BMW: 312, “The Grass is Always Greener”; January 12, 1996

Man, I wish I had some hilarious search terms to show you guys before we begin. Most of the search terms people have used to get to this blog are all normal stuff like “topanga lipstick” or “boy meets world cory topanga”. Then there’s the 88 different times people have searched for “arlene grayson”, and the few odd creepy search terms like “young boys in bathing suits” – which I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume the person was looking for art references rather than being a pedophile, because man I know how awkward it is to be searching for stuff like “young boys”, “young boys swimsuits”, “dead foxes”, that kind of stuff, especially in public.

Anyway let me rip the bandaid off and tell you this is the episode where Cory and Topanga break up. Now that’s out of the way, let’s begin:

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They just got finished watching this episode.

Amy and Topanga are watching some dramatic, romantic movie about a woman who’s so in love with a man she’ll die in a submarine for him (not joking!)

Cory falls asleep during the movie and Eric kidnaps him. He tells Cory he’s basically whipped, having spent the last three weekends watching sappy movies and making jam with Topanga. He calls Cory and Topanga an old, married couple.

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Cory is desperate to hear about Shawn’s weekend. Cory reveals he spent Friday and Saturday double dating with his parents – LAME. But he spent all Sunday at the mall with Topanga. The audience “woooOOOOOOOOooooo”s this for some reason. The audience on this show is so freaking ridiculous. It’s not like he said “It was just me and Topanga, alone” or they were alone at a beach or a hotel room or something. They were in a mall. That’s not exactly a hotbed of romantic activity. Especially these days since they’ve taken all the fun stores out of malls and there’s not really anywhere to hang.

Anyway Shawn tells Cory he should come to this party that night. Cory has plans with Topanga, however. Luckily, Topanga asks Cory if he’d mind if they cancelled that night, because she and “some of the girls” made some other plans. I don’t know who the other girls are supposed to be, Topanga only has one friend who isn’t Cory and she’s not really friends with Shawn. I mean, neither Cory nor Shawn are girls anyway, but you get my drift.

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Turner says, “Hey Matthews, wait up. Uh, your paper on ‘Of Mice and Men,’ I’ve got some serious questions about it. Like, uh… where is it?” That was actually funny, good job.

Eric can’t find the book anywhere, even though he’s been in every pet store in town. Turner lets him borrow his copy. Then Eli shows up and asks where Eric’s journalism project is, and then Feeny appears and tells Eric he got an F on his essay on Joan of Arc, partly because Eric assumed the Arc meant she was from Arkansas. Then, surprise of surprises, the chemistry teacher shows up.

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Anyone else forget this show had a chemistry teacher? Anyway, he tells Eric not to bother showing up to class anymore, he can just blow stuff up at home. Eric tells the guys to cut him some slack already, and leaves. Feeny remarks that the scariest part is, Eric will end up making more money than them one day.

Cut to later, Eric is going to sit down to seriously study. Only he forgot his books at school or on the bus. Amy reminds him he doesn’t take the bus, so Eric says that’s great because it narrows down where the books are. Remember in season 1 when Eric wasn’t exactly smart but he wasn’t so dumb that he forgot he doesn’t take the bus, or forgot what his real middle name was, or whatever else I’m forgetting? Man.

Cory needs help picking a shirt for the party.

Oh my god I have the shirt on the right. Like exactly that shirt.
Oh my god I have the shirt on the right. Like exactly that shirt.

Cory starts freaking out and rambling, and Shawn asks if everything’s okay with him and Topanga. Cory says Topanga’s fine, it’s him who’s the problem, and he doesn’t really know what it is.

Eric is roaming the school, about to get his books, when he hears Turner arguing with someone about something. He peeks in the door, and finds a poker game.

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Eric wants in, and asks them to let him stay and play, and when he loses, he’ll go home and study. Feeny agrees that’s a decent deal, since Eric needs the grades, and they deal him in.

At the party, Some Girl asks for the boys’ Hamilton High ID cards. They’re students of John Adams High, but Cory explains they’re on the guest list, should be under “Shawn Hunter.” Some Girl then assumes Cory is Shawn, and starts fawning over him. Word quickly spreads throughout the party, and Shawn encourages Cory to pretend to be Shawn, because it’s fun and exciting to do that.

Cory goes over to flirt with some girls.

Yes, he did a Fonzie impression, although he thought he was doing a Shawn impression.
Yes, he did a Fonzie impression, although he thought he was doing a Shawn impression.

Meanwhile, Eric’s killing at poker. Eli believes he’s cheating but can’t figure out how. Eric wishes they’d just admit he’s good at something. Feeny’s just like “Shut up, the more we play, the more chance there is that he’ll lose and leave.”

Meanwhile… again… Cory’s living it up. Shawn tells him he heard there’s some exotic French girl, from France, that Cory oughtta check out. Cory isn’t sure he wants to, since he has Topanga. Shawn says he can live a little tonight and go back to being faithful to Topanga tomorrow. Besides, it’s not like he’s going to really do anything with French Girl From France.

