>>> Casual Misanthropy
By staff writer JD Rebello

October 18, 2006

I make a lot of off-color jokes in this space, regularly mocking blacks, Jews, women, gays, Asians, Katrina victims, Republicans, Democrats, the Catholic Church, French people, animal rights activists, pro-lifers, pro-choice babykillers, Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, old people, babies, the middle-aged, the mentally ill, the disabled, and Nick Gaudio. And there's a reason for that, I find those things funny.

But you know what I don't find funny? Being told of Cory Matthews' demise.

Yes. A few weeks ago at a bar, I was told Ben Savage, star of The Greatest Television Show of All Time had been killed in a drunk driving accident. I immediately went home, went on Wikipedia (or as I call it, Drunk Encyclopedia), and found out that I'd been had. The death of Ben Savage, thankfully, was a hoax, perpetuated by some dingbats with way too much time on their hands and a horrific sense of humor.

See, Ben Savage is a hero of mine, my generation's JFK, thanks in large part to his starring in Boy Meets World, the Bible for anyone born between 1979 and 1987. BMW is the finest television series in history—better than MASH, better than Cheers, better than Seinfeld. It was funny, sweet and smart, and best of all, it was corny and fucking knew it. Full House tried to front. It tried to pretend it wasn't corny even though it's impossible to get through an episode without your asshole puckering. BMW was different. It was a real show about real people and an honest depiction of life for American teenagers. Okay, that's a boldfaced lie, but you fucking know you watched it every afternoon on ABC Family and at 2AM on Disney. I'm not the only one.

“Mr. and Mrs. Matthews make the parents on Step by Step look like the Manson family.”

So, for a new feature on Casual Misanthropy, welcome to Boner/Flaccid. It's kind of like Cheers/Jeers in TV Guide but without all that pesky copyright infringement crap. If I've got a boner for something, that means Hoorah! If I'm flaccid, that means I'm… Hoonah. (Yes, the system is flawed, but we're working on it at PIC headquarters. We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.)

I've got a BONER for TOPANGA!

Here's my question: Nobody has a problem giving Emmys to Jenna Eflman or Megan Mullaly for acting like obnoxious sycophants, but nobody even considers nominating Danielle Fishel? She only elevated a woefully liberal hippie character to the point of America's sweetheart. She even put on 200 pounds toward the end so it was reasonably realistic she would stay with an ugly Jewface like Cory. Why even have the Emmys? Seriously, why?


The most passionately unrealistic love story of our time. I love it. Of course, the whole subplot had more continuity problems than a retard doing an interpretive dance of Memento, but who cares? I loved how Cory claimed he'd been best friends with Topanga all his life even though there's a whole damned season in which he avoids her and thinks she's a weirdo (which she is, Topanga was a fucking lunatic in the first season).

I also liked how she apparently walked from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia in the pouring rain, even though according to MapQuest that's a 300-mile hike.

As if that's not goofy enough, Cory eventually kisses the cute mountain girl Lauren and Topanga dumps him. Then, she kisses some gay dude and Cory takes her back because Topanga said the kiss meant nothing. Huh? What kind of logic is that? A woman had to have written that. There's no other way.


Okay. I do sort of like the character, but only early on before every other episode was all “My name is Shawn. I live in a trailer. My parents both speak in a Southern dialect even though we live in Philadelphia.” Plus, you know, he was on the cover of Teen Beat fucking constantly. And look at him. He looks like a wet rat who raided Immature's closet.

I've got a BONER for MR. FEENY!

The Yoda to my obnoxious Star Wars reference. Who didn't love Mr. Feeny? He was wise and British and only cared about five or six people toward the end in a manner so obvious the show even referenced it once or twice. He even retired and unretired (anyone remember his failed stint in Jackson Hole, Wyoming?). By my math, he was the sixth grade teacher who was apparently qualified to be a junior high principal (interim, but you had to know they'd take him on full-time… he's George fucking Feeny). Then, he was qualified to be a college professor and bump uglies with the dean. Even Tom Brady's career didn't skyrocket this fast.

My one complaint: he acted like kind of a bitch after his house was toilet papered, but I can kind of sympathize. That look on his face that only Cory saw, I choked up. I wanted so badly to tell him: “You're not a dinosaur, Mr. Feeny.”


