BMW: 402, “Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow”; Sept 27, 1996

We have a special treat today! This episode is on the season 1 DVD set, for no apparent reason (actually I think it’s because this episode is about hair and personal image, just like a season 1 episode), so the screencaps for this episode should be less awful than normal!

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Eric is talking in his sleep. Unusually, he’s speaking Spanish as a baseball announcer. Weird.

The alarm goes off and both boys get up. Eric is being rather noble by waking up early despite him not having anything to do that day, as an unemployed high school graduate who doesn’t attend college.

Boy boys head to the bathroom, which has some trippy art on the wall, and Cory brushes his teeth. Eric observes that Cory’s not looking at himself in the mirror again.

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Eric goads Cory into actually looking, and when Cory finally does, he says, disappointed, “Aw man, it’s me.” Eric tells him not to worry, because all teenagers go through that awkward phase – except Eric, obviously. Eric assures Cory he’ll grow into his looks in about three years or so.

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So then Morgan comes into the bathroom and holds up a Mr. Potatohead, and says “Hi I’m Cory and for the next three years, I’m gonna look like a potato!” Aw, that’s mean.

At school, we’re treated to a sweeping shot of high schoolers using their small locker mirrors to fix their hair and/or makeup.

We end on Shawn

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and Cory

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Cory pulls out a pipe and holds up his arms stiffly, to better imitate Mr. Potatohead, although he doesn’t have a pipe in that picture, and then Feeny walks by and just takes Cory’s pipe from him. He wasn’t smoking it, Mr. Feeny, come on!

Cory laments the fact that he’s surrounded by people with perfect hair, and he’s stuck with that brillo pad of his.

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I’m observing that there’s an egregious lack of plaid shirts in this scene. We’ve switched to the boring mid-to-late 90s style of clothing, unfortunately. Cory’s wearing a polo shirt, for pete’s sake. A SALMON-COLORED polo shirt.

Anyway, some guy walks by and hits on Topanga, and says he figured she and Cory would’ve broken up during the summer. Cory and Topanga have a conversation that basically amounts to “How did I ever get a girl like you?” with Topanga saying she loves him no matter what he looks like. He should know that already, since their first kiss happened when he had that crazy Don King hairdo going on in the first season.

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Cory replies that if he looked the way Topanga did, he’d be pretty confident too. Topanga asks if he really thinks she’s that shallow, and pulls out a pair of scissors and chops part of her hair off.

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She begins to walk away, still quite confident, until she sees herself in Shawn’s locker mirror and screams.

She tries to reassure herself that her outward appearance has no affect on herself or what the people closest to her think about her. Cue Feeny.

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He says, “Eugh, what the heck happened to you?” Topanga, nearly frantic, explains that she was trying to teach Cory a lesson about outer vs inner beauty. Feeny says that in that case, he applauds her efforts, but starts cracking a smile as he continues to talk about how the teenage years can be such trying times. Topanga yells “You think I’m ugly!” and runs off.

She apparently ran to the bathroom, which as we all know by  this point, is also the boy’s bathroom, the media room, the newspaper office, and the principal’s office. But they didn’t show the door to it this time.

Cory opens the door, covering his eyes and makes a big show of saying “Look out, everyone! Boy coming in! I’ve got my eyes covered!” None of the three girls react, so he uncovers his eyes and he’s like “What’s the matter with you? I’m a boy, in the girl’s bathroom. Scream! Do something!” The three girls just turn and give him this look before going back to primping.

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Cory then spots the couch. He’s upset that there’s a couch in the girl’s room and not in the boy’s bathroom. Topanga explains that “Sometimes we need to lie down,” hence the couch. I remember when I was in third grade, the boys all wanted to know why every single girl would go in to use the bathroom when we came back from recess or lunch or a different class that we had to go outside to get to a different building for, and we told the boys that we had a couch in there. And a television.

In reality it was because the bathroom was heated, and most of us would just go and stand in there around the vents in the walls to warm up. (This was in North Carolina – COLD winters).

I think there’s a quotein an episode of The Drew Carey show where a character is also lamenting that the ladies’ room has a couch but the men’s room does not, and another character asks, “If the men’s’ room did have a couch, would you want to sit down on it?”

Back to the show, Topanga tells Cory she’d like to be alone now. Cory says he’ll be alone with her. Cory tries to assure Topanga that, like she said, appearances don’t matter. But Topanga’s freaking out because she though she was always someone who believed that, but it turns out she isn’t. She thinks she’s really shallow.

And right here my computer’s DVD drive just popped open for no reason. Maybe my DVD drive just thought Topanga was being ridiculous, who knows?

