Adventures in Babysitting

Tonight on a very special episode of The Very Special Blog, I provide you with more in depth analysis than you ever wanted on the 1987 tour-de-force, Adventures in Babysitting…

I was talking to my BFF Anne about how I haven’t watched any of the Pitch Perfect movies because I was afraid that they would give me a very specific type of FOMO. I call it the “I want to be up there and randomly signing with my friends! FOMO” though this can also happen with things involving choreographed dances. Suffice it to say, I have a really odd mixture of FOMO and adoration every time I watch Teen Witch.

Adventures in Babysitting also gives me a little FOMO and I think that’s somehow got a lot to do with this opening scene:

This all starts off with Chris (national treasure, Elisabeth Shue) prepping for a big date. Her boyfriend cancels on her at the very last minute, telling her that he has to babysit his kid sister and she’s “contagious” so Chris cannot come over and help. Chris’s best friend, Brenda, calls bullshit on the situation. But Chris won’t hear it. And with no plans for the evening, she goes to babysit for the Andersons.

large_atiryv7ysscidi4ionui0m8dp7So we head over to the Anderson home to meet the kids. But one of the kids, Brad, is like 15 years old and I can’t understand for the life of me why he’s not babysitting his little sister. In the opening sequence, we established that this is the kind of movie in which older male children babysit their younger female siblings. So like does one have to be 18 to babysit a younger sibling? Cause I’m pretty sure a 15 year old can make sure that an 8 year old doesn’t burn down the house. If this is not the case, then I think we all need to have a serious discussion about The Babysitters-Club.

The little girl, Sara, is obsessed with Thor, so obviously she’s cool and probably my favorite character in this movie. She’s also got a backpack featuring Gizmo from Gremlins.

300x300Now, there are some obvious problems with this script. The most glaring of which I find to be an extended exchange between the Anderson children, in which Brad tells Sara that Thor is a “total homo” and Sara repeatedly tries to make him “take-it back.” My first thought is of my friend’s fiancee, who as a closeted person in 1987 went alone to the movie theater to see Adventures in Babysitting. Obviously, he already had to go to see this movie on the DL since it isn’t the most “manly” movie to attend and I imagine it must have felt pretty shitty to see a light-comedy shit on your sexual orientation within the first ten minutes. Plus Anthony Rapp, from Rent, shows up a little later on in the film in a major supporting role as Brad’s friend Darryl. I felt like homophobic lines in the script must have been tough for him as well, and actually he commented on it in his Reddit AMA, which you can check out here. He basically says that he feels that it was true to the time and would not exist in a script today. I don’t feel like I would be so zen about it if it were me but to each his own.

Shortly into her baby-sitting job, Chris gets a call from Brenda–who has run away from home. She’s calling from the bus station in downtown Chicago and she’s distraught. In what must be the most poorly thought-out plan ever, Brenda has spent all of her money on the cab to the bus station and thus has no money to purchase a ticket. She can’t leave kids at home because they threaten to rat her out, so she takes them with her to Chicago.

adventures-in-baby-sitting-2While on the expressway, they have a tire blowout. First of all, mad props to Chris for safely navigating a station wagon full of children to the side of the interstate without full tire traction. Secondly, she’s forgotten her wallet and they have no money to pay for a tow. They’re all creeped out when a tow truck driven by a man with a hook stops to pick them up. I mean I guess it IS a classic horror story trope, but like they’re really rude to this nice man who’s just trying to help them. Finally, Chris realizes she’s been an asshole. She apologizes and the man, John Pruitt, offers to tow them and by them a new tire. Everything’s good until John Pruitt gets a call on his CB radio. His lady’s been stepping out on him, her lover’s car is in front of their place, and he thinks that driving around with a bunch of random kids in his tow truck is the perfect time to seek his revenge.

tumblr_o2d6vs6b1l1qz8ui7o1_1280John Pruitt runs into a house with a gun and starts firing shots. A man with his pants open falls backwards out of a window and onto the porch. I seriously don’t think this would pass standards for a kids movie in 2016.While John Pruitt, chases his wife’s lover out into the street, Chris et al get into the lover’s car–which by the way has been carjacked. But it’s like carjacked by THE nicest carjacker on the planet. They ask him to let them off at the next corner and he’s like not going to do it because it’s a bad neighborhood. He’s going to take them to the train station instead. And then Chris is all like “Do you promise me you won’t hurt these kids?” which is like something a little rude and insulting to some dude who just promised to take you somewhere safe and like even if he’s NOT going to do that, then why the heck are you challenging him while he literally holds your life in his hands??