The best TV parents of all time. They make the parents on Step by Step look like the Manson family. You just have to admire the way they dealt with things, like when Mr. Matthews refused to support Cory and Topanga after they had gotten married because they were too fucking young and hadn't even had sex yet. A lesser TV parent would have folded like wet origami, but not Mr. Matthews. He laid down the law. Whenever I have kids, I'm not going to read a single parenting manual. Up yours, Dr. Phil, BMW reruns are all Big Poppa Justin needs. That's right. Big Poppa Justin.


What's her deal anyway? She was around early on, all cute and little. Then she disappeared. Then she came back all fat and obnoxious. Were her and Topanga on the same fucking meal plan?

I've got a BONER for MINKUS!

Basically doing a white Urkel, but come on. I liked how it was hip to make fun of geeks in the nineties. You can't get away with that now. Some poor shit would see Minkus, start slitting his wrists, and his parents would pump him full of prescription drugs. Isn't it crazy how pussified we've gotten in less than a decade? My favorite Minkus moment: when him and Cory switched places so Cory could win a geography bee and be the batboy at a Phillies game. Minkus is talking with Mr. Feeny about God knows what and leaves so he can “go home and watch Beavis & Butthead.” They should put that scene on video and locked in a time capsule because that was the 90s.

I've got a BONER for MR. TURNER!

The kind of seventh-grade English teacher who could only exist on TGIF, a motorcycle-driving kickboxer who adopted Shawn and kept everything in line. Unfortunately, Anthony Tyler Quinn, who played Mr. Turner, apparently thought he was on a real TV show and acted the part as such. So he was quickly gone.

Now here's my question: Did Mr. Turner die? Remember he got into that motorcycle accident and was in intensive care and Shawn Hunter came in and tried to act? I distinctly remember him moving his finger, but I also remember the life support machine flatlining. And if I recall correctly, that was the last episode in which he was featured. Can we please get a ruling on this? I haven't been sleeping.


He was all cool and popular early on, then he couldn't get into college, then he got into college, then he got a lobotomy. Watch him from an early episode. Then watch him toward the end. This reeks of the Joey Tribbiani Clause, where writers get real lazy toward the end of a show and just make one character real dumb… like inhumanly dumb. When they spoofed The Truman Show by dressing Eric up like Ed Harris and forcing Rachel and Jack to climb over a kitchen sink (don't ask), you knew the show was deader than Chet Hunter.


For starters, don't tell me someone's sexy when they're not. Rachel looked like Big Bird and was more annoying than a glass catheter. And don't try to pawn off one of the goddamned Lawrence brothers either. Particularly when the oversexed 13-year-old broads in the audience would hoot and holler every time he came on in fucking tight jeans. That's such a pet peeve of mine, audience for these sitcoms getting involved, “awwwing” at the sad parts and hooting because some jock itch forgot his t-shirt.

I've got a BONER for ANGELA!

This was great. You just knew the writers were sitting around thinking “Holy shit, this show's been on for seven years and we've never had a black person onscreen. We better do something or folks are going to think Disney's racist. Yes, I realize Walt was a Nazi sympathizer, but who remembers that?” So anyway, they brought in Angela as Shawn's black girlfriend even though she a) couldn't act, and b) seriously… couldn't fucking act. So why am I all hard for her? For this one scene, and I'll set it up…

The gang is sitting around the student center coming up with their “soap opera names,” in which you combine your middle name with your street name. Now of course, that's how you come up with your porn star name, but come on, it's fucking Disney. Anyway, everyone goes, then Angela says her soap name would be Chaniqua Martin Luther King Boulevard. Now that's comedy. First, it's great dialogue. Second, it clearly makes all the white actors feel awkward. You can't put a price on sitcom discomfort. You just can't.

I've got a BONER for FRED SAVAGE!

You forget this now, but it was the finest cameo in TV history, big brother Fred showing up as a new professor, then putting the moves on Topanga in about 2.3 seconds and Cory (played by little brother Ben) having to shove him through a glass door. Yes, this all really happened. If you think I don't re-enact this with my brother Jordan every Christmas, you're crazy.


Only because they refuse to air the watershed episode where Cory downs a bottle of Scotch to get over Topanga, followed by him getting drunk with Shawn and pissing on a police car. This is a real episode, and Disney gets all high and mighty even though it has no trouble parading around 14-year-old Hilary Duff in a halter top. Where are our priorities? As long as they refuse to air this show and keep The Lion King locked in the goddamned Disney DVD vault, I'm sticking with Sea World. Hear me, Michael Eisner? The people have spoken.

By the way, I'm 23. Yes, I know.

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