Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 11: “Love Machine”

Now here’s something weird. The opening theme for this episode is the one from some of the early season three episodes where it was the new version of the theme over the pictures from season two. That’s weird. I wonder why they would choose to use this theme?

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So we open to discover that, among Mr. Tuttle’s many talents, is the ability to be a science teacher. My god, as many subjects as this man is qualified to teach, he must have been in school forever! But he’s still determined to make an honest man out of Zack Morris, who’s not taking science projects seriously.

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Now this is funny. These are two of our nerds from seasons two and three. They haven’t shown up in season four yet. I wonder why they’re suddenly here making stupid contraptions like a bug zapper that fits over your mouth for convenient cycling…vlcsnap-2015-04-16-22h00m20s107

Kelly and Screech made a “love machine,” a contraption that can tell if you have feelings for someone. Number one, more unbelievable than Kevin the Robot. Just no. Number two, can we use it on Screech and Mr. Belding? It might solve a few questions over why Screech suddenly shows back up at Bayside in a couple years.vlcsnap-2015-04-16-22h00m53s179

Slater’s paired up with an extra because Lisa accidentally got locked in the basement with Tori this week. They’ve invented roller blades with gas powered rockets on them, which seem quite dangerous prospects to wear. I think the writers have been watching too much Inspector Gadget.

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But there’s time for stuff that won’t have anything else to do with the plot because Mr. Belding comes in to introduce the class to a new student: Jennifer Wade. Zack Morris thinks she’s hot and fuckable but Slater seems a bit shy about her. Turns out she’s his girlfriend from Germany.

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Mr. Belding asks Kelly and Jessie if Jennifer can have Lisa’s spot in the gang until they figure out what’s become of her, or until the episode is over, whichever comes first. Jennifer’s dad is in the army and she’s never gone to school in the states so she needs some good ‘ole girls to teach her the American way. Beverly Hills 90210 marathon it is.

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Screech proceeds to let Jennifer know he’s the village idiot by doing really bad sign language for her, believing she doesn’t speak English despite the fact she speaks perfect English and even has an American accent. Can was create one of Sarah Palin’s death panels just for him? It would solve everyone a lot of trouble.

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Zack Morris and Slater peek around the corner at Jennifer as Slater says that he and Jennifer never really broke up before he moved to LA. Okay, no big deal. Slater might actually be able to have a romance this season. But…Zack Morris says that means Slater has two girlfriends, and Slater doesn’t want Jessie to find out about Jennifer…

Wait a minute…third season opening theme…second and third season nerds…Jessie and Slater dating…this is a fucking out of season episode, isn’t it? And this one is strange at that! In the past, all our out of season episodes were either nonsensical and obvious they were aired out of season (like “Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind” and “The Babysitters”) or subtle and integrated well enough it wasn’t obvious (like “The Last Dance” and “The Aftermath”). I want to know: how confused were people on the original airing of this when suddenly Slater and Jessie were dating again?  I mean, I’m immersed enough in this show now that I recognize when this shit is happening, but, in a season constantly alternating between Kelly/Jessie and Tori, this had to have been confusing as hell on its original airing…

Slater’s plan to lay low from Jennifer is soon ruined when Kelly and Jessie call them over. Jennifer immediately recognizes her Albert Clifford, and we get Slater’s full first name for the first time. Weird thing is, the gang’s known Slater for three years and none of them know his first name, not even Jessie. If my girlfriend didn’t know my first name, even if I didn’t often use it, I might be looking for a new girlfriend.

Slater explains that he and Jennifer lived next door to each other. Zack Morris suggests that they get to know each other over lunch but Jessie and Kelly have to conveniently go to student council so the guys take Jennifer to The Max instead while Screech continues to be a dumb ass.

At The Max, Zack Morris told Screech about this whole situation for some reason because we know from experience that Screech can be trusted with secrets. Slater comes in wearing a shirt from West Berlin to impress Jennifer and is about to shoo off Zack Morris and Screech so he can have some alone time with Jennifer when Kelly and Jessie walk in. Turns out Jessie injured another student and Mr. Belding so she could go to lunch so now we can spill some shit.

They dance around the relationships until Screech finally just blurts out in the most awkward way possible that Slater and Jessie are dating. Jennifer suddenly lost her appetite that she had to find out about this development from the person who will one day make his family proud by collecting cats and mumbling incoherently about the pain his pot holder is going through, so she leaves before this gets any more awkward.

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Back at Bayside, Screech tries the love machine on a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly and finds them incompatible, because that’s a totally scientific experiment…

Meanwhile, Zack Morris and Jessie want to test their experiment, a miniature listening device built into a pen. They send Screech out in the hall with the pen where, of course, he finds Slater and Jennifer commiserating over their relationship.

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Slater takes the pen from Jennifer so he can write down Jennifer’s number and proceeds to say as many incriminating things as possible so Jessie can hear and freak out. Jessie reacts mature enough by declaring it’s time to murder Slater.

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In Zack Morris’s room, Slater freaks out because of the pain his he-man girlfriend is sure to soon give him while Zack Morris is apparently concerned enough to play Nerf ball in the background. Slater can’t decide whether he really wants to be with Jessie or Jennifer. Zack Morris tries to steer Slater towards the girl he doesn’t want to fuck, but there’s no winning. Slater gets the idea that Zack Morris needs to date Jennifer so she won’t be a threat to Jessie anymore.

