BMW – 221, “The Thrilla’ in Philla'”; May 5, 1995

22101

Topanga asks Cory and Shawn what they think their greatest accomplishments from their first year at John Adams High are. Cory and Shawn can’t think of anything, and whenever Cory comes up with something, before he even says what it is, Shawn says “no, that wasn’t us.” I sense another “I’m just trying to figure out who I am” theme coming up. Topanga tells the boys they’re the most pathetic people in the school and she walks away, leaving Shawn to remark that’s quite an accomplishment in itself.

Cory says Topanga’s right. It’s almost the end of the school year and Cory hasn’t yet made a name for himself! I don’t know about that. The whole school knows him as that kid who got caught sleeping with a girl at school, the kid who staged a protest and walk-out over an English test, that kid who lied about being in a band and ruined the dance, the kid who ran for class president and promised everyone a water slide and a 5-day weekend, the kid who made a radio dating show and then broadcast it secretly from the janitor’s closet… Maybe not everyone knows his name, but the entire school definitely knows about this kid.

22102

Well, anyway, Cory blames the jocks for him being a nameless baboon, despite the fact that we only saw jocks for the first time in the last episode, and the one jock was just upset that Griff was dating his girlfriend. Well, one of the jocks comes over and picks Cory up, and then they decide that Cory is the perfect size and weight to fill in a spot on the wrestling team. They hand him his jacket, his wrestling leotard, and his Candy – some girl named Candy. As Cory remarks, “Sweet.”

Later at the house, Cory has Eric in a head-lock. At first his parents assume Eric’s the one beating up on Cory, and they are of course surprised to learn it is in fact the opposite. Cory explains and hands his dad a permission slip. Alan’s very proud of Cory for getting on the wrestling team by doing literally nothing, but Amy’s worried. Wrestling is dangerous. Alan doesn’t want to listen, and Eric says that all the wrestlers in the school are psychotic losers who just want to take their aggression out on little wimps like Cory – and then he offers Alan his pen.

22103

Cory’s eating lunch with the jocks. They all chug their soda, and after finishing, Candy tells Cory he’s supposed to crush his can. The other jocks demonstrate by crushing the can against their forehead, causing Cory to react as in the above screenshot. Cory tries to crush a can himself, but all that happens is Cory gets a little confused and turns into a subdued version of Jerry Lewis.

Feeny’s talking about Nixon and something else, when some lady enters with a big massage table. Apparently Griff ordered it, because this history class was the only time he could work a massage into his schedule. This angers Feeny and he pushes the bed out the door.

22104

Feeny begins a lecture about how school is for learning and not for whatever Griff is doing, and then Joey and Frankie enter the hallway. With a crate of lobsters.

22105
I love the kids in the classroom straining to see what’s going on in the hallway.

Feeny asks Joey and Frankie if they have lives of their own, and when they say their lives revolve around Griff, Feeny wonders what they’d do if Griff were to be expelled. This Joey does not know, so he declares he’ll have to find something to do that will be his own.

Topanga finds Cory and his wrestling chums at Chubbie’s. The two were supposed to meet in the cafeteria – well, Topanga calls it the Caf, but I’ve never heard anyone who didn’t go to Degrassi use that term – to finish up their yearbook stuff. Why is the yearbook such a big deal? They’re only in 7th grade. I don’t remember even the seniors having that much stuff about them in my own yearbooks – all we got were quotes and the senior superlatives, which also weren’t the same way they’re always presented on television (they always show on tv that EVERYONE gets some kind of superlative – “most likely to blahblah”, but in my school, there were set categories, and you had to nominate people for them, and then vote, so in the end only like 14 people actually got senior superlatives).

Well, this annoys Topanga, so she goes over to finish up her yearbook stuff with Shawn. She begins by asking Shawn where he thinks Cory’s going to be in 10 years. Knowing Topanga meant to ask where Shawn thinks Shawn’s going to be, Shawn concludes that Topanga likes Cory. Topanga denies this and threatens to kill Shawn if he ever says she likes Cory again, and Shawn says “You REALLY like him!” Topanga walks off in a huff. She does that a lot now.

