Monthly Archives: July 2015

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 21: “Earthquake”

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We’re taking a couple weeks off from our out of season episode marathon to delve back into the Tori-verse! And what better way to jump back in than with Mr. Belding trying his hardest to huff and puff and blow Zack Morris’s house down! No, actually he’s practicing his breathing exercises. See, he managed to go the entire season without mentioning that Mrs. Belding is pregnant and he’s practicing breathing exercises for when she goes into labor. I would say that the fact we haven’t heard, twenty-one episodes into the season, that Mrs. Belding is pregnant is an example of professionalism on the part of Mr. Belding but, with his history of boundary crossing with his students, it’s more likely just another case of writers not feeling the need to foreshadow anything.

Based on what Mr. Belding tells Zack Morris, the baby is due on the 15th, which is two weeks away, despite the fact that it’s only a week away if you pay attention to the boxes Zack Morris checks off on his calendar.

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Naturally, Zack Morris being a sociopath, he’s found a way to profit off Mr. Belding’s impending fatherhood: by holding a baby pool! Of course, he checks off the 15th and both days around it for himself, and quickly starts ripping off the other students. Screech gets upset because he wasn’t given first choice, but, because he’s an idiot, Zack Morris is able to placate him by giving him today, tomorrow, and last week for half price. This is the man the parents of The New Class trust to take their children to ski lodges and for three months on boats.

Slater and Lisa remind Zack Morris he has a physics midterm in two minutes. He’s panicked because, in the hysteria of, yet again, tying up Jessie and Kelly and putting them in his basement this week, he forgot to study.

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Our physics teacher, Mr. Heimlich (yeah, like the anti-choking method…clever guys) is basically a Looney Tunes-like parody of Germans complete with the random breaking into German. The only problem is this person couldn’t convince anyone he’s German as he sounds like an American trying to do an approximation, which is exactly what he is. He’s also another one of those teachers who delights in making his tests incredibly hard because I guess he gets off on it? He’s quite literally the worst part of this episode and he’s only in this scene, though, so let’s not get too side-tracked.

Just as Mr. Heimlich is about to hand out the exams, an earthquake goes off. Lucky Tori’s never heard such an alarm before so Slater can actually explain what’s going on: an earthquake drill!

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Zack Morris wastes no time in getting two girls under the desk with him for some hanky panky! Guess he’s not dating Tori or Kelly anymore. Oh, Zack Morris, your love interests are so hard to keep up with! Zack Morris then reminds Mr. Heimlich that he needs to lead them outside to safety, which I’m pretty sure is the absolute worst thing you can do following an earthquake considering the risk of aftershock. He does it anyway, though, much to Zack Morris’s delight, which gives him an extra day to study for the mid-term.

In the hallway, Mr. Belding finds all the students wandering around. Yeah, he apparently somehow didn’t know there was going to be an earthquake drill today, which I’m pretty sure wouldn’t happen, and passed out doing his breathing exercises so he missed both the drill and the end of the day. Oh, Mr. Belding.

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Meanwhile, Lisa’s getting put off by Tori’s constant questions about earthquakes. Seems she’s never heard of these magical phenomenon and now she’s suddenly paranoid about them. Gee, I hope this doesn’t play into the episode in just a few minutes! vlcsnap-2015-07-09-14h29m30s98

At The Max, Tori’s reluctant to remove her motorcycle helmet, suddenly paranoid about the possibility of an earthquake. She even checks the structural integrity of several of The Max’s beams. It’s a good thing she didn’t tug too hard; I’m pretty sure one of those beams looks like it was ready to just fall down.

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Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Belding come in. Zack Morris and Slater automatically assume Mr. Belding’s there because Zack Morris is in trouble despite the fact we see Mr. Belding in The Max all the time. Of course, he’s there because Mrs. Belding had pregnancy cravings. Screech, being the moron he is, can’t help but start fat shaming Mrs. Belding, leading even Zack Morris to slap him upside the head for being an insensitive ass.

Lisa asks Mrs. Belding if she’s had a baby shower yet and she remarks that almost everyone she knows has given her a shower. This makes a light bulb go off in Zack Morris’s head by saying the gang were planning a baby shower for her during seventh period. Naturally, this is to get out of the midterm since Zack Morris is a sociopath and doesn’t do anything just to be nice to people. Zack Morris tells Mr. Belding they’re too afraid to ask Mr. Heimlich to get out of class but Mr. Belding tells them that he sees absolutely nothing odd about a spontaneous baby shower the next day and he’ll make sure they’re excused from class.

Mrs. Belding suddenly starts feelings pains in her stomach.

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Mr. Belding, assuming it’s the baby’s coming, shows exactly how good of a father he’s going to be to this new baby by grabbing Lisa and running to the car to go to the hospital. Oh, Mr. Belding. It’s a good thing that baby has two parents or it would die! Good thing it was just an upset stomach from bad Max food or else she’d be giving birth in a cheesy restaurant best known for once being owned by a guy that kept chickens in his pants.

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The next day at the baby shower, it looks like the gang actually got the baby a bunch of nice presents. Slater hands Mrs. Belding a present and it’s a Bayside football jersey the baby won’t be able to wear until its old enough to go to Bayside. Um…thoughtful? Screech fails at life and doesn’t understand what baby showers are so he gets the baby a shower cap, shampoo, and soap on a rope. Tori gets Mr. Belding a coach baseball cap. As usual, Tori’s probably the most thoughtful of the group in these episodes because she doesn’t have five years of Zack Morris stained on her soul. We also get what at first seems like a throwaway line about Tori helping her sister birth a baby last year.

The bell rings signalling the end of school. Mr. Belding says that Mr. Heimlich will give the gang their make-up test on Monday, which is two days away according to Screech despite the fact that we clearly saw Zack Morris marking off Tuesday as today when he was assigning the day to Screech for the baby pool. Consistency shouldn’t be this hard people! Slater and Lisa run off to swim practice…since I guess Slater’s on the swim team now? Screech helps Mr. Belding take the presents down to his car but they have to stop off at his office first to get the keys. Zack Morris and Tori say they’ll help Mrs. Belding down the never-before mentioned faculty elevator that Zack Morris has acquired keys for because he’s Zack Morris. Tori sees that the jersey’s been left behind so she randomly picks it up, which I’m sure won’t have any bearing on the plot in a minute.

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Zack Morris, Tori, and Mrs. Belding make it to the faculty elevator and get in. Quite literally, just as the doors close, the unthinkable happens in an episode titled, “Earthquake”…an earthquake occurs! I know! I didn’t see it coming either but there it is!

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In the hallway, chaos erupts as people scream and do their best impression of 1960s Star Trek special effects while Lisa keeps calm and gets people into a doorway.

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Luckily for the audience Slater was in the locker room changing when his shirt was trapped under falling lockers! If not, he wouldn’t be able to run around barechested the rest of the episode and give them something to scream about every few minutes.

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Mr. Belding’s in his office with Screech.

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And Zack Morris, Tori, and Mrs. Belding are stuck in the elevator. Just as fate and contrivance would have it, Mrs. Belding goes into labor right at that very moment! Also, Tori has a meltdown over the earthquake to the point I’m wondering if we’re about to see a repeat of Charlie Sheen’s “Winning” video.

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Mr. Belding discovers that the lock is jammed on his office door so he can’t get out to see if Mrs. Belding is alright. Showing that Mr. Belding’s been completely oblivious to Screech’s idiocy from the start, he trusts Screech to try and get them out of there…

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…but all Screech can do is play with a hippopotamus puppet and do weird voices. Mr. Belding starts screaming for help and thinking to himself that he needs to remember never to hire Screech as his administrative assistant.

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In the hallway, Lisa gives Slater her jacket to wear so the audience won’t hyperventilate over the tingly feelings they’re getting in their downstairs regions. They hear Mr. Belding and Screech yelling for help. Slater, showing how he could possibly beat Chuck Norris in a cage match, kicks open Mr. Belding’s door, and they rush to the elevator to check on Mrs. Belding. So Slater’s powerful enough to kick open a door but not to life a locker and get his shirt?

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Meanwhile, Tori’s still having her meltdown. Zack Morris tells Tori to snap the fuck out of her fit of crazy and help Mrs. Belding. She instantly snaps into action (so much for her actually working through her fear) and tells Zack Morris to give Mrs. Belding something to focus on. He pulls out a picture for her to look at while Tori gets her started on breathing.

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Everyone arrives at the elevator and finds out that Mrs. Belding is in labor. Mr. Belding sends Pete to find a working phone to call 9-1-1 so that everyone whose name is in the opening credits can stay behind to stare at the elevator doors.

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Mrs. Belding starts pushing and breathing alternating. Zack Morris says he sees the head coming and, from outside the elevator, we start to hear crying.

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It’s a good thing that, at that very moment, the power randomly came back on. LA must have the most efficient power crews post-earthquake ever! The elevator doors open and Mr. Belding is introduced to his new son, wrapped in the jersey Slater gave them. It’s weird, though. We know from his three appearances on The New Class that Mr. Belding named his son Little Zack after Zack Morris. I would have thought they would have mentioned this since it would have been a touching moment for Mr. Belding to show his gratitude to Zack Morris for helping his son come into the world.

In any case, despite how much crap I gave this episode, it’s actually not bad and may be one of the best of the season. For how much of a bad reputation the Tori episodes have, I’m thoroughly impressed.

Firsts: Mrs. Becky Belding, Little Zack Belding.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 3: “Backstage Pass”

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Welcome back to the mall where, this week, we’re having a dance contest! Unfortunately, by this time, Casey Kasem had discovered his dignity and decided not to appear in the franchise for a third time so we’ll have to do without his witty commentary for our “Dancing to the Max” rip-off.

And, what’s more, best new dance wins backstage passes to the MTV Video Music Awards! Gee, I wonder if our gang will want to take part! This will be such a surprise!

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And here’s Screech with some stupid stuff about carrying a freezing cold bucket of frozen yogurt in his hands or some shit. He also rips off A Christmas Story by briefly getting his lips stuck to the carton because…seeing Screech be stupid and nonsensical is funny I guess? I mean, how many times can I really say, “Screech is an idiot” before the words lose all meaning? This is the comedy genius Dennis Haskins was praising on our behind the scenes documentary. Just remember that.

Also, how did Screech’s lip get stuck to the compartment but not his hands? All I ask for is at least consistency within the same gag! Is that too much to ask for?

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So, as if I didn’t see it coming from a mile away, the guys want to enter the contest. Ryan wants to enter with Rachel so he can take her to the music awards for their first date but she wants to win so she’s entering with Maria. Katie enters with Eric since he’s the black character and obviously knows how to dance. That leaves Nicky, who nobody wants to partner with because he sucks ass. In fact, Ryan enters alone to avoid entering with Nicky. Man, Nicky’s getting more and more like Tommy D with every appearance!

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At the yogurt store, Eric throws his arms and legs around in some semblance of dancing to simulate dancing. It’s nice that, at Yukon Yogurt, one can just do whatever the hell they want without consequences rather than working. Besides, Katie thinks Eric’s dance sucks ass because it doesn’t include her.

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Meanwhile, it’s time to get creepy with Screech again as he has a bumbling, moronic crush on this customer, Linda, to the point he does stupid things like put ice cream in his hand for her and stare at her as if he’s never known the touch of a woman. She remains polite to him despite the Ted Bundy vibes she’s getting…

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…and Screech continues staring at her ass as she walks away while Mr. Belding just thinks, “Maybe he’ll finally get married to some out of state girl  and get the fuck out of Bayside for good.” Oh, yeah, and, as if it’s not creepy enough, Screech is already in love with this girl.

Linda turns down Screech’s opportunity to enter the dance contest but says she wishes she could go to the music awards. Gee, I wonder what Screech’s stupid scheme is going to be. Yes, he’s decided to enter the dance contest since he has a history of winning stupid dance contests in this franchise. Oh, how will I ever contain my joy? Bring back the Sprain, Screech!

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Well, it’s nice to see they kept one mall location from last season, the club. Yeah, Rachel and Maria practice heir routine and, relative to what we’ve seen so far in this episode, it’s not as bad as it could be.