Cory asks how long it took Topanga to grow her hair that long. Topanga says it was six or seven years. Cory thinks this is perfect – in six or seven years, her hair will be back to normal, and he’ll be out of his awkward potato phase by then, so then they’ll be a perfect couple. Topanga is cheered by this point of view, and says she’ll head to a beauty parlor after school. She exits the restroom.

So then Shawn comes out of one of the stalls to congratulate Cory on a job well done.

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Cory doesn’t even question why Shawn was i the stall in the girl’s bathroom this whole time, he’s just pleased that Topanga’s feeling better and going to the beauty parlor later. When Shawn asks what they should do now, Cory suggests they sit on the couch.

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Meanwhile, Eric has been sitting on the couch all day, eating coca puffs in a huge bowl, with a gallon of milk and a bottle of chocolate syrup, and watching crime shows. Amy comes home with Morgan, and scolds Eric for sitting in the same spot all day when he was supposed to be looking for a job. But Eric says he found a job –  he’s going to be a detective. He even wrote a theme song for himself.

When a crime breaks out,

all the cute girls shout:

“Get the

good-looking guy!”

When there’s a crime out there

he’s gonna comb his hair

’cause he’s the

good-looking guy!

Book him, good-lookin’!

Eric also says that, with no college diploma, the most he can expect to get from a job is minimum wage, and with what gets taken out for taxes, he’s really better off just being a detective. Nowadays even with a college diploma the most you can expect is minimum wage. Heck, even people with many years of experience still get pretty shafted in the salary department.

Anyway, Amy asks why he doesn’t at least go out. He hasn’t been out with a girl in a long time. Eric is appalled at the thought of dating “townies” – he can just picture them, sitting at home in their ratty bathrobes, watching daytime tv and eating bon-bons. Amy gives him a look, and he says, “These are cocoa puffs, and I’m a detective.”

Fun fact: Will Friedle says on the audio commentary for this episode that the cereal concoction he had in this scene got really gross. He talks about struggling with his weight and then having to eat a huge bowl of chocolate cereal with chocolate syrup, but then it was basically turning into goo at the end, which is why towards the end of this scene he just keeps moving his spoon around in the bowl and not actually eating anything. The other actors talk about doing that kind of thing also. If you look for it, you can see that happens in a lot of shows – a character will just take one bite of something, or they’ll have food that they just pick out while delivering lines, because the food starts to get cold and gross, and on some of these show they do so many takes that you’d get sick of eating the same food over and over again for like an hour anyway.

Meanwhile… again, Cory and Shawn are waiting on Topanga. Cory’s pretty chill, but, bizarrely, Shawn’s freaking out. He says, Topanga’s never worn makeup or cared about her looks before and she still looked great. So now that she has a professional beautifying her up, she’ll look about 10 times more gorgeous. She’ll dump Cory in a minute to start dating more beautiful people. Cory is a bit concerned over Shawn’s assumption at first, but then sticks by his earlier belief that this is just the universe’s way of making sure Cory and Topanga are so at the same time, they’ll be together forever. (I mean, he didn’t say ugly, neither of them are ugly, of course).

Shawn says “You know she’s coming out great-looking, don’t you.” Cory sobs, “Yes!” Cue Topanga.

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Shawn starts repeating, “She’s my best friend’s girl, she’s my best friend’s girl…” but then decides to screw that and hits on her. Cory sprays him with a nearby squirt bottle, and then demands Topanga tell him who did this to her. Topanga, upset, asks if Cory doesn’t like it. Cory’s concern is that, the girl he was with was never concerned with her appearance, but now she’s got makeup, and nail polish, and fancy hair,s o I guess he wants to fight her stylist.

Topanga gives him her stylist’s name, and then goes to leave, because with that hair and outfit she is “SO at the mall.”

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Cory confronts the stylist, Mr. Chaleeny or something. He’s upset with how he “messed” with Topanga. Mr. Chaleeny is offended by the accusation that he made Topanga “messy”. He did a good job, he says! Cory has to agree, it WAS a good job, and Topanga looks great.

…Okay.

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Eric’s on a date with a townie – and I can’t ever hear that word without thinking of the Sims 2 and its ridiculously weird-looking Townies. I can’t find any good pictures of any of them, but trust me. There’s a reason there are so many game mods that are variations of “de-uglify Townies.”

