Saved by the Bell Season 1, Episode 9: “Pinned to the Mat”

Career week

It’s career week at Bayside High, as exemplified by the man in the foreground wearing pajama pants, obviously preparing for a career as unemployed addict. Zack Morris tells us in his monologue that he’s not excited about career week because it’s the first sign that his parents won’t be supporting him his whole life because all that matters in the world is that Zack Morris is happy and comfortable. And Zack Morris is, of course, looking for the most amount of money for the least amount of work, which makes Jessie sensibly suggest a career as clown at Jack-in-the-Box, since fast food is all Zack Morris is qualified for at this point. Zack Morris suggests he wants to be a game show host because all they do is brush their teeth and smile, which it’s true is about all the qualifications one needs nowadays to host Who Wants to be a Millionaire? or Family Feud.

Kelly wants to be a housewife and an actress, because hanging around Zack Morris and Slater will certainly get her enough money to pursue those things. Screech wants to be an astronaut so naturally he’s doing the Moonwalk. Hopefully they’ll send him up without enough fuel to come back. But Slater doesn’t give a fuck what he’s going to be because all he cares about is his wrestling match against Valley. Zack Morris seems especially interested in the match and Slater asks him why the fuck he wants to help him, so Zack Morris warps the laws of time and space again to give us the scoop.

Time out

Zack Morris tells us he bets against Slater’s opponent, Marvin Nedeck, every year and loses every year but this year Slater is sure to win so Zack Morris is getting a mother fucking dirt bike from Nedeck.

Zack Dirt Bike

Oh, and he messes around with Slater’s shirt for some reason before reseting the laws of time and space. Slater tells Zack Morris to fuck off because he doesn’t need his help, and Zack Morris is overjoyed.

At The Max, Lisa has decided what she’s going to be: a fashion designer, of course, because that’s her one thing. Max brings the kids’ food over and tells them he decided to be a restaurant owner rather than a magician because he was better at flipping burgers than pulling rabbits out of his hat. He gets out a top hat and promptly pulls out a live chicken, prompting me to ask if it’s sanitary to have a live chicken in a restaurant.

Max Chicken

Jessie wants to be a lawyer but changes her mind to judge so she can lock Zack Morris up. Kelly says she still wants to be an actress but she also wants to have lots of kids, and Zack Morris delivers perhaps the most sexual line of the series so far when he says that one day he wants to help her with the second one.

Zack lust

Slater tells Kelly he wants to fuck her instead of Zack Morris and Kelly tells him he best be getting a good job so he can support her and her massive amounts of children. Slater says he’ll be a wrestler and the the girls are like, “Fuck that shit! You’s got to grow up and get’s you a real job if you want to be our sugar daddy!” We get a close up of Slater as he becomes introspective about his future as Zack Morris prepares to shoot him in the face with his special ketchup..

Slater introspective

Slater goes to the pest possible source for career advice, Mr. Belding, who tells Slater about his budding career as a basketball player. But Mr. Belding says he stopped playing because he would look silly today in the uniform, and describes having a belly hanging out of a tank top with giant love handles. Oh great, I just ate and now I have a picture of an overweight Dennis Haskins wearing a tank top two sizes too small. Don’t anybody tell Mr. Belding but, if you keep playing basketball, you generally never develop a belly or love handles.

While Mr. Belding continues blabbing on and on, Slater has a fantasy sequence in which it’s The Max in the future and everyone is coming back to show off their fucking awesome careers. Max is still there and has grey hair and a cane.

Old Max

We know Mr. Belding is old now because he has glasses, a bow tie, and a mustache, because all men with glasses, bow ties, and mustaches are old.

Old Belding

And, one by one, we see what each of the gang turned out to be. There’s Judge Jessie.

Judge Jessie

Fashion designer Lisa.

Fashion designer Lisa

And we get an unfortunate shot of Mr. Belding’s ass with Lisa’s flashing name on it because she apparently designed the jeans he’s wearing. Yeah, that’s not creepy at all.

Belding's Butt

Captain Screech Powers, great space explorer, transports in using some horrible animation.

Captain Screech

Zack Morris, the most successful game show host of all time.

Zack Game Show

And, of course, actress, mother, beauty queen, and general anti-feminist setting women’s rights back thirty years, Kelly Morris.

Kelly Morris

Oh, and a 19″ cable-ready TV was a good prize in 1989. Oh, the good ‘ole days.

Cable ready TV

My big question about this scene is why Mr. Belding and Max are the only ones aged. I get that it’s for comedic effect with the two of them, but they could have put horrible make-up and wigs on the rest of them as well.

And then Slater comes in, and he apparently grew up to be Hulk Hogan dressed as Peggy Bundy.

Slater wrestler

Because Slater didn’t pick a career during Career Week, his entire life is shit and he’s a laughing stock because everyone’s choice of career when they’re fifteen determines their entire future.

Slater comes out of his fantasy but we cut to the locker room for quite a disturbing scene.