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Nicky, meanwhile, continues to suck ass, but it’s the sort of sucking ass when you can tell a bad actor is pretending really badly to suck ass. This episode isn’t going to get any better, is it?

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At the movie theater, where apparently neither Nicky nor Rachel are managers any longer since the events of last episode don’t matter anymore, Nicky’s depressed that everyone thinks he sucks at life. He says he’s thinking of quitting the dance contest, and Rachel does the smartest thing I’ve seen her do on this show yet: she asks Nicky to finish cleaning up since he’s not in the contest any longer so she can go practice. Wow, Rachel just found the perfect way to get through this show: do not engage with its stupid plots and just ignore what’s going on! Unfortunately for me, if I took that route, this blog would die and I’d lose all my readers so I can’t take the Rachel way out!

Also, what theater has this messy of patrons? Did they have a midnight showing of Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie that pissed everyone off so bad they just threw their garbage everywhere? I know Mackenzie Astin was a bad actor, but this is just mean to the employees!

After Rachel leaves, Nicky stomps on a few containers and starts to hear a rhythm. Oh, god, no! Please don’t let it be this stupid!

The next day, Screech meets Linda in the food court before the contest and…

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Holy. Fucking. Shit. I was so distracted with Screech’s idiocy in the last scene I didn’t realize who this was. If you were going through puberty in the mid-’90s and found girls attractive at all, this was your wet dream! It says a lot that Screech is so moronic that I missed this in the last scene.

Why, it’s Amy Jo Johnson, better known as Kimberly, the Pink Power Ranger from the first three seasons of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers! And…fucking hell, this would have been the year she left the show! She went from Power Rangers, a goofy but respectable kids show, to Saved by the Bell: The New Class, a horrible spin-off of which nothing positive can be said, and she’s in a subplot about dating Screech.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Kimberly, because that is your name and not “Linda” or any shit like that, adolescent straight boys and lesbian women won’t want to touch you anymore if you get it on with Screech! Run! Run like the wind!

Wait, would that make Screech the green ranger? No, because, in my eyes, he will always be the lost idiot ranger who gets sent out on recognizance in hopes he won’t come back.

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So it’s time to start our dance contest, hosted by a DJ named “Daffy” Don Lewis. And ‘ole Daffy Don here is played by…

…no…you’re shitting me…

This is legendary voice actor Wally Wingert, who most will remember for doing a million different voices on Family Guy. They couldn’t get the voice of Shaggy so they got another voice actor. Fitting for this show I suppose.

So Rachel and Maria drop out after the first act rips off their dance. I would say they should be more assertive about their intellectual properties but it does save me from having to watch them dance.

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Next is Eric and Katie. Eric’s great but Katie sucks ass, knocking Eric down at one point and both of them out of the contest.

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Ryan tries to do a back flip but must have been paying more attention to Lindsay’s ass than her form last season so he fails miserably.

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Screech does some dancing that makes Carlton’s from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air  look utterly competent by comparison.

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And last up is Nicky and…oh god…he quite literally just stomps on things on the ground to a rhythm while holding a dust pan, and the judges love it because they need cataract surgery to remove the obvious blindness that’s preventing them from seeing how awful this is. I mean, good lord, even if everyone else sucked, the girls who ripped off Rachel and Maria weren’t bad. Give the fucking award to them if you need to give it to somebody!

No, we need a redemption story so Nicky wins and my soul dies just a little bit inside to think someone on the directing staff was dropping so much acid they thought Nicky’s dance was a good idea.

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So, yeah, most of the rest of the episode (except for Screech’s stupid subplot about wanting to date the pink ranger) basically consists of the rest of the gang sucking up to Nicky in hopes he’ll take them to the awards while he contemplates how they all thought he sucked ass until he had something they wanted. No, I just summed up most of the rest of the episode. Ryan, Eric, and Rachel suck up to Nicky in the food court. Katie and Maria suck up to him in the hair salon. Ryan tries to pull family bull shit on Nicky. And, what’s sad, the sucking up isn’t even all that obnoxious, even by Saved by the Bell standards, but it upsets Nicky to the point he’s ready to turn green and rip his shirt off.

Really, I just saved you watching a lot of this episode. You’re welcome.

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Unfortunately, I do need to pick back up on the Screech sub-plot, where Screech thinks Kimberly’s dating this guy, who’s not famous like many of the other guest stars this episode and seems to have worked as an extra on Hot Shots and Camp and in a soft-core porn film. I guess the producers ran out of money for guest stars. Screech’s jealous makes him decide that the way to win her heart is to lie and say he owns the yogurt store since this guy owns a sports store in the mall. Yeah, this will turn out well.

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After some more time wasting in the main plot, Screech finally goes to lunch with Kimberly.

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Daffy Don’s taking publicity photos with Nicky and his tickets and, when it comes time for the store owners to take photos with Nicky and Daffy Don…for some reason which is baffling considering this was a radio station contest and not a mall contest. Also, why do store owners just randomly hang out at this one particular mall in LA? Is every store in this mall locally owned and operated? Kimberly pushes Screech up on stage. Mr. Belding comes around and lays an instant guilt trip on Screech, who confesses he’s a big fat liar to Kimberly. She rushes off upset to see if she can still get it on with Alpha 5 since he’s a much more preferable boyfriend to Screech.

Nick finally decides to advance the main plot and gets pissed off enough at the nagging that he tears up the backstage passes and rushes off.

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After a commercial break, Screech and Nicky commiserate over their shared idiocy. Nicky regrets tearing up the tickets and Screech wishes he had the tickets to take Kimberly to the awards and…god, is this going anywhere? Anywhere at all?

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Screech spies Kimberly from across the room and, deciding he doesn’t know when to quit, he goes over and apologizes for lying to her. He finds out porn guy was just her boss from the sports store…

Eww…

Yeah, since no one can see how inherently flawed Screech is, Kimberly forgives him and agrees he can come visit the Megazord next time he’s in Angel Grove.

Kimberly leaves just as the gang sans Nicky find Screech. They tell Screech they feel bad for pestering Nicky so much so they have a plan to get a new pair of tickets for him? You mean, tell the radio station the tickets were lost and you need a new pair? No, that would be too obvious!

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This is The New Class, where solutions come in stupid costumes that are possibly racist! Yes, the plan is to convince Daffy Don that Screech is an up-and-coming reggae artist named “Screechio” who Daffy Don should get an interview with. Because Daffy Don apparently doesn’t realize how stupid it is that a white guy has a really bad Jamaican accent, performs reggae, and it wearing culturally misappropriated items from African-American culture, he buys Screech’s bull shit like every other idiot character in the Saved by the Bell universe and gives Screech a pair of tickets.

Ryan takes the gang as he and the rest of the gang give the passes to Nicky and apologize to him for being mildly annoying. They say that, no matter who Nicky decides to take to the concert, they’ll understand.

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At the dance club, Nicky reveals he decided he’d rather watch the awards with all his friends and shit because why not? So, the main plot has a happy ending I guess, but who did Nicky give the tickets to?

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Why, to Screech and Kimberly, who looks utterly horrified to be seen on camera with this abomination of a human being! And our episode ends with Daffy Don continuing to be an idiot and believing that Screech is a reggae sensation and not some racist caricature dreamed up by idiot writers.

And now, I picture Kimberly morphing into the pink ranger so she can fight Lord Zedd’s latest evil creation, the Screech-o-saur, which is threatening to destroy LA and one reviewer’s sanity. Go, Kimberly! Go, go, you Power Ranger! You mighty’ morphin’ power ranger! Make all the teary-eyed pubescent boys of the ’90s proud that you would destroy this evil creation!

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 20: “Snow White and the Seven Dorks”

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Well, this week we’re back on the good ‘ole second season of Saved by the Bell, and what better way to mark our return than a random close-up of a Shakespeare statue. No, it has nothing to do with anything the rest of the episode. It’s just one of those random times the camera person got bored and decided to start filming random stuff on set. There are times I think the crew of Saved by the Bell went to the Ed Wood School of Film-making.

Anyway, the episode proper starts with Zack Morris declaring that, in addition to all the other random activities the gang takes on in their thousand hour days, they’re also a part of the drama class, something Zack Morris excels at since he can almost always con his way out of anything despite the fact even Mother Teresa and the Dalai Llama wouldn’t trust his scheming ways.

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And meet Mr. Bainbridge, our drama teacher, who’s actually quite sane, at least for being a member of Bayside’s faculty. The most insane thing he does this episode is thinking that Screech’s idea for putting on a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a good idea, mainly because it’s in the public domain and the producers of Saved by the Bell won’t have to pay any royalties since they blew their royalty money already this season. But they can’t just do any old version of Snow White; no, they are going to do a rap version because when I thought of what was missing from Saved by the Bell, my first thought was our gang rapping about tiny people and poison apples.

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So we go directly to the try outs, which was confusing because, for a brief moment, having no clue what was going on, I thought they had skipped to practicing the play. Luckily it’s not or we’d miss out on seeing Screech take advantage of the situation to not only sexually harass Lisa while rapping horribly but to also shake his hips in the semblance of what I assume Dustin Diamond thought looked like dancing.

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Next up is Kelly, who’s auditioning for the wicked queen, and she raps her lines with the charisma of Ben Stein watching The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. She doesn’t want to try out for the role since she wants Snow White, which means I have to question why she’s auditioning if she doesn’t want to, but Mr. Bainbridge insists that she imagine some petty high school insecurity in order to channel the wicked queen, and she improves. Well, she improves as much as an actress on this show can.

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Jessie, meanwhile, complains backstage about quasi-feminist bullshit on how sexist Snow White is. How dare a nineteenth century character be less enlightened than a woman who thinks t-shirts are sexist and once overdosed on caffeine pill! Well, Zack Morris tells her just change the lines since none of the crew are going to bother checking whether they did or not anyhow.

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Jessie auditions with Screech and a grab bag of background characters as the “Seven Dorks” and raps about Snow White being liberated and shit, very believable for a nineteenth century Grimm Brothers fairy tale. Mr. Bainbridge, despite initially looking like he doesn’t know what to make of this mess, complements Jessie on her performance. He really shouldn’t encourage her. Seriously.

Last up is  Zack Morris, who auditions for the role of the prince. There’s really not much to say other than the rapping is really beginning to annoy me, but the audience loses their shit over his audition, making me think the last play they saw was a peep show at their local adult bookstore.

And it’s a good thing Mr. Bainbridge is quick to make up his mind on the roles because that means we can fast forward directly to casting. Kelly’s the wicked queen, Lisa is the mirror on the wall, Screech is dork number five, Zack Morris is the prince, and Jessie is the super-enlightened Snow White. There’s no accounting for taste since none of these people should be acting. Ever.

 

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Zack Morris doesn’t want to be in the play anymore, though, as he says that the only reason he tried out was he couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else kissing Kelly. Well, aren’t you just the little shit wasting everyone’s time like that? Jessie butters him up about being the best and shit and how they once were “Mr. and Mrs. Skunk” in an elementary school production, they’re just the next Lucy and Desi waiting to be born!

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So Zack Morris agrees and we go directly to the kissing scene because that’s all this episode really gives a shit about. Unfortunately, Mr. Bainbridge doesn’t buy their kiss as much as the audience so he tells them to try it again with more feeling tomorrow. After everyone else leaves, they get right to it.

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And, by getting right to it, I mean they stick their tongues down each others’ throats. Lisa comes in to retrieve something in the meantime and catches them in full-on make out mode. She quietly sneaks out and the two break their kiss, realizing they liked it a lot more than they’re supposed to because they both got boners and, after all, kissing should be a purely theoretical enterprise except when you’re magically in a relationship! No enjoying anything!

Oh, I see. It’s finally happened. With this episode, Zack Morris has officially gone after every female in the main cast. Jessie was last because she would have, in real life, ran Zack Morris off with her propensity for whining.