Anyway, Eric talks about not getting into college, and how he did have an internship at a news station, but they let him go due to not having enough life experience. Actually they let him go because he dropped out of school to pursue working as a weatherman full time, but the internship was only for students, and since he was no longer a student, he couldn’t keep the internship. It’s also stupid that they brought up that episode, because the whole lesson in it was “go to college now, you’ll have the job later!” and now he’s unemployed and was rejected by every college he applied to. If he’d just stuck with that job, he’d probably still have the job now, instead of the nothing he has instead.

To be fair, they did also make a point of telling him to come back when he has a college education, so I can sort of see how that would be related to having more “life experience,” but Eric was still totally wrong about why he was let go from that internship.

The girl he’s on a date with can related to having life experiences. She’s only 18, but has a 2 year old son, so between getting the son in daycare and working a job, she wishes she had less experiences to deal with. Eric asks about her parents, how they’re involved. She’s like “Your parents help you out??” She tells him he’s really lucky that his parents help him out. He says “I guess I am.”

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Cory tells Shawn he’s feeling better, he knows he comes from a good-looking family and is just in his awkward stage, and he’ll grow out of it. But in English class, they’re going to read The Elephant Man, and Turner says that John Merrick (the Elephant Man), was interesting because he came from a good-looking family, but was so hideous he had to wear  burlap sack over his head, and then he died eventually due to an oversized head.

I was just thinking of how if this was Girl Meets World and this was Riley thinking she was ugly, Cory would just stop his class on the Fall of Rome to tell everyone – and by that obviously, Riley, Maya, Lucas, and Farkle – that they have to wear bags on their heads or intentionally do themselves up to look really ugly or wear hideous clothes all week so they can learn the true meaning of friendship. What’s WITH that show, anyway?

Feeny interrupts class to announce that this Friday is picture day. Okay. Cory has an image spot:

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Cory heads to the salon to see Mr. Chaleeney for a makeover.

Meanwhile… I guess… Eric’s back to sitting on the couch eating cereal. Alan pushes him out the door with a newspaper – while Eric’s still in his pajamas and bathrobe – and tells him to get a job. Eric says “Thank you, daddy,” and Alan closes the door on him.

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Shawn’s in the girl’s room again to talk to Topanga. Basically he’s disappointed that she’s become shallow. Even though all other teenagers are, she never was, and that stinks. Topanga agrees and then turns on the sink faucet, soaking her hair, and flipping it so it looks messed up.

She rushes to the salon with her horrible wet hair, which doesn’t look bad, really, and tells Chaleeney to stop, don’t do it! But it’s too late, what’s done is done. Chaleeney reveals his masterpiece.

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Oh it’s spelled Cellini, oops. Oh well, I’m not fixing it.

Cellini scolds Topanga for ruining the work he did on her hair. But Cory thinks she looks great, and Topanga says Cory also looks great, “Just like he always did.” Awwwwww.

During the credits, Eric arrives home, in a tux, saying he finally got a job! He puts a tape in the VCR, and we’re treated to what I think would be the opening credits of “Good-Looking Guy”.

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Unfortunately, this was all a dream, as Alan and Amy wake him up. Alan tells him to stop sleeping and get a job. Alan doesn’t care that Eric’s in a bathrobe, and that it’s nighttime. I know this is meant to be funny but I’m really starting to hate Alan. How about you let Eric stay in, since it’s NIGHT, and have him work on a resume or something. Even if he by same chance finds a place that’s hiring at night, nobody’s going to hire him if he comes in wearing his old pajamas, ratty bathrobe, and slippers.

I give this episode a “Hey, all right!” out of 10. The A plot was pretty similar in theme to one we had before, but it was still pretty different – Cory struggling to not be an uggo, but Topanga realizing that she cares more about what people think than she thought she did, and trying to reconcile her new self with her old one. I think it worked pretty successfully. The Eric B-plot was pretty good too, even if I hate Alan more than I did before.

Bonus: This episode on the DVD is complete with a commentary from Will (Eric), Rider (Shawn), Ben (Cory), Danielle (Topanga), and Michael Jacobs (creator/producer). Danielle talks about how there was multiple days of shooting, so she had to go home with her hair half-hacked off, but she was going to dinner with family or friends or something, and had to go with her hair like that since they still had scenes to shoot with her hair cut off like that.

Everyone appreciates Shawn’s dinosaur shirts, although he didn’t actually have a dinosaur shirt in this episode.

Most of the actors only barely remember stuff from this episode (including which episode it was and which season, oddly), but Michael Jacobs distinctly remembered the gag with Cory with the bag on his head. The actors have a confusing conversation where they’re trying to figure out if this was the point where they’d started slipping in the little lizard, but one of them (Rider?) remembers it being a lobster, not a lizard. I have no idea what they’re talking about.

 

 

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