We open in the gym where a small portion of Bayside’s junior class is preparing to take the S.A.T.s. I mean, seriously, they didn’t even attempt to make it look like it’s the class we’re used to. Where are all the beloved extras we’ve come to know and love?
During the test, we get an intimate psychological profile on our gang. Jessie’s stoked because her character requires her to enjoy wonderful activities like standardized tests. Kelly’s jealous of Jessie’s mojo, Lisa obsesses about trains, and Slater thinks about ding dongs.
Now it’s the first time I remember a blatant on-screen transition being used to mark the passage of time but it’s a welcome relief from the usual slip-shod methods in which a change of clothes is our only indication it’s not the same day. The gang have their S.A.T. results and they’ve gathered at The Max to open them.
Oh, but before we get to that, the gods must be smiling down on me and laughing their asses off because it’s a James the Actor episode! Oh, two in one week! Aren’t I just lucky! The good news is that after this episode, I never have to see his stupid face again. The bad news is that I have to see his stupid face in this episode.
So after some stalling and some idiotic banter with James, we finally get the results:
Zack Morris: 1502
As Jessie helpfully reminds us (for those lucky enough to live in countries where S.A.T.s aren’t used as criteria for college admission), 1600 is the highest score you can get. The key here, of course, is that everyone’s S.A.T. is what can reasonably be expected out of what we’ve seen for the last three seasons except Zack Morris. Yeah, this just destroys all believably in the episode. You may try to argue, like Kelly, that the S.A.T. evaluates your overall intelligence and not how hard you work, but that’s bullshit because every standardized test I’ve ever taken measures what you already know from your education, thus why they’re a horrible predictor of how well one will perform in college.
Oh, and Jessie is a whiney cry baby. “Oh, boo hoo hoo! I’m only slightly above average and not genius level! Someone bring me my Little House on the Prarie doll and my blankey as I cry myself into comatose.”
Back at Bayside, random girl from the test, whose name is Heather, asks Zack Morris to help her study since he’s suddenly hella intelligent. His boner, though, tells him this girl wants a piece of Zack Morris in her since that’s the only thing he’s useful to women for.
After a random, ditzy Beverly Hills stereotype randomly comes and tells Jessie she scored 1280 on the S.A.T.s, Jessie starts putting down Lisa and Kelly because she’s still smarter than the two of them. Really, I don’t know why the two of them don’t punch Jessie in the nose for the way she’s acting in this scene. Hell, now I kind of want Eric to come back and do shitty things to Jessie so I can feel better knowing she’s getting her just deserts.
In the gym, a college fair is going on and Mr. Belding randomly makes an announcement to all assembled that Zack Morris got the highest score on the S.A.T. in the school. Mr. Belding doesn’t seem to consider the possibility of cheating given how often Zack Morris has had such schemes.
So meet Stansbury University, which is apparently Jessie’s dream college for this episode. Never mind the fact that every other episode she’s talked about wanting to go to Stanford. For some reason the writers decided to forget about that and invent a fake college. And, of course, Camilia von Snobergrass here won’t take a second look at Jessie because of her S.A.T. scores but wants Zack Morris without a second thought. Yeah, because a rep at a college fair really has that sort of power to arbitraily decide who will and will not be admitted.
Meanwhile, at The Max, we get to see some more obsessing over colleges and the Stansbury rep comes in to recruit Slater. Seems they want a football star and, despite the fact he’s the biggest idiot of the bunch, he’s their sort of material if he can play football.
Once again, REAL COLLEGE RECRUITMENT DOES NOT FUCKING WORK LIKE HIS!!!! On the bright side, we do get to find out that Screech watches Days of Our Lives. He probably thought MacDonald Carey was hot in his waning years. Meanwhile, Mr. Belding decides to change all of Zack Morris’s classes to advanced placement classes because…that makes a lot of sense for someone who can’t even do the work in his current classes. Fucking hell! It’s like no one who writes on this show has ever been to high school.Things just get worse for Zack Morris when his booty call with Heather is iinterruptedby Kelly randomly coming to tell him she’s worried about Jessie. Zack Morris is determined to lose his cursed virginity and kicks her out as he prepares to get physical with Heather.
But then a random guy in his late twenties to early thirties drops by and turns out to be Heather’s boyfriend, Bob, who wants help studying too. Zack Morris is confounded that he’s gone for yet another girl who prefers guys who are much older than him. Also, what does Bob need help studying for? The Census Bureau employment test?
At The Max, James is, unfortunately, still around and dressed in sheets as he pretends to have just been for an audition for a performance of Julius Caesar. This, somehow, gives Zack Morris an idea of what to do about Jessie. Of course, it will involve James doing the same thing he does every episode he appears in: dress in a chicken costume and sing the hit Boyz II Men single, “I’ll Make Love to You.”
At Bayside, Mr. Belding is distressed to find out Jessie’s resigning all her club affiliations because she’s an idiot. No, she really is. You don’t like your S.A.T. score? Ruin your education in every other way possible. Oh, they’ve completely surprised me! The plan is actually to have James dress as a representative from HARRRRVARD in order to manipulate the Stansbury rep. Oh, Saved by the Bell, how do you manage to keep surprising me with all your plot twists by having James totally not do the same thing he’s done in every episode?
The plan is to insult Zack Morris in front of the rep and pretend the only person James is interested in is Jessie. Unfortunately, James does say the only accurate thing about the S.A.T.s in this entire episode: that colleges base their decision for admission on more than just a single standardized test score.
Meanwhile, Slater leads Jessie in as Zack Morris tries to get James out. The two meet and, when Jessie finds out the Stansbury rep suddenly wants to recruit her because they were impressed by James’s lame act, she tells the woman to fuck off and take her fake university back to wherever it came from. Slater tells her he won’t be taking the scholarship because it would take him too far away from Zack Morris and he needs to be there for him should there be a spin-off after they graduate.
The second part of the scheme involves James pretending to be the chairman from the S.A.T. board who tells Mr. Belding that he’s being stupid in putting Zack Morris in lots of advanced placement classes and should grow a brain and investigate the possibility of cheating. Seriously, how does Mr. Belding never recognize James’s bad disguises? These are the kind of twits who don’t realize Clark Kent is Superman because Superman doesn’t wear glasses.In the hallway, Jessie thanks Zack Morris for arranging yet another lame, convoluted plot involving James. Jessie says that she’s realized she made too much out of this episode and that it doesn’t really matter since she’s one day going to be in great movies like Showgirls that will surely be the launch of a great career.
Now that we’ve had this wonderful foray into the world of standardized testing, I think I’ll go throw up and thank my lucky stars I never had to deal with such bull shit.
Firsts: Stansbury, Zack Morris is secretly smart.