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.
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:
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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.