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.

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

  1. I don’t know if it’s the Tori episodes that have a bad reputation so much as Tori herself, and, having rewatched the series fairly recently, I’d say it’s unwarranted. I like her.

    • I like Tori too. She was an original character. She’s not a mix of Kelly and Jessie that you thought she would be.

      Honestly, I would of loved to of saw her on the College Years then Kelly sleeping with a college professor.

    • Tori is better than she could have been, but also worse than she could have been. I think the reason people hate her is that she had the potential to be a really new character, rather than yet another romantic interest / sitcom-revenge-lesson plotter for Zack. So in a way she feels unique, because a little uniqueness stands out from the zero variety we usually get on this show, but ultimately, she is basically Kelly + tomboy – popularity.

      • I think the reason people hate Tori is because she gives off a bad case of Cousin Oliver Syndrome.

        To many, she replaced every early 90s pre-teen to teenage boys dream girl Kelly. Even though Tori is attractive too, in that tomboy kind of way. Still when a popular character is replaced by someone new, things don’t normally go well for the new character.

        Add in the fact that they mixed in her episodes with the Kelly and Jessie ones and it just left everyone confused. But as many here stated I think it was unwarranted.

        Think if after the graduation episode, Zack, Slater, Screech and Lisa go back to Malibu Sands before they head off to college. Kelly spends the summer in her Grandfathers hotel in Hawaii and Jessie goes to New York early for Columbia. And they introduce Mr. Carosi other daughter… Tori. Would it work? I don’t know.

        I think Tori was a good character. I think it would be interesting to see what the show would of been like if Tori was a cast member from the start and not Jessie.

        I even bet that if she was better received by the fans back then, St. Peter might of had her in The College Years in stead of begging TAT to come back.

        IMO

        • ILovedKellyKapowski

          Instead of making the Tori episodes after Thiessen and Berkley left, the producers could’ve just made 10 more clip shows!

  2. I was in an elevator during an earthquake. It didn’t stop or anything. Maybe shook a little, but until I got and overheard people talking about the earthquake, I didn’t even know. That’s not as a shot at this episode or anything, when I realized I was in an elevator during an earthquake, I thought about this episode.

  3. Was this Mrs. Belding the same actress from the New Class’ Christmas episode?

    Mr. Belding and Screech reenacted their earthquake screaming and dancing on a previously reviewed New Class episode as well.

  4. Did anyone notice that in this episode Slater went from having shorts in the locker room during the earth quake to just a towel in the hallway?!

  5. Pingback: Monthly Pregnancy Update: 29 Weeks – Katie Powell Bell

  6. Parminder Dhillon

    Tori is a annoying character and her bickering in this episode about earthquakes is annoying too I cant stand her.

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