Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 9: “Wrestling with the Future”

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We open at The Max, where Zack Morris is hard at work interviewing Slater about being named the city wrestling champion after beating Valley’s unnamed star. Slater’s all, “Of course I beat him! I’m Slater!”vlcsnap-2015-04-10-16h57m53s241

And the girls each want to sleep with him now, especially Kelly and Jessie, who have been released from Zack Morris’s basement for good behavior after three long weeks, and they even doing a cheer about how he loves his father. Yeah, I really think the writers of this were never teenagers. Also, I guess the body last week must have been Violet’s instead. After all, we never found out what happened to her either.

But, yeah, next week is conveniently the state championship and everyone’s confident Slater will be victorious because that’s the way it always works in the Saved by the Bell universe.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-16h59m33s220

After randomly having her ass checked out by Screech and called “mama,” Jessie reveals she only rejoined the cheerleaders because it looks good on college applications. Um, you’re the eternal class president. I’m sure that counts for a little something. Jessie says colleges don’t usually let people know if they’ve been admitted until next week, but Screech tells her she’s delusional because he’s already been accepted to four colleges, including Princeton. Jessie’s beside herself because she can’t believe an Ivy League school would be idiotic enough to admit Screech as a student. Oh, Jessie. Anything is popular in the franchise where Screech is allowed to take Bayside students to school dances well into his twenties.

Naturally, to cope with this shit, Jessie resorts to eating. Oh, god. Please don’t let there be a very special episode on obesity before the end of the series…vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h00m44s164

Meanwhile, the wrestling coach from the University of Iowa offers Slater a wrestling scholarship to go there. Slater readily accepts, telling the gang that Iowa has one of the best wrestling programs in the country and, you won’t believe this, the writers aren’t just pulling this out of their asses this time! Iowa really does have one of the best wrestling programs in the NCAA. Slater takes Zack Morris to tell the news to his father as Jessie continues stealing food from other patrons because she’s depressed even Slater was admitted before her. We also find out that somehow a bowler mistook Screech’s head for a bowling ball once and stuck his fingers up Screech’s nose. That’s disturbing…vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h01m55s111

And, after a long absence, welcome back Major Slater, who has some exciting news of his own to tell Slater. Major Slater has arranged for a congressman to interview Slater for a spot in West Point. Once again, I’m kind of impressed with the research that’s gone into this episode. Congressional representatives really can nominate candidates for West Point. It’s almost like the writers care about accuracy for once…

Zack Morris tries to get Slater to tell his father the news about Iowa but he decides not to. After the major leaves, Slater tells Zack Morris that attending West Point has always been his father’s dream for him, and he doesn’t want to shatter that dream. Zack Morris says he’s sure he’ll come up with an overly convoluted plan to ensure Slater doesn’t have to go to West Point nor break his father’s heart.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h04m03s91

The next day at Bayside, Jessie continues her obsessive eating because she got a rejection letter from Yale. Also, Lisa seems to think a person shouldn’t eat potato chips at 9:00 am. It’s like she’s confusing chips with whiskey… Screech, meanwhile, continues to receive acceptance letters, including to the Barbizon School of Modeling. Okay, there goes the believability of this episode. Anyone who would look at Screech and decide he should be a model is just a dumb ass.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h04m44s9

Mr. Belding greets Congressman Shepard, who’s there to conduct Slater’s interview. He’s played by a guy named John McCann. No joke, when I first saw his name in the credits, I thought it said John McCain and I was all, “Oh, shit, did they actually get a real member of Congress?” After all, I was like twelve when this episode premiered so, for all I know, this might have been how John McCain looked.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h05m31s226

After Mr. Belding leaves, Zack Morris enters dressed as Rambo with a mullet. He says he’s Slater and, I have to admit, what follows is actually one of Zack Morris’s better plans.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h07m19s16

See, the plan is to act bat shit insane so that Congressman Shepard will think Slater’s a raving racist war mongering loon and not want him anywhere near West Point or a loaded firearm. For those keeping track, Zack Morris suggests the military attack Canada and take Toronto in a victorious march. This spectacular display of crazy works since the congressman is dismayed that Zack Morris doesn’t seem to realize Toronto isn’t the capital of Canada, and he runs away as fast as possible to get out of this scene.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h08m02s182

In the hallway, candy comes pouring out of Jessie’s locker, indicating Harvard turned her down. Yeah, it must have got back to them that your friends had a shitty actor who works at The Max imitate one of their recruiters last season. Meanwhile, Slater reveals he didn’t go to the interview. Zack Morris comes up and tells Slater the plan worked. Kelly and Lisa are incredulous that Slater would throw away an opportunity like West Point because Slater should have totally ignored his own feelings and gone to the interview anyway. Who cares about what Slater wants to do with his life! Besides, as Zack Morris points out, what’s the worst that can happen: they find out Slater lied and still don’t admit him?