Since he actually is a nice guy, he promises not to hurt any of them. And then he takes them to a chop shop. The rest of the guys there are not so nice, so the kids all sneak out through the rafters of the building, lest the be murdered. But Darryl swipes a Playboy  from the chop shop. If not for this, I honestly think the chop shop guys might have just let them get away. Instead they chase them through some back alleys and into a night club. Chris and the kids run on stage in the middle of blues set in order to avoid their would be assassins. So then the band makes Chris sing. It’s really awkward. Like really awkward.

After leaving the nightclub, Chris spots Mr. Anderson’s office building, where the kids parents are currently at a function. She thinks they should give themselves up, but then she sees Darryl talking to a child prostitute and remembers that she’s supposed to pick up Brenda or else she may face a similar fate.

adventures-in-babysitting-1Brenda, in another idiot move, took off her glasses at the train station and is now legally blind. She mistakes a rat for a kitten and probably needs to get some rabies shots as soon as he gets back to the suburbs.

Meanwhile, the kids have evaded the chop shop guys and made it safely to the El train. But their victory is short lived because the train car they’ve picked is also the site of a rumble between to rival gangs. (Also, I fully expected there to be a rumble on a subway car in The Warriors but that straight up did not happen. Seems like a missed opportunity.) Anyway, Chris politely asks the gang members to wait to fight each other until she can get the kids off the train at the next stop and they call her a bitch. Then Brad is all like “don’t call her a bitch.” And then some dude stabs Brad in the foot with a switchblade and tells him not to “f*ck with the Lords of Hell.” Chris takes the knife out of his foot and threatens the gang member with it, saying “Don’t fuck with the babysitter.” So they hop off the train at the next stop (which just so happens to be the hospital).

At the hospital, they bump into none other than John Pruitt. He’s paid for all of the repairs to their car. (He banged it up pretty good when he hopped the curb chasing down his wife’s lover. Oh and he also accidentally shot the front windshield.) Unfortunately, this leaves him with no extra cash to pay for the flat tire and they’ll have to come up with $50 to pay the owner of the garage.

MSDADIN EC004Then they pass a frat party and Darryl runs away from the group to join the festivities, which by the sounds of it involve a bad Huey Lewis cover band doing a bad cover of Soul Survivors’s “Expressway to Your Heart.” Also, Sara has to pee. So Chris is all like yeah you can use the bathroom at the frat party. Uh, okay. I mean yikes. I’d hate to see that bathroom. (Also, at the party there is a whole subplot about how Chris has been mistaken for a Playboy centerfold because she looks exactly like Miss March and yadda yadda yadda that’s all I’ll say about that.)

So while one teen boy is missing in a frat house and another teen boy waits in line for the bathroom with his little sister, Chris decides to slow dance with a fraternity brother. Cut to: Darryl and some college student who is dangerously close to committing statutory rape.

On a side note is “Gimme Shelter” the most used song ever in television/film? It even makes an appearance in this movie as Chris’s new frat bro boyfriend drives them to the garage to pick up the car. He’s also loaned them $45 but claims that’s all he can find. He is so obviously a dude with a trust fund though, so I’m skeptical that this was seriously all he could come up with.

As it turns out, the owner of the garage looks exactly like Thor. But he’s not willing to accept $45 for a $50 job and instead crushes a little girls dreams by demanding an extra $5 from her babysitter before he will release their car. (He is played by a very young Vincent Donofrio and I gotta say he’s looking fine.) Eventually he comes around much like Mean Joe from that old coke commercial. But like if the coke was actually a Thor helmet. Watch it for yourself here:

But God forbid this movie ever actually end, so we cut to the chop shop guys stalking the babysitter and crew yet again.

s-l225Also, remember that guy from the very opening scene? Yeah well Chris spots his car at the fancy French restaurant where he was supposed to take her for dinner. He’s with some other girl. Chris and her charges tell him off. He’s such a scum bucket so this is really rewarding to watch. Oh yeah and in the meantime, they’ve managed to misplace Sara–who wandered away from the restaurant to look inside a toy store window and is now scaling the side of the building in order to avoid the chop shop guys. Oh yeah and that building just so happens to be where her parents are attending a party which is the entire reason they hired a babysitter in the first place.