22106

All the wrestlers are yelling and chest bumping, and Turner steps in to break up what he assumed was a fight between Cory and everyone else. When Cory explains, Turner asks if he’s crazy, joining the wrestling team, but Cory is fine – he’s the only person in his weight class, so he never has to fight! I guess the John Adams wrestling team never has matches against other schools that would presumably have someone in Cory’s weight class.

But one of the other wrestlers show up right at the moment and tells Cory he’s going to have to fight. Someone just signed up for the team who happens to be in his weight class. In walks Frankie.

22107

Cory wonders what exactly the range for his weight class is, but Griff walks in and says it’s not Frankie. It’s another guy who’s trying to find a name for himself, trying to carve out a niche for himself – someone who’s just trying to find out who he is, if you will. As it turns out, that someone is Joey.

22108

Cory’s trying to work out, but it’s hard. He still thinks he’s okay, though – he’s sure Joey isn’t taking him seriously and isn’t even working out. Enter Frankie and Joey, who have come to train. But Joey’s training is going pretty poorly, so Cory’s still sure he’s okay – until Joey delivers a high-flying kick that knocks Frankie over.

And so, the big wrestling match between Cory and Joey to determine who gets the spot on the team begins. Joey runs straight at Cory, who swiftly side-steps out of the way. Joey protests, asking if that’s in the rules, and while he’s busy yelling, Cory grabs him and pins him.

22109

Thus, Cory is the victor. I don’t know a lot about high school wrestling, but why is there always only one spot on the team per weight class? Why don’t they have, like, second-string wrestlers, who can still be there and train with the other guys, but don’t participate in the matches? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have two guys of the same weight class on a team, so you have someone good to practice on? I don’t know how it works in the real world, all my knowledge of high school wrestling comes from the 8 different shows that have had a one-episode wrestling plot.

Joey continues to protest, but Cory won fair and square. Joey then demands to face Cory unfair and unsquare, and calls Cory yellow – so yellow, he probably bleeds lemonade! Yellow, yellow, yellow!

“Yellow, yellow, yellow!”
“Yellow, yellow, yellow!”
“Yellow, yellow!”
YELLOW.
YELLOW.

Cory’s sick of this, so tells Joey to just leave him alone. His jock friends say Cory should just take Joey on, so Cory agrees. Joey says they should meet at the abandoned warehouse at 7, Cory suggests Feeny’s backyard at 4, Joey counters with the abandoned shipyard by the pier at 8, and Cory concludes with “dinnertime, my kitchen.” Joey asks if it’s abandoned, and Griff shows up and tells them if they’re seriously, they’re going to face up at the gym tomorrow night.

22114

So the exterior of the school gym is exactly the same as the exterior of the YMCA I previously assumed was the gym at the middle school! Boy, the architects in Philadelphia aren’t that creative!

Cory’s a bit nervous, and thinks he should just hand the jacket and the spot on the team over to Joey without fighting. Shawn says it takes a lot of guts to back down from a fight – which, it does, really, or at the very least, it takes a heck of a lot of self-control, depending on the situation – but then Cory figures there won’t be a lot of people to see the match anyway. Just Joey and a couple other guys.  So they head into the gym, which is of course full to bursting with spectators, cheerleaders, balloons, and a hot dog vendor. Cory tries to leave, but Griff makes him stay, saying he had to pull a lot of strings to get this event going.

22115

Robert Goulet sure has a fine mustache, huh? Also making a special appearance, Batywatch’s Yasmine Bleeth, who I only know about because of Chandler and Joey being in love with her on Friends.

22116

Apparently she has some sort of history with Griff. She asks him how he ever got her to come to this thing, so he kisses her rather steamily on the mouth. Shawn then waves his arms and says “I’m drowning, I’m drowning!” Yasmine gives him a flat “What.” and Shawn replies “It was worth a shot.” And finally making a special appearance, along with threatening to destroy Cory if Joey doesn’t do the job, is Frankie Stechino’s father, Frankie Stechino Sr., also known as professional wrestler “Vader.”

