5-19 Eric Hollywood
Summary by: Laura
Orginal Air Date: 1998-03-20
Writer: Barbie Feldman
Director: Alan Myerson
Capsule Summary: Eric becomes an actor; Topanga takes care of sick Shawn and Jack.
Extendo Summary: Eric is building sets for the college's production of "Romeo and Juliet", and of course his balcony falls apart and crushes Romeo. Eric volunteers to step in, considering that as he has been teching since the first rehearsal, and thus knows the whole play. And his impromptu audition--where Will Friedle gets to overact sincerity to his heart's content--impresses the director.
His debut is no disappointment. It seems Eric has raw acting talent. More Shakespeare performances confirm this, and he recieves rave reviews. After a particularly rousing performance, he is recruited by representatives from Julliard, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and ABC. Eric is thrilled by the prospect of being "in the TV", so he chooses to go to Hollywood to live out this dream.
In L.A., Eric is ridiculously excited as he wanders around the backlots in a golf cart with Feeny. Finally they reach their destination: the set of a show called "Kid Gets Acquainted with Universe"! He has been called to try out for the part of the long-lost brother. He enjoys meeting the actors (the real Boy Meets World actors playing hilarious take-offs of themselves; see "Highlights"). When the time comes to try out, he performs the role Shakespeareanly--until the director tells him to just relax and be himself. At which point, he goes off-script to chew out Ben, a co-actor, for the hyposcrisy of playing a nice role whilst being a mean guy. The actor calls "Cut!", and Eric gets canned.
Mr. Feeny tells Eric not to be upset about the rejection. Easy come, easy go; and being an actor is hard work and has lots of rejection. Eric decides to abandon acting and go home.
Meanwhile, Topanga comes over to the boys' apartment to make sure everything is OK between herself and Shawn. Ever since she and Cory broke up, things have been weird, and "I really care about being your friend." As she discusses this with him, Jack wanders in with some sort of rash on his face. "Jack!" Topanga cries, "what happened to your face?" "Apparently she doesn't care about being my friend," comments a non-chalant Jack, before Topanga realizes he has chicken pox.
Topanga warns Jack about the potential seriosity of the disease and fears for Shawn's health as well. Her suspicions are confirmed when she finds dots on his tummy. "I've never felt better," Shawn argues--then, with a "or perhaps I have," he faints in her arms.
Topanga takes it upon herself to take care of Shawn and Jack during their illness. Jack appreciates this immediately, weeping as Topanga reads him a sad story. But Shawn is less than thrilled about his new nursemaid. Even though Jack wants her to stay, Shawn bids her go.
Once Jack is reasonably well, he urges a still-sickish Shawn to call Topanga and apologize. Shawn tells Jack once a couple breaks up, you're forced to choose, and Shawn chooses Cory.
Topanga comes over to drop off some soup. Shawn asks if she wants to know what Cory really thinks about her, now that they've broken up. Topanga changes the subject, saying that if he can't be comfortable around her now that she and Cory have broken up, they were never friends in the first place--does he concur? Shawn tells her Cory still thinks Topanga is wonderful, and he's broken-hearted about losing her, and "if you and I weren't friends anymore, it would break my heart too." Aw.
"Okay, in retrospect it might have been foolish of me to consider paste the nail's silent cousin, but you live, you learn." --Eric
"Methinks you shrunk my socks on purpose!" --Eric
- Eric's Shakespeare is DELICIOUS. His impression of good acting is not to be missed. (Strangely, all of his "good acting" faces involve a highly raised eyebrow, and it works. Definitely lots of eyebrow action in this episode. GOOOD TIMES.)
- Amy warns Eric not to let the good reviews go to his head. "I would never," says Eric sincerely. Amy turns over the student newspaper to exclaim about a local sale, and Eric snatches the paper, crumpling it and throwing it to the floor as he screams "THAT'S NOT ABOUT ME!"
- After seeing Eric's performance Amy asks where Eric got his motivation to weep openly before Ophelia's grave. Conspiratorially, Eric shows her the script. "It's right here, 'weeps openly'. I mean they tell you what to do!" He grins mischeivously as if he's getting away with something.
- Company humility: Eric describes ABC as "American Broadcasting Company, the top network, alphabetically, in the world" [italics mine].
- Kid Gets Acquainted Antics!
- All of the actors on the fake show are played by their character counterparts on the real show (for example, the boy who plays 'Ben Sandwich', "Kid Gets Acquainted"'s main character, is played by Ben Savage.) Bear this in mind. Also bear in mind that this episode, while 'ilarious in and of itself, was probably much more so for the writers and actors who had first-hand view of the in-jokes. The actors' personalities on the fake show can probably give us some insight into the dispositions of the real actors and the backstage dynamic. This makes me happy.
- The Morgan-actress claims to be a 42-year-old who just plays little girls on TV. She complains about her lush husband and pinches Eric's ass.