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At Kelly’s house, Kelly and Lisa practice their lines, but Jessie’s really distracted, so, when Kelly leaves the room, Lisa takes advantage of the situation to tell Jessie she knows that Jessie’s a big hoe bag. Jessie swears Lisa to secrecy but then blurts out the whole thing to Kelly in guilt upon her return and rushes out, leaving Kelly to wonder what the fuck just happened.

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At Bayside, Jessie’s mobbed by her seven dorks who want to practice their scene with her. She rebuffs them until it becomes a convenient plot point for her to get away from Slater, because nothing says not feeling guilty like getting a gaggle of background characters to carry you away.

And now, it’s time to play our favorite game here at Saved by the Bell Reviewed: “Where’s Scott Wolf?” Yes, it’s that magical time when we guess where our future Party of Five and Everwood star will show up as a background character on one of his first acting gigs! So, where is Scott Wolf this week?

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Why, he’s a waiter at The Max behind Slater! Well, since there are no more out of season episodes from the second or third season, we probably won’t be seeing Scott Wolf again unless it’s in a clip episode. As such, this probably really is the final installment of “Where’s Scott Wolf?” Goodbye, Scott Wolf, and godspeed your journey into marginally better television.

So Slater thinks someone else may be after Jessie and asks Zack Morris about it. Zack Morris stammers and stutters, which is only slightly less suspicious than if he was wearing a sign that said, “I kissed Jessie and I liked it!” Slater says he’s going to randomly join the play so he can keep an eye on Jessie like a psycho stalker and destroy any guy who goes after her.

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Well, and it’s really nice of Mr. Bainbridge to accommodate the random whims of Bayside’s student body because he allows Slater into the play as an eighth dork. The Grimm Brothers must be rolling in their graves at this point. This abomination to a classic fairy tale makes Jessie faint and, when it comes time for the kiss between Zack Morris and Jessie, neither can go through with it. When Lisa lets slip that maybe they like each other, they both run out, shocked by just how contrived this plot really is.

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Since Mr. Belding needed a couple scenes, this suddenly becomes serious enough for the principal to handle. Zack Morris and Jessie both quit the play off camera (thanks for telling and not showing, guys…Ed Wood School of Film-making) and they tell him they might like each other but it would cause problems with Slater and Kelly if they do. Mr. Belding, the guy who has gotten pissed off about kissing in school on more than one occasion, tells them the only way they can find out for sure is to kiss again and see if they feel any of those things people commonly call “emotions.” I guess I should at least be thankful Mr. Belding doesn’t want them to just sit there and go at it in his office.

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In the hallway, Slater and Kelly ponder whether there’s something going on between Zack Morris and Jessie. They decide that it’s preposterous to believe such a thing. After all, Jessie outright telling Kelly that she kissed Zack Morris and Lisa blurting out shit and both of them acting suspicious means nothing at all since it wouldn’t be convenient to the plot for them to figure it out now. No, they decide Zack Morris and Jessie are acting weird because they’re scared of Slater and Kelly being jealous, so they go off to tell them that they’re enlightened and understanding in what may be the most obvious set-up for a reveal ever.

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So Zack Morris and Jessie get right to it and try the kissing. They don’t get erections this time, which must mean they don’t like each other since asexuality doesn’t exist in the Saved by the Bell universe. They’re so happy they decide to kiss again in celebration…

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…just in time for Slater and Kelly to catch them. Slater and Kelly break up with Jessie and Zack Morris.

It’s time for the play, and, after a scene where Mr. Belding just talks about random shit, Zack Morris and Jessie reveal they have a plan to win back Slater and Kelly, who are still visibly pissed.
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It’s nice to see the play takes place in a Vanilla Ice music video, as Kelly threatens to break Lisa’s bones if she says anything nice about Jessie, even in character.

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And Kelly wants to stuff an apple down Jessie’s throat since she’s no doubt had parts of Zack Morris down there.

Mr. Bainbridge wonders what the hell they’re doing and Mr. Belding tells him he has no idea either. Yeah, you’re the one that was practically begging Zack Morris and Jessie to make out in your office, or did you forget about your inappropriate boundaries with students?

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It’s almost time for the kissing scene, but Zack Morris has a different idea. See, he decides to hell with pleasing the audience and changes the script mid-play.

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…while the prince is in love with the queen. That constitutes incest I do believe. Also, the background nerds are way too excited about this turn of events that will no doubt convince everyone unfortunate enough to have bought a ticket to this spectacle to demand their money back.

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And our episode ends with everything going back to normal as there’s nothing better to save a relationship than completely sabotaging a school play in front of students, parents, and faculty who you’ll be asking to write letters of reference for college on your behalf in just a couple years.

Firsts: School play.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 2: “Unequal Opportunity”

Ah, it only took two episodes to get out of the school because why should a show about high school take place in high school anyway? Yes, we’re at the mall this week where the stores have once again changed. Geez, having a store at this mall is bad for business since gone are the sports store, video store, candy store, and clothing store of previous seasons, replaced with a frozen yogurt store and a hairdresser.

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Ryan wants Nicky to be his personal slave and sell sun block on what I presume is an unauthorized kiosk. Like The Max, though, we’ve long ago learned that the mall basically lets our gang do whatever the hell they want because they’re the only six people who visit it on a consistent basis.

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Nicky’s not terribly upset by the slave labor or Ryan’s stupid laziness, but wearing a dumb hat is the last straw for him so, when Rachel comes by and suggests that the movie theater she’s working at needs an usher, he’s out of there. And thus ends the “Ryan sells sun block” sub plot. Yeah, it’s never mentioned again in the episode. What was the point of that if it wasn’t even going to last past the three minute mark?

Also, Nicky’s defining characteristic seems to be that he’s from New York as he keeps reminding us of that every episode. Good, you’re from New York. Go back and jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, and bring Screech with you while you’re at it!

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Maria’s super excited that Katie has a job as an apprentice for Jean-Paul. OH MY GOD! NOT JEAN-PAUL! THAT’S FABULOUS! BEST SUBPLOT EVER! Wait…who the fuck is Jean-Paul? Well, we get some exposition that explains he cuts hair for the girls on Melrose Place and Friends, which doesn’t date this episode at all, and it makes complete sense that a high priced Hollywood hair stylist is working out of…the fucking New Class mall. Yeah, this is hurting my head too much. Can we move on to more important things?

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…like Eric getting a job working at Yukon Yogurt. And you won’t believe who owns it.

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Yes, the man who, two seasons ago, had to work the summer at a shitty golf club to make ends meet now has enough money to buy a frozen yogurt store in the mall. I guess his brother-in-law must have been paying him some amazing money at all these random mall gigs he’s had that a man who can’t be at the store five days a week now owns it. And, proving Mr. Belding never learns from past mistakes, he hired Screech to be his manager, because having the world’s biggest dumb ass work for you in two jobs sounds like the best idea in the world. Also…are they just open on the weekend? If none of your employees or managers can be there through the week, that’s a problem! And, no, this doesn’t take place during the summer because, at one point, Rachel actually says that Nicky just moved there from New York. It’s good to see that some things never change, like The New Class explaining its timeline.

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Meet our main plot, Rachel’s boss at the movie theater, Mr. Dimmick, who doesn’t know his own schedule and automatically assumes she’s late because she’s a girl and girls are always late. No, really, that’s what he says. It’s going to be that sort of episode

Rachel introduced Nicky to Mr. Dimmick as a candidate for the usher position and, since it’s critical to understanding Nicky’s personality, tells Mr. Dimmick Nicky is from New York. Mr. Dimmick starts to instantly fall in love with Nicky, what with his being from New York and his XY chromosomes, and I’m beginning to wonder if this is a very special episode about sexism or about special touches.

So, predictably, Mr. Dimmick instantly hires Nicky and we cut to Nicky in uniform and shadowing Rachel. He’s obviously overwhelmed by how complicated it is to serve popcorn and soft drinks, as is to be expected from a character replacing Tommy D. Mr. Dimmick tells Rachel to take tickets. She asks Nicky to come watch her but Mr. Dimmick tells her she can handle it on her own since he’s not only sexist but a bad manager as he thinks it’s more important to have a conversation about baseball than to actually show a new employee how to do his job.

How did this guy get a job as a manger again?

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At the yogurt store, Screech decides that, since everyone thinks the yogurt tastes like shit, he’s going to change the recipe to make sure the store doesn’t go out of business and Mr. Belding lose their money. His solution? He and Eric add lots of hot fudge to the yogurt but still market it as non-fat. Oh, rich white people problems: is your yogurt really fat free?

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At the hair salon, Maria begs Katie to get her an appointment with Jean-Paul.

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As can be expected from a greatly admired character on The New Class, he’s bat shit crazy and thinks this extra’s hair needs “freedom.” This is the guy Maria wants to cut her hair? Yeah, nothing bad can possibly come out of this…

Katie says he’s booked ahead for months but Maria gets her to ask him. Also, Jean-Paul likes yogurt so Maria runs off to get some for him in order to kiss ass.

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And, yeah, in one scene, people are already loving Screech’s new flavor so much they want to riot to get some. I don’t get this…why is he yelling at them on a megaphone instead of serving them? I mean, we see Ryan, Rachel, and Nicky eating some so we know they’ve already been selling some yogurt. The biggest mistake of all in this scene? I expected something on The New Class to make sense!

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Mr. Dimmick randomly track down Nicky to tell him that he’s hiring him as the new weekend manager over Rachel because an inexperienced manager you wouldn’t even allow to learn to take tickets is the perfect person to run your theater while you’re gone because penises make you more qualified for everything.

After a commercial break, Rachel tells Ryan she’s really depressed over being passed up for the promotion because she, too, expected something on The New Class to make sense. He suggests that she talk to Mr. Dimmick about her feelings because that always works with a boss who’s being so blatantly sexist that he might as well be slapping Rachel on the ass and sending her out to get his lunch and dry cleaning.

Oh, and Katie got Maria an appointment with Jean-Paul because I’m really giving a shit about that subplot right now when there’s so many more important things to worry about…

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…like does Screech’s new recipe pass the “fat test.” Yes, this machine is supposed to instantly tell you if a product is low fat or not with scientific terms like “chunky” and “big fatso.” Surprise, surprise, it doesn’t, but Screech and Eric hide the results from Mr. Belding so he doesn’t know they’re engaged in false advertising in case someone else has one of these magical machines.

What they do instead is throw a bunch of chocolate chips on the floor and convince Mr. Belding they’re ants. That way, they don’t open for business and Screech and Eric will have time to come up with a real low fat recipe. Shoot me now. I never thought I would have to type those things in the same paragraph.

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Mr. Dimmick continues pursuing his blossoming love with Nicky over lunch at the food court as they bond over a shared love of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pecs. When he gets up to leave, Rachel accosts him and tells him she doesn’t approve of his inability to run a movie theater in a competent manner. He throws a few more stereotypes about women out like that they’re less competent to be managers and that they’re overly emotional, and he says he has to go because he’s late for his meeting of the local MRA chapter, Zack Morris, president.

After witnessing the entire exchange, Ryan agrees with Rachel that this episode is bull shit while Rachel decides that Mr. Dimmick will never treat her fairly as long as she has a vagina.

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Oh, and in that subplot I’m still not giving two shits about, Jean-Paul gave Maria a shitty ’60s style haircut. She says she’s going to ask Jean-Paul to do her hair over but Katie begs her not to because this will somehow get Katie in trouble if Maria dares criticize an insane man. Or, if he’s so insecure he’ll get upset at criticism over his work, you could, I don’t know, go to another stylist? Yeah, but that would make sense and you know what The New Class thinks about common sense!

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Ryan confronts Nicky about Mr. Dimmick’s sexism but Nicky rejects Ryan’s thoughts because he’s all, “Mr. Dimmick’s just a nice old pedophile! Quit thinking horrible things about him!”

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At the movie theater, the projector breaks and the audience wants to throw stuff at Nicky to make themselves feel better.

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Rachel rushes in and saved the day by offering the audience passes for the “preview” tomorrow night, whatever the hell that is. Because previews are so awesome, this quells the audience’s anger since previews are so awesome, whatever the hell a preview is. I always thought previews were those things shown before a film that teased other upcoming films you may want to spend your money on. Seeing those wouldn’t satisfy me about not being able to see the end of my film.

