While I would argue that Hamlet has a better plot than Romeo and Juliet, I’m grading on what we actually see of the production in each of these sitcoms. And based on that alone, FamilyMatters is the clear winner. (If we were judging on episode plot it would be all about Boy Meets World though. Cory squanders the lead in Hamlet because he doesn’t want to wear tights and it’s all a very good insight into gender roles and insecurities whereas FM is about Laura and Steve kissing as the leads in R&J).
But now back to the shows within the shows. We get to see most of the balcony scene uninterrupted in Family Matters. And Steve’s undying love for Laura makes him a pretty good Romeo…that is until he accidentally destroys the entire set which appears to be all interconnected by a pulley system.
Flying in set pieces is all well and good. But connecting each and every joint with string? That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen! However, I have to imagine that this makes strike a lot easier.
It’s major flaws aside, the set really is beautiful. It has a lot of levels, uses the full stage, and showcases a fairly interesting lighting design. In the screenshot for this episode, you can see Laura and Steve lit from behind the curtains of Juliet’s bedroom and from the front by “the moon.”
However, if the set was built with a kill switch, then the staging should have been such that Steve Urkel was NO WHERE NEAR IT. Point to Boy Meets World for staging because they have a whole cast visible and nothing breaks.
The costumes for both productions are really strong. However, I’m going to give the point to BMW because there’s just a little more going on with them. Shawn has a prosthetic belly, Minkus is sporting a monochromatic ensemble as the replacement for Cory in the title role, and there’s more diversity in the fabrics and color palettes.
Sabrina’s got a little problem with her magic during the holidays: she’s not conjuring, she’s taking from others. In other words, every time she zaps an object into her world, she’s stealing it from someone who was already using that object.
I am obsessed with Sabrina’s look in this episode.
According to her aunts, this is usually a sign of distressed mental health. So they send Sabrina to an other realm psychologist who extracts Sabrina’s inner child for a conversation. Wowww mortal therapy would be so much easier if this were possible. Ah, to be a witch.
She’s SO excited about presents!
After discovering that her inner child is obsessed with presents, Sabrina leaves with a diagnosis of Egotitis — which can only be cured by recapturing the true spirit of Christmas.
Sabrina tries decorating the house, but it still doesn’t put her in the Christmas mood. Her aunts suggest she try playing Christmas music, so she tries conjuring up a Christmas CD. But she accidentally steals Johnny Mathis’s Christmas album from Johnny Mathis.
I wonder how much they paid for this cameo.
Sabrina then tries to open some presents to make herself feel better, but they all suddenly disappear. Apparently, presents make egotitis worse. So you can’t have them when you have the affliction. Her aunts decide it’s time to call in the big Christmas Sprit guy from the other real — Bob. Bob is…well…Cliff Claven.
Bob takes Sabrina on a Christmas spirit montage.
Everything seems like it’s going well until Bob slips on some ice while they are building a snowman. When Sabrina conjures a cane, an old man nearby falls. So. Yep. Still got Egotitis. When Sabrina goes to her aunts for help, she find out that Bob is actually Father Christmas.
In order to save Christmas (and hopefully cure her persistent Egotitis), Sabrina heads to the North Pole with Salem. As soon as he arrives, she finds that the reindeer have eaten the naughty/nice list and none of the elves know how to print out the saved copy from the computer. With no time left to spare, Sabrina prints the spare list, turns Salem into a reindeer cat, and heads off to deliver presents on a vacuum cleaner.
Sabrina returns home full of Christmas spirit and doesn’t even care about presents anymore. Thus, her Egotitis is cured…which of course was Santa Clavin’s play the whole time. And Johnny Mathis shows up again to sing O Holy Night a capella over the end credits.
Very Special Lesson: With all these supply chain issues, I’m really feeling this episode this year. Material goods come at a cost and sometime that cost is fair and manageable and sometimes that cost screws up global logistics — whether your conjuring up a cane for a Santa Clavin or several pallets of fast fashion. Also I think this was a pretty perfect Christmas episode. I got to see an old friend from Cheers, there was a cat, we saw some healthy and effective therapy, and the fashion was amazing:
Let’s start with the good things about this episode: It’s the Mr. Turner years (arguably the show’s peak). Bad things about this episode: Cory is a real jerk!