- The Cory-actor, Ben Sandwich, ("maybe you've heard of his brother? Red Sandwich?") is easily angered and jealous; he takes Eric aside and says "Let me tell you what this show is not. This show is not 'Long Lost Brother Gets Acquainted with the Universe.'"
- The Shawn-actor, Schneider, huddles on the couch with his knees pulled up and his arms wrapped around them. When Eric offers his hand, Shawn-actor pulls away instinctively, looking up with wide, sad eyes and murmuring, "Sometimes I get shy. People who aren't shy make me nervous."
- Suddenly the door bursts open and the Topanga-actress appears, leaning sexily and dynamically against the doorframe. "HIIII!" she calls. Schneider swallows and cowers. "Oh no, it's her!" he murmurs fearfully. The Topanga-actress gives Eric a big hug and asks if he's met Schneider. "Schneider is very shy," she says patronizingly, giving Schneider a big hug. Schneider looks physically pained by this encounter, through which he squeezes his eyes shut and chants "Too-close-too-close-too-close!" Topanga-actress tells Eric, "Deep down, I'm shy too. I'm a wounded bird. Schneider-and-me-are-wounded-birds," she says cheerily, snuggling her head against Schneider's back. The unlucky Shawn-actor merely looks plaintively at Eric: "Help me."
- The Jack-actor pulls Eric aside to ask him why they need Eric on the show, since they've already got him (Jack-actor). He interrupts his musings with "Where's my banana?" He turns to shout at random crew members, "Where's my banana? Is it or is not 2:15? Hey, Banana Boy!"
- Mr. Feeny addresses an important BMW issue with a crewmember as he surveys the classroom set. "You call this a classroom? There are only nine desks. Are we supposed to believe there are only 9 students in the whole class?"
- Ben abuses Schneider as they prepare for a scene.
Ben: "Maybe you could give me a little something to play off today, huh? You dead person. You silent freak. I'm tired of carrying this show."
Schneider: "I'm sorry, Mr. Sandwich, sir. Please don't be upset with me. I need this job so I can pay for college and get an education."
Ben (laughing): "Education? Son, this show goes four years, they'll be givin' you an honorary degree. You'll be Doctor Creepy Weirdo."
Ben and Schneider play their characters, Rory and Shane, very close to their Cory and Shanw counterparts, only slightly over-the-top (Ben is a little more low-key, Shane rubs his hair back a little more than usual).
When Ben realizes they're doing another Rory-learns-a-lesson plot again, he yells at the director. "How can I learn so much and still be so stupid?!" Schneider, upset at the yelling, just rocks back and forth in a little ball on the couch: "Make him stop! Make him stop!"
- The director argues that they have the best writers money can buy.
"Yeah, that's all I hear these days," complains Ben, "they're young, they're hip, they're fun." He runs over to the writers, who are a bunch of children sitting around a small table. Ben leans over to them and shouts, "HEY! Do your job!"
One of the children (Jake Thomas, Matt on Lizzie McGuire) makes a sad puppy-dog face at him. "Did I hurt your feelings?" asks Ben. "GOOD! Because this script is POOPY!"
"It's poopy? YOU'RE poopy!" retorts the child.
"Ohhh, no," sighs a small girl.
Another boy leans over, puts his arm around the first child and says, inexplicably, "That was a good thing to say. Let's just watch what happens now!" He puts his arm out, indicating the still-fuming Ben, who fires them all. Oh, for fun.
- Eric's portrayal of "Derek", the long-lost older brother, must be seen to be believed. He uses his Shakespearean acting skills to over-melodramatize his lines, which include "Ouchy-m'gouchy, little bro! If I can't have my lucky tube socks I shall never pass the astronaut test!!"
- In the end-credit sequence, Cory has shrunk Eric's lucky tube socks.
Cory: "I don't think they're so lucky anymore."
Eric: "That's not the line."
Eric: "That's not the line. The line is, 'Honey, I shrunk the tube socks.'"
Cory: "Oh, I'm sorry, Will--I was trying something new."
Eric: "Oh, you were trying something NEW, WERE YA?!"
At this point, Eric/Will goes nuts, screaming and throwing things in anger. The camera follows him off the set and into the backstage crew area. Shawn arrives on the scene, entering through the Matthews kitchen door.
Shawn: "Bad news, guys. I blew up another mailbox."
Shawn/Rider looks around at the mess.
Shawn: "What, did Will flip out again?"
Cory: "Yeah. What are we gonna do? He's gonna be hard to replace."
Cory/Ben and Shawn/Rider look around, finally grinning at the camera.
Shawn (calling): "Hey, Banana Boy! Wanna be a star?"
Episode Themes: Dumb Eric, Eric's Potential
Rating: 6. Best. Episode. Ever. Almost everything in it is a highlight, as you can probably tell from the extensive list. But my transcripts don't do justice to the actors' performances. If you get a chance to see this episode, take it, I implore you! Back | Back to Season 5 Episode Guide | Next