BMW: 321, “The Happiest Show on Earth”; May 10, 1996

Ah, yes. FINALLY.

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Ah yes! Finally! TERRIBLE DANCING.

Cory and the girl who will go on to play Amy on Honey I Shrunk the Kids the TV Series are dancing at Chubbie’s, and apparently was already in two different episodes of THIS show as Samantha and then Sarah. Come to think of it I’m sure I referenced this in at least one of the other episodes she shows up in.

She’s very charmed by Cory even though she’s heard all this stuff about Cory’s moves and lines from the rest of the school.

Also Cory calls her Topanga. Oops.

Cory talks to Shawn about it the next school day, about how he can never stop thinking about Topanga, even though he was the one who broke up with her.

So class starts and Turner says “Remember those essays for the Environmental Awards I had you write at the beginning of the year?” Shawn remembers, and he’s just finished his.

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You have to hand it to Shawn, at least he actually finished it even if it took him 8 months or so.

But it’s too late, because Turner already has the results for the students who will be winning a trip to Disney World. They include Kristen, the girl Cory was dating earlier, some ostensibly attractive guy named Ronnie, and, dun dun DUNNN, Topanga. Lucky all the winners were in the same class, eh?

Cory’s upset by this because he wanted to spend the next week getting closer to Topanga. He can’t do this if she’s in Florida. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for this trip to be in the summer, or at least not like two days after the winners are announced?

Ah, well.

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Cory has a nightmare about Topanga kissing Ronnie on the Dumbo ride. This wakes Eric up, and Cory talks to him about wanting Topanga back. Eric advises Cory to just tell her he still has feelings for her. Cory points out that she’s going to be in Florida for the next week, so Eric advises Cory to go to Florida too. That’s perfectly sound logic. I would use the week to come up with a speech or some elaborate plan to wow Topanga when she gets back, rather than stalking her and stowing away on a trip when her own feelings aren’t very clear at this point, but I’m not a 90s sitcom character, I’m pretty sure, so oh well.

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Eric’s plan to cover for Cory is to use this incredibly life-like replica of him. It fools Shawn. And Shawn took care of getting the plane tickets so I guess they don’ t have to stowaway on a plane after all.

Cory figures if he just tells Topanga how he feels before Topanga leaves, then they won’t have to deal with all these shenanigans.

So he tells Topanga he still has feelings for her. Topanga says she also has feelings for Cory, and, get this, says “And that’s why we’ll always be friends.” That, ladies and gentlemen and so on, is what the “friend zone” should be referring to – when you like someone but they tell you “And we’ll always be friends.” I personally wish we could come up with some other phrase for when guys are gross and only hang out with a girl in the hopes of having sex with her but she never lets him do anything. Or I think we do have a phrase for that and it’s “being a scumbag”.

Cory clarifies he wants to date Topanga again, and Topanga says she’s thought about getting back together with him, but doesn’t think she can trust him since he’s been running around with every other girl in the school. He’s dated like two girls since he and Topanga broke up. OH WOW HOW WILL YOU EVER TRUST HIM. Especially because he just went on one date with the one.

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Cory still tries to convince Topanga, saying that like he’ll always care about her or whatever, and while Topanga is touched, she doesn’t change her mind.

Kristen shows up and apologies to Cory for running off from their date earlier, and says when she gets back from Florida, she wants to try to make things work. Topanga sees all this and mockingly repeats what Cory just said to her about being alone and whatever, because it’s clearly him being a hypocrite if some girl wants to date him. Topanga also compares him to Hugh Hefner, because he’s a playboy. Hugh Hefner is a really odd person to consider because despite having multiple girlfriends at once and running a magazine that showcases naked ladies, he’s actually quite the respectable gentleman.

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Epcot, everyone.

