The New Class Season 4, Episode 5: “The Tall and the Short of It”

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Oh, yay…a Sadie Hawkins dance. I’m almost certain this is ripping off something from the original series but my brain is too fried right now from the drugs I have to take to keep sane while reviewing this show to figure out what that could be. Oh, well, in any case, it’s time for gender role reversal, which should be a good thing…

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Except Rachel’s all shy and shit to ask Ryan out despite the fact they’ve already dated at least once. She’s all, “But I’m a girl being caricatured as if I live in the 1950s and I have no power in the relationship and must await the boys to always ask me out!” Maria’s all, “Fuck that shit!” and instantly runs over to push herself on a guy.

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Meanwhile, Screech is depressed that, for once, Mr. Belding seems to be acting stupider than him. He thinks “Sandy Hopkins” is having a dance in the gym because he apparently doesn’t hear about anything going on in the school during this episode unless he reads it after it’s been approved. Screech tells Mr. Belding that he’s finally going blind with old age and needs to get his vision checked, which Mr. Belding rejects out of hand as he goes in the girls’ restroom hoping to perv on some underage hotties.

Tell me they are not seriously going to force the lame “Jessie needs glasses” subplot from the original series onto Mr. Belding…

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The boys conspire about who they want to ask them. Nicky really wants Katie to ask him to the dance because he suddenly has a thing for her that came out of nowhere. Ryan reminds Nicky that there are plenty of background characters whom Katie could ask to the dance, so he goes off to find a way to be a pushy asshole, New Yorker style.

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Eric wants Jennifer here to ask him to the dance, but she doesn’t even know his name, which can only mean wacky hijinks will ensue!

In class, Maria forces Rachel to go and ask Ryan to the dance. He says yes, which means that this subplot is over amazingly fast, right?

Unfortunately no.

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See, Screech needs a photograph for the school newspaper in an article about the dance since he’s apparently still writing for it as a staff member and, when he finds out Ryan and Rachel are going together, tries to take a picture of the couple, but Screech’s utter incompetence and inability to work basic machinery give him trouble trying to frame both of them.

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Nicky starts acting like a pushy little jack ass trying to get Katie to ask him. When she tells him that she’s a liberated woman of the nineties and will make up her mind herself, he decides that the best way to get her to ask him is to pretend someone else wants to ask him because nothing can possibly go wrong with that idea!

Oh, and Jennifer still doesn’t want anything to do with Eric. This depresses him and Maria tell him girls are having trouble as well since they’re repressed 1950s housewives like Rachel. Eric says he would pay for advice on how to get Jennifer to ask him out and, since four simultaneous subplots isn’t enough for this show, Maria decides to start a fifth subplot by running a matchmaker service.

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At The Max, Maria starts her matchmaking service: for $10, she’ll guarantee anyone a date to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Fuzzy, who will be a recurring nerd this season, decides to take advantage of her services so she tells him to fill out a personality profile, and Fuzzy practically wets himself at the prospect of the touch of a woman.

Nicky tells Katie that another girl wants to ask him and Katie tells him he should go with her instead then. Nicky looks on, shocked that something went wrong with his foolproof plan.

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Mr. Belding still has trouble reading and mistakes “Chicken Noodle Soup” for “Chinese Poodle Soup” because now the writers just aren’t even trying with this subplot and I wish they’d get it over with as quickly as possible. Screech finally convinces Mr. Belding to go and get his eyes checked.

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Also, Screech’s incompetence at knowing that moving back can do wonders for photographic framing means that Rachel’s head got cut off in the paper. Naturally, since this is Bayside, the only place in the world where height differences really matter, random background characters make fun of them, calling them the Jolly Green Giant and the Keebler Elf.

People, people, why can’t we just make fun of the person who really deserves to be made fun of in this situation: Screech, for sucking at life!

