Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 1: “The Prom”

vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h52m58s232So, here’s a first: there’s no monologue in this entire episode. Instead, we open the season with Zack Morris and Slater barging into Kelly’s room and demanding that she decide which one of them she wants to take to the prom because she couldn’t possibly say neither of you idiots. And there’s so much wrong with this setup already. What grade are they supposed to be in anyway? If they’re sophomores, why are they going to the prom? Do the writers have any idea how old these kids are supposed to be?

Kelly says she’ll make a decision tomorrow because she really doesn’t want to hurt either of their feelings even if they do totally deserve it.

vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h55m17s48That night, Kelly has a dream that she’s on Geraldo and…Screech is Geraldo? For how repulsive Screech is supposed to be to these girls, he sure does show up in their dreams and fantasies quite a bit. Considering how much trash television Dustin Diamond will one day be in, this is kind of an ironic set-up.

Kelly has decided in the dream to choose her date to the prom based on her appearance on Geraldo. Zack Morris comes in dressed like an English school boy while Slater comes in and does a really bad impression of Michael Jackson’s dance moves from his infancy.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h56m24s225 vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h56m27s7 vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h56m30s39 vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h56m33s70In the dream, Kelly picks Slater and Geraldo asks Zack Morris how he feels about this. You can tell it’s a dream because Zack Morris is totally, “I just want Kelly to be happy.” Yeah, in real life Zack Morris is all about getting his rocks off.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h57m02s96We pan back to Kelly and…wait a second…vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h57m24s66Kelly was asleep when this dream sequence began. Was she or wasn’t she asleep and why is she suddenly awake now? Can they not maintain continuity for a couple of minutes? Really, it’s not a lot to do.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h58m23s126The next day, all the extras are way too interested in who Kelly has decided to take to the prom. Really, everything in the hallway stops so everyone can find out who Kelly has picked all at once. And, because the rest of the series depends on it, Kelly has, of course, picked Zack Morris. Zack Morris is hella pissed that Kelly picked that dumb ass Zack Morris, but Screech feigns being the smart one to point out that Zack Morris is Zack Morris. Yeah, you’re not watching The Twilight Zone

Considering how deep their rivalry was for owning Kelly last week, Slater is way too amicable about Kelly not picking him. I almost expected them to rip their shirts off and start beating their chests yelling, “Kelly mine!” but it’s like they’re trying to wrap up the rivalry story.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-19h59m06s60Meanwhile, because the episode is about the prom, Screech begins his obligatory subplot of sexually harassing Lisa to go to the prom with him. She tells him she’ll go to the prom with him when worms have ears, and, not knowing anything about the anatomy of worms, I fact checked this one and it turns out worms really don’t have ears. Who knew?vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h00m13s208At The Max, Screech has cut out ears and taped them to several worms. I expect him to turn out to be Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs at this point but we wouldn’t be so lucky. After all, then we’d be guaranteed the happy ending of Jodie Foster killing him at the end.

Lisa finally tells him she’ll go on one date with him if he’ll shut the hell up and leave her alone and Screech decides they should go see a movie.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h01m05s218Back in Kelly’s room, Kelly is on the phone making plans to go shopping for her prom dress with Lisa when a stranger walks in having realized that there’s no need to stop by the front door in the Saved by the Bell universe. Actually, it’s someone who should really should be in Kelly’s house this time: her dad, Frank Kapowski. Frank has come to give Kelly the bad news that world peace has finally broken out. While this may be good news for the Arabs and Israelis, for Frank it means he’s out of work because he’s apparently a defense contractor and we all know from Halliburton that defense contractors automatically become unemployed when there’s no war actively going on.