The premise of this episode is that the girls must ask the boys to a dance (but it’s “turnaround” because I guess Sadie Hawkins was trademarked?) and anyway is this even a thing that still happens? It’s like very binary and heteronormative and, as Topanga thankfully points out, “destructive gender-biased thinking and we have to get beyond that.” But she’s going Christmas shopping with her dad so she can’t go to the dance anyway.
While fantasizing about being asked to the dance by the most attractive girl in the class, Cory accidentally says yes to a girl, named Ingrid, who is not conventionally attractive. And then he reacts by being a realllll jackass about it. Luckily, his dad catches him trying out shitty monologues for backing out of his date and tells him that he needs to go with the girl he already promised to go out with.
Oh and by the way, Mr. Turner is teaching Pygmalion. I forgot just exactly how on the nose this show could be. Shawn, who is apparently listening in class for once, decides that he needs to give her a makeover just like “in the Pig Play” (so yeah he’s only kind of listening).
Meanwhile, Mr. Turner is a little stressed cause he’s hoping the hot lady teacher (who I think we’ve only seen this one time) will be his chaperone date (since when do chaperones have dates?) and honestly I’m not sure why we’re supposed to care? Who was this plot aimed at? Babysitters? I think if the kid is old enough to watch Boy Meets World, then you can just sit at the kitchen table and paint your nails for thirty minutes.
Based on horrible, horrible representations of women in magazines, Shawn decides that the newly made over Ingrid (who—spoiler not spoiler alert— it turns out is very conventionally attractive) is STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH. He decides to reinvent her personality as well. (Excuse me, I need to take a vomit break). Now she must say she’s from Sweden (where her extended family lives).
Oh my God this is truly, truly painful. I hope Gen Z saves us from this millennial shame. I’m really not proud of how the older millennials and younger Gen Xers (or to be fair the older Gen Xers and Boomers writing these shows) portrayed teen years in the 90’s.
But thankfully KARMA makes itself available, God bless, and Ingrid ditches Cory because she is now too cool for him. Ugh wait karma in this show is A LIE because the most attractive girl from earlier asks Cory out as soon as Ingrid ditches him. WHAT IS HAPPENING? WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE?
Ohhh wait it’s a trick. And honestly I’m kind of relieved? That’s weird. I feel bad that I’m relived because this is also AWFUL. But the girl (played by Marnette Peterson who you might recognize fromThat 70’s Showor Camp Nowhere) ditches Cory as soon as they get to the dance. She had ask Cory to the dance as a decoy because she’s dating someone she isn’t allowed to date. It’s still bad, but I just didn’t want Cory to win after he was such a jerk, so I’m going to table the whole backstory of the minor characters here and just move it along with the rest of the recap.
In other unhealthy relationship behaviors, it turns out the hot teacher was always going to ask out Mr. Turner (she told all of the other teachers not to ask him out) and she was just stringing him along because it amused her.
Sadly, Ingrid couldn’t hack it with the popular crowd. She decided to actually jump into the pool at the gym when everyone else was just talking about it. Actually, that does sound cool. But what do I know? Anyway, she comes crawling back to Cory for comfort. GOD THIS IS SO SAD. I WANT HER TO HAVE REAL FRIENDS.
But Cory apologizes (low bar). Ingrid says she didn’t feel bad at first for ditching him because she realized he was just using her (fair) but now that they both acknowledge that the other is a human being, she also wants to apologize.
Oh wait it turns out someone DOES think it’s cool that Ingrid jumped in the pool. (See, I knew it was cool.) So. Yeah. She ditches Cory again. I wish I could tell all these children it’s totally fine to just skip the dance and not subject yourself to people who treat you like shit. This blatant social climbing is a lot. It does get better than your teen years, thankfully.