Well, this is the Saved by the Bell universe…

In his office, Mr. Belding tells Congressman Shepard that the sort of behavior the congressman described isn’t typical for Slater. They go into the hallway and Mr. Belding says hi to Slater. The two of them start putting the pieces of the puzzle together and Mr. Belding realizes this must have had something to do with Zack Morris.
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Mr. Belding and Congressman Shepard enter a classroom where the congressman identifies Zack Morris as the student he interviewed.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h10m33s166

So the proportional response is for a military police officer to come in and arrest Zack Morris for “impersonating a West Point applicant to a United States congressman.”vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h10m40s236

And Slater’s arrested for aiding and abetting. Um, are those even crimes? They were lying, but I’m pretty sure lying isn’t illegal unless you’re under oath. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is bull shit.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h11m29s211

And what’s even more bullshit is that they’re handcuffed and brought to Mr. Belding’s office, where Slater can’t believe he listened to another Zack Morris plan. In your defense, Slater, this one actually wasn’t half bad. Zack Morris starts pleading for mercy and Slater tells Zack Morris to take his possible imprisonment in the military justice system like a man.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h12m10s108

And Slater breaks down, of course, when Mr. Belding threatens to call hi father. Way to hold up under pressure, Slater. Mr. Belding and Congressman Shepard decide the two have learned their lesson and tell the MPs to release them. So…wait…you wasted the time of two members of the military, disrupted class, and humiliated two students in front of their teacher and peers in order to teach them a lesson? I would say this is unrealistic but this is the same show where a government agent once mistook  Screech for an alien and that believes caffeine pills are Satan’s dirty little capsules of evil…

After the congressman and the MPs leave, Mr. Belding sends Zack Morris off because, since his heart was in the right place, he gets off Scott free. Guess that’s the rule since he taught that mean oil executive a lesson for killing Becky. Slater decides he has to do what he should have just done all along and tell his father the truth.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h14m19s128

At the Slater household, Slater tells his father the truth: that he doesn’t want to go to West Point and be a part of the military industrial complex. Major Slater takes the news that his son finds Iowa more attractive than a military career bad and randomly decides he’s going to leave early, meaning that he’ll miss the state championships, which seems like a really dickish move no matter how disappointed Major Slater may be in his son at that moment.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h15m51s21

At The Max, Jessie’s received a final college decision but can’t bring herself to open it.  Lisa take the envelope and is all, “This is some stupid bullshit right here! I’ll open it!” Lisa tells Jessie she’s been admitted to Columbia.vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h16m56s159

But Screech is sad he was rejected from his first choice, the Fisher College for Women. I…I just don’t have the energy to deal with Screech’s idiocy anymore today. We end this subplot with Zack Morris revealing he’s been admitted to Yale because of his high SAT score last season because SATs are apparently the only thing colleges look at in the Saved by the Bell universe. Notice, however, that no one was admitted to Cal U. Now, Kelly and Screech were noncommittal about where they were going so I can believe they’d decide to go to Cal U, especially given how much of an idiot Screech is, but The College Years is asking me to believe that Zack Morris would give up Yale and Slater would give up a full scholarship to Iowa just to go to the same college together? Yeah, that might be the most unbelievable thing in this franchise yet…

Slater comes in for the pep rally and he’s bummed because he thinks his father hates him. He can’t get up a smile about the match.

