The New Class Season 3, Episode 20: “R.J.’s Handicap”

Still no resolution to the Ryan-Lindsay break-up? No? Okay, just checking. Usually when I see the words “To Be Continued,” I expect to have a continuation of the story in a timely matter, but this is The New Class so it’s my fault for expecting them to make sense.


No, instead, we’re starting an arc of episodes on board a boat because if there’s anything that says Saved by the Bell to me, it’s a boat.


Our gang’s on a boat for two months for a “semester at seas.” They claim the boat is the S.S. Morning Starr, but I’ll be referring to it as the S.S. Suspension of Disbelief. Although does this mean that Suite Life on Deck copied off The New Class? If so, that’s just sad.


We join our gang, who are excited to be on a boat, especially Maria, who’s already oogling a sailor who’s way too old to date a high school student.


Mr. Belding and Screech join the non-stop excitement.


Screech suggests they get a photo of Mr. Belding with the students and I guess at least this time they brought along some extras to make it look legitimate and not like the school principal is taking the same six kids around the world all the time. Speaking of which, how did a school principal manage to convince the school board to let him go with a bunch of teenagers on a boat for two months? Oh, well, I guess anything’s possible on the S.S. Suspension of Disbelief!

Also, Screech falls overboard while trying to take the photo. You know, if this arc results in the drowning death of Screech, it might not be so bad after all!


The next morning, Mr. Belding briefs the gang on why they’re on the boat when Screech decides to harass a random old woman whom he believes is a student. Two issues: Screech has no concept of relative age and Screech doesn’t seem to have a grasp of who the students are they brought along. Why did Mr. Belding bring him on this trip again?


While the rest of the gang go to enjoy swimming and shit on their fifteen minute break before class, R.J. tries to impress a random girl he meets named Carla. Since R.J. is quite incompetent at life, he doesn’t know how to sit in a chair and repeatedly trips over stuff. We do find out R.J.’s real name is Ronald Joseph because I guess that’s supposed to be funny and embarrassing like Slater’s real first name despite the fact it seems like a relatively normal name given that I know multiple people named both Ronald and Joseph. They agree to meet later to talk about mutual attraction and plot points.


Nobody wants to be in class so Ryan, for the second time this season, convinces Mr. Belding that something physical is occurring when it’s quite obvious nothing’s happening. Yes, the entire class, extras included, act like the boat is rocking when it’s obvious they aren’t moving and Mr. Belding buys it and becomes sickened by Screech randomly bringing in a tray of liver and onions. He dismisses the class as he goes off to throw up because he’s the most easily impressed person in the world.


On deck, Maria sees her hot sailor again and, despite the fact she practically puts her breast in his ear, he doesn’t notice her at all because, for once, someone’s setting appropriate boundaries with minors in the Saved by the Bell universe. But Ryan believes he can get the sailor to ask Maria to the dance, leading Lindsay into one of the worst attempts at fake laughing I’ve seen in my life.


R.J. finds Carla and whispers sweet nothings about love at first sight. They take a Cosmopolitan love quiz together and R.J. asks Carla to the bon voyage dance Friday night, because, even the S.S. Suspension of Disbelief needs a dance to nicely wrap up the episode in a bow.

The rest of the gang come over and meet Carla. Tommy D suggests Maria asks Carla how to get a date and Lindsay smacks him upside the head. This doesn’t fit into the plot in any way but it’s just very satisfying to see Tommy D suffer physically.

The gang ask Carla to play ping pong with them and…


…oh…it’s going to be that sort of episode. Yay for ripping off the plot of “Teen Line.” Of course, R.J.’s instantly freaked out by a wheelchair though the rest of the gang seems to be taking it fairly well.

After a commercial break, we join the gang in their cabin as they discuss how lucky they are they weren’t born with any ailments that would put them in a wheelchair and make douches like Zack Morris and R.J. treat them differently. They think R.J.’s great for dating a girl in a wheelchair but R.J.’s just counting down how many episodes he has left on this show.


On deck, Screech decides to try and teach a PE class but almost immediately throws his volleyball overboard. Oh, S.S. Suspension of Disbelief, you’re just a magical place where anything’s possible!


Ryan puts his plan into motion to get the sailor to ask Maria out. He and Tommy D pretend like they’re fighting over Maria in front of the sailor. She says she doesn’t want either of them because she already has her eye on someone else. It actually seems like it’s going to work as the sailor’s appropriate boundaries begin to break down.


But Tommy D suddenly forgets he’s acting and starts demanding a little bit of Maria action, which is why you never involve Tommy D in anything you want to be successful.

Carla comes in and the gang invite her to go swimming with them. She agrees to go when R.J. says he’ll help her into the water while making it sound like a chore that he would dare have to help someone he likes.