Let’s take a minute to give some background info here. Back in the 90s, Disney’s partnership with ABC was in full swing, and Disney outright bought ABC in 1996. As part of this merger, many of ABC’s sitcoms were required to have an episode that took place at Disney World. Full House had one that was particularly aggravating, especially because the characters lived in San Francisco and Disneyland would’ve been way closer, but it gets bonus points for having a gag where DJ’s boyfriend Steve, who voiced Aladdin in “Aladdin”, is dressed up as Aladdin. Family Matters, Roseanne, and Step by Step all had an episode there. Sabrina the Teenage Witch also filmed there, and I think is notable for possibly being the only non-educational or docu-reality show that featured Animal Kingdom, partly because it wasn’t built yet when most of these other shows went to Disney World.

ABC still uses television shows to advertise its parks, with America’s Funniest Home Videos (or I guess they dropped the “home” part by now) always having its finale at a Disney park, and Wheel of Fortune usually having a “Disney Week” featured at Disneyland or Disney World.

And on an interesting note particularly for younger readers, many of these shows used to actually be filmed AT Disney World. MGM Studios (er, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) used to have a very active backlot where they filmed shows like Boy Meets World and Golden Girls. They also used to work on a lot of animated Disney movies in Florida, and sometimes you could go to MGM Studios (err, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and see people actually working on the movie. But anyway that’s probably why so many of these shows opted to go to Disney World rather than Disneyland, because many of them were already there.

And for THIS show, there’s an in-story reason – remember the trip was sponsored by some environmental group, and there’s a heavy focus on them being in Epcot, which used to have an even bigger focus on education back in the day.

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Oh, this makes me sad. I mean, I love all the animatronic seagulls they have here now, but I miss when there… weren’t any. Look at this:

https://i1.wp.com/www.laughingplace.com/lp/lotion/pics/SS20061024-WDWNemo/P1-0002.JPG

*sigh*

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So it turns out there were actually more than 3 students who won that thing, presumably from other schools. They’re met by Heidi from Home Improvement, who’s going to teach them about dolphins.

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Cory and Shawn apparently took a cargo plane rather than a commercial airline. And now they’re in Disney World but don’t know where to start looking for Topanga. She could be anywhere. While they’re looking at the distant monorail tracks, Topanga rides by in a golf cart.

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I’m just including this to appreciate that this entryway has basically not changed since 1996.

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Back at school, Eric shoves “Cory” into a locker after a successful oral report. Feeny sees this and is shocked and scandalized, asking why Eric stuffed his brother into his locker. Eric’s like “Why would I do that?”

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Eric and Cory have been standing in line for over an hour. Cory asks Shawn how he’s sure Topanga’s even on this ride, but they’re actually in line for churros. Now, me, I’ve never eaten a churro, although overpriced churros and Dole Whip are apparently staple Disney park foods. Personally I always have to make sure to eat a chocolate croissant from Innoventions Plaza when I’m in Epcot, and a turkey leg from Magic Kingdom. The only problem with the turkey legs is that all the birds there seem to enjoy eating them, and they will beg for food off you. Maybe it’s better now, but the last few times I went, Disney World had a really bad bird problem. Frontierland is just INFESTED with ibises.

Back in The Living Seas, Heidi points out one dolphin, Amber. They found her beached, and brought her in to nurse her back to health, but she’s depressed because she’s separated from her family and possibly her mate, and she won’t even eat. Topanga asks “What’s going to happen to her?” and Heidi says “I don’t know.” Well you’re a zoologist or keeper or something lady, you should really know what’s going to happen if the dolphin doesn’t cheer up soon.

But Topanga relates to the dolphin somehow. Then Cory and Shawn come in, correctly concluding that Topanga must be there because they’ve looked everywhere else. Cory spots Topanga, and tells Shawn he’s going to march right over there and tell her that he loves her and never wants to be apart from her ever again. Kristen assumes Cory means her, and tells him she loves him too.

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They went on ONE date.

Topanga overhears this and is not pleased.

