Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 6: “Teen Line”

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We open with Zack Morris randomly stealing this guy’s burger and taking a bite out of it…apparently to be a dick. Is it just me or is Zack Morris coming off as more of an asshole than usual?vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h42m44s233

Zack Morris joins the rest of the gang in Mr. Belding’s office where he tells them it’s time to think of a senior class project to do. Since Kelly and Jessie are, once again, locked in Zack Morris’s basement this week, the project will be undertaken by the only five members of the senior class the producers have to pay. They discuss stupid ideas like Slater dating girls while Screech proceeds to destroy everything in Mr. Belding’s office, pissing off Mr. Belding. Oh, if you hate that, Mr. Belding, just wait for two more years…

Tori says that, at her old school, they ran a teen line and rap room to give teens safe spaces to share their problems. It’s the only half decent idea the gang’s come up with so they decide that Tori is their savior in disguise and use her idea.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h44m39s74 And, like magic, the teen line is up and ready to go in the next scene. It’s almost like that transition was contrived or some shit. It’s a good thing Bayside just had an empty classroom lying around for them to use. Anyway, Tori lays out the rules for the teen line: never ask a caller for their last name, never ask for home numbers, and never ask to meet a caller. Sounds reasonable so I’m sure Zack Morris will break every one of them fairly quickly.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h45m15s198

Zack Morris gets the first call and it’s someone looking for a Chinese pizzeria, because the Chinese are well known for their pizza making ability. Lisa’s caller is a woman worried she’s overweight so Lisa proceeds to shame her as much as possible about her weight. Tori’s bland and actually gives real, useful advice to her caller: to join a club in order to make new friends. Whoa there, Tori! Be careful or you might make this show too realistic!vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h46m08s223

This guy comes in to complain to Screech about his little brother. Of course, allowing Screech any sort of authority to dispense advice in the first place is a bad idea and Screech starts shaming our boy since Screech lost his only brother somewhere in the move from Indiana to California. Boy, they should change the name of this line to “Shame Line.” Tori’s the only one who’s done anything useful. For the Tori haters out there, that will come as quite a shock.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h46m29s173

Zack Morris gets a call from Melissa, who’s upset that her parents are too overprotective and won’t let her stay out late. He suggests she set back every clock in her house three hours and asks her last name. He then suggests the best way to solve her problem is to go on a date with him the next day because voices are sexy and unattractive people only exist in the Saved by the Bell universe when they’re convenient to the plot or there for ridicule. She agrees, meaning Zack Morris, predictably, broke two rules within five minutes of the teen line opening.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h47m33s29

Our rap room teen gets sick of listening to Screech’s bull shit so he brings his little brother, Tommy, in. Since he’s heard Screech’s reputation for kidnapping children, he leaves Tommy to live with Screech from now on.

In the hallway, Tori excitedly exposits how many people they helped on their first day. By that, she means that she helped lots of people on their first day and the rest of the gang acted like morons and prepped a bunch of people for potential therapy. Zack Morris tells them about his date and Tori’s all, “You’re an idiot to have asked her out.” Zack Morris is all, “Shut up or I’ll lock you up with Kelly and Jessie,” so she quits talking but first gives the admonition that he’s asking for trouble breaking rules, which he’s not since this is never brought up again in the episode. vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h48m35s152

Screech introduces the gang to Tommy, whom you may recognize as the kid from Child’s Play 3. The soul of Chucky must have invaded this kid, too, because, when Screech calls him cute, Tommy stomps on Screech’s foot and runs away. This kid is already the best thing to happen to season four. Anyone who can cause Screech any amount of pain is okay in my book.

At The Max, Zack Morris meets Melissa and everything seems to be going great as she, like most of the girls in this universe, seems completely oblivious to Zack Morris’s assholish ways. Then, Zack Morris suggests they play some nice muzak on the jukebox. vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h49m56s203

OH MY GOD NO! SHE’S IN A WHEELCHAIR! THE WORLD’S GOING TO END!!! Zack Morris is a bit upset as he believes Melissa should have introduced herself as requiring a wheelchair. Zack Morris decides he’s okay with Melissa being in a wheelchair but, when the rest of the gang come in, he insists on making a huge deal out of Melissa’s disability because the gentlemanly thing is to point out what makes people different from one another. It’s fun! Watch me do it: Lisa’s black, Tori’s a lesbian, Slater needs a haircut, Zack Morris is a douche, and Screech just needs to die and put me out of my misery!vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h52m22s109

And, as if to fulfill my deepest held fantasies, Tommy comes in, having stolen the helmet from a scary looking motorcyclist. He gives the helmet to Screech and said motorcyclist wants to murder Screech. GO FOR IT! PREVENT SIX SEASONS OF THE NEW CLASS FROM HAPPENING! YOU WILL BE DOING THE WORLD A FAVOR!

I love this kid! He may be the best character since Edgar back in season one!

