Boy Meets World: "Santa's Little Helper"
Season 1 Episode 10
Airdate: December 10, 1993
Boycott the Caf name: "Christmas Episode"
Issue of the Week: Shawn is Poor
Mr. Feeny is reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in class. I thought this was a geography class. Or does Feeny teach geography and English? You know what? My geography teacher was also my English teacher in the 6th grade, so this isn't hard to believe. I suppose that was the way things were in the rock-n-rollin' 1990s America.
Minkus wants to sit down with Cory and Shawn at lunch. Cory starts ranting about how he doesn't want to get any wool clothing for Christmas. It wouldn't be Boy Meets World if Cory wasn't whining. Topanga also wants to eat lunch with them, which makes Shawn proclaim, "Oh no, it's a nerd storm." Cory and Shawn want Topanga to leave them alone. No girls are allowed at their lunch table. Cory and Shawn want to be alone when they spoon together (Note: to 6th grade boys, spooning means eating with a spoon).
Shawn brags that his dad is buying him a bunch of presents. Like I said in another review, I first watched season one in rerun land after I had seen the other seasons, so I already knew Shawn was poor. Did viewers who watched the first season when it originally aired know Shawn was poor by now?
Cory's sister has a plot in this episode. Mom took her to see Santa, but Santa had a heart attack right when she was on his lap. Now Cory's little sister thinks she killed Santa Claus. She has locked herself in the bathroom and sings "on the first day of Christmas I murdered Santa Claus." I wish they would have shown us that scene instead of having the mother merely describe it when they got home. I also wish they hadn't made Cory's sister disappear after this season.
Cory runs home to check his presents. There is a new one, but Cory can tell it's wool so he gets angry. I don't know. Sometimes I think Cory has some form of autism that was never diagnosed. This would explain why he obsesses over the most trivial things and has such poor social skills around anyone who isn't his family or Shawn, the boy he latched onto from a young age.
Cory's dad tells his son that in his day, they didn't care about material things and understood that presents were given with love. Too bad he was a kid in, like, the 50s or 60s--in other words, when our post-war consumerist culture was up and running. Like most Baby Boomers, Cory's dad is too young to have known a time when people weren't obsessed with material wealth, yet is so old that he feels the need to complain about today's kids anyway.
The dad tries to tell Cory not to brag to Shawn about the gifts. Cory still believes that Shawn will have a bountiful Christmas. Cory's dad tells his son that Shawn's dad was laid off. This is very sad news to hear. Especially since we have not met Shawn's dad yet. When we do, we will see that he is basically the guy Daniel Whitney ripped off to create his Larry the Cable Guy character. But for now, we get to imagine Shawn's dad as a hard working, honest man. Not as the man Jeff Foxworthy based half of his redneck jokes off of.
Meanwhile, Eric and the mom try to coax the little sister out of the bathroom. I've mentioned before how young Cory and Shawn look this season, which just makes Eric look older. He doesn't look like the older brother who is in high school here. He looks like the third adult in the house. Like Cory's uncle is living with them now.
Cory wants Shawn to have a gift so he gives Shawn his basketball. Shawn keeps up the lie that he will getting a ton of gifts and...awe...Cory is just so darn cute here. I know a lot of girls tended to crush on Shawn, with his awesome hair and t-shirts, but first season Cory was as cute as a kitten or otter. I love it. I want to get a version of this screencap that will show up well at a 1024 x 768 screen resolution so I can make it into a computer wallpaper and put it on library computers. Then the old women, who use the computers to check their Hotmails for chain emails about how Obama was born in Kenya, will see this image and be delighted. And the men who use those computers to look at porn will have a hard time getting an erection since they will have to see this picture every time they have to minimize the browser window when someone walks by. Or we should hope they will have a hard time getting an erection.
Cory tells his friend that he knows about his dad being laid off. Shawn thinks Cory is giving him the basketball out of pity and rejects it. Cory thinks Shawn should be kissing his ass for getting such a sweet gift. Cory could have given him a hated wool sweater. Shawn leaves in a huff
Mr. Feeny has a talk with Cory, telling him "A true gift is given with no expectation." What is Feeny doing? He's shaking out some gunny sacks and it looks like there is a pile of hay behind him. I think Feeny owns a ranch next door to Cory's family. Maybe that makes no sense, but it also makes no sense that it is December in Philadelphia, yet there is no snow anywhere. Usually, TV shows set in northern climates don't bother to have snow, until the Christmas episode when the producers realize they at least need to have snow to set the mood for that week and that week only. The Boy Meets World people didn't even give that much of a fuck.
Cory's mom makes his sister feel happy by letting her dress up as Madonna. But she is scared away when an angry elf shows up at their door. Why is this guy an elf? He is normal height. Elves should be short people. They don't have a lot of job opportunities. At least as elves can work for a few weeks in the run up to Christmas and then stay the hell out of our way the rest of the year.
The elf blames the girl for Santa's heart attack. Why is he dressed like a elf right now? I think he thinks Santa is real and he is really one of Santa's elves. Shit man, call the police. That guy is criminally insane.
At school, Minkus bugs Shawn because he hasn't chipped in five dollars for class present for Mr. Feeny. If Shawn doesn't contribute, then Minkus will not put Shawn's name on the card which will let everyone know that he is a deadbeat. Shawn tells Minkus to fuck off (pretty much). Cory decides to help his poor pal and pays Minkus the five bucks for Shawn.
The class gift is a dictionary because the internet wasn't really around back then. Shawn gets his name on the card and avoids the shame. It's funny because Feeny actually does check the card to make sure every students' name is on it. If someone didn't pay up for his gift, he was going to fail them.
Shawn learns that Cory paid for him and they make up.
Man, how about Shawn and Cory had the coolest shirts when they were little? Also, Minkus is tiny. Did the producers do what the Saved by the Bell people did with Screech and hire an actor for the nerd role who was years younger than everyone else? He's so tiny! I guess this was why Shawn never punched Minkus in the fucking face like we all wanted him to. That would have been enough to kill the little turd.
The episode ends with Mr. Feeny dressing up as Santa Claus to prove to Cory's sister that Santa is not dead. Mr. Feeny really does a lot for these people. I bet Cory's parents told Mr. Feeny that Cory was the one who didn't believe in Santa anymore, so Feeny jumped at the chance to help. Mr. Feeny doesn't really care about anyone other than Cory, Shawn and maybe Topanga. Everyone else can go to hell.
As far as Shawn-is-poor episodes go, this was probably the least interesting. The Santa B plot was the better part.