Mr. Dimmick praises Nicky for handling the crisis, even as Nicky tries to give credit to Rachel. This is the last straw for Rachel, who says she doesn’t need a caricature as a boss and quits.

In the food court, Rachel looks for a new job but can’t find anything as Maria continues to complain about her hairdo. Also, Screech’s new recipe, which is low-fat, sucks ass and he finally comes clean with Mr. Belding, who gives them a guilt trip about false advertising and having fifty pounds of yogurt he can’t sell.

Nicky tells Ryan he was right about Mr. Dimmick being sexist and that the vice-president of the chain is coming to the preview tonight. Nicky’s supposed to find a replacement for Rachel, a male replacement, by tonight. Nicky says he should tells the VP, but Ryan says it’s his word against Mr. Dimmick’s, unless they can prove he’s sexist. I smell a ridiculous contrived scene coming on that will prove absolutely nothing in the long run!

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Yes, Nicky brings Ryan and Katie as the applicants because it’s completely normal to interview two people for the same position at the same time. Naturally, Katie is the more qualified one, even bringing a plagiarized letter of reference from Steven Spielberg. Ryan, however, hates everything but sports. Katie tries to speak up several times and Mr. Dimmick tells her to shut her woman hole. He hires Ryan because it’s good business to have penises around a theater and tells Katie to get her non-penis bearing body the hell out of there.

Wait, how the hell is that going to prove anything? They didn’t record it or anything? Basically, it’s still their word against Mr. Dimmick’s!

But there’s time for Screech to come in and propose that the yogurt store cater the preview with the fifty pounds of high fat yogurt because theaters don’t care about selling their own over priced concessions at all! Since Mr. Dimmick is the king of bad business decisions, he allows the yogurt store to sell at the preview.

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At the preview, Mr. Belding loves that Screech came up with the great idea to market their yogurt as high fat instead, which makes no sense because why wouldn’t you just buy ice cream if you don’t care about fat content? But at least this awful subplot is over because they sell all the high fat yogurt.

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Miss Phelps, the vice-president, gives an overly rehearsed speech about wanting to see how each of the theaters is running while Maria tells Jean-Paul that his hairstyle sucks ass and she wants a redo. He agrees with her and tells her to come back in for him to do it again, rendering this entire subplot stupidly inane.

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Ryan’s purposely rude with Miss Phelps and, as expected, she doesn’t much like it. Miss Phelps demands to know who hired Ryan and Mr. Dimmick tries to throw Nicky under the bus. Nicky tells Miss Phelps that he brought a girl who was much more qualified but that Mr. Dimmick chose to hire a boy instead. He brings Rachel over and tells Miss Phelps how he was promoted over Rachel because of his penis. Naturally, even without any proof of his accusation like a recording that Ryan and Nicky could have easily produced with their unlimited resources, Miss Phelps believes them because we’re short on time and do not want a two-parter. Miss Phelps suspends Mr. Dimmick and sends him to sensitivity training while rehiring Rachel as manager for the preview.

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Rachel thanks Nicky for helping her, fires Ryan, and our episode ends with sexism in the world completely solved because Rachel gets to be a manager of a theater!

Firsts: Yukon Yogurt, Rachel and Nicky work at the movie theater.

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 19: “Screech’s Birthday”

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For this week’s out of season episode, we’re going all the way back to season one when Screech created artificial life and no one seemed to think anything of it! Yes, that’s right, Kevin the Robot is back and he’s just as pointless to the plot and good for a cheap laugh as ever!

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So Screech, who evidently doesn’t shave with a razor yet, is pissed off about something or other, and Kevin lets Zack Morris know that Screech is mad that the whole gang forgot about his birthday. Screech is pissed Kevin told Zack Morris because he was hoping to just go along passive aggressive for a while.

At Bayside, the girls all practice stereotypical accents for the “drama festival,” including Lisa with a southern accent, Jessie as Joan of Arc with a French accent, and Kelly as Eliza Doolittle with a British accent. They do realize a drama festival will have an actual play and isn’t just about spouting whatever random gibberish comes to mind, right? They all sound horrible anyway like black face for foreign people, or regional in the case of Lisa.

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Slater tangles with Neil, the hall monitor, who’s harassing the gang for loitering in the halls even though other students can be clearly seen doing the same thing in the background. Kelly uses her British accent on Neil and gets +10 attack, rebuffing Neil and sending him flying away.

Zack Morris and Screech come in and Screech uses his passive aggressiveness on them as well.

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At The Max, the gang decide they need to do something really special to make up for forgetting Screech’s birthday. Zack Morris decides they’re going to throw Screech a surprise party, but not just any surprise party. It will be a surprise party during school in Mr. Belding’s office. The rest of the gang have the reaction you’d expect, spitting water in whatever direction they hope the writer of this episode is. Zack Morris convinces them, though, that they have to do something daring to show Screech they really care.

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So we’ve got about forty seconds to waste so, since it’s a first season episode, let’s bring in Saved by the Bell‘s worst time-waster, Max, to do something stupidly magic that the gang will think is amazing. Today, it’s making a birthday cake for Screech using his magic cookbook. Is this like the book from The Never-Ending Story?

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And, waalaa! Forty seconds successfully wasted on a non-gag that even the Saved by the Bell audience, the world’s most easily impressed group of people, didn’t think was funny. Thanks for that, Max. Come back in another four years, or not.

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Slater says they still have another issue to take care of: Neil, the hall monitor  most likely to try and steal your milk money! Zack Morris has a plan, though: record lots of things Neil says so they can play them back later out of context since adults on this show can’t tell the difference between an actual person’s voice and a late ’80s recording.

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Oh, hi, Mr. Dewey! Good to see you one more time, and just in case to play the idiot for this scene! And, here’s something interesting: Mr. Dewey identifies himself as vice-principal in this episode. That’s…something that’s never hinted at again, before this episode or since. Also, if he’s vice-principal, why does he teach algebra? Administrators don’t normally teach a subject since they’re paid to, I don’t know, administer! Strange…

Basically, while Mr. Dewey has his back turned working a problem, Zack Morris plays back the recording of Neil, making Mr. Dewey think that Neil’s insulting him. Going off the rule of all adults are stupid unless it’s relevant to the plot, this makes Mr. Dewey strip Neil of being hall monitor and he’s sent to detention.

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Zack Morris convinces Mr. Dewey the next hall monitor should be Screech because they should all have a taste of what we’re in for during six seasons of The New Class

In the hallway, naturally, no one listens to a word Screech says, as it should be, and part of Zack Morris’s plan has come together now that they own the halls. It’s time to get Mr. Belding out of his office!

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This involves the girls calling Mr. Belding with their bad accents and convincing him that a student with multi-personalities is lost at the mall and needs his help. Once again, all adults are stupid unless it’s relevant to the plot, so Mr. Belding not only believes them but rushes over to try and help out. I hope all this is going to start making sense in a minute. I have a feeling it won’t.

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Mr. Dewey finds Screech, once again. run over by a bunch of students who don’t give a crap what Screech says and does, so Mr. Dewey give a pep talk to Screech, or at least the best semblance of a pep talk Mr. Dewey can give. He tells Screech that, to be tough, he has to think tough and that he has to come up with someone to channel his inner tough guy with.

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This leads into a dream sequence where some random guy tries to force Lisa to go on a date with him.

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But, never fear, it’s RoboScreech, the world’s most incompetent hall monitor and human being, to save the day by lightly hitting him in the chest until he falls down.

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Oh, no! Before he can celebrate, Neil wants a duel so he can get his hall monitor job back, but, by utilizing the power of special effects that look like they belong on a commercial bumper during one of those “the more you know…” segments…

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Screech is successfully able to turn Neil into a pile of ungrinded coffee beans. Now Screech can secretly switch your cup of name brand coffee with some Neil brand goodness!

Screech comes away with a new sense of power as Mr. Dewey gives him the power to send all rule breakers to detention.

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Lucky for the gang, Mr. Belding doesn’t lock his office when he’s not at school because the gang apparently live in Mayberry where crime is nonexistent, so Zack Morris and Slater are easily able to get in and decorate. Kelly and Lisa have gone to The Max to get the cake…even though we already saw Max magically make a cake for them earlier, but we needed an excuse for them to be away and stress out Zack Morris, and Jessie’s off to get paper plates and utensils.

But they aren’t back before the scene cut, so Zack Morris is worried they won’t be able to pull off the party. Slater runs off to find them and randomly meets Screech in the hallway because…hall monitors don’t go to class? I don’t know; none of this makes any sense. He says he sent Jessie to detention for not having a hall pass and he’s sending Slater for not having one as well.

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Screech calls in his deputy, Kevin the sentient life made in Screech’s basement, and goes off to commit some more time wasting.

After a commercial break, Kelly and Lisa finally get back with cake and ice cream. Now both Slater and Jessie are missing, though, so Kelly and Lisa go to look for them. They’re soon intercepted by Screech who sends them both to detention despite the fact that Lisa tries to use her feminine wiles on him. This time, Zack Morris observes it so he prepares to go into backup plan.

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So, if detention is happening right now, that means school’s out so why did everyone have to have a hall pass? This is all hurting my brain! It’s like they just threw shit together and called it an episode! AGH!!!

Mr. Dewey’s finally recovered from the adults are stupid syndrome and doesn’t believe any of the gangs’ excuses to get out of detention…but he does apparently want to see Slater wrestle shirtless…

I need an adult.

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Then, Zack Morris gets on the intercom pretending to be Mr. Belding’s new secretary, and calls Slater, Kelly, Jessie, Lisa, and Screech to Mr. Belding’s office. Mr. Dewey, not apparently knowing who works there at any given time excuses them to the office.

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And he demonstrates his tai kawn do skills for everyone else. Oh, Mr. Dewey, how we’ve missed your Ben Stein-like qualities of lethargy!
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The gang don’t have much time since Mr. Belding’s about to get back so they use Zack Morris’s ability to bend time and space to quickly setup for Screech’s party. He comes into the party and apologizes for being a jackass since they did something so stupid for him. They party for about a minute and then bend the rules of time and space again to get Mr. Belding’s office back in order.

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And our episode ends with Screech overwhelmed by this stupid idea for a party. Oh, first season Saved by the Bell. How little sense you made! Not that anything after made any more sense, but you know what I mean!

The New Class Season 4, Episode 1: “Oh, Brother”

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Our episode and our season starts with the dawn of a new school year at Bayside. And, with The New Class renewed for another season, the writers once again have the opportunity to prove that this show deserves to occupy the same time slot as its predecessor. Will it do so? I’m willing to lay odds it won’t.

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We get right to the point as the gang gathers to give an exposition dump about what’s going on in this episode. Eric’s excited he made the football team, Ryan just got back from New York where he gave his mom away in her wedding, and Maria and Katie are excited to meet Ryan’s new stepbrother and hopefully have a guy for them to fuck this season. Rachel comes in and informs everyone that Lindsay transferred to Winward Academy, which means the gang will never see her again considering they’re not allowed to socialize outside Bayside. Screech comes up crying hysterically because Tommy D moved to Florida and he’s terribly upset about this since he has horrible boundaries with his students and was probably hoping Tommy D would move back in with him and consummate their love for each other.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. That was such an information dump, I’ve got to make sure I have everything down. To recap:

  1. Two of the new members of the gang are Eric Little (Anthony Harrell), who plays football and has lots of siblings, and Katie Peterson (Lindsey McKeon), who’s the new Kelly I assume except she engages in a lot worse acting than Tiffani Thiessen; she doesn’t do much in this episode. And, yeah, this is quite literally how they’re introduced to us: as if they’ve always been there and always will be. They are even equally bummed as Rachel, Ryan, and Maria over Lindsay and Tommy D’s departures, even though they never met them! Also, the audience loses their shit over Eric even before they know who he is just by virtue of him existing. This is a special audience. A very special audience.
  2. Four seasons in, the writers decide to explain the departure of characters for the first time in the history of this franchise. I get that Tommy D may have had to go to Florida if one of his parents were transferred, but why would Lindsay transfer to a private academy in what should be her senior year of high school? That makes no sense. And nobody mentions what happened to R.J. because he apparently sucks ass, even though he was supposed to be Ryan’s best friend last season. Oh, and why would Lindsay and Tommy D not say goodbye to the group of people who are supposed to be their best friends in the world? That seems like kinds of a dick move…
  3. Ryan’s mom suddenly got married, so this is going to be a bad rip-off of “Wicked Stepbrother.” Not even three minutes in and the writers are proving they’re just as lazy as ever.

