7-5 You Light Up My Union
Summary by: Laura
Orginal Air Date: 1999-10-22
Writer: Allison M. Gibson
Director: Kevin Tracy
Capsule Summary: Jack and Eric manage the student union; Topanga gives Cory a key.
Extendo Summary: Jack and Eric get jobs as the manager and assistant manager of the student union. On a mission to deposit the store money, Eric is struck by the pathetic story of a poor organ grinder and his monkey and compassionately, if naively, gives them the cash. Jack yells at him and tells him he got screwed over. To make up for letting down Jack, Eric turns into a hard, calculating businessman. Jack, but not Feeny, is pleased by this character change. But then Jack runs into a woman with her own sob story and gives away more money that is not his, realizing that a good heart is more important than money and stuff. Or something.
Meanwhile, Topanga gives Cory a key to the girls' apartment, so Cory and Shawn can come and go whenever they please. When their girlfriends are away, the boys go through Rachel's underwear drawer, eat her food, and read her diary. Topanga and Angela urge Rachel to forgive the boys because they are cute, so she sets out to prove what pigs they are. In the end, the girlfriends are just as disgusted with the dynamic duo's behavior as we, the viewers.
- The Pigs Since when are Cory and Shawn such total sleazeballs? Part of Rachel's uncomfortableness with the situation stems from the fact that (a) Topanga and Angela didn't consult with her before giving away apartment keys, and (b) having the boys over all the time makes her feel like a fifth wheel. This would have been sufficient conflict for the episode; and small things like eating the girls' food or leaving messes would have been enough to add to it. There was no need to turn Cory and Shawn into such despicable children for the duration of this one episode. After this, how are we suppose to sympathize with the boys later on?
- Moral? The end of the episode has the organ grinder coming back and paying Eric back all the money he borrowed. Despite heavy hinting that he was a con man, he turns out to be true-blue. This turns the moral from "the benefits of compassion outweigh its dangers" to "believe everyone". Eric's incredible joylessness after his transformation, as well as Jack's epiphany in the bank, were sufficient to prove that compassion was a positive thing without everything being wrapped up so neatly and positively.
Eric has some good antics when he turns into an insanely mean guy, snapping at customers and cutting corners. An over-the-top scene in the bank shows Jack having a vision of himself and Eric in the roles of unfeeling bank officials and realizes it's only a "cold, cruel world" because of the cold cruel people like him that are in it. I like that scene for the sheer melodrama, and I like that Eric, even though he's dumb, is eventually respected for his optimistic, love-everyone outlook.
Episode Themes: Dumb Eric, Cory and Shawn Hijinks
Rating: 3. Great Eric antics, and indeed underlying pro-Eric themes, marred by yet another annoying Shory-Topangela plot.Back | Back to Season 7 Episode Guide | Next