BMW – 222, “Career Day”; May 12, 1995

They just gave up on trying to come up with clever or punny episode names, I guess.

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Alan arrives in Cory’s class for career day. At first Shawn thinks it’s cool, but Cory’s upset that everyone will find out he’s not the son of a basketball player. Then Alan comes over and tells Shawn to guess how many kind of rice the grocery store carries. Shawn guesses 10, but it turns out they carry 21 different kinds of rice! And that’s not even counting the short grains! Alan says if you start counting those, then you can “fuhgedaboudit!” Shawn then says he’s glad he’s not Cory.

Turner starts out the class by thanking all the parents for showing up, and he hopes they’ll give the students a better idea of what sort of vocation interests them. Shawn raises his hand, and Turner says “Let me guess, summer vocation? Get some new material.” First up is Topanga’s dad, Jedediah Lawrence.

Played by Peter Tork!
Played by Peter Tork!

Of all my favorite members of The Monkees, he’s one of them. He’s a luthier, which means he makes and repairs stringed instruments. Shawn thinks a luthier belongs to some religious sect, and replies that he’s a Presbyterian. Topanga doesn’t care about the guitar-making stuff, and insists he tell the class about who called last night. Mr. Lawrence replies “Aw, they don’t want to hear about that, Tippy.” Cory and Shawn find this nickname hilarious, and Topanga reacts just like Season 1 Topanga would have.

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It turns out Bruce Springsteen called, and Topanga was the one who answered the phone. It turns out Jedediah makes guitars for most rock stars – his words, not mine. Alan gets snippy under his breath and says “Sure he makes ’em, but can he play them?” Jedediah, not having heard Alan, says his real passion is playing the guitars. He then proceeds to play a pretty good riff on the acoustic he brought. I’m not sure if Peter Tork was actually playing, because they cut away almost immediately. Whoever was playing, good job! He finishes up, leaving the four guitars he brought all over the front of the room, and Turner calls up Alan to speak next.

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Alan is very nervous and reads from his note cards, saying they do more than sell lettuce and rice and stuff, he likes to think they sell dreams. One kid in the class asks “What aisle?” One short transition later finds Alan finishing his presentation, having just handed out coupons to everyone.

I’m noticing that neither Alan nor Jedediah actually talked about what they do. All Jedediah said was that he makes guitars for rock stars, and all Alan said was that grocery stores sell food to people. I’d have been interested to know about the actual business – what goes into making an instrument, how do you get successful, what’s it like being the manager of a store instead of just a cashier or a stock boy, etc. But I guess “We sell lettuce” works too.

Well, it’s time for the next parent to speak, and before Turner can introduce a nameless parent for one of the nameless rotating cast of extras in his class, Chet Hunter – Shawn’s father – arrives.

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Cory asks Shawn what exactly Chet does for a living, and Shawn tells him to be quiet so they both can find out. Chet says he mostly buys and sells things, but what he sells best is ideas. He claims he came up with the idea of CNN, as well as the microwave. Shawn’s a little disbelieving, and the twangy scene-ending guitar riff comes on.

22206

Eric talks about his SAT prep course. He says it’s really putting his mind into gear, he couldn’t be more focused. As he says this, he knocks a bowl of soup into his lap. He doesn’t react, and there’s a long pause before Jason, who doesn’t even look up from his lunch, tells him he dropped soup in his lap. At this point, Eric screams and jumps up in pain.

Cory tells Shawn he thought Chet did great. He was interesting and told cool stories. Shawn says “Yeah, stories. Why do you think we live in a trailer park?” Cory says it’s still better than Alan “Your Friend, The Cantaloupe” Matthews.  Chet and Feeny enter the cafeteria. Feeny keeps telling Chet he can’t be on campus if he’s not faculty or staff or has no business here. Chet tells him that he (Chet) is George Feeny, principal of the school! Feeny tells Chet that he is not Feeny, but Chet’s parked in Feeny’s spot, so who else could he be?

Shawn steps in and tells Feeny this is his dad, and Feeny’s like “Okay, whatever” and he just leaves. Chet, it turns out, has some bad news for Shawn – his mother is gone. As in, she drove off, with their trailer. Chet says they’re going to go out looking for her, but Shawn’s a bit reluctant to leave school – he says he could just ditch his classes, but he should probably tell someone about it first. Just a few episodes ago, he was ready to cut classes because he lived in a trailer park. Well, technically he doesn’t anymore, so what’s the problem?! And doesn’t Shawn have like 15 relatives living in the same trailer park? Can’t Uncle Mike take him in? Am I getting ahead of myself?

Jason and Eric come home. Jason’s pretty chill about the whole SAT thing, but it’s making Eric crazy. He’s tense, he’s had this stiffness in his back and across his shoulders he just can’t shake…

There's a coat hanger in his coat, if you can't tell what's going on.
There’s a coat hanger in the coat he was wearing, if you can’t tell what’s going on.

Eric is having a rough day.

They never explain what happened to his shirt.
They never explain what happened to his shirt.

