Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 7: “Masquerade Ball”

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We open in the hallway where Slater’s trying desperately to get some hot Ginger poon. Tori comes up behind the two and is disgusted that she’s landed a role in this show. She was hoping for The New Class so she could have her choice of non-offensive bland knock-offs but she was a year early. Zack Morris comes up and starts flirting with Ginger as well, apparently having forgotten how fucking annoying she was just a few weeks ago, but realizing that, with Kelly locked in his basement, Ginger may be the only one dumb enough to go for his bullshit.

After Ginger leaves, Tori comes up and tells Zack Morris and Slater, “Feminism! Um, Gamergate blah blah blah…I don’t know, Jessie asked me to hold down the quasi-feminist fort while she’s gone. Anyway, quit treating women like shit, you dumb pieces of garbage!”

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Screech, meanwhile, comes up and does the world’s worst impression of Groucho Marx, because the Marx Brothers were all the rage among teenagers in the ’90s, and he needs something to do in preparation for the masquerade ball. He can’t understand how people know it’s him. I mean,  Groucho  requires is a really bad fake pair of glasses and a fake cigar. By the facial recognition standards of Saved by the Bell, no one should know it’s him!

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Lisa’s equally repulsed by Screech’s Groucho impersonation but is excited to find a letter from a secret admirer in her locker. She’s happy he’s willing to spend money on her because if she learned anything from Punky Brewster, it’s to be a mother fucking gold digger. The secret admirer wants Lisa to leave any response behind the easel at the front of the classroom they just happen to be in because it would be too inconvenient to have another set in the same episode.

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And meet Ms. Culpepper, the art teacher of the episode. She’s like Miss Simpson only she’s blind as fuck and thinks the Greco-Roman style bust on her desk is a student who needs to get in his damned seat before she breaks out spankings. As scary as it is, this may be the closest there’s been to a semi-normal teacher at Bayside since Mr. Tuttle.

As an assignment, Ms. Culpepper tells each student to sculpt one another, which will be awfully hard to do if half of them are modeling at any one time. Also, Screech gives up his Groucho shtick when even Ms. Culpepper sees through it. God, I think the emotionally manipulative music from Full House was more subtle than his dumb ass.

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Zack Morris and Slater, meanwhile, hit on this random extra, Slater even offering to take his shirt off because he hopes it will help the ratings. Tori tell them both to grow the fuck up and they slink away from their sex object, obviously defeated by Tori’s superior intellect.  Zack Morris and Slater decide this means that Tori obviously wants each of their hot bodies, a proposition even Screech finds ridiculous, They decide to see how implausible their belief is by betting the other $50.00 they’ll be able to kiss Tori first. Gee, what stand up guys they are. After four seasons of this, nothing should surprise me.

Lisa, meanwhile, completes her letter to her secret admirer and leaves it on the easel. Slater comes in and tries to flatter Tori, but she speaks bullshit better than most women on this show. He says he’s sorry for the way he acted and convinces Tori to forgive him. He then says he needs a model for his project and, through an overly complicated and non-convincing ruse, nearly kisses Tori because she loses her intelligence when it’s convenient to the plot. The moment is ruined by Screech jumping for joy because his secret admirer wants his hot, chiseled body.

Wait…Screech is sending secret admirer letters to Lisa? Are they really ripping off Good Morning, Miss Bliss for a second time in the same season? Also, didn’t Screech just agree to get over Lisa a couple weeks ago?

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Zack Morris’s plan is to wine and dine Tori and be all romantic and shit. Since Kelly’s still locked in Zack Morris’s basement, The Max has no waiters and Screech is forced to do the job…for some reason. Zack Morris gets ready to move in for a kiss, but he realizes the plot require that he not be a sexist pig towards Tori any longer and backs off, confusing the hell out of Tori since she has no experience with men.

In the locker room, Zack Morris bemoans his situation to Screech because nothing can go wrong with Screech being your confidant. Zack Morris decides that the bet is threatening to ruin his chances with Tori and tries to call off the bet. Slater thinks it’s a typical lame Zack Morris ruse and refuses to call off the bet, leaving Zack Morris confused and wondering what to do.

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Lisa reads another secret admirer letter as Screech comes up and asks her whether she’s told the admirer how she feels. He proceeds to dictate her response to the secret admirer, which basically means he crafts a love letter for himself and Lisa’s too dense to see what’s going on.

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Mr. Belding quite literally runs into Ms. Culpepper, who thinks he’s Miss Simpson, because they look exactly alike, and Mr. Belding randomly tells her that shes quite attractive without her glasses on. Wow…that’s an odd thing to say to a subordinate. Is that sexual harassment and does she have to take it?

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In class, Lisa shows off her sculpture of her secret admirer. So…who did she sculpt that she believes is her secret admirer?

