"Cory Matthews, Cory Matthews, Cory Matthews. What else is there to say, except that I am currently single and available. Call me. Cory Matthews... a hero!"
- — Eric, giving a "speech to honor Cory"
After Cory and Shawn's story about aliens eating their homework is ignored by Dr. Sorell, they break into the science lab the following night to submit their late papers. However, the flashlight breaks, and Cory is forced to light a match. Accidently burning himself, Cory throws the lit matchbook into the trash, starting a fire. They trigger the fire alarm, and run away.
The next day at school, Janitor Bud, who was sleeping at the school last night, identifies Cory as the one who activated the alarm. Believing Cory to be a hero, the staff of John Adams High congratulates him. Cory considers telling the truth, but likes the respect people give him, and decides to enjoy it.
In appriciation of his "heroic act", Bud gives him a "locker genie", Cory makes a speech while cheered on by the whole school, a parade is arranged in his honor, and some people discuss renaming the school Cory Adams High. Cory loves being in the spotlight for once. But when Eli Williams pulls strings to get him interviewed on TV, Cory starts to have serious doubts about continuing the facade.
Eric, however, decides to use the interview as a chance to make his childhood dream come true: becoming a weatherman. Seting his sights on replacing Rich Herrerra, the local weatherman, he hijacks the interview with his parents to sell his weatherman skills to the people of Phillidelphia. But when he likens Cory's growth to a coastal eddy, Alan sends him to his room, ruining his supposed chance at frame.
Meanwhile, Cory visits Feeny in the backyard, and asks him the definition of a hero. Feeny notes that while a fireman could be a hero, his own father worked years at a job he hated so he could support his family, and is a hero in his eyes. Hinting he knows the truth, he continues to say that a true hero does the right thing when it's not the easy thing to do. Understanding finally, Cory confesses to his parents, and the interview is cancelled.
Back at school, Cory is back at the bottom of the social ladder. Bud takes away his locker genie, Dr. Sorrell refuses to listen to his excuses, and he is refered to as "Hey, kid," but Cory confesses that he's glad things are back to normal.