Very Special Holiday Lesson: This is clearly the worst holiday episode ever. I’m glad I coincidentally scheduled it first, so it only gets better from here people!! At least the holiday photo screen freeze at the end is kind of cute:
Also, since Cory got ghosted at the Christmas dance, I feel that this is the perfect opportunity to tell you that I have revived a series I did back in 2014 called “Boy Meets Sweet Valley High.” I used to make them with a printer and a scanner like a real 90’s kid, but now I’ve gone high tech. Please follow me on insta @boymeetssvh
At the top of this episode, Shawn and Cory decide that Feeny’s job is so easy that even a kid could do it. Meanwhile, Mr. Feeny introduces that week’s lesson: Prejudice. The class will be covering Black slavery in the American South, The Holocaust, and several other issues concerning prejudice. ALL OF THIS IN ONE WEEK, FEENY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
He sends this kids home with the first thirty pages of Anne Frank’s diary, but pulls Cory aside at the last minute to scold him for acting up in class. Cory and Feeny argue that it’s easier to be in the other one’s shoes, so they decide to swap places for the week. Cory will teach his class while Feeny sits in front of Shawn and acts up. To make it interesting, Cory bets his new bike and Feeny bets 20% of his weekly paycheck. If more kids do well on the test than usual, then Cory wins. Cory thinks it will be a breeze because: “The book does all the teaching. Feeny’s just Vanna White pointing at the letters.”
At school the next day, Cory tells all of the kids in class that they can wear their baseball caps and should refer to him as “Hey Dude.” That’s my kind of teaching! Topanga requests that Cory waive the entire dress code so that she can be more free to culturally appropriate and wear a sari to school. Cory agrees.
Back at Cory’s house, Morgan cramps Eric’s style with his new girlfriend Linda because she’s really nice and Morgan wants to be her new BFF. But I think this really works out for Eric because Morgan seems so endearing and it makes Eric look like a family man. The next day, Linda sends Eric home with a Japanese lantern for Morgan.
As Cory’s first day of teaching comes to a close, his father (who is very concerned about the new bike he just paid for) inquires about the details of Feeny’s grading. In the course of their conversation, Cory reveals that Feeny is going to take the test since he’s a student this week. Alan explains that Feeny will get the highest score, thus breaking the curve, and will win the bet.
Cory is STRESSED when he returns to class the next day. Topanga decides to sit on a yoga cushion instead of at her desk. She’s wear a sari, as promised, and there’s a whole joke about how “scary she is when she meditates. (For an episode that is all about everyday racism, this whole bit is a sour note.) Minkus decides to goof off for once in his life. And Mr. Feeny shows up wearing a Phillies jersey just in time for Shawn to deal him into poker. Suffice it to say, Cory isn’t able to get any teaching done and is bike is effectively toast.
When he arrives home from school, he agonizes over how to get through to the class. As Cory is trying to figure out a game plan, Eric arrive home with a sobbing Linda. Someone at the mall called her a racial slur. Cory, a white boy from suburban Philadelphia, is fully shocked that prejudice still exists in the modern world of 1993.
The next day at school, Cory goes fully Feeny and wears a suit. (Feeny wears a Meat Loaf sweatshirt.) Even though everyone is goofing off, Cory proceeds on with his lecture: “Class, I’d like to talk to you today about prejudice and how it still exists in today’s world. I didn’t even know that until last night when I saw a real smart totally cool Asian girl crying her eyes out because some idiot at the mall called her a bad name. My lesson for today is that when people treat other people badly because of their skin color, or their religion, or where they come from, then real smart totally cool people can really suffer.”
No one listens to him. Cory is totally dejected and is about to walk out of the classroom (and away from his proverbial bike) when Feeny gives him a meaningful look. Corey turns back around and asks Shawn what his mother’s maiden name is. Then he uses a slur for Italian people. When Shawn is just about to deck him (Feeny is allowing all of this to happen for “education purposes”) Cory points out that not everyone has the luxury of being able to stand up for themselves. (Cory doesn’t say this here but if you were listening to his lecture earlier it’s obvious that his larger point is that they shouldn’t even have to.) Cory concludes the class by reading the most famous quote from Anne’s diary.
The next day, Feeny reveals that the exact same number of students passed, so the bet is a draw. Cory keeps his bike and Feeny keeps his full paycheck. Cory is disappointed and feels like he wasn’t a good teacher. (Turns out it’s a lot harder than it looks.) But Feeny lifts his spirits by revealing that Shawn scored a letter grade higher than he usually does. He got a B! Feeny also reveals that Cory learned something as well. Oh Lord, this brought me to tears multiple times. This episode is AMAZING.
Okay, this episode is especially cute in the context of Girl Meets World where Cory really does grow up to be a teacher. It totally works. I love it.