Frank tells Kelly that he wants her to help keep everyone’s spirits up while he looks for another job which…is actually believable for Saved by the Bell. After all, the reaction of the oldest child could make or break morale in a household during a stressful time. And Kelly insists on giving back her prom dress money, saying she wants to help out, once again…a surprisingly believable chain of events. I’ve heard criticism about this episode from people who think Kelly should have just told her dad the truth about wanting to go to the prom but fuck that. I say those people haven’t the slightest clue what they’re talking about. Kelly actually proves here what I’ve been saying all along: she’s the most likable character in the whole damn series, and a good daughter to boot, especially because it means she’s giving up what she wants for the greater good of her family..
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At school the next day, Kelly can’t bring herself to tell Zack Morris she can’t go to the prom since he’s so excited and has bought a limo and everything so instead we’re going to get to go through the motions of seeing Kelly torn between telling the truth and just saying fuck all to Zack Morris.
vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h03m55s125Oh and Lisa has a map of the shopping mall in her locker, you know because buying clothes is one of her three character traits. vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h06m47s55We cut to Mr. Belding’s office and a meeting of the chairs of all the prom committees, because it apparently takes all these people to organize a prom and they apparently have to be supervised by the principal. It’s all pretty boring and throw away, but we do learn that this previously unnamed nerd is named Alan Fairbanks, as a commenter realized a few episodes ago. He’s apparently fat and his thing is eating cake. Yeah, these writers have never seen an obese person in their lives, have they?vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h07m28s171Oh, and the Guy with Butt Rock Hair is there, and in this episode his name Robert despite the fact that he was previously given the name “Jeff” in season one because fuck all with consistency. His purpose is to tell Mr. Belding that the chemistry lab is on fire because everyone at Bayside is a complete dumb ass and no one has bothered to pull the fire alarm despite imminent harm to person and property.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h07m45s122While setting up for the prom, Jessie snobbishly declares that Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson hella suck and Slater’s all, “Bitch, do you have a better idea?” They pop in a random muzak tape and start dancing and Slater asks Jessie to the prom despite the running gag in this episode being they can’t stop fighting for longer than fifteen or twenty seconds, depending on who you believe. Yeah, that was shoehorned in worse than Mylo Williams. Anyway, Jessie’s all, “Female empowerment! I’m picking you up to the prom!”vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h10m11s170And it’s time for our featured movie, “Zombies in Love,” which stars Alan Thicke as the zombie in love. And the entire gang has been invited on Lisa and Screech’s date.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h11m49s5Screech starts trying to get up in Lisa’s business but he gets pissed off when she actually starts enjoying herself and Alan Thicke’s convincing performance as a zombie. He dumps her and she’s hella pissed that he’s changing up the running series gag. Oh, and we shoehorn in Kelly telling Zack Morris she can’t go to the prom and then running out.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h15m08s194In the boy’s locker room the next day, Zack Morris is hella pissed that Kelly is washing her hair instead of talking to him and Slater’s all, “Shut the fuck up. Not everything is about you, you whiny, self-absorbed, snot-nosed bastard. Jessie says your prom date’s father lost his job so get over yourself and act like you deserved to have been picked by her over me.” Zack Morris realizes he’s been a huge asshole

At Case Kapowski, Frank tells Kelly that he knows she gave up going to the prom to help the family and he’s proud of her, as any rational father would be. And he says there’s someone here to see her.vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h16m14s91One would hope it would be Extreme Makeover to send Kelly to her prom but, instead, it’s only Zack Morris, suddenly telling Kelly that Slater told him everything because Jessie told him everything and now he knows everything and everything’s ok. Zack Morris asks Kelly to go on a walk with him

vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h17m38s168At the prom, Alan is eating all the icing off the cake because that’s his one thing, and he even offers Mr. Belding a lick on his finger. Mr. Belding continues his tradition of not knowing how to run a dance by insisting the couples dance four feet apart. And Screech is DJing again. Why does Screech always DJ dances? Music isn’t his thing. Are they trying to imply it’s because he can’t get a date?vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h18m55s166Meanwhile, Zack Morris has set up a picnic table outside the gym where he has a personal prom available for Kelly, which…is actually kind of sweet, especially for Zack Morris.

There’s a couple more jabs about Alan’s supposed eating disorder and then Screech calls the final dance, and someone apparently asks the cameraman to dance because the camera suddenly starts jostling about.