22117

So the match begins. Cory and Joey go back and forth for a while, and then Joey tags in Frankie. Cory knows he doesn’t stand a chance, so he tags in Eric. Vader criticizes Frankie’s technique, and he gets tagged in. And then he picks Eric up.

22118

Awesomely, it’s still Will Friedle up there, they didn’t switch him out with a dummy or anything. Cory gets angry, and says “You can’t do that to my brother!” and climbs into the ring. But Vader is full of adrenaline and Cory doesn’t stand a chance. At least, not until…

22119

Feeny commands him to put the Matthews boy down. Vader’s all “Make me!” and Feeny’s like “I’d be glad to… Leslie.” Frankie’s dad wants to keep his Embarrassing Middle Name a secret, so he puts Eric down, but not without vowing to defeat Feeny in a rematch. Feeny dismissively says “Yeah, yeah, yeah” and tells Turner this is why he avoids reunions.

22120

Cory gives the jacket back to the head jock, because he doesn’t think he deserves it. The jock tells him he’s all right, and Shawn says “he always was.” When I was in high school, we had to buy those letterman’s/school jackets ourselves. Maybe my school was just weird, but all of these tv shows always have people earning them and they have to give the jacket back if they leave the team. I just bought mine, and I wasn’t even on a team (well, marching band is sort of a team; and as I like to say, “you try walking 30 feet backwards in 5 seconds while playing a memorized song on an instrument and tell me marching band is easy”).

Topanga wants to finish up with Cory for the yearbook. Shawn walks away, going “*cough*You like him!*cough*”. Topanga wants to know what Cory’s yearbook quote will be, unless he still wants it to be the “RRRRRRUH!” he gave earlier. Cory asks what her quote is, and she replies “‘I do my thing and you do your thing. You are you and I am I. And if in the end we end up together, it’s beautiful.” The audience murmurs “Awww”, and Cory tells her to put the same thing for him. High school year book quotes… Man, I didn’t graduate from high school that long ago and I don’t remember what even my quote was, let alone what anyone else’s was.  I know a lot of the quotes were great, but ten years from now, I’m not going to remember who half of those people even were, or what the context or significance of their quotes were. Eh…

22121

Feeny gives the boys a lecture about the little stunt they pulled. He says something about being trapped in detention every Friday for the next four years, and then he just leaves, I guess because there’s no way the four of them could also just leave, or play their Gameboys, or something, without any supervision at all. Cory protests that he doesn’t want Feeny to leave him alone with those three thugs, but Griff reassures him.

22122

22123

What is it with school shows and wrestling episodes? Is it that wrestling is a pretty easy sport to show on camera and fake so that the actors don’t injure themselves? It seems like every single tv show that has a middle or high school element features some plot related to wrestling, and/or a “girl wants to join the boy’s basketball or football team!” plot. On Degrassi, their wrestling team plot was at first a bit similar to this episode’s – Toby, the little loser no-name nerd of the school, wanted to do something, so he joined the wrestling team. Where the plot diverges, is Toby didn’t want to have to fight this one kid, so he started making weight to put him a different weight class, and we all learned a valuable lesson about eating disorders. I liked that episode, because one of the few things I know about high school wrestling is that eating disorders are really common, because everyone’s trying to make weight. It was a good episode in that regard, not just because every other show’s wrestling episode is either humorous like this Boy Meets World one, or else it’s like “a GIRL on the team??”, but because people tend to think of eating disorders as something that only stupid teenage girls have because they want to be thinner, and that’s just not true at all.

I have no idea how this just turned into a PSA.

I think the weirdest thing about this episode wasn’t the three celebrity cameos, but the random ship tease at the end. Whenever Topanga’s in an episode, we get the hints that she and Cory like each other, but almost all of this episode was just a silly romp, and then the end is suddenly a touching and affectionate look into Topanga’s soul and Cory’s feelings for her.

Plaid:
Shirt – 12

Why do school shows always have yearbook stuff at the end of the school year? We usually got our yearbook photos taken in the fall, with the extra stuff like quotes and whatever being taken care of, well, earlier than May. I mean, we usually got our yearbooks in May. Because it takes a while to print 1000 full-color, 300 page books, you see.

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