Miraculously, Chris and company make it home first and the parents are none the wiser. Also, Sara left a roller skate in the back seat of the frat bro’s car. So he shows up at the house just as Chris is leaving and they live happily ever after.

Oh and there’s a whole subplot about Brad having a schoolboy crush on Chris. I left that out even though it’s pretty heavily covered in the movie. But someone else can write a post about that.

And there is a throw away line to the parents at the end of the movie that “Brad stayed home.” I guess we can assume that he was meant to go out that night and that Chris was only hired to babysit Sara, so that does indeed lend more credibility to this setup than I originally acknowledged.

Very Special Lesson: To all the moms out there, drop your 17 year old daughter off at her babysitting assignments and under no circumstances leave her lone with your station wagon. Furthermore, having sufficient amounts of cash on hand at all times could have solved most of these problems.

Also, this soundtrack is awesome. Highly recommend it.

Lastly, has anyone seen this Disney reboot of Adventures in Babysitting? Tell me all about it in the comments.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

I really don’t like slasher movies. But this was a “cool teenager” movie that I wasn’t allowed to see as an elementary schooler back in 1997, so I’ve always been a bit curious.

i_know_what_you_did_last_summerThe movie starts off with a beauty pageant. Sarah Michelle Geller (Helen) is winning, but I think we’re supposed to think that she thinks it’s a bullshit contest. We cut to Freddie Prinze, Jr. (Ray), Jennifer Love Hewitt (Julie), and Ryan Philippe (Barry) sitting not with the crowd but rather alone in the balcony, seeming to imply both literally and figuratively that they are “above” this small town pageantry. (Oh yeah, VS Readers, this is a critical analysis kind of post.)

Julie is sad that she and Ray will probably split up when they go to college at the end of the Summer. But he tells her that “the success rate of high school sweetheart relationship is higher than any other type of relationship” and she tells him to “cite your source.” So then he puts his hand over his heart like his heart is his source and I would ordinarily puke but Freddie Prinze, Jr. can get away with a lot of stuff in my book. So then she takes off her cardigan sweater, which I guess is like BIG. I mean maybe she just ALWAYS wears a cardigan and taking it off is like the equivalent of removing one’s pants in her world because Ray says, “Are you sure?” and she nods (aw I mean I appreciate the clear consent, so yay) and then they have sex. SO I don’t know how we got from cardigan removal to “are you sure you want to have sex with me?” but at least they are on the same page and that’s all that matters. Or like wait. Maybe she was just saying yes she’s sure she’d like to remove her cardigan…erm well maybe a teen movie from 1997 is not the best source of guidance on this topic.

rs_560x415-140915195510-1024-i-know-what-you-did-last-summer-1-ms-091514_copyAnyway, Barry gets so drunk that he can’t drive his BMW home. But rather than just chilling in the back seat and letting his friend drive his sorry drunk ass home, he sticks his head out of the sun roof and drops an open bottle of alcohol all over Ray’s lap–causing him to careen into a pedestrian, who admittedly was crossing a dark road on a curve but still… So because they are selfish bastards who don’t seem to be concerned as to whether or not this dude has a family that may be worried about his disappearance, they decide to dump the body in the ocean.

But before than can do any body-dumping, David from Roseanne shows up as some dude named Max. Julie and Ray get rid of him by playing it cool and acting like Barry is just casually drunk vomiting on the side of the road. Ray decides that speaking like a middle aged country clubber is the best way not to arouse suspicion and says thing like “What can I do for you, Max?” and “We’ll be seeing you Max.”

In a last minute moment of “compassion” they decide to check this dude’s wallet to see who he is. But when Helen goes to check it out, he reaches out and grabs her. Time to call an ambulance, right? Nope, instead they beat him back and toss him in the water. But he’s grabbed her beauty pageant crown and now Barry has to dive in to the water and reclaim the evidence. He’s like definitely still alive under the water and opens his eyes. So Barry flips out and leaves him to drown. These people are horrible and I can’t wait to see them be terrorized for the next hour and fifteen minutes.

39c5fdfd5a623d4e2f91072341d67079-0They all vow never to speak of the incident again, but that doesn’t last very long because about a year later Julie gets a note: “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER!” (For you close readers, you’ll recognize that as the title of this film.) So she starts rounding up the team. Unsurprisingly, they don’t speak to each other anymore and they’re all miserable. They immediately think it was Max, so Barry beats him up. This is obviously just a red herring and my money is one of the four-some betraying the others.