In the classroom, everyone’s relaxed but then they realize they forgot to do their biology projects that were just barely mentioned. Ryan comes up with a plan to fool the world’s two dumbest educators.


The gang run around the room looking for  their poisonous “giant flying vampire crab.” Naturally, since Screech is a complete dumb ass, he buys it without any thought and his ineffectual leadership leads to chaos in the room. Mr. Belding comes in and the chaos continues as he dismisses the class to go look for imaginary animals. Why again does the school board trust these two to take a group of teenagers on a boat for two months?


On deck, Carla finally decides to acknowledge R.J.’s standoffishness. Carla’s all, “You don’t want to take me to the dance because I’m in a wheelchair!” because that’s the only explanation for why R.J. could be distant. Yeah, she was right, but it sounds like she’s sort of insecure about her disability if that’s the first conclusion she comes to for every negative emotion.


Maria decides she should have just been honest with the sailor to begin with so she decides to go ask him out. She does just that and, good lord, I’ve found the worst sounds known to humanity…

Good lord, that voice makes Gilbert Gottfried seem like a serene sound bird by comparison. I’d rather listen to a Yoko Ono song sung by William Hung than ever hear that man talk again. The voice of Kermit the Frog and the Alvin the Chipmunk’s love baby would be more tolerable than this. I’d rather listen to John Kerry do a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington style filibuster than hear that man. Bjork, on her worst days, sounds better than this.

I think what I’m trying to say is I find him very displeasing to listen to.

Carla says hi to the gang for the sole purpose of being cold to R.J. in front of the rest of them. Ryan figures out something’s up and R.J. tells him he broke the date because of disability. Ryan’s all, “Anyone would have trouble accepting a wheelchair.

Now this is where I have a problem. Maybe I’m just exceptionally enlightened but I wouldn’t have a problem at all dating an attractive and intelligent person who happened to be in a wheelchair. Is this really a thing? Are people really so vain that they’d let something like a disability choose who they would consider romantically?

Unfortunately, I have a feeling the answer is yes and that, for once, The New Class is closer to being accurate than I wish it was. As for R.J., he decides he’s been a jackass and that it’s time to make up with Carla.


No time for that, though. Mr. Belding and Screech put on their best retarded faces as they’ve realized they’re the second and third biggest idiots on the ship. They ground the gang to their cabins instead of letting them go to the dance to teach them a valuable lesson about tricking those stupider than you, right after they proceed to trick Tommy D into thinking there’s a giant flying vampire crab in his chair just because it’s funny to see Tommy D trying to deal with life.


In their cabin, the gang mope around and R.J. bemoans the fact he won’t be able to apologize to Carla. Ryan gets the idea, though, that, if they do their project, maybe Mr. Belding will let them go to the dance and we can finally wrap up all these plot points.


This involves them getting food for the galley and doing a project on the food chain of fish, which sounds like it’s age appropriate for first graders. Since we’re running out of time, though, Mr. Belding accepts their project and lets them stay for the rest of the dance.


Awful Voice finds Maria and starts talking but Maria tells him he’d prefer if he just pretended he was in bed with her right now and shut his damned fucking mouth before she rips out his vocal chords. And thus ends our “Maria wants to go to the dance with a horrible sounding sailor” subplot.


R.J. finds Carla and apologizes for treating her like shit. She forgives him instantly since we’re running out of time. They dance…


…and our episode ends with the audience losing their shit because R.J. decides he only has one chance to kiss Carla so he better make it good.

Firsts: S.S. Morning Starr, R.J.’s first name (Ronald Joesph).

5 responses to “The New Class Season 3, Episode 20: “R.J.’s Handicap”

  1. Who is in charge at bayside with all of these trips going on mid semester? Lol

  2. I thought Maria and Tommy D should of hooked up. Would of been better then Nicky or Tony in later seasons.

    Or they could of did a New Class California Dreams crossover. Maria raves about her new boyfriend who turns out to be Sly Winkle. Maria and the New Class gang go to Malibu to see a Dreams concert and the Dreams would go to Bayside or the Max and hijinks galore.

    And like everything ’90s Peter Engel after two episodes the idea would be dropped and Maria and Sly would act like nothing happened.

    • I was actually convinced that they would go with a Maria/Tommy pairing. They spent enough time together! But then they had Tommy paired with Rachel a lot that season too, which seemed completely random.

  3. The only reason why they had the cruise ship episodes was to get some use out of the College Years sets. This was the same exact boat that Zack proposed to Kelly on!!!

  4. To be fair, going to a dance with a person who is in a wheelchair is basically excluding her from doing what the activity is. It’s like going to a picnic with someone who is allergic to plants and making them stay locked up in a car while you’re on the outside enjoying the great weather and outdoors.

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