Zack Screech love

I thought Zack Morris and Screech had finally embraced their homoerotic desires and were preparing to undress in the locker room, but turns out they’re playing motorcycle as Zack Morris imagines taking Screech for a ride behind him, which I’m sure is not the last time he’ll think of that fantasy.

As the duo finish playing James Dean and Natalie Wood (I’ll let you, the reader, decide who is who), Slater comes in and says he quit wrestling and Zack Morris nearly shits himself with the thought that he might lose the bet since he bet his non-existent dirt bike that he was counting on using to pick up all the strange, weirdo geeks at Bayside with..

At The Max, Max tells Zack Morris the story of how his mother got his father to stop being a lazy son of a bitch by forcing him to do work around the house, which gives Zack Morris the idea to call Major Slater and tell him his son is being a lazy son of a bitch. At school, Slater tells Zack Morris that Major Slater is forcing him to find another after school activity. Zack Morris suggests cooking club, which Slater initially mocks because, as we all know, men don’t cook since a woman’s place is in the kitchen popping babies. He changes his mind when he sees Kelly is in the club and Zack Morris comes along for the ride.

And boy, doesn’t Zack Morris just look pretty in his stereotypical super-feminine apron?

Zack apron

The cooking teacher, who’s bat shit crazy like most of Bayside’s faculty, says they’re making layer cakes. She tells them their first job is to toss out their recipes because you don’t need recipes when the production staff have measured out all of your ingredients for you.

Throwing away the recipie

If she wanted them to throw away the recipes, why did she pass them out to begin with?

They make their cakes, Slater’s cake is the best in the class, and Zack Morris realizes that, like the previous eight times, his plan is falling apart.

At The Max, the girls are getting moist because Slater baking apparently means that he’s sensitive now. Nedeck comes in and mocks Slater for cooking because the fact that he cooks obviously means he no longer knows how to wrestle, but Slater and the girls tell him to fuck off. Nedeck pulls Zack Morris aside and tells him he might as well pay up now, but Zack Morris promises that Slater will wrestle him.

Screech singlet

And now the scene you’ve all been waiting for: Screech in a singlet! You know, I never did quite grasp these things and I’ll be very glad when these scenes are over. Anyways, Zack Morris’s new plan is to get Screech to fight Nedeck so that Slater will step in and stop it, wrestling Nedeck himself. Slater comes in but doesn’t give a fuck because he’s busy cooking a quiche that he hopes will win Zack Morris’s love and affection.

At the wrestling meet, the girls are doing the same horrible rap cheer they did last episode, which sounds like they’re saying, “B for B, buh buh buh B, B!” over and over again. How about “B for better song” or “B for better buy some ear plugs” or even “B for even Justin Bieber’s songs make more lyrical sense than this.” OK, maybe I took it way too far on that last one.

Screech nedeck

Screech comes out and starts talking smack to Nedeck, who looks horrible in his way-too revealing singlet. He gets Nedeck pissed off and then finds out that Slater isn’t coming.

Screech Slater Nedeck

Nedeck puts Screech’s body on his shoulders, doing his best impression of Rhonda Robistelli’s dancing moves, but then decides to do his impression of the Merry Go-Round in Strangers on a Train. Slater comes in and tells Nedeck to quit referencing old movies and past episodes of Saved by the Bell and wrestle him.

Of course, Slater pins him down in about twenty seconds because we don’t have much time left in this episode. Nedeck is pinned to the mat and suddenly does his impression of every Bugs Bunny short ever produced.

Nedeck stars

Slater says his quiche blew up so fuck cooking and fuck finding a career, he’s a masculine man and he’s gonna wrestle! Because the three things are obviously not compatible with one another.

Oh, and Screech sits on Nedeck’s chest. Yeah.

Screech Nedeck chest

At the very last minute, Mr. Belding comes out of nowhere, discovers Zack Morris has been gambling, and gives him detention, because apparently this show delights in giving Zack Morris detention for even the smallest of infractions even when it contributes nothing at the very end of an already convoluted episode..

7 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 1, Episode 9: “Pinned to the Mat”

  1. You did take it too far. But you know, Kelly is the ultimate Eenie meanie miney more lover. Slater or Zach? Zach or Slater?

  2. Another shitty episode masterfully critiqued! I remember in high school how any student could just randomly join a sports team at the last minute under the direction of another student and how our wrestling team had only one person capable of competing. Those were the good old days. I remember them like I do that awesome 19 inch cable ready tv.

    • Yeah those were the days. I remember the time I joined the basketball team right before the state final because my best friend asked me to.

  3. I’m surprised you didn’t address that horrid “I’m baking a cake!” song.

  4. When I was in the 8th grade I wanted to be either a game show host or a radio announcer for career day. But I was the kind of kid who wanted to make a lot of money for a minimum of work…..like Zach and a lot of other teenagers. The teacher looked at me like she figured that’s the kind of career a lazy kid like me would pick. And all this time I thought I was the only kid who picked being a game show host as a career.

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