22 min., 1998
Written by Jeff Menell
Directed by Jeff McCracken
My rating: ★★★★
A sitcom that pays respect to the horror genre.
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When I was thinking about doing some TV episodes the first thing that popped into my head was Tales From The Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Forever Knight, The Outer Limits, etc. But after a little more thinking I thought it would be more fun to find the really odd horror or horror themed episodes of non-horror shows. There are very few non-horror themed shows that actually delve into the realm of horror and most of the time it’s only for brief moments or are just vague references, but there are a few out there where the majority of the episode deals in the realm of horror. This is one of those.
Boy Meets World is a teen sitcom that started in 1993 and it revolves around three main characters, Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel). Growing up I never heard of Boy Meets World but after watching Cabin Fever, which also stars Rider Strong, my friend told me about the show. I was curious and decided to check out a few episodes. On some channel (I really don’t remember which one) they would run three or four episodes in a row and one of those episodes happened to be And Then There Was Shawn. I was really surprised at the episode and that caused me to watch some more, but alas it didn’t have enough to keep we watching. I’m just not really into sitcoms, hell, TV in general. After starting the site with my “co-workers”, I’ve always thought about bringing up this episode because it is just a strange place to find horror.
The story so far is that Cory and Topanga have broken up and Shawn’s world has been thrown into a form of chaos because those two have always been together. So he starts acting out in class after a fellow classmate asks Topanga for a pencil (and for some reason she uses those really large pencils). Because of his acting out, their teacher Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) sends them to detention along with a few other classmates. While in detention Mr. Feeny leaves and they see a strange janitor outside the door. They get a bit worried and then the pull down map flips up and reveals a message – NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE! Everyone starts freaking out and as Shawn starts explaining that what is going on reminds him of some horror movies that he saw, almost everything he says is going to happen, does. Then when a strange girl, Jennifer Love Fefferman (Jennifer Love Hewitt), shows up things start getting even more dangerous.
For a TV sitcom the acting is pretty strong. Rider Strong is really good, especially when he brings up the horror movies. It’s funny but he plays it like they are real movies. William Daniels doesn’t have a really big role in this episode, but whenever he is on screen you can’t help what pay attention to what he is doing. He is really good at his role and he plays well off of the teen cast. On the opposite side is Danielle Fishel. She just didn’t seem to be interested in what was going on and was just going through the episode just to get to the end.
The biggest surprise for me was the actual deaths that took place. There are some really hammy ones (death by falling books), but there are also some really good ones. One of the kids gets a pencil (yes, one of the giant ones) through the forehead, and as he slides down the wall it leaves a pencil line, surprisingly gruesome and really funny.
This is a show that isn’t for everyone, but it is one that knows the horror genre (mainly the slasher) really well. It plays on the conventions and has a blast doing it. Serious horror fans should sit back, take a breath of fresh air, step out of their comfort zones and check this one out. Don’t expect a gore fest because it is just a regular TV show, but sometimes it’s nice to see a TV show outside the realm of horror touch on a subject that isn’t regularly done, especially in a teen sitcom.Have You Read...?