Saved by the Bell Season 3, Episode 7: “Check Your Mate”

The opening credits for this one are strange. The pictures from the season two opening are used, but the music is from the seasons three and four openings. I’m not sure what to think about it. If anyone can shed mystery on this, please do let me know. This is definitely a third season episode as Zack Morris and Kelly are broken up and Kelly works at The Max.
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You know, when I was thinking about what this show was missing, my very first thought was that they need an episode about chess. Not only that, they need an episode about chess that makes the game out to be this intensely popular sport that schools rally around. I get the writers are probably trying to be funny here, but this episode…

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And I’m utterly shocked that the writers remembered the radio station. With that said, Zack Morris and Jessie are at the chess game…reporting on it? I don’t know. Anyway, it’s “St. Murray’s,” which is a new school in this universe for me, verses Bayside. Mullet Head beats The Plaid Avenger, but it doesn’t matter because we don’t see these two the rest of the episode.
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Oh, look, the writers brought back another forgotten relic: Violet! Yeah, the spiel here is that Screech is the star of the school chess team. He hasn’t lost a game since Violet gave him his lucky beret because it’s blessed with magical powers of contrivance. Screech is up next and Violet tells him to do his best impression of a man with the physique of a twelve year old having a stroke.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-20h54m19s95

Yeah, remember all those times two members of the cheerleading squad came to cheer on a chess game? Actually, that might be bad. Doesn’t chess require a lot of concentration?

I am actually impressed. The writers seemed to have read enough about chess before pumping out the script that they knew the actual name of a chess move, the Latvian gambit. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that this is a pretty tricky opening.
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But never mind! This is Saved by the Bell, where it’s possible for Screech to win in like six moves! This means Screech is going to the championship game. I bet you’ll never guess what school he’ll be playing in the championship. It’s the toughest thing to figure out. I never saw it coming. Can you guess what school Screech is going to play?

If you said Hogwarts, the answer is: I wish. That would probably make for a more interesting episode. No, it’s the stock rival for Bayside, Valley.

Suddenly Screech is the hottest thing at Bayside because everyone loves chess players, and Zack Morris smells the possibility of manipulation in the water.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-20h55m34s79 Yeah, the plan is to sell Screech t-shirts and pinch his cheeks like a deformed baby. Of course, since everyone loves Screech, they buy whatever cheap merchandise Zack Morris magically created using his homemade screen printer.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-20h57m05s233

Meet Vinnie and “Guy Guy,” two more examples of men well into their twenties attending Valley. They’re here to flaunt their new Soviet exchange student, Peter, because the Soviet Union allowed lots of students to attend American schools, and Zack Morris and Slater bet them $100 that Screech will beat whoever they send against him. Seriously, why did he have to be Russian? It’s obvious the actor isn’t Russian by his horrible approximation of a Russian accent. Sorry, Saved by the Bell, despite what stereotypes may tell you, not all Russians are good at chess.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-20h57m29s204 Screech is impressed because Peter instantly names off the “Spassky Bishop Block” off as a possible defense against a hypothetical chess move. Turns out Peter is Boris Spassky’s nephew, and Screech says Spassky practically invented chess. Let’s dissect this nonsensical exchange. Borris Spassky was a famous Soviet chess player, winning the world championship several times but famously losing to Bobby Fischer. The Spassky Bishop Block is completely made up, though, so the writers just lost every point I gave them earlier for research. Also, considering the fact that chess has been around since at least the thirteenth century, I doubt Spassky had much to do with its invention considering this was about 700 years before his birth. Screech is just a moron and the writers don’t know how to use an encyclopedia. Also, despite what Peter says, Borris Spassky’s wife is named Marina, not Sophia. Jesus Christ, people, research your damned scripts!

All this fake chess talk intimidates Screech, but Zack Morris, Slater, and Violet convince him that writing cliches confirm he will win at the end of the episode. With a streak of confidence, Screech raises the bet to $300. How can he do that if he wasn’t a party to the bet in the first place?
vlcsnap-2014-10-12-20h59m07s164 Oh, look. A ridiculous, unneeded scene that contributes nothing to the plot except proving the writers either don’t know anything about chess or they just don’t understand when a gag is funny or not. Yes, they are doing finger exercises. Yes, it’s not at all funny.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-20h59m54s127 Yes, people are now paying Zack Morris and Slater for pictures of themselves with Screech. What are they going to use it for? To prove to their significant others they’re not as ugly as they seem?vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h00m17s102

In walks Allison Fox from “ChessBoy” magazine. Zack Morris immediately gets a stiffy in his blue jeans for her, but she only has eyes for Screech because she wants him for this bizarre porno for chess people. Um…yeah…

Allison practically puts her hands in Screech’s pants to wank him but Screech doesn’t recognize when a girl is hitting on him because he’s a dumb ass. Allison asks him to lunch at The Max and the gang is all, “Tori Spelling gonna whoop some ass!”
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After the bell rings, Allison calls Vinnie to conveniently exposit that she’s parts of a plan to break up Screech and Violet so that Screech will be depressed and lose. The oddest part of this scene is that it’s revealed that Allison’s real voice sounds like Shirley Temple if she swallowed a chipmunk. She’s been talking normal up to this point and the writers suddenly gave her a fake voice. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h03m06s230