The someone tries to run over Barry with his own car. That person gets out of the car with a hook but doesn’t kill him. This is all very clearly to send a message.

Julie and Helen decide to play amateur detective and head out to David Egan’s family home. (David Egan is the dead guy BTW. They found out his name from a newspaper article.) They run into Anne Heche who seems them peering through a window. They make up some phony story about needing to call AAA and she doesn’t seem to care that they were about to break in her window. She’s David’s sister and she answers all of their inappropriately probing questions without ever appearing to become suspicious. Actually, she may be suspicious because she runs out to their car to give them back the cigarettes that Helen left behind. They’re just sitting there chatting while running a car that they said wouldn’t start.

summerMore shenanigans ensue. Someone cuts off Helen’s hair in the middle of the night. Someone puts Max’s dead body with crabs in Julie’s car. And Ray gets a threatening note. Barry is convinced that Ray is terrorizing them all. Crap, that was my guess. But it’s too early so it’s probably another red herring. But even though this person is clearly willing to murder them all, they still want to track him down and talk to him? So Helen rides in the 4th of July parade on the pageant float while Barry sits conspicuously at the front, scanning the crowd for any shady characters.

Also, am I really supposed to believe that it is July in North Carolina and all of these lead characters are wearing sweaters?

So Julie goes back to speak to the sister again. She once again shares a ton of info. And this gradually causes Julie to realize that the man they hit with the car is not David Egan. In fact, David also got a scary note saying “I WILL NEVER FORGET LAST SUMMER!” His sister thought it was a suicide note because David’s girlfriend past away the previous summer…but basically it seems like there’s a weird super-human killer out there in this North Carolina town and it’s not Robert DeNiro. (Cape Fear is still giving me nightmares.)

Anyway, while the slasher is busy killing Barry and Helen, Julie reads more newspaper article and figures out that the killer is most likely the father of David Egan’s girlfriend.

aqu112-034You know what guys, I think Ray is up to no good. I do NOT trust him. Omg wait. Now I’m not sure. Some dude just punched Ray in the face because he was chasing after Julie and like then he told her to run to his boat and she did but it’s so obviously A TRAP. Ugh, yep. She’s like definitely on the killer’s boat now. But luckily Ray helps her out because he is in fact, not the killer. It was all very harrowing and I would recount it but I feel like this is already way to long and I did scream at a level audible to my neighbors at multiple points in this movie. So basically, the bad guy’s arm gets caught in some kind of like rig on the boat. (I don’t know boat things so I can’t explain better…) and then he like gets strung upside down by the rig and then lands in the water, presumably drowning (again). Anyway, when the cops show up they can only retrieve his severed hand still holding the hook. The implication is that he’s hanging around still trying to kill them. This is confirmed by the last couple of minutes in the movie in which he stalks Julie at school and leaves a threatening note for her on the shower door, “I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER,” which is a movie I probably will not be watching.

Very Special Lesson: Do your research – if they’d read all of the available newspaper articles at the start of this movie, then they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble. Also,

European Vacation: Sabrina Goes to Rome vs. Growing Pains

It’s the final countdown: Sabrina vs. Growing Pains. Let’s start with a recap of each:

Growing Pains: Mike sells Jason and Maggie a bad tour package. Maggie gets appendicitis and can’t do anything the whole trip, but Jason has a chef (from the restaurant where he proposed) cater a special dinner in her hospital room. Mike traipses about Barcelona with a girl that he does not get along with and then they fall in love.

sabrina-goes-to-rome_816Sabrina Goes to Rome: Sabrina heads to Rome to solve the mystery of her ancestor’s locket. She learns that this woman was a witch who was betrayed by her mortal boyfriend (who blabbed to everyone that she was a witch) and ended up powerless and banished because of it. While in Rome, Sabrina meets a cute boy who discovers she is a witch and wants to sell a story about her to a tabloid. Sabrina manages to solve the mystery and also not be betrayed by the cute boy because the power of love and stuff.

