Zack Morris, looking more like Ken, than usual, opens with a recap of last week’s episode. Like in “Palm Springs Weekend,” this recap leaves much to be desired, and Screech’s baby doll that peed all over him is told as if it’s a major plot point that you couldn’t see this episode without. These writers…I tell you what!
The episode proper opens where we left off, with the boys discovering Laura is the daughter of the world’s best manicured homeless man. Turns out homeless man finally has a name, Frank. It’s not really said outright but it’s implied that Frank passed out because of lack of a properly nutritious meal. Zack Morris decides that, since his father is out of town, his mother won’t mind if he brings his homeless friend home for dinner.
At Zack Morris’s house, Melanie shows where her son gets his insensitivity by saying she’s never met a real live homeless man before and Frank is all, “I’m not a fucking lion, you psycho.” Naw, that would be the sensible thing. Instead, he says he never knew any homeless people either before he became one. At Zack Morris’s prompting, Frank tells us his story of how he lost his job when the computer factory he worked for closed. Yeah, those were closing in droves in the early ’90s since no one used computers anymore! He couldn’t find another job and couldn’t pay rent, so they found themselves on the street. They drove to California hoping to find better opportunities, but every company hired someone else because he has no home address or phone.
Now, I’ve volunteered at a homeless day shelter and this is a completely unfair situation that makes it unduly difficult for homeless people in the United States to find employment. But I have two questions: where did they get the money to drive to California, and how did Laura get a job if they have no home address? No, really, this is a big, gaping plot hole. Obviously they’re getting mail somewhere if Laura got a job so why is this a hindrance to Frank? I’m not being insensitive to the plight of the homeless here. I’m merely pointing out that the writers of this episode, like usual, ignore simple facts when it makes for better television.
Frank and Laura leave us with a scene to pull at heartstrings again since we don’t know where they’re going to sleep, but, if Baywatch taught me anything, it’s that the lifeguard towers in L.A. are very easy to break into and live in.
Screech is…trying to be annoying here, but I don’t get why the audience thinks this is gross. He’s eating egg foo yung with extra garlic sauce. Seriously, what’s weird about that? Are they implying Chinese food is weird?
Laura comes in and Zack Morris practically force feeds her a muffin. They rap about what it’s like to be homeless and Laura says that people shy away from her because she’s homeless. Okay, they’re doing a really bad job here of convincing me that people would stay away from Laura for being homeless. I mean, the word “homeless” isn’t written all over her forehead. At the store, Laura sees a sports jacket she’d like to buy her father so he can wear it to interviews but she can’t afford it. Kelly suggests she ask Mr. Moody for an advance on her salary, but we’re supposed to hate Mr. Moody because damned capitalists so he summarily dismisses the idea. Kelly tries to plea for Laura, and lets it slip that Laura’s homeless. Mr. Moody’s reaction: “I should have recognized that from her lack of address!” Actually, no he really says that people like “that” steal and he wouldn’t have hired her if he’d known she was homeless. Way to drop the straw man stereotypes there, Saved by the Bell.
Zack Morris comes to pick up Kelly for the play, and he convinces Mr. Moody to let Laura participate by promising Mr. Moody the sales at his store will double if Laura is in the play. He’s obviously going to have Jessie strip and donate the profits to Mr. Moody! As Zack Morris and Laura leave, Kelly takes the sports jacket and puts it on hold, telling another clerk that she intends to buy it for Laura.
And now, here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for: five minutes of the Saved by the Bell cast interpreting A Christmas Carol. As far as the actual interpretation goes, it’s not terrible other than Screech inexplicably playing Scrooge. Yeah, he looks like a retarded version of Burgess Meredith playing the Penguin. Zack Morris is Bob Cratchit.
Laura plays the Ghost of Christmas present, and she sure did a good job in twenty minutes of memorizing her role. People in this universe must have a photographic memory. Screech now looks like he should be in a production of Little Red Riding Hood so he can play the wolf after he ate Grandma.
And their choice for Tiny Tim? Yeah, apparently Screech isn’t allowed within five hundred feet of young children after he kidnapped that little girl back at Malibu Sands, so we’re stuck with Slater as Tiny Tim. None of this is horrible, but it does beg the question: whoever wanted to see the cast of Saved by the Bell interpret Dickens?
I do wonder wear they got such a tiny turkey to represent how little they can afford on Cratchit’s salary. Did they take one of those little chicks that Max used to keep in his pants and roast it? Poor little chick…
Oh, and Zack Morris’s plan to double Mr. Moody’s sales? Why, insert commercials for Mr. Moody’s store in random places in a Dicken’s classic. Because the true meaning of Christmas is buying shit at the mall! Way to ruin a classic holiday story, guys…
So, fifteen minutes into the show, the writers realized that there’s been no real conflict yet, so let’s randomly throw some in! Mr. Moody discovers the sports jacket gone and immediately jumps to the conclusion that Laura stole it because homeless people suck. He confronts Laura, who denies stealing the jacket, but Mr. Moody, with no evidence, decides it’s time to call the police. Laura runs out crying as Zack Morris and Kelly come in. Kelly calls Mr. Moody an overly simplistic caricature of society’s disdain for homeless people and tells him that she had the coat put aside so she could buy it. The two of them go to search for Laura.
After a commercial break, the gang and Melanie haven’t been able to find Laura. They decide to keep looking, so they split up. Zack Morris and Melanie go in her car, and they decide to meet at the Morris house at 8:00.
Zack Morris and Melanie find Frank and Laura in the parking lot. Zack Morris and Melanie explain what happened at the mall, and, after Frank reveals they live in their car, Melanie says that’s no way to spend Christmas Eve.
So let’s invite two people we barely know to the Morris house along with five kids who apparently don’t want to spend Christmas Eve with their own families because Peter Engel didn’t feel like paying to bring back the actors and actresses needed.
Mr. Moody gives Laura the jacket and an apology for being a complete stereotype. It was convenient that Melanie left the door open so he could come in without knocking! Zack Morris says that he and Melanie talked to his father about staying at their house until they get back on their feet, and he was completely fine with inviting two strangers to live with them. Boy, let’s hope they get back on their feet by next episode or the show might actually have to pay for two new regulars! Nah, we’re just going to forget they ever existed, aren’t we?
And our episode ends with Frank playing piano so our cast can sing us out with “Silent Night.” Well, most of them. I’m not convinced Mark-Paul Gosselaar was really singing.And, from Saved by the Bell…Reviewed! to you, Merry Christmas…in February…or some shit. Yeah, the episode order doesn’t often work out on review blogs for holiday episodes like this. We’ll just pretend like it’s really Christmas or some shit like that. But, hey, stay tuned for the season finale next week!