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Cory and Shawn slept in the log boats at Splash Mountain, since they don’t have reservations at any hotel or anything. Cory thinks they should just go home, Shawn’s just like “Okay, Topanga seems really into Ronnie anyway” and then Cory changes his resolve to win Topanga back, thanking Shawn for his use of reverse psychology. Shawn says he just thought Ronnie and Topanga were really cute together. Shawn then says that they’ll need to find a shower before they go win Topanga back. So of course the ride starts up just then.

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Now soaked to the bone, Shawn asks “Now where are we gonna find a towel?” The Splash Mountain gift shop is full of towels, although obviously it wouldn’t be open to business before the park was open.

Then there’s a montage of Cory first asking where to find Topanga, and then unexpectedly showing up where Topanga and Ronnie are.

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This concludes with Ronnie and Topanga eating at the…. oooh I shame myself for not remembering what this place is called…. The Coral Reef Restaurant, thank you, Google.

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Ronnie asks why Topanga hasn’t touched her food, and Topanga gets mad at Ronnie, about how he keeps trying to kiss her. She says that she won’t let him kiss her, because if he kisses her he’ll just leave because he thinks of her just as some prize and if a guy tries to chase her it only makes her angry. Cue Cory:

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Topanga tries to leave in a huff, but Shawn blocks her and says Cory’s just trying to show how much he loves her, and also the sign was his (Shawn’s) idea. Topanga splashes water in his face and leaves in a huff.

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Cory meets up with her outside, and Topanga tells him to lay off. She says all these things are just meaningless gestures. Cory’s just trying to show he loves her, but Topanga still says she can’t trust him when every time she turns around he’s with another girl. Cory tries to protest, but then realizes Kristen is behind him. She’s still hung up on Cory. She’s honestly pretty cute, and not so huffy as Topanga, I’d go for her. That’s an odd thing for me to say. Hmm.

Well Topanga leaves in a huff again, and Cory goes looking for her in the behind-the-scenes dolphin enclosure. He spots some blonde girl who he initially thinks is Topanga. But it’s not.

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Dana from Step By Step here was on a tour but hung back to feed some dolphins. She tells Cory about Amber the depressed the dolphin. Cory’s like “She’s just an animal,” and Dana is offended and tells him to apologize.

Dana leaves, and Cory talks to Amber about how he’s sad and lonely too, because “once you’ve met that special person, it’s hard to live when they’re out there and they’re all you care about.” He tosses a fish at Amber, who actually eats. And Topanga overheard the whole thing, conveniently.

She runs after Cory. But now Cory says he’s going to stop chasing her, and they’ll just go back to being friends. But Topanga is apologizing, saying she didn’t realize all those crazy things he did came from his heart, until now. She kisses him.

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Cory’s confused what this means – are they friends, or what? Topanga says, “Or what.” Cory’s confused, though. What about why they broke up, he wonders. Topanga’s like “And the reason we broke up was…?” Cory replies “…So we could get back together.” They kiss and the fountain goes off.

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Once when I was in Epcot, someone was amazed by one of the fountains and called it an “upside down waterfall”. I hope she was just having a brainfart and forgot the word “fountain” because she definitely wasn’t joking when she called it a waterfall.

During the credits, Cory’s parents scold Cory for disappearing for two days. They ground Cory for two months. Morgan is upset that she got in worse trouble for the time she said “[BLEEEEEEEEEEEEP]” They send her upstairs to her room, but before she goes, she tells Cory that she thought what he did was really sweet, and she hopes a boy does something like that for her some day.

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What Cory did is one of those things that would definitely be really creepy in real life if not handled just perfectly, though. By the way to my future fiancee, I would definitely say yes to a proposal after you’ve treated me to a long week at Disney World. Now if I only I actually had a boyfriend…

This episode isn’t done yet!

Eric enters, and his parents are like “We know you were involved in this somehow.” Eric says that they don’t have any proof, so there’s nothing for him to worry about. Cue Feeny.

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Eric responds to the discovery of Cory-dummy with, “Is this the best you can do?”

The end.

By the way if anyone has an extra thousand dollars or so lying around you wanted to donate to me so I can go to Disneyland or Disney World, I would definitely say yes to that.

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