The time frame of this year isn’t established, either. Rachel’s been around since season one so she should be a senior this year. There’s no fanfare and no mention around that fact, though, so I assume the writers are hoping you forgot how many years she’s been on this show in case Sarah Lancaster wants to renew her contract again next year.

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Well, with the information dump out of the way, it’s time to get on with more important things, like this old woman, a teacher named Miss Biddy, who rivals Mr. Magoo for sheer blindness on the road and apparently hit Mr. Belding pulling into her parking space. Mr. Belding wonders aloud who the dumb ass is that put Miss Biddy next to him so he can murder them. Of course, it’s Screech, but we couldn’t get so lucky to have a Screech is murdered subplot. It’s also inconvenient because Mr. Belding’s personal auto mechanic is no longer around to help him with Miss Biddy’s dumb assery.

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Meanwhile Screech, now with fifty percent more Afro, gives some balloons to Katie and tries to charge her $45 for them. Yes, the subplot of this episode is Screech running a fucking balloon business out of Bayside because he bought too much stock. Shoot me. Shoot me now. Maria and Katie rightfully tell him to go fuck off so he tries to chase down some nerds to unload his contraband on. Only in the Saved by the Bell universe do the peer pressure sales from creepy adults come in the form of balloons and not narcotics.

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In Ryan’s room, we’re introduced to Ryan’s new stepbrother, Nicky Farina (Ben Gould) as Ryan can’t seem to look directly in front of him and see there’s a skateboard on the floor. Ryan’s not happy because he has to split up his room with the guy with a Dawson’s Creeck haircut who thinks he’s a tough guy because he’s from New York and even wants him to knock to enter his room. How dare Nicky make a reasonable demand! I mean, is Ryan hoping to walk in on Nicky masturbating to the early years of internet porn?

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Rachel consoles Ryan about his troubles with Nicky and, as she walks away, he tells Eric the creepy stalker-like look in his eyes is the realization that the writers are going to force a romance between Ryan and Rachel this year since Lindsay’s gone even though they showed no signs of liking each other before and even did their best to emphasize how they didn’t like each other in one episode. Eric suggests Ryan ask her out to the sports rally where the football team is to be introduced because we need a random excuse for tensions over romantic dates.

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Nicky, meanwhile, makes himself at home with Maria and Katie on each arm. They think Nicky’s a great guy, which naturally sends Ryan into a jealous tizzy because HOW FUCKING DARE NICKY MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE FRIENDS WITH RYAN?!?!?! IT’S DISGUSTING AND UNCONSCIONABLE! Also, Nicky borrows clothes that we’ve never seen Ryan wear, which pisses him off even more that Nicky would dare wear his Salvation Army hand-me-downs.

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Screech inhales some helium, giving him the voice of a dying fly because high-pitched voices are funny. Mr. Belding catches him running his balloon business instead of working but buys an excuse that the balloons are for his and Mrs. Belding’s anniversary rather than the order Screech just took. Oh, Mr. Belding, it’s so cute how you’re selectively stupid. Also, Mr. Belding tells Screech to switch parking spaces with Miss Biddy because we haven’t forgotten that subplot yet.

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Screech, desperate to blow up balloons, tries to get the girls’ soccer team, who look like they’re trying out for a production of Oliver Twist, to violate child labor laws in order to help him. Also, when did Rachel and Maria suddenly start playing soccer? I swear I need a flow chart to keep up with these teenagers’ extra curricular activities!

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A balloon pops, making Screech jump into the arms of the soccer coach, Coach Krumlauf, who tells Screech to fuck off because no one likes him. Coach Krumlauf comes in to tell the team that, once again, Bayside is unable to buy uniforms for a sports team because, no doubt, Mr. Belding is embezzling the money to buy cocaine in order to deal with Screech’s bullshit.

Ryan comes in and the girls are bummed they have to wear their Oliver Twist garb another year. They could at least buy new socks. I mean, those have to be, what, $2 a pair? Rachel gets the idea to have a sports fashion show and raise money for uniforms. Ryan thinks it’s great because he wants to get his dick wet and agrees to go talk Mr. Belding into holding it in the gym.

Nicky comes in to pick up Maria and Katie for lunch and meets Rachel. Since we need something else totally not Nicky’s fault in order to have Ryan act more of an ass towards him, this time Nicky’s attracted to Rachel and asks her to have lunch with him. How dare he ask out a girl who hasn’t had a long-term boyfriend since her fake Swiss one two seasons ago just because Ryan wants to touch her breasts!

After lunch, Nicky tells the girls how much fun he had at lunch, especially with Rachel. When Ryan and Eric spot him sitting on the trash can, though, he’s gone too far, and Ryan decides it’s time to do something about the obviously horrible human being that is Nicky!

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Ryan and Eric convince Nicky that Screech is tougher than Mr. Belding and that he really doesn’t want to let anyone in on his stupid balloon business. Ryan gives Nicky the idea that someone helping Screech could make lots of money and impress Rachel by buying new soccer uniforms.

Naturally, Nicky falls for the plan and, going with the running thread that no one seems to be able to figure out how stupid Screech is at first sight, he goes to see Screech, who instantly cuts himself in on the business instead of writing a proposal to the school board that they match whatever the girls raise at the fashion show because you can’t do both if you’re TNBC’s biggest idiot!

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Screech and Nicky go into The Max dressed in lots of balloons trying to sell them to random people. When no one buys any after a literal song and dance and Screech starts floating into the air since The Max doesn’t seem to have a roof, Nicky realizes that Ryan tricked him and runs off.

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At the fashion show, Ryan dresses Eric up in sassy drag and parades him around as the epitome of bad soccer fashion. You know, Eric’s a bit sassy in this scene and, even though Anthony Harrell is definitely not a good actor, I like that he’s having fun with this scene and actually doing something kind of funny here. Why do I suspect this means eventually they’ll have to give Eric lots of gay panic jokes to make up for this?

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So the plan to get the students to donate money towards new soccer uniforms is…for the girls to buy new soccer uniforms themselves and show them off to the student body. Yeah, this makes about as much sense as it sounds. Teenagers being teenagers, nobody’s interested in helping to alleviate Bayside’s financial mismanagement until Nicky steps in and offers his 1956 Micky Mantel rookie card worth $300. Nicky apparently has peer pressure skills rivaling Johnny Dakota’s friends because everyone suddenly steps up and donates.

Mr. Belding and the girls think Nicky’s great for saving the fashion show but Ryan’s all, “How dare he do something positive for the plot in his first episode!” Nicky continues his horrible streak by asking Rachel to the sports rally because he was magically supposed to know that Ryan liked her! How dare he!

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Back at home, Ryan’s ready to throw all of Nicky’s things out because he’s just such a horrible, likable person! Ryan storms out, declaring he’ll just go spend the night at Eric’s house since he doesn’t want to be in the same house with such a despicable person. Also, we find out Ryan’s sixteen years old here.

You know, in “Wicked Stepbrother,” Eric was a complete dick to everyone and that’s why the gang all hated him and wanted to see him die. Here, Nicky’s biggest crime is wearing one of Ryan’s sweaters. Other than that, he’s been nothing but nice and helpful to everyone. I am not going to defend Ryan here like I defended Zack Morris. Ryan’s just being a complete dick. I guess it comes with being Jonathan Jackson’s younger brother.

The next day, Ryan’s still refusing to talk to Nicky and even Eric thinks Ryan needs to back the fuck off.

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Meanwhile, Screech is still forcing his fucking balloons on people. Mr. Belding comes in and says that the president of the school board never received the matching grant proposal and asks Screech why. Screech is all, “Because I’m a complete moron and obsessed with balloons this episode. I don’t know why people trust me with shit!” Mr. Belding says he better give up the fucking balloons by tonight or he’s going to lose his job at Bayside.

Keep with the balloons, Screech! You were always meant to be in the balloon business! It suits you! Why, you could become the Bill Gates of balloons if you try hard enough! Oh, who am I kidding…of course he’s going to give up the balloons so he can inflict me with pain for the next four seasons, but not before having to break the news to the girls and disappoint them.

Back at home, Nicky says he’s tired of this shit. Nicky’s all, “I didn’t ask to be on this horrible spin-off replacing a guy with the IQ of a ceiling fan and I was just trying to make it in a new place where I don’t know anybody so, if you’re going to be such a dick, I’ll move back to New York and live with my aunt since that was the threat in the episode this is ripping off!” We also find out that Ryan and Nicky are both only children.

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This is a sports rally? Why did I expect anything different from a school that held a ballet recital at a fifties-themed diner Casey Kasem once visited? In any case, the girls came up with a plan to get themselves new uniforms and get rid of Screech’s balloons: Screech gave up his parking space and put a chance to win it in one of the blown-up balloons the girls are selling for $10 each. At the end of the night, everyone’s going to pop their balloon and the one with a parking pass inside wins the parking space.

Mr. Belding’s impressed Screech did something like this even though he’s still a fucking idiot. He never learns.

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Ryan tells Nicky that that, since the episode’s almost over, he’s learned his lesson and wants Nicky to stay around and give their living together another chance. And so brings the main plot to a close.

Maria and Katie announce that they’ve raised enough money for new uniforms so it’s time for everyone to pop their balloons. Everyone does and…
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…the winning ticket belongs to Miss Biddy, because this is the closest to actual irony The New Class will ever be able to achieve, even though it makes no sense why she’s at a sports rally that resembles a dance more than a sporting event and the soccer coach is nowhere to be seen, but so is the stupidity of Saved by the Bell: The New Class!

Firsts: Nicky Farina, Eric Little, Katie Peterson, Ryan likes Rachel, Ryan and Nicky live together, the disappearance of a main character is explained.

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 18: “Video Yearbook”

There’s two things I hate about this season: the number of clip show episodes and the number of out of season episodes. The producers apparently had five out of season episodes just lying around and decided to randomly throw them out with no context despite how much that would confuse viewers during an already confusing season. We’ve seen one out of season episode already with “Love Machine” a few weeks ago. This episode starts a string of three of the other four, starting with “Video Yearbook,” an out of season episode from the second season. Yeah, as if you’re not already confused enough by the Tori paradox, now Zack Morris and Kelly and Slater and Jessie are dating again. Geez, they must really have rekindled their romance at the senior prom!

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We open at The Max where Screech is busy reading the classifieds hoping to find a psychic to tell him his future life won’t suck.

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Zack Morris informs us via monologue there’s only two things in life he truly needs: sex with Kelly and a car, and he’s working on the second one. Unfortunately, he’s given the task of looking for a car to Screech, who’s busy searching for $185,000 Ferraris that Zack Morris will only be able to afford once he’s on Franklin and Bash.

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Jessie’s on the war path because she hasn’t been able to come with a theme for this year’s yearbook and, apparently, last year’s was awful to the point people wouldn’t buy it. Continuing the tradition in Saved by the Bell not understanding that teenagers do certain things in high school not out of quality but out of tradition and obligation, like buy yearbooks, the producers seem to miss the point that this plot setup already makes no sense.

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But, never fear, Zack Morris is on the Yearbook Committee, which means there will be some bull shit answer given to the whole situation. It’s a good thing, too, because the Yearbook Committee seems to actually be a group of people all trying their best to be more idiotic than Screech. Also, Mr. Belding says Zack Morris has to participate if he wants credit for this committee. Why the hell would you get credit for a committee? Do they require extra curricular activities to graduate?