And now for the breakdown:

hqdefaultOverall Plot: I’m struggling here. On the one hand, Sabrina had a much more fun plot. But I still think the “time travel to solve the mystery” thing is a massive plot hole. Couldn’t they have at least had her figure out some kind of spell in order to be able to travel back in time? But on the other hand Growing Pains is so rom-com derivative (even for Growing Pains) and I’m not sure I can keep awarding points to Maggie’s appendectomy. This is really a coin toss for me. But I guess I’ll give it to Growing Pains for their lack of plot holes.

Vacation AttireSabrina again.

MusicGrowing Pains really nailed the vacation music category in their Hawaiian episode, but this one just does not deliver. Sabrina has top 40 hits, so I’m guessing they had a much bigger budget. But she still gets the point.

Integration of European Setting: While in my experience, it’s totally implausible to go to Rome and not be catcalled by at least 25 individual males ages 14-58, Sabrina Goes to Rome could otherwise serve as a travel guide to the Eternal City (hm…now there’s a thought…)

Growing Pains: Overall Plot = 2 points
Sabrina: Music + Vacation Attire + Integration of European Setting = 3 points

Sabrina Goes to Rome is the Very Special European Vacation Champion!

The Facts of Life: Cousin Geri

In the final installment of Very Special Summer, we travel back to Eastland where Blair Warner has an unexpected visitor. Blair has won the Eastland Fine Arts Award for the third year in a row. Apparently, she’s an excellent artist–even though we have never seen her work. But she’s very anxious about her celebration dinner because her cousin Geri is in town for a comedy show and decides to pay Blair a visit.

Blair is super weird about introducing her to her friends because Geri has Cerebral Palsy. Geri is super chill about answering all of the girls’ questions (since apparently they go to prep school but have never taken science), but Blair is obviously uncomfortable and tells them to stop bothering her cousin. Geri says, “Questions don’t hurt. Ignorance does.” And then the studio audience applauds because this is The Facts of Life and this is the kind of shit we tune in to hear!

It doesn’t take long for the other girls to realize that Blair is in a bad mood because her cousin is visiting, and they call confront her for being so rude. Jo is particularly scathing and says that Blair is “just upset because their’s a Warner out there who isn’t perfect.” It’s obviously not the case, and this blatant jerk-ness was part of what made me not like Jo when she first started on the series. Mrs. Garrett tries to get Blair to admit that she is embarrassed by Geri, but Blair denies that this is the case.

In fact, it turns out that Blair is jealous of Geri. “With her here on my night, at my school, with my friends, everything I’ve worked for just seems so silly,” she says. I mean like woah. I think I could maybe understand where Blair is coming from if she wasn’t already super spoiled and like always the center of attention. Plus, like who gives a crap if large family gatherings focus more on Geri? It’s not like Bliar and Geri are siblings and Blair is like neglected  in favor of Geri or something. I feel like being jealous of Geri is just some able-bodied privilege that really disturbs me. But Mrs. Garrett is obviously a lot more understanding than I am and tells Blair that she shouldn’t feel guilty because she’s just being “human.”

Blair doesn’t even show up to her celebration dinner–where Geri is also performing. She arrives late in the middle of Geri’s performance (which just happens to be at the portion that Geri is hoping to perform with Blair like when they were kids). And then Blair stops the act and says “Hey, did you here about the girl who never told her cousin how great she is?” And Geri is all like what…no…? Tell me… And Blair is all like, “I never told you this before, but I think you’re terrific.” And then like dammit in spite of myself I teared up!

Blair really was a snot, but this was what made her so cool in the first couple of seasons of this show. As disgusting as her behavior was, it’s probably a pretty realistic portray of even the “ugly” feelings that we humans sometimes possess and don’t like to admit to. And she ended up genuinely doing the right thing at the end. I guess maybe she’ll still be a little jealous at Thanksgiving, but that’s not Geri’s fault and having a good relationship with her should maybe make that a little easier.

Very Special Lesson: If you show up late to your awards banquet, then you’d better put on a pretty good show to make up for it.

Family Matters: Like A Virgin

Harriet finds a love note that fell out of Eddie’s pants pocket and she shares it with Carl. It says “Eddie, we were foolish to wait. Last night was so special, and now I want us to share this experience as often as possible.” This is literally the worst thing I could ever think of my parents finding and reading. Even now, as an adult and non-teenage person, I would gouge my eyes out if they found a love note in my pants pocket. Well, actually I would be like “what are you doing in my pants pocket and why did you read that?”