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This naturally leads Screech to try and imitate the statue. Lisa just assumes he’s being a moron like usual, which he is.

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Zack Morris decides to turn to Lisa and tells her that he has a secret that would drive someone away from him. Because we’re engaging in sitcom cliche #5652, the conversation that means two different things to do different people, Lisa assumes that Zack Morris means he’s hot for her and immediately gets excited thinking she has a second chance at his hot man chowder. Oh, Lisa, there’s two problems with this. You’ve already had a thing for Zack Morris this season and you don’t get to date a guy for more than one episode. You’re just shit out of luck.

Lisa puts a letter to her secret admirer on the easel but it falls on the ground as she leaves the room. Ms. Culpepper sees it and decides she needs to take it to the lost and found.

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The lost and found just happens to be located in a newly installed mailbox outside Mr. Belding’s door below Mr. Belding’s mailbox. Question: why is the lost and found a mailbox and how would you be expected to put anything like substantial in it, like, say, more than one small item at a time? This has to be the most inconvenient placement ever. Since Ms. Culpepper can’t see shit, she puts the letter in Mr. Belding’s box. Mr. Belding sees Ms. Culpepper leave the letter and comes out to read it.

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Mr. Belding reads the note and then thinks to himself, “Are the writers really doing this plot again? God, I know it’s been five years but the reruns never forget!”

At The Max, Lisa comes running in excited about Zack Morris wanting her again. She tells Tori, making Tori assume that Zack Morris is playing her like he plays most women. Screech comes in and the misunderstanding continues as she talks shit about Lisa’s secret admirer. Since Screech is too much an idiot to realize when something is up, he assumes both Lisa and Tori know and tries to defend himself, but Tori comes out and tells him that Zack Morris is Lisa’s secret admirer.

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Screech lets word out about the bet because Screech likes to randomly just say things he knows without thinking of the consequences. Tori calmly tells him she’ll make sure he never makes it to a certain shitty spin-off if he doesn’t tell her what’s going on and Screech tells her the entire story.

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Back at Bayside, Tori’s less than thrilled about Lisa’s newest secret admirer letter, which proclaims that her secret admirer is going to be dressed as Gumby at the masquerade ball. Oh, yeah, I guess there should be a masquerade ball in an episode called “Masquerade Ball,” huh. Tori assumes this means Zack Morris will be dressed as Gumby and, when he walks up, just leaves before he can talk so the misunderstandings can continue and he can talk to Lisa. Lisa tells him to look for her at the ball wearing a cat costume and just walks off.

Ms. Culpepper and Mr. Belding, meanwhile, have their obligatory misunderstanding turned sexual harassment scene as Ms. Culpepper plays the role of Miss Bliss. She runs away in fear, thinking that she’s just been used for a cheap and lame gag.

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Tori gets revenge on Slater by slamming his head against a locker when he tries to kiss her. She tells him she knows about the bet and wants to get revenge against Zack Morris by allowing Slater to kiss her at the masquerade ball so Slater can win the bet. She tells him to look for her dressed as Gumby and she’ll let him Pokey her. Slater says he’ll be dressed as an astronaut. Oh I hope he’s going as Sally Ride!

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At the masquerade ball, Ms. Culpepper says it’s a good thing that this is the only episode she appears in since she’s repulsed by Mr. Belding’s continued sexual harassment.

Screech comes in dressed as Gumby and talks to Tori, who’s dressed as a cat, which makes no sense when Lisa said she was going as that. Tori tells Screech that Lisa knows he’s her secret admirer and is thrilled. Screech is to meet her for a kiss and look for the astronaut.

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Ginger has something in her teeth and can’t tell what Slater’s costume is supposed to be since she’s an idiot.

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Zack Morris comes in and finds Tori, thinking it’s Lisa, and tells her about the bet and how sorry he is and how he likes Tori and shit. She’s like, “That’s okay if you’re really sorry,” and they dance as Tori wonders who Gumby really is.

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And, oh, it’s so beautiful, Slater and Screech share a tender, intimate moment on the dance floor. They dance and hold each other close and then share a kiss without taking off their masks which, despite the lack of actual lip contact, probably counts as like third base in the Saved by the Bell universe.

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And they take off their masks and it all devolves into a gay panic joke. Oh, wasn’t that so precious? You just know that, had the internet been popular back then, there would have been Slareech fan fics all over the place.

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Zack Morris steals a kiss with Tori during the dance, making her the latest in a long string of female regulars he’s strung along.

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And our episode ends with Lisa discovering that, for a second time, Screech is her secret admirer. She proceeds to have a heart attack, which probably is what prevented her from being in The College Years.

Firsts: Zack Morris and Tori date.

20 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 7: “Masquerade Ball”

  1. Tori is incredibly lucky she *was* cast a season early to have missed The New Class.

  2. Thanks for these reviews. I can’t wait to see your reviews on The College Years (Semester).

    This blog has inspired me to try to review other Peter Engel teen comedies. Namely, California Dreams, Hang Time and City Guys. All way superior shows to The New Class IMO.