Something that I think is particularly great about this episode is that it doesn’t stop at raising awareness. Part of this, yes, is Cory becoming aware of the fact that racism exists in his world — something he has never personally experienced as a white child in an upper-middle class bubble. But Cory quickly realizes that raising awareness to this issue through his lecture didn’t really get anyone’s attention. So he quickly moves on to a different approach: he provokes Shawn.
Shawn is a safe person to try this with. If he’s going to punch Cory, there will at least be a bit of a lead up to it (and hopefully time to de-escalate). And with this lead-time, Cory starts a conversation. It’s an inflammatory conversation, but it’s with someone who he knows will continue to listen even if things get tense because Cory has that kind of relationship with Shawn. Cory then uses a series of very pointed questions that provoke Shawn. He questions him on what he would do in this hypothetical situation and then remind him that he doesn’t have the power to actually do anything.
When Cory confronts Shawn in front of the class, it’s like he’s doing his own mini blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment where he, Cory, is the powerful blue-eyed boy while Shawn (the proverbial brown-eyed) can’t do anything to better his station in the classroom. Our budding activist wraps the class up with a call to action. He reminds everyone that it isn’t enough for the people who are suffering to stand up for themselves, but rather that the people in power must stand up for them too. It’s not a very great call to action because it’s pretty vague and evidently left a lot of kids still missing the point. But he’s only eleven, so we’ll give him points anyway. And hey, Shawn got a B on the final assignment, which really is saying something.
Is there some kind of campaign I can get behind to show this episode of Boy Meets World in every classroom in America? And also maybe every church and every office space? I know a lot of adults who could really benefit from this clip:
This episode may have aired in 1993 but it certainly feels like it could be describing life in 2021.
I’ve had grifters on my mind lately. Yesterday, I started the new Operation Varsity Blues documentary on Netflix. Earlier this week, I finished The Glass Hotel and then decided to round that out with the four-part Bernie Madoff podcast series from American Scandal. THEN, just for good measure, I listened to an episode of CNBC’s American Greed about Anna Delvey. Now if you’re like, “wow that all sounds like a bummer and I don’t know if I want to continue reading,” hold on just a second because one time Cory and Shawn ran a grift on Boy Meets World and it was mostly good fun.
This episode is from Season 4, which I consider to be the golden-era of Boy Meets World. Season 4 contains my legit favorite very special episode “Chick Like Me,” the classic “Cult Fiction,” and a really sweet Eric-centered episode called “Uncle Daddy” — which sounds weird but actually isn’t. In fact, I think I love season 4 so much because it feels like Eric is really coming into his own and the character hasn’t become totally flandarized yet.
In “B&B’s B ‘n B,” Eric and Mr. Feeny are both going out of town (separately). Cory and Eric’s mother is supposed to take care of Mr. Feeny’s plants while he is away, a job she quickly pawns off to Cory and Shawn. Remembering that Mr. Feeny mentioned he would be staying at a bed in breakfast, Shawn is quick to hatch a plan in support of his economics project.
Meanwhile in Boston, Eric pretends to be a CEO but the bartender quickly makes him for a recent high school grad who works for his father and is attending his very first out-of-town conference. He settles for drinking a root beer and bumps into Mr. Feeny who is having a drink at the bar before he meets his dinner date. Feeny confesses that he has been in a long-distance with another school teacher for years, but they’re both too career-oriented to leave their current jobs and move cities.
That night, Cory returns to Feeny’s house to water the plants and discovers Shawn there along with some bed and breakfast guests. Shawn has bribed airport cab drivers to tell travelers that every hotel in the city is booked and redirect them to this suburban Philadelphia home instead. I give you the first Airbnb!
In Boston the bartender offers to buy Eric dinner, which is pretty strange since she just called him a baby when they met two seconds ago. Was that flirting? Idk I’ve decided she’s an old-looking 21 and he’s 19 and it’s been fixed in my mind. In the end, she gives him a kiss on the cheek and he goes to sit with Mr. Feeny who is very sad.
Feeny confesses that he has realized that there is a limit to his love for his long-distance girlfriend (and vice versa). He worries that he’s too old to take a true risk and therefore too old for true love. After years of taking advice from Feeny, Eric is finally in a position to be the advice-giver. He tells Mr. Feeny that he believes love can come at any age and then offers to be Mr. Feeny’s wingman while their in Boston.