Zack Morris comes up with the idea of doing a video yearbook, which sounds dumb to me but everyone thinks it’s genius. They don’t want to miss class because all teenagers are at school for the sole purpose of academics, though, so Zack Morris offers to shoot the whole yearbook himself because he’s, unfortunately, the closest thing to a realistic teen in this episode and doesn’t want to go to class. Plus it will give the writers a great opportunity to have some wild Zack Morris hijinks.

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It’s time to shoot the video yearbook with Screech as cameraman and first up is Slater, who’s suddenly camera shy despite the fact he’s never shown a propensity towards this sort of nervousness before but, hey, it’s perfect for an unfunny gag that it sounds like even the audience was struggling to laugh at.

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Kelly is her usual bubbly, perky self and even tells the camera she loves it, mistaking it for Zack Morris.

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And Lisa is her usual shallow, one dimensional fashion-boy crazy stereotype that the producers bring out when they have no clue what else to do with her. Oh, Lisa, this is why you can’t get a boyfriend that lasts longer than an episode!

In the midst, Zack Morris wants to have a date with Kelly but her car is unavailable so Zack Morris’s parents would have to drive them. Zack Morris doesn’t quite fancy double dating with his parents so he gets the idea to use the interviews from the video yearbook to create a dating video to sell to every lonely guy in L.A. because nothing could possibly go wrong with this idea!

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In Zack Morris’s room, Zack Morris and Screech watch the results of the interviews, including this girl who must know Punky Brewster because she wants boys to buy her lots of expensive stuff since she’s shallow that way.

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And this girl who wants to be a rock star and might be interested in BDSM. You’re delightfully frightful. I think I’ll call you “Scary Spice.”

Zack Morris tells Screech to use the best looking girls, add some music, and plaster their phone numbers at the bottom of the screen. Nothing could go wrong with allowing Screech to be in charge of this project!

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So the two sell the videos to Bayside students. Either that or they opened up a sleazy strip bar. In any case, they plan on selling the tape at more high schools until they have enough money to buy the car, including “Uni High School,” because, in the Saved by the Bell universe there’s apparently a University High School. Oh, wacky adopting of random words.

The next day at Bayside, Scary Spice talks about how she smashed her phone after so many boys called her because that’s a reasonable response. You’re going to grow up to be Lorena Bobbitt, aren’t you?

And now it’s time for the unexpected return of our favorite game here at Saved by the Bell Reviewed: “Where’s Scott Wolf?” Yes, I thought we were done seeing ‘ole Scott after the third season, but he decided to grace us with his presence once more! So let’s see if you can spot him in this next scene at The Max!

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Oh, there he is, in the background behind Slater and Jessie! Oh, Scott, it’s so great to see your smiling face taking orders again! Let’s hope there will be a next episode of this great and immortal game!

In any case, Slater and Jessie fight over Jessie getting so many calls the night before. She says guys were calling her all night looking for dates and they  argue over whether she’s become a slut or not.

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Zack Morris and Screech come in to video scenes of The Max for the yearbook, but Zack Morris is horrified to find out that, not only has Screech included Jessie in the dating tape, but he’s also included Kelly and Lisa. Zack Morris dodges questions about the yearbook to drag Screech out by his ear and kill him for being an idiot.

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Zack Morris tells Screech he must be the dumbest human being on Earth, probably the truest statement ever uttered on this show. Screech asks what that makes Zack Morris since he hired him, also true. After all, why would you trust Screech with anything that could potentially get you in trouble, much less not even watch the results before you sell it to horny teenagers of L.A. For all he knew, Screech might have just put his sex tape on there. In any case, they watch the video.

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They see this profile from Jessie which, no doubt, was intended to be the opening scene for Showgirls. Screech basically took the interviews, dubbed himself talking over the girls to make it sound like they were being sexual and shit, and put their phone numbers over it. You know, if the guys of L.A. are dumb enough (or horny enough) to believe Screech’s voice is the girls’ voices, we might have a bigger dumbassery problem than just Screech.

Zack Morris turns off the tape just as the rest of the gang comes in wanting to see the yearbook. He knocks the two tapes off mixing them up and hands them a tape, not really taking much time or notice that both tapes are unlabeled and that there’s a 50/50 chance he handed them the wrong tape. Plus, he conveniently takes Screech to go figure out a way to fix this idiocy. In the hallway, they meet Mr. Belding who also wants a preview. He sends Mr. Belding the gang’s way. Geez, I wonder what’s about to happen…

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Why, the rest of the gang and Mr. Belding discover Zack Morris’s plot! How surprising! Slater wants to kill him while Mr. Belding expels him, but Kelly has a different idea: let’s, once again, employ the entire student body and disrupt the school day just to get revenge on Zack Morris! Great idea!

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The plot starts in the locker room with Slater pissed off over so many guys looking at Jessie and says that, if he catches who made the tape, he’ll turn them into a reasonable facsimile of a losing boxer’s face. He proceeds to rip a locker door off its hinges and storms out as Screech is convinced he’s going to die. PLEASE! PLEASE! KILL HIM!

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In the hallway, Jessie and Lisa jump in the scheme. Lisa says her father took her phone away while Jessie says she and Slater broke up and he’s punching any guy who even looks at Jessie.

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At that moment, Moose and Ollie come around with injuries supposedly inflicted by Zack Morris. Every other guy in school also suddenly has Slater injuries because the entire student body suddenly wants revenge on Zack Morris.

In Mr. Belding’s office, Mr. Belding even has injuries because assault of a school employee wouldn’t be grounds for, I don’t know, ARREST! He says Slater’s out of control!

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Kelly comes in with her new boyfriend, Vince Montana, because Saved by the Bell loves naming sleazy guys after states in ways that make them sound like Miami Vice snitches. Right, Johnny Dakota?

Kelly says she’s breaking up with Zack Morris for Vince Montana and that she’s suddenly went all bad girl and shit. Since she’s now wearing a bra in place of a shirt. Slater comes in, ready to punch Zack Morris for supposedly looking at Jessie.

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With things spiraling out of control, Zack Morris warps the laws of time and space and gets the hell out of there, meaning Slater unintentionally punches Mr. Belding for real. So…he was really going to punch Zack Morris? Also, did no one notice that Zack Morris just mysteriously disappeared? There’s only one explanation: Zack Morris is a witch!

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So Zack Morris invites everyone to view a tape he gave Screech. He says he’s figured out that everyone knows about the dating video. He tells everyone he’s sorry for hurting them. Kelly was right to dump him because he doesn’t deserve to have her as his girlfriend, but Vince doesn’t either. He apologizes to Jessie and Mr. Belding for betraying their trust on the yearbook and tells them he finished it. He also says he’s using sales from the dating video to buy a video yearbook for everyone in school. And he’s going away to military school so they never have to see him again. Also, Zack Morris several times directly addresses Screech during the yearbook, meaning he either really is psychic or Screech is just that idiotically predictable.

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In the midst of it all, Zack Morris comes in dressed in drag to watch everyone’s reactions to his apologies. Why, I don’t know, because there was absolutely no reason for drag in this episode since there were a thousand other ways Zack Morris could have spied on the meeting, and it contributes nothing. I guess Mark-Paul just likes dressing in women’s clothing. Unlike in “Screech’s Woman,” the drag fools no one since they all took their smart pills today and everyone instantly recognizes the really ugly woman as Zack Morris. They don’t let on, though, and when the tape announces Zack Morris is leaving, they all start jumping for joy, although they should really only jump for joy if it was Screech leaving.

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This reaction upsets Zack Morris. He jumps up and rips off the wig, revealing himself and asking what they want out of him more than his apologies. After his rant, they all yell, “Gotcha!” and our episode ends with everything going back to normal because I guess Zack Morris has learned his lesson for good this time and will never be involved with another bull shit scheme again.

The New Class Season 3 Recap

This season…this season had so much potential. After the cluster fuck that was season two, they had the perfect opportunity to start over and rebuild The New Class. So were they successful? Well, yes and no.

Taken as a whole, season three is much better than season two. Ryan and Maria were welcome additions to the cast (which I’ll discuss more when I analyze characters). There even seemed to be new life breathed into old, tired characters like Lindsay and Tommy D, at first anyway. And, for the first time in nearly a year and a half of watching this show, there was an episode I genuinely liked on its own merits. Season three seemed to do something completely unanticipated at first: turn around this horrible spin-off.

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For all the promise the new season brought in the beginning, though, there was so much disappointment in the ultimate payoff. For one, this season suffered from one of the same problems of season two: too many episodes away from Bayside. As I discussed in the season two recap, part of what made the Malibu Sands episodes of the original series work was that we’d had two years to get to know the same six teenagers. Setting an arc of episodes away from Bayside gave us the opportunity to see them grow more in a different setting with new supporting characters.

This is something the producers of The New Class never seemed to have gotten. The episodes set away from Bayside on this show fall flat because you’re replacing up to half of the characters every season. We don’t get to know these new members of the gang at all before we’re thrust into outside situations that we just don’t know how to react to. Add on to this that none of the characters ever develop in these episodes outside single episodes crises and you have a recipe for disaster. Not to mention I believe that a show about high school should set the majority of its episodes in, say, HIGH SCHOOL! Season three featured thirteen episodes set entirely outside Bayside. That’s half the episodes this season! If I were a new viewer, I could easily forget what this show is supposed to be about.

On top of this, there’s signs the producers were getting desperate. On several occasions, plots used in seasons one and two were recycled for a new episode in season three with the hope that no one would notice. On top of that, two episodes were completely rip-offs of the Zack Morris and Kelly break-up with only the location changed. Add to this two of the worst very special episodes ever seen in the franchise, and you get why I’m disappointed with how this season turned out. There was no effort in most of the episodes this season. At this point, it’s like the writers were phoning it in. I long ago gave up on the idea that this show may be as goofy and lighthearted as the original but, when I’m forcing myself to watch out of duty with absolutely no desire to see what happens next, something’s wrong.

As if that’s not enough, the time line of this season is nearly as bad as season two’s. I was having a hard enough time figuring out when all of this was taking place until that revelation in “New Year’s Resolution” just came out of nowhere that this entire season, including multiple trips and three months aboard a boat, all took place in four months during the first semester of this school year. I don’t think anyone thought this through. If there’s one thing that’s become crystal clear about The New Class over the last two years is they don’t give a damn about things making sense or taking place in an orderly time period; they’re just banking on the fact that you, the viewer, are such a moron you won’t realize that all of the things that happened this season could not have happened in four months.

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Behind the scenes, changes were happening as well. Not only did we lose supporting characters Milton and Ron, both of whom had been with the show since the beginning, but this would be the last season produced by Franco E. Bario, who had been a producer on the franchise going all the way back to Good Morning, Miss Bliss. I can’t find the reason Bario departed, but it’s unlikely he was upset at Peter Engel or NBC since he remained with California Dreams another two years. Bario’s often been credited as the third most influential person on the franchise behind Peter Engel and Don Barnhart, and his departure will signal a shift in the show next season.

Maybe it was time for new blood in this franchise.


Let’s talk characters.

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Let’s face it: for worse and worse, The New Class has turned into The Screech Show for the last two seasons. Screech has to be involved in everything and, if anything, his boundaries with his students gets worse this year, as he lets Maria talk him into giving her a better grade in Driver’s Ed and actually takes Rachel to a school dance. Screech is a creepy, creepy little man in this show and his importance to Bayside only emphasizes how the writers don’t seem to have a grasp of what administrators actually do in a school. On top of that, there’s some just plan mean scenes where Screech, desperate to keep his plan to bring Mrs. Belding and Little Zack to the ski lodge for Christmas, cruelly keeps Mr. Belding from getting to a bus just to keep the secret going. The fact that nobody sees through his incompetence is utterly amazing. If I’d been Mr. Belding, I may not have been able to restrain myself from punching Screech over the whole ski lodge thing.

The writers squandered opportunities to explore Screech this season as well. From his random breakup with Alison, who hadn’t been mentioned since last season, to his return to Cal U, there could have been some explanation about just why the hell Screech is still at Bayside after his year internship. Unfortunately, the writers didn’t think characterization was necessary for Screech so we’ll never know the answers to why we’re still being subjected to Screech so much.