In the locker room, Mr. Belding comes in and tries to give a typical Mr. Belding pep talk to Slater. vlcsnap-2015-04-10-17h20m01s209

Zack Morris comes in with Major Slater, having convinced the major he should come see his son’s match. This apparently involved Screech lying down in front of Major Slater’s jeep. Big question: why didn’t the major run over Screech and do his country a huge favor?!?!?! Ugh, the lost opportunity…

Zack Morris leaves the two to bond and make-up. Major Slater says he only wants what will make Slater happy and, if that means the cornfields of Iowa, then so be it.  And our episode ends with Major Slater trying to get Slater to join the ROTC at Iowa because he still hasn’t learned his lesson yet…

In terms of the episodes we’ve seen so far this season, this is actually one of the better ones. The most unrealistic things about it were the scheme with the MPs and Screech being admitted to so many good universities. Overall, it was quite realistic: son afraid to disappoint father, father being disappointed but coming around when he realizes this will make son happy. This is something that is quite likely to be all too realistic for many in the target demographic, and it’s nice to see the issue tackled so well.

But, you know, I just realized, I must have seen too many episodes in this franchise, because they held a pep rally at The Max and it didn’t even phase me. Oh, woe is me! My mind is slowly turning to goo!

9 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 9: “Wrestling with the Future”

  1. ILovedKellyKapowski

    I don’t understand how Jessie got rejected by all those colleges. (Even worse, how Screech got accepted to all of them!) Jessie is class president, straight A student, she’s involved in every school club and committee, she’s a cheerleader and valedictorian!

    Back in 1994, I had none of those things, and my SAT score was worse than Jessie’s, yet I still got accepted into UC Davis and UC Berkeley!

    Did all those colleges find out Jessie’s ancestors sold slaves, and that’s why they don’t admit her? (It figures Columbia is the only college to admit Jessie, since it’s namesake, Christopher Columbus, rounded up a bunch of natives from the West Indies, and sold them off as slaves.)

    • Caleb Bernard

      Knowing Jessie her essay was probably pretty ridiculous, also she seems to me not so much smart as enthusiastic about smart-sounding buzzwords, you know? Despite her impressive grades and extracurriculars I could see an Ivy League admissions worker passing her over. She really should’ve got accepted by more than 1 school, though.

      Screech, from what we’ve seen, probably wrote a bonkers essay as well, but he’s got some decent electrical engineering skills if nothing else, and grades comparable to Jessie’s. The Modeling School makes no sense though, I can’t even attempt to rationalize that.

      • ILovedKellyKapowski

        I forgot about the college essays!

        I imagine Jessie’s essay went something like this: “Feminism! Save the whales! No more plastic foam cups! Let my vagina into your school, or I’ll sue you for discrimination, you sexist pig!” I don’t know how Slater ever put up with her.

        Sadly, the writers of The New Class think Screech can be a model! In “Feuding Friends”, famous skiwear designer Ramon-Ramon chooses Screech to be in his ad campaign. The only ad campaign I can ever imagine Screech being in is a billboard with the words “My parents didn’t use a condom, and look what they got!”

        (Of course, everyone knows Barbizon is a fucking scam, ripping off gullible parents who are too blind to realize their kids are really ugly.)

  2. ILovedKellyKapowski

    This episode should have aired immediately after “The Bayside Triangle”, when Screech finally gave up his obsession with Lisa, and set his stalker sights on Jessie, at the end of that episode. At the beginning of this episode, Screech futilely tries to pursue his new obsession, saying to Jessie “hey, looking good in that miniskirt, mama”. Fortunately, Jessie has the good sense to tell him to fuck off.

    Don’t worry Screech, you’ll get your fair share of hot girls when you drop out of Cal U, and return to Bayside to hang out with the kids of The New Class.

  3. Was one of the MP’s Michael Jai White?

  4. Also, the wrestling coach shows up at The Max to meet with Slater – instead of, y’know, in Mr. Belding’s office.

  5. It also didn’t phase you that the Iowa coach walked right into The Max, found Slater (who he’s never met) and offered him a scholarship. hahah. I think you were too excited by the fact that they actually had a realistic approach to this episode as far as the schools for Slater were concerned.

  6. A few things:

    In the original version (not cut for syndication) Slater tricks his father with the “Down and Gimme 20” routine.

    ILoveKellyKapowshi, Jessie was technically Salutatorian, whereas Screech was Valedictorian. Screech is still a smart shit, which ones should be reminded, book smarts and common sense smarts are two different things. Alot of people at my school got As where no one could comprehend how, and some smart guys didn’t care about grades (like me).

    The teachers’ comments were the best. “I want your homework when you get out of jail!” A teacher who cares more about academics than nonsense at Bayside. Amazing.

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