“Cruise for chicks?” Feeny says. “And their mothers,” Eric replies.
Back in Pennsylvania, Cory, Shawn, and Topanga (who has compromised her ethics for the good cash tips), serenaded the guests on Feeny’s piano. Cory agonizes about getting caught because he believes the universe will not allow them to get away with wrongdoing. “Without punishment my world loses both form and meaning,” he says and I hope discusses with a good therapist at a later date.
Feeny arrives home, just after all the guests have left, to a freshly cleaned house. Just when they think they’ve gotten away with it, Feeny asks how much money they made from the bed and breakfast. (Turns out the cab driver was still selling the place.) Shawn hands over the cash and expects a much harsher sentence than his usual detention. But Feeny goes easy on him because he’s proud of Shawn for taking a risk. Oh YIKES no I don’t think that was the thing you were supposed to learn from your failed relationship Mr. Feeny!!! Or at the very least, you shouldn’t be projecting it onto teenage grifters!
Feeny promises to keep the cash for Shawn and return it to him when he is in college because he’s shown a keen eye for business strategy. Huh. Well, I forgot that it ended this way. But I guess I don’t hate the college fund aspect of this. Let’s just hope Shawn doesn’t become the next Jordan Belfort or whoever.
This post is brought to you as part of the 7th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon. Check out the other posts here.
When the weather is too bad to go out on Halloween night, the Winslow family decides to play “pass the ghost story” instead.
Carl starts the story and we are transported to the castle of Count von Winslow (Carl). He then passes the torch to Harriette, who continues the story. She describes the countess (Harriette) as “the brains of the family.” And really ups the ante in this next part — the count and countess are VAMPIRES. We then see the count and countess drinking juice boxes of blood, which is cute and gross at the same time!
Now it’s Eddie’s turn to continue the story. He describes the “teen heartthrob” son of the family — who is like a 90’s Elvis Vampire version of Eddie Winslow. The big drama thus far is that Eddie Vampire is a rebel who doesn’t torture the townspeople.
Eddie passes the story to Urkel. And I’d like to pause a moment and give Jaleel White a lot of credit for maintaining the Urkel voice for NINE YEARS on this show.
Urkel describe an Earl, who is passing by and asks to stay at the castle overnight because his carriage has broken. The von Winslows are more than happy to have some fresh blood in the house. Urkel then passes the story to Waldo.
Waldo describe the von Winslow’s faithful butler, who ushers Urkel to his room for the night. Yeah…he doesn’t really contribute all that much before swiftly passing the story to Laura. And here’s where things get really interesting.
Laura describes the Earl checking out his bedroom and eventually hanging his coat on a hook on the wall. This hook reveals a secret revolving door with one of the von Winslow’s victims (Laura) chained to it.
The Earl removes her gag and she explains that she is a peasant girl and has been trapped by the von Winslows ever since her carriage broke down!!!! She explains that they are vampires and the Earl should absolutely not drink the wine because it’s drugged so that they can suck his blood more easily.
Laura then passes the story to Rachel. She describes how the Earl avoids drinking the wine. (There’s a lot of switching the cups Princess Bride style during this portion.) When Count von Winslow realizes the Earl won’t drink the wine, he flat out admits that he wants to drink his blood and challenges him to a duel.
After a harrowing battle in which the teeny tiny Earl fights off the much bigger and stronger Count with a wedge of garlic brie and then pulls down a large curtain to expose all the von Winslows to a ton of sunlight, he rushes upstairs to save peasant Laura.
To make things truly spooky, the Earl looks up right before he is about to kiss Laura and reveals that HE IS A VAMPIRE.
Very Special Halloween Lesson: Don’t ask to spend the night at strange homes!!!
Sabrina’s a senior in high school in this episode and has decided she’s too old for pranks and trick-or-treating. So she gets a job at a coffee shop and decides to work there instead of celebrating Halloween. Um. Okay. I mean kind of an extreme reaction to not wanting to collect candy door to door but always good to build that résumé I suppose!
Meanwhile her aunts are fully into celebrating the holiday, so they conjure up Edgar Allen Poe for Halloween dinner. You know what I very much love? The idea of a formal Halloween dinner with special guests. Add that to my post-quarantine to do list please!