Anyway, it turns out the the love note was in reference to Eddie supporting his girlfriend through her mother’s rehab and wasn’t a reference to anything sexual at all. But instead of just being like “Okay, son. Sorry we snooped and ready your note,” Carl asks him point blank if he’s still a virgin. (At this point Urkel has come over to the house and is now eavesdropping from the kitchen.) So Urkel totally overhears Eddie say he’s a virgin and then decides that’s information that’s totally okay to share with all of the cool guys at school. Omg. Whattt?

To be fair, he’s trying to use Eddie as an example of how you can be a “real man” and also be a virgin, but wait yeah it’s still definitely not okay to have shared that information. But then Eddie tries to lie to everyone and say he’s not a virgin. And Steve is all like no, I heard you talking to your dad! Urkel is so not even amusing in this episode, except that he does kind of have a cool ninja-towel-fight with everyone in the locker room, so I’m giving him points on that.

Then Laura and Eddie have a heart to heart about the double standard of being a virgin for females and males. And Eddie finally realizes it feels better to stand up for his choices than to hide from his “friends” or try to lie. It’s not like everyone is all like Whoops, Eddie. We were wrong. You’re really a cool dude. They pretty much continue to think he’s lame but he feels a lot better for standing by his decision.

Very Special Lesson: Hey, I think this might be like the perfect not-played-for-laughs Very Special Episode. Good job, Eddie!

Full House: Subterranean Graduation Blues

Did we know Uncle Jesse was a high school drop out? I don’t remember knowing that, but anyway he is graduating from night school in this episode. In fact, he is valedictorian. Everyone gets to go to the graduation except for his two toddlers. Even Michelle, who is in like the first grade, gets to go. She’s also on a big environmental kick, so she insists that they use public transportation (where we discover Danny’s face has been de-faced on an ad).

And suddenly, the entire Tanner family is transported to Brooklyn.  Even the guy they yell at for littering seems like he’d be more comfortable in Bay Ridge than by the Golden Gate Bridge. We cut away to Kimmy babysitting the twins, and then cut back to what looks like a D train going through a tunnel. Then the train stops due to an electrical problem and Jesse freaks out that he’s going to be late for his commencement. I mean, I think he should be more freaked out by the fact that he left Gerard Street ten minutes ago and somehow ended up in the Bronx, but you know, to each his own. And more importantly, what’s up with this 6 Diamond and how did the Tanners get to the east side? Just a couple of years in New York City ruined all establishing shots of public transportation for me.

So it turns out he will totally miss his graduation, and he’s really upset because now all of his teachers will think he’s still a screw up and blew the whole thing off. Some punk kid overhears him talking to Rebecca and tells Jesse that dropping out was the best thing he ever did. He asks Jesse for spare change and says that begging on the subway–er, Muni–is way better thanreading books by dead guys. And Jesse’s all like “I know who you are and where you’re going. You know where that is? That’s nowhere.” Um okay that’s a bit presumptuous for someone you just met on the train.

So then the punk kid is all like “school is hard.” And Jesse is all like “life is hard, man.”  Jesse sits him down and gives him his valedictory speech. So then the whole subway yells at him to go back to school. And some man plays Pomp & Circumstance on his saxophone and Jesse bows in front of everyone. And that was all it took to get that dude to want to go back to high school! Wow! Why don’t we all make speeches to strangers on the subway! It seems like they totally listen and are grateful for your invasively wise words.

Very Special Lesson: You know all of those people who drop out of high school and claim its because of lack of familial support or age inappropriate responsibilities thrust upon them at an early age? It turns out that it’s just that school was too boring and they simply prefer to ride the subway around all day. Be sure to share with all of them the importance of your education and how easy it was to get it while living with your wonderfully supportive family, all of whom attended your super delayed graduation! It’s so inspiring, isn’t it!

Boy Meets World: My Baby Valentine & Resurrection

Cory is soooo excited for Valentine’s Day. He’s putting a lot of pressure on the day because the previous year he cheated on Topanga with Linda Cardellini, and they broke up. But his mom is super pregnant with baby Josh, so Topanga has taken it upon herself to be helpful to the entire family–not just Cory. This messes up his plans and he gets really whiny. They’re about to have a gender-divided Valentine’s Day until Cory insists on throwing the baby shower Topanga offers to host for his mother. This family is pretty enmeshed, guys.

