For some reason, the director chose to open the episode with a random extra playing Time Pilot 84 on an arcade game in The Max. OK, for how lame it is, I would hang out at The Max just to play Time Pilot 84. This business finally has something for me!
Zack Morris enters and almost immediately sets up our plot for us: the gang is going on another of those Southern California class ski trips they seem to love but they don’t have the money.to go. So…how have they planned a trip they don’t have the money to go on?
Lisa wants some damn service so she asks a passing waiter to get her waiter. The logical response, of course, is to do a bad Shakespearean impersonation. We went from shitty magic tricks in The Max to bad Shakespeare. What an upgrade.
Yeah, if you read my The New Class reviews, you know this is James the Actor and he’ll be with us occasionally for a long time.
After a number of lame ideas on how to make money, Zack Morris decides they need to have a carnival because that’s the way all high school students make money nowadays. And if they don’t have any money, how can they afford a carnival? Bah, it baffles the mind!
The gang go to Mr. Belding’s office and ask if they can hold a carnival. Mr. Belding is all, “Sure! I let you do everything else you want to at this school! Might as well have a carnival too!”
On the way out, Mr. Belding stops Zack Morris and tells him that, because he’s failing several classes, Mr. Belding wants to meet with his father. Wait, so the ski thing is a stupid pointless subplot? Zack Morris doesn’t want his father to come and wants to bring in his mother but Mr. Belding arbitrarily exceeds his authority and says Zack Morris can’t go on the ski trip unless his father specifically comes in because his father is more likely to give him spankings and date female teachers at the school.
At the Morris house, Peter Morris walks in and…wait, who is this impostor?!?!?! We have met Zack Morris’s father before and it is not this brick cell phone holding charlatan! What happened to our sweet Peter who snogged Miss Bliss back in Indiana?
Yeah, by this time it’s obvious the writers have said fuck all to Good Morning, Miss Bliss so they not only recast Zack Morris’s father but gave him a new name. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Derek Morris, Zack Morris’s new father. Derek is a computer salesman who strangely exhibits behavior that’s considered quite normal and routine in today’s society, like being obsessed with taking calls from associates and clients on his brick phone.
In response to a hypothetical what would you do if you had a son who was failing, Derek tells Zack Morris that hell no would he let an underachiever dumb ass go on a sweet Southern California ski trip. To Zack Morris’s credit, he tries to tell the truth but can’t get in a word edgewise over the constantly ringing cell phone. It’s like you’re stuck in class next to that one person whose phone keeps ringing but refuses to shut it off.
Derek also tells Zack Morris he would ground such a son for life, which naturally leads Zack Morris to daydream that he’s Rip Van Winkle.And that the rest of the gang is the cast from Fiddler on the Roof. This prompts Zack Morris to, for some reason, climb out the window, despite the fact he’s not grounded and has not been punished. Is he running away from his dream sequence? I…don’t…get…it…
At The Max, Zack Morris bemoans the fact that Mr. Belding wants to meet his father as James proceeds to denigrate multiple European and Asian countries. Oh, casual racism! James proceeds to poke into the private lives of his customers and tells Zack Morris that, if he were his son, he would let him go skiing in Southern California. Which, of course, gives Zack Morris an idea.
Yep, you guessed it! Welcome to overly complicated and contrived plot devices 101! Come on, Mr. Belding! Just yell, “You’re not Miss Bliss’s Peter!” and be done with it!James portrays Zack Morris’s father as if he had a stroke and brain damage as he acts like a complete hard ass of a father, which Mr. Belding completely buys because James is no worse than half the actors on this show. Mr. Belding insists James be easier on Zack Morris and let him go on the ski trip. Now it’s time to watch set up of the carnival, which, for a group that has no money, seems to have been able to come up with a lot of shit. And, oh, Screech, I knew it was just a matter of time before you admitted your true feelings!And Jessie knocks Slater into some water to prove that women can throw balls too!
Meanwhile, Zack Morris is recapping everything that’s happened so far in the episode to Screech just in case there are viewers with short term memory loss watching. Just then, Mr. Belding comes in and says he’s written a letter inviting Derek back to the school because he wants to invite him to chaperon the ski trip. Plus it’ll give him time to get out his Columbo skills and figure out what happened to Peter Morris.The post office is extremely efficient in the Saved by the Bell universe because the next scene features Zack Morris bringing Derek into Mr. Belding’s office, complete with James playing Mr. Belding. James is all, “Zack Morris is a perfect little angel who likes to commit fraud!”And they bump heads quite literally, complete with a Three Stooges sound effect. Zack Morris’s spidey sense is tingling and detects Mr. Belding coming back, so he radios for Screech to distract Mr. Belding with talk of nerds being poisoned.Meanwhile, Derek obsesses over Mr. Belding’s computer and wants to know what sort of lease he has on it. Were personal computers really leased in the early nineties. Come on, now. They could have found a better excuse to keep him in the office.In the restroom, the nerds are doing an admittedly horrible impersonation of being sick, but no worse than James’s acting. When Screech drops the walkie talkie, the gig is up and he realizes that Zack Morris is probably up to something for the thirty-sixth time.
Zack Morris gets Derek out of the office with just enough time for James to become his father as Mr. Belding rushes in and assaults James with the door. Oh yeah, there’s a carnival going on. Slater is the “strongest man on Earth,” even stronger than Schwarzenegger in his prime apparently. He easily beats this extra, but I’m more concerned with why the “throw the dart at the balloon” game is right above their heads. Won’t that hurt if someone has bad aim with the darts?
We have a sequence where Jessie tells Slater he needs to go easier so that people think they can win and they can earn more money. Jessie rigs the next match between Slater and a nerd so that the nerd wins.The nerd does the dance of joy and soon all the not-so-smart nerds are paying for chances to beat Slater.Meanwhile, Lisa is whoring herself out for kisses. For $1, you can kiss Lisa, unless you’re a nerd, in which case she quickly changes the sign to $1,000 as you walk up. I believe there are consumer laws against such practices.
Zack Morris is running a shell game really badly against a horrible stereotype of a Southern California surfer guy. Meanwhile, Slater is now selling tickets to dunk Mr. Belding in the dunk tank when in walks Derek. Derek has decided a school carnival is the best place to try and harass a school principal who has no authority to change the supplier of their computers.Mr. Belding walks in and, before Zack Morris can get Derek away, Slater sells Derek a chance to dunk Mr. Belding.Which he accepts and, after some pretty misogynistic trash talk which should make Jessie go into ultra feminist mode if it weren’t necessary to the plot, knocks Mr. Belding into the water.
Derek is about to tell Mr. Belding who he is when Zack Morris pushes the button and sends Mr. Belding back into the water. Okay, that was pretty funny. After a clichéd bit where they’re all, “You can’t be this person because I’ve met this person,” Derek and Mr. Belding get a clue.
Back at Casa Morris, Derek is forbidding Zack Morris to go on the ski trip. Derek wants to know why Zack Morris couldn’t just be straight with him and he’s all, “Because Screech is just so hunky! I want his hot man chowder!”
The phone starts ringing incessantly again, Zack Morris lays a guilt trip on his father, and the father and son Morris decide to go bond over fishing instead of Southern California skiing. Hopefully they’ll decide whether Peter or Derek is Zack Morris’s real dad.
Firsts: James the Actor, Zack Morris’s new father (Derek Morris).