it comes to stuff like dating, although he pretends to be. The test he really studied for, all on his own, he didn’t even know the answers to half the questions, and we don’t know how many of the questions he answered he got right. Now, believe me, I’m not arguing with the “you shouldn’t write off people because of their looks” message (although I’ve never had to struggle with not being taken seriously due to my pretty face – and trust me, I mean that in the most depressing, least vain way possible), but there really hasn’t been much to indicate Eric is smart. He’s a good person, very nice and kindly, but I wouldn’t say he’s smarter than he looks. But, I don’t know, maybe he is, given what happens to him in the later seasons.


Topanga has cracked the case of who gave Cory mono. It was a guy. A guy sneezed on him. This guy was the last person in school to have mono, and he sneezed on Cory. Cory relents that he was indeed sneezed on – right about the time he was making out with some girl named Jennifer. He gets all gross describing it, and Topanga calls him a pig. Cory tells her she just said that because she likes him.

Topanga: Oh, you think so, huh?
Cory: Yeah, I do.
Topanga: And do you like me?
Cory: Only if you tell me you like me.
Topanga:Why should I tell you that?
Cory:Because if you tell me how you feel about me, then I’ll tell you how I feel about you.
Topanga:Okay… Okay, I like you. You know I like you. Now you like me or what?
Cory:Okay. The way I feel about you. Come closer. The way I feel about you is… is… *fakes passing out and sleeping.*
Topanga: I hate you! *storms out*
Cory: *opens eyes* Well, I think I handled that pretty well.

We all learned a very valuable lesson this episode. Never try to pull a fast one over one of Shawn’s friends of acquaintances. Shawn will mess you up.

Shirt – 4
Skirt – 1
Pants – 1
Besheets/comforters – 2

Can you believe it? Only 4 plaid shirts in this episode? There might’ve been a couple I missed, but jeeze! What’s going on?! To be fair, there are far fewer scenes that have a lot of students walking through the hallway in these more recent episodes, but there’s also just a lot less plaid in general. Seriously, there was just a lot of plaid until like January 6, 1995, apparently.

On a final note, I’ve tried, but I can’t find any trivia on this episode that explains why Cory and Shawn had such minor roles – whether it was just because the writers wanted to give Eric a main storyline, or because Ben Savage was actually sick at the time so they decided to give him a light, backseat role where all he does is lay in bed for about 4 minutes, or whatever.


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