Outside, Kelly asks Zack Morris to dance. She’s overcome with emotion at Zack Morris’s one thoughtful thing of the series, and, in a fit of weakness, kisses him. And the audience loses their shit…after the kiss is over…

Seriously, that’s some piss poor editing there, folks.

vlcsnap-2014-04-18-20h21m10s241I’m not going to beat around the bush. This is my favorite episode of the series so far. I’m actually genuinely touched by this episode and I didn’t expect to be. I expected to rip the shit out of it from start to finish. But…it’s actually quite good, even if the Slater/Jessie and Screech/Lisa subplots are shoehorned in and make absolutely no sense and even if the casting director has no idea what an obese teenager looks like.

Firsts: Frank Kapowski (Kelly’s dad), Kelly dates Zack Morris, no monologue, Slater and Jessie date, Screech goes on a date with Lisa.

11 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 1: “The Prom”

  1. Could Kelly not find a dress at a discount store? Or maybe rent or borrow one? If she so wanted to go to the prom surely she could have found some formal attire. In the whacky SBTB universe I am surprised they didn’t declare it a sweat pants prom to accommodate a main character.

    • You know, now that you say it, I actually am kind of surprised they didn’t go there with a sweat pants prom. The world does seem to revolve around our seven main characters so it’s surprising that they actually took a decent route in the episode.

    • She just wanted to bone zach on the bench that’s all

  2. Love this episode. XD It’s cheesy but kinda sweet.

    Also, you are doing God’s work, my friend. Thanks for SBTB Reviewed!

    • Thanks for reading! It was a surprisingly sweet episode, especially after some of the trash of last season. Alas, though, I already know that things are only going to get worse this season.

  3. I remember liking this one. One part I’m probably remembering wrong is how happy the dad is when Kelly gives him her money. Sorry Kelly, he’s not buying food. He’s going to Vegas. One thing I know I’m remembering well is Zack’s insults to Alan in Belding’s office. Even the audience can’t laugh at them and they’ve been brainwashed to love Zack.

    • I might have to watch it again and see if the father seems excited. He actually tries to insist that he doesn’t want to take Kelly’s prom money but she insists.

  4. This is one of my favorite episodes, too.

    I never noticed the no-monologue thing before. Good catch. It does fit in with how this episode breaks perspective and shifts to Kelly’s point of view a bit.

    The placement of this episode has been bugging me as well. Assuming they’re now sophomores (which would account for Screech’s growth spurt compared to last season), I think I might have an explanation. Some school due hold separate proms for sophomores and even freshmen. I’m guessing Bayside held the sophomore prom early in the school year for logistics reasons – to not have all of the proms close together.

    Lisa refers to the mall as the Palisades Mall in this episode, establishing this series occurs in Pacific Palisades…maybe.

    From Wikipedia:

    “Pacific Palisades is an affluent neighborhood and district in the Westside of the city of Los Angeles, California, located among Brentwood to the east, Malibu and Topanga to the west, Santa Monica to the southeast, the Santa Monica Bay to the southwest, and the Santa Monica Mountains to the north. The area currently has about 27,000 residents. It is primarily a residential area, with a mixture of large private homes, small (usually older) houses, condominiums, and apartments. Every Fourth of July, the community’s Chamber of Commerce sponsors day-long events which include 5K and 10K runs, a parade down Sunset Boulevard, and a fireworks display at Palisades High School football field. The district also includes some large parklands and many hiking trails.”

    The thing is there is no Palisades Mall in Pacific Palisades (granted, there is no Bayside High either). There is one, however, in West Hyack, New York, near Palisades, New York.

  5. Great writeup. This is a pretty decent episode. It’s characters like motherfucking Alan that make me appreciate Minkus, ya know?

    • Oh, Minkus! I can’t wait until you review the episode where he just suddenly reappears. It’s ironic that he’s considered the geek of your series because I saw some of his appearances on One Tree Hill, and, I have to say, I think he turned out more attractive than most of the main characters.

  6. Looking back, I feel duped. When I watched this, I really hated that Kelly’s dad lost his job. Granted, I was pre-teen/teen at the time. But knowing what I know now (about Halliburton), I’m kinda glad he did. We need to open other kinds of business instead of being at war all the time unnecessarily. Bittersweet situation – World peace breaking out: YAY!!!/Kelly’s dad loses his job: BOOO!!!!

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