Eric wonders why he even has to go to college. Alan didn’t go, why should he! Alan tells him it’s because some day his son will have a career day and his teacher will introduce him as “Heeeeere’s the grocer!” Eric still doesn’t see the point in college – after all, we’re all just going to die anyway, he says. I actually went to college and I agree with that. Jason uses some SAT words, Eric says “if you’re so smart how come you don’t understand ‘shut up'”, and then he puts his hand on the stove. Eric’s the dumb one for doing that, but no one is dumb for leaving the stove on, unattended, with nothing cooking or boiling on any of the burners?

Amy enters the kitchen, and Alan laments his life choices. He does boring stuff at work. Amy tries to reassure him, saying sure he signs for deliveries and approves checks, but that’s not all he does! She doesn’t provide any examples, just tells him he’s not boring, and she’s sure Cory’s proud of him. Cory then comes in and asks if Shawn has called, explaining Shawn’s situation. Then the lights all flicker with Eric letting out a very frightening and pain-filled scream. Jason then runs downstairs, assuring the family Eric’s fine, and then he leaves with the entire ice tray.

Turner’s on a romatnc date with Blonde Teacher Katherine, in his apartment. She says they’ve been dating for three months now, and she wants to know where their relationship is headed. My first immediate thought was “the bedroom”, but maybe that’s just because I’ve been watching How I Met Your Mother in-between these reviews. Turner says he’s definitely not avoiding talking about that subject, but catapults off the couch when there’s a knock on the door.

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Shawn just dropped by to ask Turner a question, he says. Katherine leaves, telling Turner they’ll talk later, although Shawn invites her to stay. Shawn says something about his dad still being off looking for Verna (the mother and wife), and asks Turner about Ernest Hemingway, and when they’re going to start reading his stuff. Turner asks if he really came all the way here just to ask that question, and offers Shawn to have some of the food he made for his date. He asks Shawn where he’s been staying, with his dad off looking their mom who has their house. It seems Shawn’s staying the seedy motel a block away. He says it’s fine, the guy even gave him clean sheets. Turner tells him to stay and eat and he’ll drop him off at the motel later, and that Shawn could drop by Turner’s apartment any time he wants, and they could talk, or not talk, or just hang, anytime.

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The next day, after Turner drops off Shawn at the Matthews house, Feeny lectures Turner. Turner says he wasn’t just going to wake Shawn up and drive him over to that seedy place, but Feeny cautions him, saying there’s a fine line between authority figure and chum. When Turner asks him what he’d do in the same situation, Feeny says he truly doesn’t know.  Alan takes out the trash, because now there’s a garbage can next to the back door and not in that weird void that’s on the side of the house we never see, like the trashcan usually is. He’s just like “what’s up” and Turner says he thought he did great at career day. Then Amy comes outside and says Chet Hunter is in the living room, so Alan and Turner go inside to give him a piece of their minds.

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Shawn assures Cory he’s fine with living in the motel. He invites Cory over, saying they could skateboard in the pool, or watch cable. Cory says they’ve got cable here, but Shawn says “Not like this place.” Cory tells him he could’ve crashed at his house last night, and Shawn’s like “yeah, but I’m okay.” Then Chet Hunter’s musical voice comes ringing from downstairs, and Shawn runs down to greet his charming father.

Chet found Verna, but she slipped off again. So Chet has something hard to say, as well as a favor to ask. He asks Adam (Alan) to watch Shawn while he’s off chasing Verna. When Shawn asks why he can’t go with him, he says it’s because he belongs with these nice people, in a stable home, for the weeks or months it’ll take to track down Verna. Amy and Alan agree to take in Shawn for as long as it takes. Chet praises Alan and calls him a good dad, and then Jason and Eric come in from outside, Eric with a heavy nosebleed caused by walking into a tree. Chet takes Shawn out to get him a tooth brush and a new shirt, because all of Shawn’s belongings are currently roaming the country with his mother, and Turner says Chet was right about one thing – Alan’s a good man.

Cory tells Alan he never got around to thanking Alan for coming to Career Day the day before. Alan says it’s fine, because he knows there’s no way he could compare to that guitar player, or the food doctor. Aw, man, there was a podiatrist there? It can be gross work sometimes, but they get paid pretty well, don’t they? Well anyway, Cory says at first he just thought of himself as the son of a grocer, but he realized he never took into account all the stuff Alan does after work, around the house. Now Cory knows what he really is, is the son of his father. I don’t know why, but I can’t hear the phrase “The son of my father” without imagining an Italian-American mafioso accent. I don’t know why that phrase should make me think of the mob. Hm.

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Jason and Eric speak in SAT words over lunch. Eric’s doing better – he’s more focused, his wounds are healing – he’s pretty sure he’ll do great on this test! Jason says the only part he’s worried about is the math section. This sets Eric back to freak out mode – a math section? He has no time for this, he has to go, he has to study! Jason tries to stop him, but Eric is in the process of moving with his lunch tray, and due to physics –

22213

“I hate SAT time.”

So today we all learned a valuable lesson about how… taking in the now-homeless friend of your son makes you a good person?

Plaid:
Shirt – 10
Skirt – 1

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