Sabrina’s aunts warn her that witches “can’t run away from Halloween,” but she ignores them and works at the coffee shop (alone) anyway. As it turns out, not being able to run away involves having what amounts to a low-key psychotic episode. So you know…idk I would probably just go to Halloween dinner if I were here…
But anyway Sabrina tries to push through the hallucinations, which include “hearing” a customer say, “I want to chop you up in little pieces,” (!!!) when he’s really just ordering a cup of coffee. And don’t worry, the worst thing that happens with that dude is she serves him coffee that is so strong it tastes like mud.
When the coffee shop gets too crowded for Sabrina to handle on her own, she starts whipping up lattes using magic. Cut to: zombies in the alleyway.
Now I’m not saying that Sabrina’s use of coffee shop magic caused the zombie apocalypse, but the show’s editing is leading me down that road of logic. And then a giant storm appears and the power goes out!
Sabrina tries a spell to get the zombies to go away, but it doesn’t work. Meanwhile, Edgar is really enjoying Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda’s cooking. When Sabrina calls home for help, they’re too busy chatting to talk to her, so she’s only able to ask Salem for advice. He explains that witches who run from Halloween get chased by Halloween. Yikes!
The zombies eventually break into the coffee shop, but it turns out they don’t want to eat human (or witch) flesh. They just want to dance!! We are then treated to — I kid you not — a 90 second montage of terrible dancing with even worse stock music.
Finally in the last four minutes of the episode, Sabrina realizes that the only way to make the zombies go away is to celebrate Halloween. She calls out to her boyfriend Harvey, who is across the street TP’ing the Christine Science Reading room, and tells him to come over and prank the coffee shop instead. We are then treated to another montage — this time 20 seconds of toilet-papering zombies.
Things aren’t much better back at the house. Edgar Allen Poe has decided to read a tepid romance. He’s branching out from horror! But it’s dull and totally not the Halloween experience the aunts were looking for. Luckily, Salem has somehow managed to write short stories without the use of opposable thumbs and reads some of his own scary stories to the group. They’re so spooky that they even make Edgar Allen Poe’s hair stand on end. (Too bad we spent so long on the zombie dance montage because we don’t get to hear any of the stories in their entirety.)
Very Special Halloween Lesson: Property destruction is the only way to stave off the zombie apocalypse? Don’t worry, Salem actually lists a couple of his own very special lessons during the credits, so I’ve got some better options to share with you than that one: “Try as you may, you cannot run away from Halloween.” “You never really know what lurks beneath your neighborhood sewer grate.”
Mr. Feeney reads the class A Christmas Carol and discovers that Cory and Shawn really don’t get it because they keep expecting the Grinch to show up. He asks Topanga to switch seats with Cory (which she tries to do through transcendental meditation because she used to be New Age, remember) who describes A Christmas Carol as going to cool places with ghosts when you’re mean.
Topanga tries to explain to them the historical origins of Christmas and it’s evolution from the winter solstice tradition. (Uh-oh, I said Christmas, evolution, and solstice in the same sentence. I feel like someone isn’t going to like that.)
Cory is so certain that he’s getting a basketball for Christmas that he’s saved up money to buy his gift a gift, a $5 net (that’s $8.46 in today’s money, for those of you keeping track at home).
Meanwhile, poor little Morgan has been traumatized by a trip to the mall to visit Santa. Apparently, there was a mean elf and Santa had a heart attack right as Morgan was asking him for her present. So she thinks she killed him. (He’s actually alive, in the hospital, and intubated.) Yikes. People spend years in therapy for this kind of stuff.
When Cory arrives home from school, he immediately runs to the tree to see if there are any new presents to shake. AHHH WHAT A WONDER TIME OF LIFE THIS IS! He can’t wait to head over to Shawn’s because Shawn has been bragging about all the gifts under his Christmas tree. That’s when Cory’s dad tells him that Shawn’s dad lost his job, and Cory realizes that Shawn may be having a Christmas more on par with Tiny Tim’s than his own. (So I guess he did learn something from the book.) Cory decides to give Shawn one of the presents from under their tree since he’s no Scrooge.
