In our cold open, Not-Slater wants to know what psychopath means, and I’d hoped it was because he’s apparently realized the dark road he’s going down after a few episodes ago when he took so much pleasure in the death of another living being. But, no, he’s making fun of the new kid in school and everyone else joins in, with Miss Bliss asking if it’s really fair to judge someone before you met them. Just then, the door opens and we’re introduced to our new kid, who appears to have been held back a few times.
Yes, this is our new “kid,” Deke Simmons, and Miss Bliss informs us in her voice over about how she always feels sorry for the new kid because he has to find a way to fit in when everyone always knows each other, but Miss Bliss forgets to mention the added complications of fitting in when you’re twenty but still in the eighth grade. Deke’s idea of fitting in is copying off Not-Slater’s paper and then cracking his pencil in two.
Yet apparently Deke still only answered one question because it was the only one he liked. Miss Bliss wants to give Deke a stern talking to but his murderous glances betray the fact that he’s gonna pop a cap in anyone who dares cross him.
We cut to the cafeteria/auditorium, where, sweet Jesus it’s a miracle! Tina appears to be teaching!
I mean sure, this scene does nothing to further the main plot and only serves as a set up for the sub-plot which is essentially a pissing match between Not-Jessie and Lisa over the script for the school play, but heavens be praised! She does teach! Next thing you’ll tell me Mylo cleans! But anyway, apparently Not-Jessie wrote a stupid play about forest rangers and Lisa thinks forest rangers wear evening gowns, so our forced sup-plot advances.
Miss Bliss wants to review Deke’s school records and Mr. Belding is like, “Sure! It’s right here in the open where anyone, even my secretary or a passing student, can read it!” Apparently he’s been in eight new schools in the last year. I don’t blame them. It can be hard to integrate a man in his early twenties into an environment with pubescent teenagers.
Cut to the *sigh* boy’s restroom where Deke is busy assaulting Screech in an attempt to get Screech to do his homework for him. Miss Bliss had announced that Screech was the only student in her class who got 100% on the quiz, and this gave Deke the idea that Screech should become his personal scribe, thus explaining where school privacy laws came from.
I guess it’s supposed to be at least two days later because Miss Bliss is handing back the papers and Deke’s name is spelled wrong on his. On top of this, Deke got a D+, leading Deke to declare that he’s going to commit child abuse against Screech for the massive wrong that’s been done to him. Paper mills would have been much more convenient and required much less assault on minors.
At lunch, Screech whines to Zack Morris and Not-Slater about Deke’s threatened disfigurement. Screech bribes Zack Morris $10 to convince Deke somehow not to pursue this bloody state of affairs, and why I don’t understand. Screech should know Zack Morris well enough by now to know that everything he ever touches is fucked up somehow. I guess the plot requires Zack Morris’s interference though.
Mylo’s freaking out because Tina is nailing fake trees to the floor and, you know what, I’m actually on Mylo’s side this time. Why the fuck does she need to nail fake trees to the stage? There are much better (and less destructive) ways of securing props to the stage than nails. Hell, why is Mylo the one intervening here? Why doesn’t Mr. Belding come in and send Tina for psychiatric evaluation? There’s also a boner joke where Mylo names the stage his “woody” and Tina threatens to nail Mylo’s woody. Oh and Miss Bliss bursts in and her suggestion of compromise causes them to blow up at each other. And thus ends the Tina and Mylo disagree about stage props subplot.
Miss Bliss then tries her hand at Lisa and Not-Jessie’s argument and it blows up as well.
Zack Morris confronts Deke about Screech and tells him Screech can beat the living shit out of him, which leads Deke to declare he’s now going to commit manslaughter against Screech now that he knows Screech can fight back. And it’s like I’m psychic. I also think we’re seeing why Deke’s been held back so many years. He must have contracted the same disease that Karen had in episode one where he can’t tell Zack Morris’s obvious bullshit from reality, which obviously caused him to be so dumb that he’s still trying to get past middle school well into his adult years.
Later, Screech is hiding from Deke in his locker, and Zack Morris is giving him orange juice through the vent in the locker for some reason. Screech comes out and is almost immediately seen by Deke. Meanwhile, Mr. Belding passes by and shows his complete incompetence by not recognizing that one of his students needs an adult ASAP.
Luckily, Miss Bliss isn’t such a dumb ass and takes Deke away before he can commit a felony. Screech has suddenly become suicidal, however, and is pissed at Miss Bliss for not letting him be killed. It’s so cute how Screech is pretending he has anything remotely close to dignity and pride.
In her classroom, Miss Bliss just barely restrains herself from fucking up a bitch after Deke blows her off as needing to get off his case. And, somehow, Miss Bliss has figured out what fifteen years in the public school system couldn’t detect: that Deke can’t read. Oh, yay, more than halfway through the episode and it’s turned into a very special episode about illiteracy. Seriously, that just came out of fucking nowhere. There were no clues, no foreshadowing, no nothing, but she’s suddenly become Counselor Troi and is all like, “I’m going to help you read, young Deke!” And he’s like, “Fuck off, you Betazoid psycho.”
It seems that, in the final days of the Soviet Union, Mr. Belding was trying to take full advantage of forced resettlement into Siberia because he tell Miss Bliss in no uncertain terms that his goal for Deke is detention in a Soviet prison settlement. Miss Bliss is all, “Bitch, please, Deke ain’t no political prisoner of conscience. He needs the reading!” And Mr. Belding is all, “Back off, hoe, ain’t nothing I can do if Deke don’t want no reading!”
The Not-Jessie/Lisa fight subplot is wrapped up nice and neat with a bow when they start talking together like the creep twins from The Shining and declare their everlasting love for one another.
Meanwhile, Screech is looking for Deke so he can hurry and become a statistic of crimes against children before dinner time. Deke finds Screech and the rest of the gang try to protect him, but he’s determined to experience first hand what it’s like to be murdered by a twenty-one year old eighth grader.
Deke and Screech go in…*sigh*…the boy’s restroom for their special encounter. Screech begs Deke to avoid his teeth as he’s just got some dental work done and still has hopes of having Lisa’s tongue in there someday should he survive. Deke thinks Screech is weird, which leads Screech to expound on how he’s the laughing stalk of the eighth grade. Deke is all, “No way, punk! I can’t read! I’m the laughing stalk!” Screech just looks at him and is like, “I don’t get it. Why’s that supposed to be funny?” This melts Deke’s icy heart and convinces him not only to not kill his seven year younger classmate, but to seek out Miss Bliss for some literacy training.
Screech is bragging to Not-Slater about supposedly intimidating Deke, but Miss Bliss and Deke come up behind him and he runs in terror as the three just watch in amusement at Screech’s abject terror of his classmate who can legally buy alcohol.
So, I guess the moral here, kids, is learn to read, or you’ll be twenty and still in the eighth grade and getting your kicks from child abuse.
First: Tina actually teaches.