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My theory on why Mr. Belding continues to put up with Screech is that he’s becoming a sad, broken shell of a human being with Screech’s constant idiocy. Think about it: why else would he not have fired Screech when he had the chance?  Mr. Belding’s presence is often baffling: he continues to take jobs at the mall, apparently needing the money to support his family, as if principals in Los Angeles County don’t make any money. Is he using all his money to bail Screech out of his constant foibles? I don’t know. It’s a mystery that will only deepen in season four, though.

For what it’s worth, I still like Mr. Belding. Mr. Belding is at his best when he’s being the kind, supportive, and caring adult figure in the gang’s life, and he had several opportunities for that this season. Unfortunately, he’s also at his worst when he’s painted as Screech’s lackey, especially during the ski lodge episodes. I’m still convinced the reason the original series got rid of Max was because he simply wasn’t needed as Mr. Belding’s character developed more and more. Unfortunately, The New Class doesn’t seem to realize that it only needs one adult character, preferably the more competent one and not the brain dead moron.


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Out of all the returning characters this season, Rachel may be the most baffling. Last season, she had a major arc during the country club episodes and her relationship with Brian overshadowed even the Tommy D and Lindsay relationship. This season, she’s just there most of the time. They’ve all but forgotten that she was a Lisa rip-off in season two and seem to just randomly insert her into plots when they can’t figure out who else is suitable for a particular episode. In fact, I dare say that every episode this season where she was the focus could have just as easily been Lindsay in her place.

What’s more, Rachel seems to have randomly picked up some of Megan’s old traits this season, such as being smart. Maria wasn’t a direct replacement for Megan, but it still makes no sense that Rachel just suddenly took on the role of the smart one in Megan’s absence when it had never been established that this was one of her character traits.


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Ryan was one thing they got right this season. Last season, Brian was, perhaps, the weakest character on the show. Ryan feels like Scott 2.0. It’s like the producers actually realized that it was a horrible idea to make their lead male an emotionless guy with a funny accent who has nothing to do other than talk about being from Switzerland and loving Rachel. Ryan goes back to the Scott and Zack Morris mold of lead male characters and brings energy back to the role that was drastically missing last season. In fact, it felt like Ryan was Scott at times, between his rivalry with Tommy D and his desire to date the most popular girl at his new school.

That doesn’t mean they used Ryan perfectly this season. Too many episodes involving Ryan revolved around his relationship with Lindsay, which felt like one of the most force and least developed relationships (and eventual break-ups) in the history of the franchise. I hate to say it, but I think I bought even Screech and Alison more than Ryan and Lindsay, which is sad, quite sad.


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The writers hardly did anything with Maria this season. She has very few episodes centered around her and her sole characteristic seems to be being an unlikable bitch, even towards her friends. So why am I giving her a pass over R.J.? Well, it’s for two reasons. One, she’s not a direct replacement for Megan. Instead, she’s actually an original character. I found that utterly refreshing in itself that somebody at The New Class looked at these six characters and decided to take a risk on something outside the normal Saved by the Bell formula.

Second, there’s hints of a character coming through. She was the only character to have been smart enough to realize R.J.’s talent scout was a scam artist and she geuinely tries to keep the identity of a celebrity in the mall a secret even when all her friends are being little assholes about it. At times, Maria is almost a female Slater, which might not be so far from the truth considering her name is an obvious feminization of Mario Lopez’s. I’m genuinely interested to see what they do with her character next season.


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I can’t exactly say the same thing about R.J. There was never a reason to give a damn about R.J. He was a slight improvement over Bobby but that’s not saying much. About all he had to do this season was be shitty to a girl in a wheelchair and show his idiocy in being conned by a fake agent. Most of the time, he was just there, and the show was no better or worse for his presence. Replace him with a coat rack and you’d have most of the same plots.

His actor, Salim Grant, has never had much luck in the acting business. His longest stint on a show other than The New Class was a two episode gig on Salute Your Shorts. Connoisseurs of bad movies will recognize him as Bill Cosby’s son in the horrible Ghost Dad. Grant has continued acting on and off through the 2000s. Today, he’s primarily moved into the music business and is a music producer with Rising Platform Productions LLC. He also maintains a Twitter presence, if you’re at all interested.


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I wrote in the season two recap that Lindsay didn’t really have much to do after she and Tommy D broke up. Well, this season they tried to remedy that by…having Tommy D try to get back together with her! And having Ryan chase her too! The problem with the episode ordering is there was never really much question where this plot was going since episodes away from Bayisde clearly showed Ryan and Lindsay together even before they started dating on the show.

Even more of a problem than that, though, was I never bought the relationship. The closest we saw to development was when Lindsay got pissed at Ryan for betting the money for Mr. Belding’s present, and that seemed pretty forced in an attempt to start a conflict that went nowhere. Other than that, we really just see the two of them kissing a lot, and not much more. So, when they broke up in “The Fallout,” I really had no emotional investment or care in their relationship. Other than not understanding why Lindsay fell in love with the human plot point as fast as she did, I really just didn’t care.

Maybe it’s good this is Lindsay’s last season. I honestly don’t know what they would have done with her for another season now that she’s dated Ryan and Tommy D.

Natalia Cigliuti hasn’t done bad for herself post-The New Class. She had a starring role on the short-lived Aaron Spelling dram Pacific Palisaides as well as alongside Mark-Paul Gosselaar in the only marginally more successful Raising the Bar. She’s had recurring roles on Beverly Hills, 90210All My Children, and The Glades, and you may have heard her as the voice of Scarlett in G.I. Joe: Renegades.


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Oh, Tommy D…

By the end of this season, it really felt like Tommy D was being kept around because they needed six characters. I don’t think the writers for The New Class knew what to do with Tommy D so they made him a complete moron. The rivalry with Ryan worked fairly well but it ended really quickly and without any bitterness, unlike Zack Morris and Slater’s rivalry over Kelly, and Tommy D often felt like window dressing. He just didn’t need to be there. The gang even seems to treat him like an outsider sometimes, as when they gave Lindsay shit for smoking but didn’t give a damn about him.

It’s a shocking devolution for a character that started out as a tough guy greaser who hates sports in season one to become a bumbling idiot who’s the football star by the end of the third season. It just goes to show how there aren’t any clear characterization plans for this show at all and that the writers seem to be winging it on the seat of their pants. In the cases of Tommy D and Lindsay, they just ran out of things to do.

Jonathan Angel has kept pretty low-key post-The New Class. For a guy that was once marketed as a new teen idol to replace Mario Lopez, he’s done very little and has largely dropped out of acting with the exception of a few low budget projects (including two, amusingly, as Han Solo) through the 2000s. This is even more astonishing when you realize that, according to the blog Cookies and Sangria, his father, Joe Angel, is a radio announcer for the Baltimore Orioles. Jonathan, if you read this, whatever you’re doing nowadays, I hope it’s more dignified an bringing you much more happiness than your The New Class gig.


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Many people have warned me that The New Class takes a drastic shift after this season, some for the better but much of it for the worse. Only time will tell what’s in store for the final year and a half of this blog. One thing is for sure, though: for a brief moment, in the year 1995, The New Class actually got better, and that gives me a bit of hope. I know that my hope will probably get crushed on the same rock that gave Screech his brain injury, but I’m determined to see it through to the end, even if it means subjecting myself to more horrible choices by St. Peter and his gang. Lord have mercy on my soul.


My Picks

As usual, I’m going to pick five episodes from this season that I absolutely loathed above all the rest. But, first, I’m going to do something I’ve never been able to do with The New Class before…

One Episode I Loved:

Episode 4: “What’s the Problem”: How surprising was it for me to realize that the first episode of this series I loved was a very special episode. This episode is well executed, believable, tackles a problem many in the target demographic may actually face, and utilizes Mr. Belding very well. It’s so good that Screech’s stupid sub-plot barely distracts from the episode itself. I was quite impressed and surprised, which is more than I can say for the other five entries on this list.

Five Episodes I Hated:

Episode 5: “Air Screech”: Good lord, this was a shockingly bad episode that assumes your basic view of humans is that they’re gullible morons who will buy anything they think is possible. And, okay, that may be true to a degree, but, come on, people lining up to buy shoes that are horribly spray pained? Ugh! It doesn’t help that it’s a Screech-centric episode, either. What makes it even worse is that it followed the one episode I liked! It also may be the worst episode to this point.

Episode 9: “Boundaries”: This one just pisses me the fuck off. They basically trivialized a very serious issue, sexual assault, and didn’t even have the guts to follow through on the plot or show any consequences for the perp; he just gets a stern talking to from Mr. Belding! It doesn’t help that the subplot is Screech being sexually assaulted by a pushy woman who doesn’t take no for an answer. Way to include a subplot making light of sexual assault in an episode on sexual assault!

Episode 16: “Screech’s Millions”: Ugh, another Screech-centric episode. Screech walks around talking in a fake accent that makes Thurston Howell III sound pleasantly working class by comparison! Add to that the fact that Mr. Belding finally fires Screech…but then immediately hires him back, and you have an episode that I’m very bitter about. I almost wished Screech had won a million dollars so I’d never have to look at his stupid face again.

Episode 20: “R.J.’s Handicap”: Both episodes centering around R.J. are painful, but this is a special kind of stupid that does nothing but make R.J. look like a jackass and make me grateful he left at the end of the season. On top of that, Maria’s subplot where she dates a guy who sounds like Gilbert Gottfried after he inhaled helium might be some of the most painful moments of television I’ve ever heard. To round out the badness, this is the first of the “Semester at Sea” episodes, which was just a bad idea. Bad. And I sure hope that The Suite Life of Zack and Cody didn’t copy this arc…

Episode 23: “No Smoking”: Nobody wanted The New Class to tackle the topic of teen smoking, especially in such a way that it makes everyone look like judgmental pricks. This episode does nothing but show how the writers for The New Class don’t understand at all why kids start smoking nor, if I was watching it as a teen smoker, would it give me incentive to give it up. This makes “No Hope with Dope” look successful by comparison.

The New Class Season 3, Episode 26: “New Year’s Resolution”

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Well, we’re back at the ski lodge for one more episode. How much I have looked forward to the day we can put this wretched place behind us.

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As the name of the episode would suggest, it’s New Year’s Eve.

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Mr. Belding, Screech, and the gang are helping Grandpa Ernie set up for his annual New Year’s Eve party. This involves Screech being incompetent with balloons and talking about how, last year, Grandpa Ernie made him dress up as the New Year’s baby, diaper and all. Somehow, I’m surprised that isn’t the plot of this episode. I mean, they do tend to take every opportunity they can to show Screech nearly naked.

Mr. Belding has an idea to save the producers money on the season finale: the gang will think of resolutions based on things that have happened to them over the last year. This will allow the producers to shoe-horn in another clip show episode in place of a real season finale, because who the fuck cares about season finales since you only have to wait ten months on this show for new episodes!

Screech goes off to find the gang so they can reminisce on the last six months of my blogging life and the pain I’ve had to endure. In the meantime, he inhales helium and gives us an unfortunate preview of what’s going to happen to his voice in the coming seasons. I’ll give you a clue: my emotions surrounding the change are annoyance and depression, not joy and amusement.

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Screech first finds Ryan, who throws a shovel full of snow in Screech’s face. I like to think this was just Richard Lee Jackson getting pissed off at Dustin Diamond and not realizing the camera was on, but it was so good the producers left it in. Anyway, Ryan realizes how much of a dumb fuck he’s been over the past year with Zack Morris-like schemes and, after some clips, decides his resolution is to think before he acts. Ryan asks Screech what his resolution is, and Screech is terrified to realize his life is so fucked up he can’t decide on just one thing.

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Screech finds the girls next, and decides to blow on Grandpa Ernie’s nasal inhaler, which just happens to be sitting there with a bunch of noise makers…for some reason. After watching the clip of Lindsay not trusting Rachel and Ryan during the play, Lindsay vows to trust her friends more. Rachel remembers her mild case of sexual assault at Cal U. Maria vows to be up front with people after remembering how she and Lindsay lied to Rachel at the mall. Screech is filled with dread, though, to realize he still doesn’t have a resolution.