But when Cory gives Shawn the basketball, Shawn realizes he’s feeling sorry for him and he doesn’t like it. Cory says, “Christmas is about charity. You should be thanking me.” Mr. Feeney overhears from next door and tells Cory that “a true gift is given with no expectation” and that Cory “gave the gift to get the thanks.” He gives Cory the example of friendship as a true gift.
In a surprising turn of events, the mean elf shows up at the house to return their money since Morgan wasn’t able to take a photo with Santa. He also tells her father that he thinks she’s a demon child because Santa had a heart attack when she sat on his lap. Wow, harsh!
Meanwhile, at school, Shawn is embarrassed because he doesn’t have any money to contribute to Mr. Feeney’s Christmas gift. The little shit collecting the money at school, Minkus, says that he can’t put his name on the card without him contributing to the fun, even if he doesn’t have the money, so Cory tells him privately that Shawn lent him $5 which he had forgotten to return. Thus, Shawn is included and Cory’s gift is anonymous. The class gives Mr. Feeney a nice thick dictionary because they obviously think he has no interests outside of school.
When Shawn thanks Minkus for including his name on the card even though he didn’t contribute Minkus tells him not to thank him since Cory contributed the money that he owed Shawn. Realizing that Cory’s not a terrible person out for charity only to feel good about himself, he stops by Cory’s house to give him a basketball net.
At the end of the night, Mr. Feeney stops by the house dressed as Santa and tells Morgan that he is okay and that Mrs. Claus undercooked his figgy pudding, so none of this was Morgan’s fault. This makes Morgan feel better, but now she wants to know why Santa looks like Mr. Feeney!!
Very Special Holiday Lesson: Mall Santas are always a bad idea. You’re not helping other people when you’re focused on making yourself look good.
Sabrina is very upset with Salem because he ruined her favorite Christmas sweater. (Um, she’s a WITCH why can’t she just zap it back to perfection?) When Salem won’t say he’s sorry, the family leaves him alone to reflect on his actions (which no cat has ever done ever.)
While Salem is in timeout, Sabrina goes to a pizza place to meet Harvey. Harvey gives Sabrina a silver choker for Christmas. Sabrina gives Harvey a scarf, but she notices that Salem has ripped up the wrapping and she gets mad again. Just as they are about to kiss under the mistletoe, Salem causes a ruckus. He’s snuck into the pizza place and is chasing a mouse. They get tossed out of the pizza place when Sabrina is accused of brining a cat into the building.
In the alley out back, Sabrina and Salem argue and he refuses to come home with her. Salem’s plan is to sulk for a while and make everyone worry about him before he makes his way home. But as he heads back to the house, a kid hits him with his bike. He’s worried about Salem, so he takes him home.
OMG THE GUY PLAYING THE KID’S DAD IS THE GUY WHO PLAYED THE DAD IN CLARISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL. IT’S A WEIRD CLARISSA/SABRINA REUNION!!!
Salem manages to call Sabrina while the kid is away for a moment. He comes back into the room while Sabrina is on the phone and tells her that the cat his now DUN DUN DUN!
So they can’t use magic to find him because you have to wait 24 hours to file a missing witches report. This means they have to search for him “the mortal way.” But apparently the mortal way involves zapping Coolio out of an advertisement in the alleyway, so he can tell them what he saw.
Sabrina eventually find the right house, but Rex won’t give Salem back. So Sabrina disguises herself as Santa and gives the kid a spatula and a Neil Diamond box set, to which he replies, “Didn’t you get my fax?”
1996 A YEAR WHEN CHILDREN FAXED THEIR LETTERS TO THE NORTH POLE!
She tells him he’ll get more presents in the morning, but she’s really there–I mean SANTA is really there–to take the cat back because there was a mixup and he got the wrong cat. When he still refuses to return Salem, Sabrina grabs the cat and runs. So then the kid screams and cries, “SANTA STOLE MY CAT!” repeatedly until his mother comes running into the room.
His mother (who never knew about the cat, only his father knew) tells him that he must have had a bad dream because he doesn’t have a cat. So the little boy says, “I saw him. He was real. He game me this spatula.” His mother looks bewildered and this poor kid is probably going to need years of therapy…though he did steal a cat so maybe he needed years of therapy anyway and hopefully this will speed along that process.
Very Special Holiday Lesson: As Salem says, “There are worse places to be during the holidays than with your family.”