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Naturally, when Jessie finds Slater, she handles the situation with a certain poised demeanor we’ve come to expect from her. Slater assures her that he only wanted Jennifer’s phone number so he could tell her the truth and she buys his bullshit story enough to let him go. She doesn’t trust him enough, though, since her thing is always jealousy so she asks Zack Morris to go on a date with Jennifer so she can test whether Slater is really over her or not.

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The school dunce finds Jennifer, though, and randomly tells her the full plan because he’s a fucking moron who needs to be neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

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On their date, Zack Morris immediately starts acting as you’d expect from her, hoping that this will finally be the night he loses he cursed virginity. Zack Morris even asks Jennifer to meet his pickle, or something like that. They start dancing casually and that seems to constitute first base in this universe.

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The minute Jessie goes to poo, Slater cuts in and gets jealous that Zack Morris asked Jennifer to walk on the beach with him, because that might lead to some skinny dipping if we know Zack Morris well!

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In class, it’s time to show off the projects and Jessie gets Mr. Tuttle to choose Zack Morris and Jennifer to test the love machine. Oh, they’re very compatible! Things are getting hot up in here!vlcsnap-2015-04-16-22h17m08s199

This is enough for Slater, who flies into jealous and grabs Zack Morris’s handle on the love machine, which declares his compatibility with Jennifer to be “Wow”. Wow, indeed. Slater blurts out that Zack Morris is stealing his girlfriend, and Jessie runs out.

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In the locker room, Jessie takes this news about as well as can be expected, taking her anger out on lockers and shit. Kelly tells Jessie she needs to let Slater go on a date with Jennifer so they’ll know if they still have feelings for one another, and Jessie’s all, “But I love him, at least until we break up later this year because I have feelings for another guy!”

In the hallway, Slater finds Jessie and tries to apologize but Jessie tells him to go on a date with Jennifer and decide what he wants.

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So they go to the folding chair theater to see the new Mel Gibson film, which, for this year, is probably The Man Without a Face. Not a bad film but it’s not exactly date material, especially when you’re trying to figure out if you like someone or not.

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Naturally, we can’t let Slater and Jennifer just figure things out for themselves s we need Zack Morris and Jessie to dress up like really bad old people in order to spy on them.

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And, oh, Zack Morris is a girl, again! He just loves dressing in drag, doesn’t he? Zack Morris and Jessie briefly freak Slater and Jennifer the fuck out over their intrusive behavior. Since no one in the Saved by the Bell universe has facial recognition capabilities, Slater and Jennifer don’t recognize them.

Slater and Jennifer proceed to argue over where they like to sit in the theater and whether they prefer real names or nicknames and whether Mel Gibson or Kevin Costner is hotter, but all Zack Morris and Jessie see is Jennifer giving Slater a neck massage, which is like third base.

Zack Morris and Jessie end up back at The Max, where they each believe they’ve lost a loved one. Slater and Jennifer come in looking for them and are shocked by the great disguises that fooled them for like the thousandth time. Slater and Jennifer say they’ve decided to just be friends since Jennifer’s not attracted to Mel Gibson anymore due to his deformed face and her psychic ability to predict his future religious fanaticism.  Slater declares his  love Jessie for most of the rest of the season this episode should have aired in.

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And our episode ends with Zack Morris asking Jennifer out to the movies since she thinks drag is terribly sexy. And just in time because Zack Morris has to get home and let Tori and Lisa out of the basement for next week’s episode!

Firsts: Slater’s first and middle names (Albert Clifford).

7 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 11: “Love Machine”

  1. Did everyone have a bad hair day this episode? Zack looks like Vanilla Ice, while Slater looks like Latino El Debarge. And Jessie… Well she looks like Jessie…

    Haven’t seen the episode in a while so where’s Lisa?

    And Zack likes UB40??? In the 90s????

  2. BTW, was this the theme you were talking about???

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EKqFDBsp0LA

  3. Caleb Bernard

    I’m not sure which is Slater’s stupidest move in this episode — thinking that someone of his diminutive IQ can string along two girls when one of them is a jealous maniac, or his incriminating outburst in the love machine scene when a simple “but isn’t this kind of technology impossible?” would have done the trick.

  4. I remember seeing this episode when it first aired, and feeling confused. I just accepted it though as something similar to Zack and Kelly…sometimes they are dating, sometimes they aren’t. I was just happy to see an episode that senior year that didn’t have Tori in it.

  5. Parminder Dhillon

    Just to clarify I have just watched this episode today and this is a season 3 episode not season 4 because on my TV guide it says S3 E16 hence Jessie and Slater are still dating.

    • I always used order of airing, which is consistent with IMDB and TV.com ordering, and I’ve found to be the least cintroversi of choices. There’s no rhyme or reason to the ordering used on TV, the DVDs, and on Netflix.

      • Parminder Dhillon

        Chris this is Parminder Dhillon I love your reviews on SBTB it comes on over here in the U.K. on a music channel and I usually comment on your episode posts and I just wanted to say I love your reviews.

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