The next day, the gang invite Melissa to observe them at the teen line. Zack Morris, of course, still has no idea how to treat a person with disabilities since this is the first person in a wheelchair he’s ever encountered. This means he has to treat Melissa like a baby who can’t even wipe her ass for herself.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h53m28s11

Lisa gets a call from a tied up Screech asking for help. Tommy comes back, though, and tells Screech that he said no calls. Tommy hangs up the phone so he can smack the shit out of Screech. Um, Tommy, I still like you, but, suddenly, your treatment of Screech has Fifty Shades of Grey undertones to it. I…don’t want to think about that any longer.

A girl named Cathy comes in, insecure because the writers decided to resurrect Jessie’s recurring subplot of being insecure about her height. After Slater proves to be an idiot in providing advice, Melissa tells Cathy she just needs to have confidence in herself and quit seeing her height as something that needs to be fixed. Cathy’s overjoyed that someone at this teen line is competent and leaves to seize life by the reins.

Zack Morris dotes that disabled Melissa used her disabled brain to come up with a disabled solution for non-disabled Cathy. It’s so super great that disabled people are able to be competent in providing basic teen advice! Zack Morris is so impressed he asks Melissa on a date to the movies that night.

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At the movie theater, Zack Morris suddenly becomes obsessed with fighting for disabled rights and complains to the manager that some non-disabled person parked in the disabled spot his disabled date wanted to disabled park in. Zack Morris proceeds to baby Melissa and even gets mad at a tall guy for sitting in front of a disabled girl. Gee, how many more times can we fucking mention that she’s disabled, in case the audience didn’t catch it the first few hundred?

At the teen line, Zack Morris gets pissed off that Slater and Tori would dare ask how his date with Melissa went because that must mean they have some sort of ableist agenda.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h56m47s189

Screech comes in, having had his clothes stolen by Tommy and put up a flag pole. As awesome as Tommy is, his abuse of Screech is becoming a bit too sexual at this point, and no one should ever be sexual towards Screech.

Mr. Belding comes in and tells the gang that the writers decided to add in one more subplot for conflict nearly three quarters of the way through the episode. See, the school board suddenly decided they need to cut budgets which means Bayside can’t afford the teen line.

At The Max, Cathy comes in to share the good news that she has a date this weekend and it’s all thanks to Melissa’s good advice. Tori decides this is proof the teen line is doing real good and they need to raise the money to keep the teen line open. They can’t think of any ideas worth trying until Slater comes in and has a conversation with Melissa about wheelchair basketball, giving Zack Morris the idea to hold a charity basketball game. vlcsnap-2015-03-22-20h59m53s2

And who are the players you ask? Why, the gang and Melissa of course because they’re already on the payroll for this episode! The teams are Zack Morris, Screech, and Melissa on the blue team and Slater, Tori, and Lisa on the red team. We get about three thrilling minutes of wheelchair basketball. The highlight of this scene is Tommy using a remote for a turbo booster he hooked up to Screech’s wheelchair to speed Screech away for what I hope is potential pain. See, Tommy, that’s the way to torture Screech, and no one has to see him naked!

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The blue team wins and Tori thanks the crowd, announcing they’ve raised enough money to keep the teen line open. Zack Morris takes the microphone and asks for a round of applause for the only person who has to be in a wheelchair. This humiliation is enough for Melissa to leave, finally realizing that Zack Morris is just an asshole.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-21h03m10s206

In the hallway, Melissa tells off Zack Morris for being an insensitive asshole and tells him to go fuck himself. Melissa’s upset that Zack Morris keeps reminding the world about her disability, which I’m sure this brilliant move of cinematography looking down on Melissa won’t help.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-21h03m51s95

Since it is Bayside, we have to have a celebratory dance for the basketball game where Tommy gets his grove on with this nice girl he hopes to knock up later.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-21h04m14s74

Cathy’s decided she’d rather have Slater than her actual date so we have a chance for her height to be the object of ridicule one more time. Seriously, are men this insecure about dating tall girls? My first love was like five inches taller than me. Fuck this!vlcsnap-2015-03-22-21h04m41s67

Tommy’s brother comes in and tells him that Chucky wants them home ASAP. Tommy doesn’t want to go home since he’s having fun trying to kill Screech but his brother says Chucky won’t take no for an answer. They leave and Screech rejoices that he may actually live to appear in a shitty spin-off.vlcsnap-2015-03-22-21h05m54s53

Melissa comes in and Zack Morris apologizes for being an asshole like usual. Melissa tells him he just needs to treat her like a normal person, a novel concept, and they agree to try again since she’s getting paid for the rest of the episode. vlcsnap-2015-03-22-21h07m09s30And our episode ends with Zack Morris and Melissa dancing as Peter Engel inserts his name to cover most of her body.

