6-5 Better Than Average Cory
Summary by: Laura
Orginal Air Date: 1998-10-23
Writer: Patti Carr
Director: David Kendall
Capsule Summary: Morgan befriends a young artist; Cory thinks he's too average.
Extendo Summary: The episode opens in the abstract section of the art museum. Feeny's class (what subject??) is on a field trip (???). Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Angela meet to exchange good news: Shawn got into the photography program! Angela got an A on her paper, "Maintaining your black identity when you have three very white friends"! Cory... found a penny. Cory volunteers to analyze a painting and, as usual, he assumes it has a negative meaning, and that the artist is bitter. A younger (see Rants) girl corrects him. He mocks her until she reveals she is the artist, Alexandra Nechita (a real young artist who really did the painting they're looking at). Despite being a "cultural icon," Alexandra just wants a friend, so Cory takes her home to play with Morgan.
Cory frets to Shawn that he has no talents, there's nothing that separates him from anyone else; nobody ever put a paintbrush in his hand when he was two, or otherwise helped him figure out what he was good at.
Downstairs, Amy and Alan exposit that Morgan, though a good singer, isn't entering the talent show because she already knows another girl will win. The parents try to change her mind, but when she says she doesn't want to, they don't press it. Coming downstairs, Cory bitches that the parents are grooming another 8th-placer. He blames his parents for his mediocrity. When he asks "Why didn't you want me to be better" and Alan rumbles "Better than me?" he, instead of backing off and saying "I didn't mean it that way" like every other human ever, cries "Yeah!" Yeesh. What an asshole Cory's turning into. That can be his special talent!!!
Back at the dorm, Cory finally shows remorse for what he said, but also says he meant it. Topanga, Angela and Shawn try to encourage him. Alan shows up to whisk Cory off to see the slummy place where he first worked. "Why are you so ashamed of being average? Look at this place, touch it. Get some dirt on your hands. Try and see what average looked like from here. To me average, average was a dream." Cory gets some well-deserved shame which will undoubtedly be lost by next episode.
Talent show. Morgan doesn't want to follow the fire-juggling act, but Alexandra tells her "If you're lucky enough that God gave you [a gift], I think you should share it." Morgan sings that song from Beaches, and it's about like how you would expect. She can sing pretty well, but she's a little girl singing, it's kind of embarrassing. Cory gets up from his chair and starts singing "You are the wind beneath my wings" to Alan while Alan and Amy look frightened and ashamed.
After the talent show, Cory apologizes to Alan. "I know it's up to me to make my life something to be proud of." Alan assures him that even if he has no talent, he can find meaning in other ways (like having a family).
Meanwhile, Eric is afraid to leave Jack and Rachel. When he finally cracks and goes to the bathroom, Rachel starts choking, and Jack performs the Heimlich. Rachel is now convinced that she owes Jack for saving her life. Eric is terribly dismayed, convinced Jack will ask for sex or a relationship or something. Jack asks for a PBJ so she won't feel like she owes him something, because he's a nice guy. He tells Eric he would have asked for the same thing. In the tag, Eric pretends to have been electrocuted so Rachel will rescuscitate him, but quickly gets up when Rachel asks Jack to do mouth-to-mouth.
"I don't know, maybe if my son thinks average is nothing, then I've done my job. But I'm sorry that you're not proud." --Alan
There's a glaring mismatch between Alexandra Nechita's scripted age and her actual age, and it's impossible to overlook when every single line is about how young she is. They act like she's about six. (Cory calls her "little girl" and "gets her nose"; her own lines involve calling Cory "Mr. Mean Man" and announcing "I'm not supposed to lie.") In actuality, she was thirteen when the episode was filmed. Cursory research would have revealed her actual age and meeting the girl would have further revealed that she could by no means pass for any younger. She's clearly a teenager, and the overalls and braids Wardrobe gave her do nothing to disguise it.
I guess the script must have been written before anybody met her in person, but that's really no excuse. Scripts aren't written in stone. There's two ways they could have gone with this episode--either keep Nechita, change the script to ditch the kiddie jokes so that it's just about Cory's feelings of insecurity as compared to an incredibly accomplished eighth-grader; OR keep the script more or less as is, just change the names and substitute in fake art works, and cast a child actress as the young artist. Either way would have worked. This way quite plainly does not. The result is a jarring experience as all the players act in direct opposition to what your senses scream at you is true.
(Actually (as I was surprised to learn) Alexandra Nechita is about Morgan's age (she and Lindsay Ridgeway were both born in 1985). However, thanks to some quirk of the puberty gods, Morgan looks significantly younger in the episode. Alexandra is about 150% Morgan's size. Still, they could have still had the girls be friends without making them play with crayons and talk like grade-schoolers. When Cory and friends were thirteen, they were already embarking on lifelong romantic commitments. God.)
- They actually did a pretty good job with the "Got your nose" bit ("Mr. Matthews, give her back her nose," Feeny admonishes, and when Cory says "Come on, I'm just playing with the kid," Feeny says, "Cory, I believe the 'kid' whose nose you hold is Alexandra Nechita." Realizing that she's the artist, Cory hands back her nose, and she solemnly puts it back on her face.) It might have been funny if it weren't so ludicrous.
- Jack: "Marry me. Marry me quickly before he gets out of the bathroom."
- Cory is so average, he has a giant poster of some celery.
Continuity, Yay! Shawn is still interested in photography, as was introduced unceremoniously in 5-23 Things Change.
Episode Themes: Whiny Cory, Morgan
Rating: 1. Ehhh. Not so great.Back | Back to Season 6 Episode Guide | Next