It turns out that Cory thinks baby showers are like bachelorette parties. He even hires a stripper. For his mother. It’s really weird. Meanwhile, Eric, Jack, and Alan play cards–with Mr. Feeny. Back at the Matthews home, Topanga has managed to salvage the bridal shower after kid-sister Morgan kicked Cory out of the house.

Topanga thought it was appropriate to buy Mrs. Matthews a sexy nightie and talk about how good she’ll look after the baby is born–so good in fact that Mr. Matthews will get her pregnant all over again. Morgan sits next to her mother and somehow manages not to barf. Then she gives her baby sweater to her mom for the new baby and is all bummed out that she’s not the baby anymore. Amy promises to spend more time with Morgan until the baby comes and then she immediately goes into labor.

Back at Eric’s apartment, Alan yells at Cory for selfishly ruining the baby shower. He’s too self-centered to realize that life goes on outside of Hallmark Holidays, and that his stressed-out and super-pregnant mom deserved Topanga’s attention more than he did. Amy delivers the baby via C-section and everything appears to be fine. But then the nurse notices the completely not at all premature baby actor breathing “irregularly” and they have to put little Josh in the NICU.

(Oh and also, Jack, Eric, and Rachel work out their love-triangle because Eric is some awesome and is totally cool with them dating behind his back and not knowing how to tell him.)

In the waiting room, Cory keeps trying to tell Topanga that there’s nothing in the world more important than their love and that is why they are getting married. Bleh. Anyway, Alan comes out and tells everyone that the baby might die and they all look horrified. It is awful. And then the episode ends. It’s not technically a 2-parter, but I’m not going to leave you hanging.

The NICU doctor wants to administer a 10-day course of antibiotics and then see how Josh does with that. Cory is freaking out and wants Topanga to fix everything. Cory is so needy at eighteen. I kind of forgot. I feel bad for Topanga though because he keeps demanding so much of her and like insists that she hold his hand as a magical cure-all. So she grabs his hand and says, “I don’t like it when you use us to hide from the rest of life, Cory.” OMG she’s so cool. Why can’t they let her be this cool on Girl Meets World?!

Then Corey says, “I don’t like it that you’re not Topanga anymore,” which is kind of mean, honestly. Topanga goes home and talks to Angela. She tells her about that time in the sixth-grade when she danced around and put lipstick no her face, and somehow feels that’s when Cory fell in love with her. They’re all at the hospital and Cory is still mad at Topanga for somehow failing to magically fix reality, and luckily Shawn shows up. (He’s been away searching his soul or something.)

With Shawn and Topanga by his side, Cory is finally ready to go talk to baby Josh in the incubator. Then they all give this baby a pep talk about how he has to live because he is breaking their hearts. Shawn gives the most inspiring speech of all. He tells Josh that they have the best family of all and they don’t need to go anywhere else to find it. He wants Josh to get better so that they can have fun and make new memories.

By the end of the episode, Josh is doing well enough to go home. Then Topanga draws on her face with lipstick in order to show that she’s not all that different for her eleven year-old self. She draws on Cory’s face too. I remember really liking this episode as a kid because it acknowledged how drastically Topanga’s character had changed. But not it feels so oddly timed because Topanga had been pretty non-hippie and serious for a few years prior to this. I feel like Cory was so mean to her because she wasn’t “inspiring hope” when she was just trying to be realistic about a potential tragedy. Sorry, she’s not your coping-guru, Cory.

Very Special Lesson: If your mom is really really pregnant and then you have a premature baby brother and you are annoyed that your girlfriend is growing up and it’s Valentine’s Day–get over yourself. Also, I am finding it more and more disturbing that Cory and Topanga were engaged at eighteen. But oh well, at least they worked through this.

The Brady Bunch: Adios, Johnny Bravo

We open the episode with the Brady’s auditioning to sing on a television show. They get the spot on the show, and–even better–they’re spotted by an agent. They’re super excited about getting representation, and Greg goes down to her office to make a deal for the group. But as it turns out, they’re only interested in Greg. It’s just like when Michael Jackson didn’t need his brothers as a kid performer, but his brothers needed him so he stuck with the band–except Greg doesn’t do that. He accepts the solo deal. The other Brady kids are devastated.

But Alice tells them that they’re kind of being jerks to Greg. The agent didn’t want the rest of them, and it’s not fair for Greg to miss out on a great opportunity just because some record agent thought he was better than the rest of them. So they apologize to Greg and wish him well. The Brady’s are such nice kids. They resolve things so quickly and so easily. Part of the deal is that Greg has to perform as “Johnny Bravo.” And Cindy promises to start his first fan club.

