Saved by the Bell Season 1, Episode 3: “The Gift”

Zack Morris’s monologue tells us that it’s mid-term time. Wait, didn’t they just get report cards last week? Whatever, this school has the most fucked up academic year I’ve ever seen. Anyway, Zack Morris tells us there’s one teacher whose midterms strikes fear into the heart of all students, and he yells it: “Terrible Testaverde.” Except I thought he said Terrible Testes at first. Seriously. Hey, it could have been a sex ed mid-term, and after the insane biology teacher last week, nothing surprises me.

All the students in the hallway suddenly shriek in fear.

Bayside scared

My favorite is the girl to the left of Zack Morris in the Betty Rubble costume whose idea of being scared is standing completely still with her hands on her head.

Apparently the gang has all become a nervous wreck over Mr. Testaverde’s mid-term, which is supposed to be nearly impossible to pass. Lisa has taken to overeating to cope. Jessie has turned to over-studying, and Slater has taken the opportunity to pull some rigged bets on Zack Morris in order to steal property from him. His latest involves throwing water balloons at Screech, which I guess he wins since Zack Morris doesn’t automatically throw a balloon at Screech, so Slater wins Zack Morris’s sunglasses. Oh, and Slater’s balloon looks like a boobie.

Slater boobie

Zack Morris challenges Slater to make a real bet, and Zack Morris bets his ham radio against Slater’s bomber jacket.Now this is an area I happen to know a lot about, and you need a license to operate a ham radio. Back when this episode was made, you needed to pass a test involving electronic theory and Morse Code. Something tells me this is a test that neither Zack Morris nor Slater could pass, meaning they’re operating ham radios illegally.

Slater bets him that Kelly will be the next one to run down the stairs, because she’s the only one of the six who hasn’t been seen yet. And, of course, Slater stole Kelly’s tennis shoes so that she would have to come back down to her locker and get them. What does she see in either of these guys, really?

That night, Zack Morris, who’s apparently using his ham radio to do bad impersonations of Elvis Presley in violation of FCC regulations, has Screech on his roof helping him disconnect his ham radio from the antenna. Once again, this makes no sense because all you have to do is screw the coaxial cable off the back of the radio. He never attempts to give the antenna to Slater later so why the hell is Screech on the roof? And yes, his bedroom is another reuse of the Jessie/Lisa bedroom.

In sitcom cliché number one million, Screech is struck by lightning and, rather than dying, simply has the least convincing Afro wig I’ve ever seen.

Screech Afro

Screech stumbles around drunk muttering about his dinner and turns on the TV by touching it. And wouldn’t you know, an episode of Saved by the Bell is on. I guess this is their attempt to be meta.

Screech TV

Edit: Reader Mark Moore points out in the comments that I may be mistaken about this being the exterior of Bayside High. I could have sworn this was the case but it’s looking like he’s right. It’s still a damned weird thing to come on Zack Morris’s television.

Edit Again: Mystery solved! The building used in the television is not Bayside. It’s the exterior of John F. Kennedy Junior High School from Good Morning, Miss Bliss! That makes it even more weird and meta!

JFK Jr High

Screech leaves, but not before telling Zack Morris to answer his phone…before it starts ringing! I sense a plot!

The next day, Screech has gotten over his bad-Afro syndrome, but he’s still seeing things before they happen. Lightning kills people, or, at the very least, seriously injures them. It does not give them fucking psychic powers! I wish this plot would die already. Screech keeps Zack Morris from being killed by some negligent workers installing a fluorescent light directly over his head. Really, I know this show bends the truth but I can’t imagine someone so incompetent they would work on a fixture directly over a teenager’s head. Screech sees some bad actors pretending to be “nerds” and, well, maybe we should play twenty questions to decide what Zack Morris is going to do about Screech’s new found powers. If you don’t know by now, you don’t watch nearly enough Saved by the Bell. You lucky soul.

In the classroom we finally meet Mr. Testaverde and OH MY GOD IT’S THE MICRO MACHINES GUY!!!

Testaverde

If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, there was no way to avoid this guy! He became famous because he could talk really, really fast and so he was cast on lots of different shows where he talked…really, really fast. Most famously for my generation, he was the spokesman for a line of miniature toy cars called Micro Machines that aren’t made anymore but should be. I have no idea what talking fast had to do with toy cars, but the commercials were unavoidable and are now classic.

Here’s to you, Micro Machines guy! Long may you talk!

So, of course, the Micro Machines guy talks so fast during his review session for the History mid-term that the kids can’t keep up with taking notes, and the bell rings before they can ask questions.

In the locker room, the girls are freaking out about the mid-term, with Lisa displaying traits of obesity as she can’t seem to get her mind off food.

Lisa chocolate

Jessie is equally obsessed as she claims she’s never gotten less than an A in her life. And, in a moment of insight, Jessie actually realizes that the three of them are only based on one trait each and, if she doesn’t get an A, she won’t be the smart one anymore.