12 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 6: “Teen Line”

  1. Caleb Bernard

    Zack Morris seems to have absolutely no sense of the people around him being uncomfortable. He doesn’t take a hint here, when it’s obvious that Melissa is uncomfortable with his obsession with her disability, and also in the Malibu episode when Stacey’s boyfriend comes back. She’s so obviously miserable the entire time and yet Zack is so shocked to learn that she doesn’t love the other guy. For someone who spends so much of his time going on dates, you’d think he’d be able to sense by now whether the other person is having a good or bad time!

  2. I dunno, him eating the guys hamburger was one of the more funnier parts of Saved By The Bell because its so random. Which is sad. And honestly, cuz he comes off as cool, that was so not. I still never understood why they recycled the teen line nonsense tho.

  3. Wasn’t Jessie taller than Slater–never seemed to bother him before.

    Hate this episode–the teen line was of course already done before much better (& for money, so they could have just made the teens pay and kept the line open that way anyhow). And as annoying as Zack was (and he was), honestly I never thought he’d give her a second look because she was probably one of the least cute girls Zack ever tried to hook up with. (yes, I know that was mean).

    This line made me LOL. “because the gentlemanly think is to point out what makes people different from one another. It’s fun! Watch me do it: Lisa’s black, Tori’s a lesbian, Slater needs a haircut, Zack Morris is a douche, and Screech just needs to die and put me out of my misery!”

    • Belding’s memory must be getting as bad as the gang always says to let these people run another teen line after the fiasco of the first one.

      • ILovedKellyKapowski

        In The New Class, Belding kept Screech employed has his Administrative Assistant for 6 seasons, even though Screech fucked up again and again, and lied to cover it up again and again. So yeah, Belding’s memory sucks.

        [Spoiler Alert !!!]
        Mr. Belding also doesn’t remember he took a job as Dean of Students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1999 (Season 7 of The New Class), because in 2003, he is back at Bayside, in his old office, with a bunch of terrible look-alikes, watching a video of the original cast from a 10-year-old “Time Capsule”.

  4. I’m not a Tori-hater, and I think she’s the target of undeserved hate by fans of the series.

    I had worked for 3.5 years in an office of a non-profit that helped people with disabilities, and the way to treat someone in a wheelchair is like any other person. However, one thing that I did learn is to sit or crouch whenever possible when talking with them, so they don’t have to look up and strain their neck.

  5. I have a confession. I didn’t mind the Tori episodes. I actually think she was a half-decent character. She certainly got more character development in the eight or so episodes that she appeared in than, say…Vicki, Weasel, Bobby, and Brian in The New Class…

    • I actually kind of like tori. She’s like kelly in that she’s sort of the sane one, but unlike kelly in that she has a spine!

    • ILovedKellyKapowski

      There’s nothing to hate about Tori, but she got shoe-horned into a long-running, established series. The writers over-compensated by giving her the “Mary Sue” treatment. Haters just wanna hate.

      That being said, I can’t understand how Tori can let these morons run a Teen Line with a mere 30 seconds of training. It’s like when the gang trusts Screech not to do something stupid, but he always does. Who’s really to blame?

      I don’t think Melissa is that hot, so I’m wondering if pity was a factor in Zack Morris wanting to date her. (Can’t imagine why The New Class would want to copy this plot in a future episode.) Oh well, we’ll never see her again! (Trivia: the actress Jennifer Blanc is in a relationship with Michael Biehn, the guy who played Kyle Reese in The Terminator)

      And that wheelchair basketball game was LAME! No one even dribbled the ball. Isn’t that against the rules? How do you steal a ball when it’s snug in your opponent’s lap?

      The tall girl Cathy was hot. And she was NOT that tall, yet she acts like she’s Brienne of Tarth. She was like 1 inch taller than Slater. Also, she didn’t need a teen line, her problem could’ve been solved with a TV after-school special. (Her name didn’t appear on the ending credits, and I can’t find her real name on IMDB. Anyone know who she really is?)

  6. “Melissa” was also Bailey’s multi episode girlfriend on Party of 5… Never thought she was nearly good looking enough to date him either.

    I don’t like Tori because I don’t think she has any chemistry with the cast. That is probably, in large part, because Leanna Creel is not a good actress, even for this show. (Random facts, Leanna is a triplet and her sisters can’t act either. Leanna IS a lesbian and since she can’t act I think it made Tori seem even more like one.)

  7. ILovedKellyKapowski

    I really wish Tiffani and Elizabeth had changed their minds, and decided to come back for 10 more episodes. Then, none of us would have to deal with this Tori nonsense. If Tiffani wanted to move on to other projects, then why did she return for The College Years? And Elizabeth became a stripper in one of the worst movies in history. They should’ve just come back!

    It doesn’t really matter which actress they hired to played Tori. They could’ve brought in Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei, and it would’ve still been bad, because the original 6 cast members had a unique chemistry that just can’t be duplicated.

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