At The Max, Violet immediately sees that Allison is flirting with Screech, but Violet doesn’t seem to realize that her boyfriend is a complete idiot and doesn’t realize this. Screech lets Allison wear his beret and Allison wants Screech to be the centerfold for ChessBoy since they apparently deal in child porn.. Unfortunately, we will later see parts of Dustin Diamond nobody ever wanted to see and we saw why no self-respecting porno ever actually wanted him in it. The last straw is when Allison invites Screech to the “ChessBoy mansion” to swim in the pawn shaped swimming pool, and he breaks off a date with Violet to go. Violet storms off while Allison tries to steal the beret. Unfortunately for her, Zack Morris still has a boner for her and stops her before she can get away with the beret.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h05m14s253The girls go to check on Violet.
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I think she’s taking it well that her boyfriend is a dumb ass. The girls convince her that she’s just dating the dumbest man on Earth and she goes to find him.

Violet finds Screech but is disturbed when he takes his pants down to ask her if she likes what she sees. She storms off again.
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Mr. Belding likes it, though! The audience lose their shit that Screech takes down his pants because they have low standards like Violet. Zack Morris and Slater come along and inform Screech that, in the roughly twenty minutes since that scene at The Max, Allison has managed to steal his beret, make it back to Valley, take a picture of Vinnie, who seems to be her boyfriend, and herself with the beret, and send the picture with a ransom note. It all makes sense now! Allison is The Flash! vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h08m30s158

Back at The Max, Screech put his pants back on but is depressed and drowning his sorrows in milkshakes. Whoa, Saved by the Bell, you’re getting edgy there! Zack Morris and Screech give him a new beret that looks exactly like the old and he assumes they murdered Vinnie and Allison and took it back. After Screech leaves, they start selling additional berets, because everyone in this episode wants to be just like Screech and grow up to do six seasons of The New Class and a really bad porno.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h09m47s165

Screech finds Violet to tell her what he found out about Allison but Violet is all, “I’m tired of dating a dumb ass who’s oblivious to everything around him. We’re through! By the way, your beret is a knockoff because I put my initials in the real one to find out just how stupid you are!”vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h11m27s149

At the championship game, Zack Morris and Slater kidnap Peter and take his clothes off him. Slater wants to take advantage of the situation, but there’s no time.vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h12m12s86

It turns out that Peter was wearing the magic clothes from Back to the Future II that shrink to your size. He just happened to have a wig identical to the one Peter is wearing and so, now that he’s done with his felony, he’s off to throw the game.

Zack Morris proves he’s really bad at throwing the game and just resigns the game so Screech can win.
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Just then, Peter manages to get out from his confinement despite the fact his hands and legs are tied. Zack Morris is unwigged and tells Mr. Belding the truth about everything. Mr. Belding is about to disqualify both schools but Slater assures him Screech and Peter knew nothing about the bet. Uh, actually they did. Remember when Screech upped the bet and Peter was standing right there listening?

Since the episode needs to end, Mr. Belding agrees to let them play as long as Zack Morris calls off the bet.
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Screech is still depressed and thinks he has nothing, but Violet comes out and conveniently tells him that she did some thinking off camera and realized she will always love him, unless her father gets her a job on a better show and she’s never seen in this franchise again. With a minute left in the episode, Screech wins the game.
vlcsnap-2014-10-12-21h16m47s11And our episode closes with Zack Morris revealing the hottest new product no one asked for: Screechios, which are guaranteed to make you annoying as fuck and get you jobs on horrible derivative shows that should never have been made.

God, this episode was stupid.

3 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 3, Episode 7: “Check Your Mate”

  1. I remember the credits being off…I know they always used the Season 3 credits in syndication, so who knows. This is the show that just invented a chess team exercise. You expect something to make sense?

  2. This was one episode I have always disliked, and I really hope this is one plot TNC doesn’t copy. Also I never realized it has been so long since Tori Spelling has been on. I guess I always thought her arc was over a few consecutive episodes.

  3. I haven’t read the review yet, but I wanted to offer some comments regarding the credits.

    While looking through some season 3 episodes on Netflix a few days ago, they did indeed use the season 2 credits with the “regular” theme song. I checked the running times, and they were 23 minutes+, so they were all NBC masters.

    However, for the non-school episodes taped later in the season (All in the Mall, Home for Christmas, etc.), they used the cast shots from the syndicated (also season 3+ opening).

    Here’s my theory:

    We know seasons 3 and 4 (excluding the Tori episodes) were all taped in 1991, due to the copyright year being displayed on the closing credits. What I think happened was they finally got around to updating the opening shots toward the end of the season 3 episodes and had simply stayed with the season 2 shots for most of season 3.

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