    And no, not even a sadist can sit through more than one episode of USA High, Malibu, CA and One World.

    • I’ve been considering doing California Dreams and Hang Time next but, if you want to do it and save me the pain, go for it! The painful thing is that both shows ripped plots off The New Class and just added their gimmicks into the mix. Also, Screech shows up on Hang Time multiple times.

      • ILovedKellyKapowski

        California Dreams was a decent show, it was like Saved By The Bell, but with a music band. And just like Saved By The Bell, the episodes were aired horribly out of order!

      • I saw CD and liked it (season 1 mainly, followed by season 2, didn’t care for the rest). Never saw HT.

        • ILovedKellyKapowski

          I disagree, I think California Dreams got a lot better after they got rid of the Garrisons. And that Sly Winkle was hilarious.

      • The sad thing is that Hang Time really had the potential to be a great show – especially since season 1 had no Peter Engel influence whatsoever! When it debuted in 1995, the show was produced by Mark Fink (who also worked on Perfect Strangers), and the show was all about how a girl became the first girl to join a male basketball team. The first season is surprisingly good, and the cast blended well together. Some of the storylines really made a lot of sense.

        But then season 2 came along, Fink was out, Engel was in, and the show plummeted from there.

        • I just saw the first episode of HT on YouTube and IMO, it was rather good.

          Some things I couldn’t buy:

          Like in this day and age of Title 9, a high school in the United States that doesn’t have a girl’s basketball team. Even if it was done in 1995.

          They have their own Screech equip with long curly hair and a high voice, just to hit us over the head that he’s our comic relief.

          Too many farm jokes by the farm boy character.

          And the Screech character constantly lusting over the new girl Julie, even though you know she will be with the captain of the team by episode seven.

          But saying that some stuff I did like:

          I liked the cameo by Alonzo Mourning and Hall of Fame announcer Chick Herne.

          I liked that a few of the characters actually looked like they would be on the HS basketball team. They were tall and lanky, just like a 16-year-old in a HS basketball team would look like.

          I liked that it took place in rural/suburban Indiana.

          Even though he told too many farm jokes, I like the fact they had a farm boy character. And since it takes place in IN, made me think of Hoosiers a little. Which was probably their idea.

          And even though his acting was a little wooden, I liked the casting of Reggie Theus a former NBA player who is now, a D1 basketball coach.

        • I believe Mark Fink also wrote the psycho-Kelly episode from season 1 as well as Wedding in Las Vegas.

  3. The writers clearly gave up on life at this point…

  4. IIRC this is another episode where Zack doesn’t do anything wrong. The first one being “The Mamas and the Papas”.

    • ILovedKellyKapowski

      Didn’t do anything wrong? Zack Morris and Slater made a $50 bet, and sexually objectified Tori, understandably offending her feminist sensitivities.

      I do give credit to Zack Morris though, when later, he realizes that lesbian chicks shouldn’t be treated as sexual objects and used for financial gain. No such kudos for Slater though. If Jessie were around, I can hear her shrill voice calling him a “sexist pig”.

      • Caleb Bernard

        Just what I was thinking, haha. And I suspect that he didn’t give up on the bet because of a change of heart, but just because he thought it might come back to bite him later.

      • True. But I was referring to the point of the episode where he had the chance to win the bet but changed his mind because he was starting to like tori. He even tried to explain this to slater but slater didn’t believe him. The rest of the episode was zack just trying to get advice on how to make things right with tori.

        • ILovedKellyKapowski

          There are times when Zack Morris stops being Zack Morris, and almost becomes a decent human being.

          Same thing happened to Scott Erickson in The New Class. He was horny for Lindsay since Day 1, even though she was Tommy D’s girlfriend. But when he finally got a chance to put the moves on Lindsay, he suddenly realized that stealing someone else’s girlfriend is an asshole thing to do. (I can’t remember which episode this was)

          The writers deliberately put flaws into each character, so there can be a future opportunity for a character to improve and redeem him/herself.

          Except for Screech, of course. He’ll always be a dumbass.

  5. I liked California Dreams too!

  6. ILovedKellyKapowski

    I actually liked this episode, despite the fact it’s a cliche. The deceptions were elaborate enough that I had to do some thinking to keep track of what a character believed versus what was happening in reality.

    The big thing that bothered me was how Lisa couldn’t remember she and Zack Morris were dating just a few weeks ago (“Bayside Triangle”). And Screech forgot that he finally decided to stop stalking Lisa. All I can do is invoke the “Toriverse” theory.

    Also, um, Slater and Screech, who the fuck kisses while in masked costume, without any lip-to-lip contact? I get that it’s supposed to become a gay panic joke, but seriously?

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