Meanwhile, the Brady parents freak out over Greg’s future. They want him to go to college, but they don’t want to force him. They’re hopeful for his music career, but realize it’s very hard to succeed in the business or have any kind of lasting career. But Greg ultimately decides not to go to college, and heads back to the record company.

Once there, he discovers that they’ve altered the sound of his voice (like David Cassidy in The Partridge Family, which is the entire reason the Brady kids started singing in the first place.) To make matters worse, they only picked Greg because he fit the suit. So he rips up his contract (I’m not sure this actually counts legally but oh well) and rejoins the family group. Then they sing this really great song:

Very Special Lesson: Always be wary of people who send you to wardrobe before they let you lay down tracks. Oh right, and always be true to yourself.
Also, can we talk about those palazzo pant jump suits the girls are wearing? I know they look ridiculous, but I’m also really into them and would like to own a palazzo pant jump suit.

The Facts of Life: Growing Pains

The girls have just returned from summer vacation and all of them have been busy talking to boys except for Tootie. Blair has brought back a couple of bottles of wine from her trip to France, but they hide it from Tootie because she is still a “child.” They plan to have a little party while Tootie is at drama club, but she walks in on them before they can even start drinking. (They want her to play Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, so she quits.) She threatens to report them (because she is dorm monitor for their dorm of 4 people). And they leave to go drink in the laundry room (so cool). For whatever reason, they leave an entire bottle of wine behind. Tootie decides to drink it to “prove that she’s not a child.”

In some incredible dramatic timing, the headmaster shows up for a meeting with Mrs. Garrett. He’s also inspecting the dorm to make sure the “dorm” looks up to spec. Tootie comes down stairs to lock the door, but the headmaster and Mrs. Garrett catch her drunk. She’s about to be kicked out of school (for the second time in like a year. How is this even a question?). Feeling guilty, the other three girls tell Mrs. Garrett where Tootie got the wine. So they should all get kicked out, right? This is the second offense here with the underage drinking and sneaking around. But nooooo. Eastland is the school of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances. They’re all grounded for 2 months with no television and no dates (is that not already including as a term of the grounding?) Mrs. Garrett agrees not to tell the headmaster and warns them all that if they ever do this again, “they’re on their own.” Yeah right, Mrs. Garrett.

Very Special Lesson: It is virtually impossible to get expelled from the Eastland School for Girls.

Family Matters: Saved by the Urkel

Carl get electrocuted by a lamp (after Urkel tells him it’s unsafe). Steve gives him CPR (while also walking the television viewers through the steps, but you should probably take a class before trying this yourself). Also, Steve’s chest compressions are noticeably too shallow, but I’m assuming that’s because he’s doing “CPR” on someone who is definitely not in cardiac arrest in real life. Carl wakes up and feels just fine, except for the fact that he now owes his life to Urkel.

So then Carl is super nice to Steve and it is weird. I hate it and I want them all to go back to being mean to him. What weird Leave it to Beaver world have we been transported into??  Okay, well he’s actually not that nice because he can’t manage to apologize to Steve for treating him like crap for his entire childhood. He finally does apologize, but he still feels indebted to Steve. He grants Steve his only wish in the world, unlimited access to the Winslow house.  Carl (obviously) regrets this immediately.

Meanwhile, the elder Winslow children feel awful that they couldn’t help their father. They decide it might be a good idea to take a CPR class like Steve did. They also start being super nice to Steve, and it is similarly weird. As Eddie puts it “Look Steve, you’re a nerdy, annoying dweeb. But after what you did, the least I could do is put up with you.”

This leads Steve to realize that he doesn’t want their friendship if it isn’t genuine. So he tells Carl to just go ahead and be mad at him for all of the stupid stuff he does (i.e. sit down on a freshly varnished chair, break the whole house, etc.) This leads Carl to berate Steve in a full-on verbally abusive onslaught, to Steve’s glee. That’s pretty awful. Luckily, for Steve, Laura is still happy to have him as a friend. She acknowledges that he’s nerdy and annoying, but he’s still a good friend. And then she kisses him on the cheek!

Very Special Lesson: You can save someone’s life, but that doesn’t mean they have to like you. They probably should like you though. Yeah. They should seriously at least like you a little.