Meanwhile, Zack Morris uses Screech to win a bet against Slater to not only earn back his ham radio but also get Slater’s bomber jacket.

Mr. Belding calls Screech into his office after learning that he got struck by lightning to make sure he’s still the same unlikable squeaky-voiced teen he always has been and always will be. Geez, I’m glad some adult gave a damn about whether he has brain damage or not. He could be comatose by now and no one would be the wiser. The scene goes nowhere, though, except for Mr. Belding having to admit that Screech may be able to see the future.

At The Max, Zack Morris is on his ’80s style cell phone making plans to take Screech gambling at the race track Saturday, which neither of them can legally do yet since neither of them are 18.

Zack cell phone

Zack Morris also decides to use Screech to find out the answers to the Micro Machines guy’s mid-term. With these answers, he bets Slater a week as his love slave he’ll get an A on the mid-term, which should automatically tell you that Zack Morris now wants to flunk the mid-term. Kelly overhears and Zack Morris decides to use the knowledge of the exam questions to invite Kelly over to his house to date rape her.

In Zack Morris’s room, he stares creepily at Kelly as she sexily highlights text in her book. He really wishes she’s highlight something else.

Zack Kelly room

Zack Morris tries to molest Kelly, but he’s cock blocked by Lisa and Jessie, whom Kelly told about Zack Morris having the answers and have decided they want the answers too, so they climb through his bedroom window. Seriously, why are the neighbors not calling the police when strange girls are climbing up trees and through windows? He gives them the questions so they’ll get the fuck out of his house and he can masturbate. After he’s done, he’s studying the three questions, but Screech comes in and tells Zack Morris that he’s lost his ability to see the future and is unsure if the test questions he saw are the right ones.

The next day, Zack Morris comes up with a scheme to keep the Micro Machines guy from showing up to give the exam. In the bathroom (why does this show like using the boy’s bathroom as a set so much), Zack Morris turns on all the water while Screech makes noise on some pipes. Zack Morris calls the Micro Machines guy on his cell phone pretending to be Mr. Belding, telling him that there’s a crisis at the school and the Micro Machines guy doesn’t need to come in today. Zack Morris then calls Mr. Belding pretending to be the Micro Machines guy and tells Mr. Belding that he’s contracted laryngitis. Zack Morris gives Mr. Belding the three test questions Screech saw as the mid-term. That was actually quite a clever plan, especially since Zack Morris knew it would have to work given the rule on Saved by the Bell that all adults are morons.

In the classroom, Mr. Belding comes in to give the mid-term, and Zack Morris thinks he’s won one over on the adults since Mr. Belding gives the three questions Screech saw. Everyone thinks Zack was right all along, but just then the Micro Machines guy comes in dressed as a Mario Brother.

Testaverde plumber

 

The Micro Machines guy and Mr. Belding quickly realize they were mindfucked, and Zack Morris rings, letting them know it was him that orchestrated the whole thing, because Zack Morris was apparently the only teenager in the world at this time to own a cell phone, and it couldn’t have possibly been someone else on another phone.

The Micro Machines guy gives the real questions to the mid-term and, the next day, Kelly has a C-, Lisa has a D+, Zach Morris has a F (meaning he has to be Slater’s love slave now), and, worst of all, Jessie has a B. Oh the humanity! Turns out the only person who got an A was Screech because he didn’t trust his own prediction and studied everything as a result. The girls are pissed at Zack Morris and Slater gets his bomber jacket back, because that’s apparently the first step to stripping Zack Morris. And Zack Morris orders the two of them some yummy pizza on his cell phone for their candlelight dinner later that night before they consummate their love.

Firsts: Zack Morris’s room, Jessie isn’t the smart one.

11 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 1, Episode 3: “The Gift”

  1. I don’t think that’s SbtB on Zack’s TV, just a building and people walking.

    • Hmm you may be right. I could have swore that was the exterior of Bayside but I can’t find an exterior shot for the life of me. The image from the opening credits (in the sunglasses) doesn’t look much like it so I could be mistaken.

  2. The only exterior shot that I know of (other than the brief glimpse that we see in “The Wicked Stepbrother”) is in “Wedding in Las Vegas”.

    Also, I’ve been curious as to which of the two non-Max buildings in the sunglasses is meant to be Bayside.

  3. I remember thinking the burning papers while they were taking notes was a funny touch. I guess water balloons at Screech was removed in syndication because I don’t remember that at all. So glad you have taken to trashing this show.

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  6. OK, I know I’m showing up after the party is over but wasn’t it worth mentioning that Screech loses his ability to see the future when Zach accidentally knocks his glass of juice with his cellphone?
    I mean, what the actual fuck?? Didn’t Screech take a shower of even wash his hands once since the day before?! Gross!

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