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!

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

  1. I think the trash can dance that Nicky was taking part in was actually inspired by that show “Stomp” that is occasionally performed on Broadway. I seem to recall it being quite the big thing in the mid-90s, as I saw commercials for it on television on occasion. So, I suppose you could say that at least SBTB did do their research in this case.

  2. Belding & Screech = Bulk & Skull.

  3. Remember when the Cosby Show used to have a special guest star? Like the episodes where Danny Kaye, Christopher Plummer, Robert Culp or Tony Orlando show up? They in the beginning of the episode would say, “Introducing Special Guest Star_______!”

    I’m surprised they didn’t do that in this episode, “Introducing Special Guest Star Amy Jo Johnson AKA The Pink Power Ranger.”

    Speaking of Bulk and Skull. My nephew watched a new Power Ranger episodes a few years ago when he stayed the night at my place. I remember Bulk was taking care of Skull’s teen son which made me feel old that Skull not only has a son but a teenage son.

    Now I maybe wrong, but I remember that the show implied that Skull’s son was the Pink Power Ranger’s. She and Skull got married and had a kid. And she has reservations of having her son stay with Bulk because she was worried that Bulk should mess him up more then he is already.

  4. So I guess Mr. Belding’s brother-in-laws’s sports store went out of business or got bought out.

  5. Chris I have to ask. Is this New Class season has the episode were Jim Hardbaugh guest stars? If it is, please talk a little about the Michigan fan who put a tat of Hardbaugh on SBTB on his calf.

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