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Lastly, we have Tommy D and R.J., who are in charge of food. Unfortunately, R.J. let Tommy D do the taste testing, which Tommy D took to mean, “be an idiot and bite into every sandwich.” Oh, Tommy D, how I won’t miss you at all next season. Your presence this season has contributed nothing! But Tommy D does have a resolution: to be himself, based on the stupid episode where he tried to act cultured and smart to get a girl. R.J., meanwhile, vows to judge everyone for who they are since he remembered how much of a dick he was to a girl with a disability on the S.S. Suspension of Disbelief.  Screech feels even more of a loser that even Tommy D has a resolution and he still can’t come up with one.

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So it’s time for the party, and Mr. Belding brings everyone outside to give their resolutions. Screech says he thought of one despite the fact that he and Mr. Belding didn’t get their own set of clips. What does Screech do? Why, he just reads off the gang’s resolutions. When they threaten to kick his ass for plagiarism, he apologizes, saying he’s such a dumb ass he thought he came up with them on his own. Mr. Belding says that it’s okay because everyone realizes Screech is a bit touched in the head and that, even if they’re borrowed and he took the thunder away from everyone else, they’re great resolutions.

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And our episode, and our season, closes with our principal cast counting down to the new year and then embracing in one more happy cast moment while I thank God I had enough whiskey to make it through this season.

Now you might have noticed the problem with this episode: it takes place mid-school year, while they’re on Christmas vacation. Since Ryan, R.J., and Maria just came at the beginning of the school year, that means every episode they used a clip from had to have happened between September and December. That means, in four months, the gang manged to have a bunch of school episodes in which they had a television station, a gymnastics meet, a school play, and a ballet recital at The Max, plus a multiple episode arc at the mall, a trip to Cal U, three months on the S.S. Suspension of Disbelief, and episodes at the ski lodge. I’ve heard of conflated time lines but this is ridiculous. There’s no possible way the gang accomplished all that in the span of four months, especially if three of those months were spent on a damned boat! These producers just don’t fucking care. They knew that they could take any old shit they wanted to, dress it up with the Saved by the Bell franchise name, and that we would all eat it because they believe we’re all maniacal raving idiots who can’t bother to tie our shoe strings without directions to follow!

God, I really hate this show.

For what it’s worth: here are what the resolutions should have been:

Mr. Belding: Fire Screech.
Rachel: Get a personality that isn’t borrowed from random bits of Megan’s leftover character traits.
Maria: Do something other than be a super bitch.
Lindsay: Acting lessons.
Ryan: Stop being a dick.
R.J.: Do something to make internet reviewers twenty years from now give a shit that you were on this show.
Tommy D: Just leave already.
Screech: Die, preferably as painfully as possible.


In any case, three seasons down, four more to go. As usual I’ll have a recap of season three this Wednesday. And, next Monday, we’ll start in on season four of The New Class. Will it be better than the previous three seasons? Based on what I already know, I’m not holding my breath…

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 17: “The Senior Prom”

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We open with Zack Morris doing what Zack Morris does best: reducing women to sexualized objects he hopes to lose his cursed virginity to! Oh, Zack Morris, no matter how many seasons this show lasted, you were never really going to change, were you?

No, it’s senior prom time and you might expect Zack Morris would be taking Tori since he’s been dating her much of the season. You would be wrong, though, because Kelly and Jessie are in this episode, which means Tori’s locked in Zack Morris’s basement and he’s administered the thing from Men in Black to make everyone forget Tori ever existed. Actually, Zack Morris is unsure who he’s going to take so he’s on the lookout for his conquest.

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Unfortunately for Mr. Belding, that won’t be him, no matter how much he may dream of it.

We find Jessie selling tickets to senior prom and nobody wants to buy them, said no high school ever. Yeah, that’s what we’re going with this episode. Get ready for a bumpy ride.

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Slater threatens to kill Pete if he doesn’t buy a ticket to the prom but Zack Morris convinces him not to because we need him around to be one of the few minor characters who crosses over into the Tori episodes in order to confuse us even more.

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Meanwhile, Screech is selling tickets for the school’s production of Oklahoma and people are practically mobbing him to buy them. Once again, said no high school ever. Did the writers of this show ever actually go to high school?

Turns out the drama club is selling tickets for 50 cents each, which wouldn’t even cover the royalty expenses but this is Saved by the Bell, where we don’t give a damn about what high school is really like. Screech was cast as the perfect role, though: as the back end of a cow. Yeah, I think he just kept playing that role well into The New Class.

Kelly and Lisa join the group and start talking about prom dates. Lisa’s not sure who she’s going to the prom with yet but has given six maybes because she likes to string men along. Nobody’s asked Kelly yet, which may be the most unrealistic thing yet uttered in this episode. Screech says he’s not going to ask Lisa to the prom because there are so many girls at Bayside who find moronic idiots hot.

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Like this girl, who thinks Screech and his Old MacDonald get-up are repugnant. Oh, that’s not the only reason why.

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At The Max, Kelly waits on Matt Wilson, who starts giving her Zack Morris-like pick up lines which naturally gets her lady boner going. As usual, Kelly goes for the older guys since the actor playing Matt was only four months shy of turning twenty-one at the time of this episode. At least she’s getting younger than Jeff Hunter.

Slater has a date now and wonders when Zack Morris will get his. He says he’s narrowed his choice down to one when Kelly comes up and sends Zack Morris into a contrived trance.

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Zack Morris comes out of his trance long enough to nearly ask this girl to the dance, but backs out, claiming going out with her would interfere with the plot of this episode.

Back at Bayside, Zack Morris sees another girl to hone in on but Kelly distracts him with his newly revived crush. He runs away from this girl and tells Slater that he was spoiled by going steady with Kelly since none of the other girls have what she has. Stacey and Tori will be very comforted to hear that they didn’t measure up to the Kelly standard, I’m sure. Screech tries to hone in on the girl but she’s all, “I’d rather go with Tommy D!”

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In the hallway, Zack Morris decides to ask Kelly to the prom. He says she’s the only girl he ever cared about. Once again, I’m sure Stacey and Tori will be glad to hear they meant nothing to Zack Morris. She says she can’t because that would invalidate a lot of this plot, and because Matt Wilson asked her first.

Jessie comes out of Mr. Belding’s office hysterical because he’s going to cancel the prom since no one’s bought tickets, which is not true. We can assume that Zack Morris, Slater and his date, Kelly, Matt Wilson, Lisa, Jessie, and Screech have all bought tickets. That’s eight tickets, practically half the senior class judging by the extras we’ve seen! But Mr. Belding says that since no one at Bayside understands how a prom works, he’s going to cancel it because that’s a reasonable response.

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After a commercial break, the prom committee, joined by Zack Morris, convenes to find a way to salvage this incompetently run prom. Wait…Pete’s on the prom committee?!?! Then, I don’t know, WHY THE HELL DIDN’T HE BUY A TICKET! Jesus I hate that this show can’t remember what it does from one scene to the next.

Slater suggests they have it in the gym but Mr. Belding says Oklahoma is conveniently being held there. Zack Morris suggests that they change the theme of the prom to be a country square dance, which is the second worst idea for a prom I’ve ever heard in my life but, but at least it’s not Ryan’s stupid go to prom in your t-shirt idea. Everyone thinks it’s a great idea so we’re set for a prom that will surely make most of the students wonder how they got stuck with the school district that doesn’t understand throwing a prom.

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Zack Morris stops Matt in the hallway and tells him a bunch of bull shit about Kelly’s family to make him scared to take Kelly to the prom.

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Screech bugs one of the random girls again to go to the prom with him. She tells him to fuck off with his creepy ass while Lisa watches. Screech walks away dejected and the girl commiserates with Lisa since she think she has a sympathetic ear given how long Screech has been stalking Lisa. Lisa tells her to fuck the fucking fuck off because the producers have suddenly decided to make her sympathetic to Screech’s plot, something very out of character for a person to do with their stalker.

Jessie comes in The Max to announce that tickets are now selling like hot cakes since they changed the prom theme to something no one in their right mind would like, and that she now has a date. That leaves Zack Morris, Lisa, and Screech the only ones without dates, but Zack Morris says that’s soon to change.

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Matt picks that moment to come in and break off the prom date with Kelly. He must have just came to Bayside because he doesn’t know about Zack Morris’s bull shit. Zack Morris swoops in to be her white knight as Kelly marvels at how he’s always there when something bad happens. Oh, she will never learn either.

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Screech comes in dejected that no one will go to the prom with him, and Lisa decides the best way to resolve this plot that’s going way too long is to go with Screech herself because women enjoy going to the prom with creepy ass mother fuckers who have been stalking you since your middle school days in Indiana. I guess otherwise it would have meant bringing in another guest star since Lisa’s not allowed to date the same guy for more than one episode.

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Slater and Jessie go down to the boiler room looking for a ladder and lock themselves in, because the boiler room is a safe place to have a door that locks from the outside with no way to get out. How does Bayside not get sued constantly? They yell for help but, for once in the school’s history, there’s no extras in the corner where the vent is to hear their cries.

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Kelly says she’s glad how things worked out, but then Matt comes up surprised that Zack Morris is taking Kelly to the prom. Zack Morris shoos Matt away, but it’s too late: Kelly’s mind is in full gear and she’s figured out it’s another bullshit Zack Morris scheme. After four years of them, you’d think she’d be quicker on the uptake. She tells him to go to hell and to go to the prom by himself.

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At the prom, Mr. Belding emcees what will no doubt go down in history as the lamest prom ever until Ryan arrives three years from now. Seriously, this entire thing would make me not want to buy a ticket. Mr. Belding thanks Slater and Jessie for the prom decorations but no on thinks it’s odd they’re not at the prom they helped create. Even their dates don’t seem to be concerned they’re missing.

No, they’re still in the boiler room trying to open a vent so people can hear them yell for help. They’re going to die there, aren’t they? Slater has Jessie on his shoulders but loses his balance. They start fighting but then Slater comes up with what’s actually a good idea: to crank up the heat so someone will come down and see what’s going on, but not before the boiler randomly shoots a bunch of dust at the two of them.

Well, it would be a good idea if Bayside had competent faculty, but Mr. Belding assumes that the heat is just because of how many people are in the gym and he promises to turn up the air conditioning.

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Zack Morris tries to talk to Kelly, but they both get pulled into a…square dance…

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Being emceed by Screech, and it’s as bad as you think, with talk about shooting whales and Grandma in the kitchen and shit, and cats licking their fur in the litter box…

Why does anyone ever let Screech do anything?

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Pete cuts in before they can talk so Zack Morris says enough with this bull shit and takes Kelly outside to talk.

As they go, Barry Manilow’s song, “Mandy,” starts playing, because that was what all the hip teenagers were listening to in the early ’90s: Barry Manilow! I often doubt that the writers for this show were ever teenagers.

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Meanwhile, Slater and Jessie, confused by why they don’t have competent administrators at Bayside and in the midst of being hot, dirty, and locked in a boiler room, rekindle their love for each other thanks to “Mandy” and start dancing in the boiler room.

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Zack Morris tells Kelly he’s sorry he pulled another asshole scheme to get her and she says it’s okay because Matt has cooties and she really likes Zack Morris. She forgives him because the plot demands it, and they kiss as Slater and Jessie hear them through the vent.

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Finally, someone hears Slater and Jessie yelling through the vent. Zack Morris and Kelly retrieve Slater and Jessie and get them back to the prom in time for the last dance. The producers must have spent all their money on the stupid western props and on the Barry Manilow song because, while this one has a country feel, as far as I can tell, it’s another Saved by the Bell original. I guess we should just be faithful they’re not dancing to muzak really.

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And our episode ends with Zack Morris and Kelly slow dancing and talking about how they care for each other, despite the fact this won’t come up again until The College Years, because we have to wait and give the viewers another forced romance between Zack Morris and Kelly next year!