Meanwhile AGAIN, Eric’s still winning. He knocks over a bowl of pretzels, and when told to pick up the pretzels, he is able to tell exactly how many fell on the floor. He also knows how many grains of salt are on all the pretzel sticks. This is too much for the guys, concluding Eric must’ve been counting cards or something, referencing the movie Rain Man – which is a reference I didn’t get until a few years ago, and is a movie I have yet to see. All of them except the chemistry teacher leave. Chemistry teacher proposes that Eric come with him to Atlantic City – which is basically Las Vegas but smaller and in the northeastern U.S.

Feeny comes back and tells the chemistry teacher he’s being ridiculous, and he can’t have a member of his staff acting like that. Chemistry Teacher says that’s fine, and quits, and then asks Eric if he’s still up for going to Atlantic City.

At the dance, some girls are complaining about all the guys being all over that French girl. “It’s just a stupid foreign accent!” Come on, that’s all you’ve got? She’s French. Say something about how you heard that French women never shave their legs or armpits. Tell all the guys that. Tell them she smells like old cheese and cowardice. Come on!

[Fun fact! France, despite having a stereotype reputation of being a country of “cheese-eating surrender-monkeys”, actually has more military victories than it has losses. Its reputation of always surrendering all the time came about as a kind of propaganda during World War II, where France did pretty poorly because they were still suffering really badly from the aftermath of World War I. The country had spent a lot of money and land on WWI, and lost a huge number of its population and hadn’t really recovered from any of that yet, but people are just grumpy and rude and decided to ignore all that and just accuse French people of being cowards.]

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Well she’s wearing a leather jacket too! It’s a match made in heaven.

Cory approaches French Girl. Some Guy talks to her in a terrible French accent, asking if she’d like to dance. She replies “oui” and turns.

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French Girl looks a lot like Topanga! Whoa!

Actually it IS Topanga. Cory is not pleased. He asks what she thinks she’s doing. When she doesn’t answer, Cory demands she speak to him. Some Guy says to lay off her, she doesn’t speak English. Topanga then starts speaking in English and Some Guy now believes he can understand French.

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Hey, Shawn can speak French. Why didn’t he go after French Girl before we knew she was Topanga?

Anyway Topanga says she and her friends decided it would be fun to come to another school’s party, and that’s why she’s there. Cory gets mad at her for pretending to be another person, saying there’s nothing wrong with being yourself! Then Some Girl comes over and calls him Shawn. So Cory and Topanga go outside to talk.

They realize they’re in a rut. They haven’t had fun together in a long time, and Cory mentions that he’s jealous of seeing all the fun Shawn and Eric have on their respective dates. Topanga asks if they’re breaking up. Cory insists they aren’t, he doesn’t want to, and he still cares about her. Topanga doesn’t want to either, because people always end up hating each other after they break up, but she says it sounds like they actually are breaking up. Cory says they’ll never break up, and Topanga thinks maybe the people who end up hating each other are the ones who waited too long to break up. That’s actually a really reasonable idea, sort of like if you’re lactose intolerant, if yous top eating ice cream right away you’re fine, but if you eat like 5 quarts in one day you’ll end up really sick (I mean if you ate that much of anything in one day you’d get sick… this metaphor turned weird).

So Topanga says she wants to still care about Cory and be friends with him, so maybe they should break up sooner rather than later. They walk off in opposite directions.

Topanga runs back, saying she thinks they’re making a mistake.

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Realizing Cory has left and presumably thinks differently, she turns and sadly walks away again.

Then Cory runs back, with the same idea, but finding no Topanga, sits sadly on the bench.

At least he doesn't sit here and grow old and die waiting for her to come back.
At least he doesn’t sit here and grow old and die waiting for her to come back.

Over the credits, a sad song plays over a montage of adorable Cory/Topanga moments.

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All 12 episodes they spent together.

Okay she was in 46 episodes, but you know how many of those they were dating in? 10. She wasn’t even in two whole episodes where she and Cory were dating. And a bunch of the episodes she was in, she didn’t really need to be there, like in Train of Fools or Rave On.

What I’m saying is, looking back as I review this show episode by episode, it seems like their relationship wasn’t as long-lasting and beautiful as I thought it was, making this breakup less heart-wrenching than I though.

On the plus side, this leads to a really great episode towards the end of the season. And a really weird time travel episode which it seems isn’t the crossover episode I thought it was.

Anyway the episode ends like this:

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The science teacher, by the way, was played by Jim Jansen, who has a long list of credits to his name, but sadly most are one- or two-episode parts, or credits like “Second Man” or “Waiter #1”. He was pretty entertaining in this episode, plus he’s tall. If I had a tv show I was developing, I’d love to hire this guy for a main role.

It always makes me really sad, though, whenever I see an actor who has a huge list of credits that are almost entirely bit parts. I wonder, are they filled with self-loathing about never being good enough for a longterm role, only being good enough for a glorified extra? Or are they totally fine with it, because that way they can still act but have normal lives where paparazzi aren’t chasing them all over the place?


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