Of course, this makes Ryan and Rachel instantly insecure about their height difference. Normally, I’d point out how contrived this is just for the purposes of this episode since neither Ryan nor Rachel have ever commented on their own or the other’s height so it’s not an established character insecurity like with Jessie. However, I’ll give them a break in this case because, if my school were full of little assholes making fun of my height, I might be a bit insecure, too.

After a break, Ryan and Rachel establish they’re okay with their height difference, even though they’re obviously not.

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Katie gives Maria a personality profile and makes sure to put in it the person she doesn’t want to go to the dance with is from New York, because, since that’s still Nicky’s only character trait, Maria might not be able to figure it out otherwise. Wait, Katie was annoyed by Nicky’s persistent nagging to get her to ask him to the dance? I guess I was supposed to be able to figure that out in the previous scenes, but Lindsay McKeon’s bad acting lead me to believe she put about as much feeling into Nicky’s actions as she would put into cooking a baked potato.

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Mr. Belding does need glasses, which makes him a sad panda. Screech tells him not to worry because he’s going to help him look cool and hip, which means he’ll succeed in making Mr. Belding look like a moron.

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Case in point, the Elton John glasses Screech gives Mr. Belding to try on. Fortunately, Mr. Belding’s optometrist is the most generous soul on Earth and gave him a whole box of glasses to try on. He does find a pair that he likes and decides wearing glasses might not be so bad after all.

Ryan comes to see Screech and he apologizes to Ryan for any embarrassment his incompetence may have caused. Ryan says he wishes he was a few inches taller so that his height wouldn’t embarrass Rachel, and Screech says he might be able to help Ryan out with that the same way he helped Ryan with his sucky ass picture.

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Yes, on their date at the movies, Ryan’s in platform shoes with a Vanilla Ice haircut, because that will solve all his problems. Screech is there to “help” (in the loosest sense of the word) and rigs a chair to make Rachel fall down and look short.

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A really tall guy randomly sits in front of Ryan like a little asshole…

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So Screech does the sensible thing and dumps popcorn on him. How does Rachel not notice Screech is there doing random shit? Does she need glasses as well? Well, in any case, the moral of the story is don’t let Screech do anything for you. At all.

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At The Max, Nicky’s turned down three girls Maria tried to set him up with because he really wants to go with Katie. This is becoming stalker-esque at this point. Maria says he’s even pickier than Katie, revealing Katie doesn’t have a date. Nicky realizes he really fucked up and goes off to drown his tears with some hookers and blow.

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Maria tells Eric that Jennifer really likes coin collecting so he pretends to be interested in coins right in front of her. This instantly gets Jennifer’s lady boner going and she notices Eric’s existence for the first time.

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And Ryan and Rachel break off their date to the Sadie Hawkins dance because height suddenly matters to both of them so much. After all, we’ve got to keep this stupid plot going another eight minutes!

Back at Bayside, Katie says that Mr. Belding’s glasses look like her grandfather’s, instantly making him take them off and hope that his subplot will be over soon, but not before Screech wants him to fill out a refreshments order for the dance!

Maria tells Rachel it’s stupid she and Ryan aren’t going to the dance over height but Rachel says it’s important to keep the plot going so the five people watching at this point think something may actually happen.

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Eric has a bag of coins from his piggy bank he wants to go through with Jennifer. This makes her wet and excited and they decide to meet during lunch and look through them for rare coins, because I know rare, valuable coins show up all the time in my pocket change! Jennifer asks Eric to the dance, which he gratefully accepts. So…all this money…does that make Jennifer like a prostitute at this point?

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Ryan’s depressed, meanwhile, and Maria decides to try and cheer him up by having him fill out a personality profile. She convinces him to trust her because she’s not Screech and he sees the logic in her argument.

At The Max, she convinces Rachel to fill out a profile as well and tells her to just be at the dance. I sense an actually sensible plan in the making!

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Fuzzy comes in upset because Maria hasn’t found a date for him. She tells him that everyone else has been matched up and there just isn’t anyone left for him. Maria’s date picks that moment to come tell her he’s sick and has to back out of their date, which leaves Maria dating Fuzzy since Maria hasn’t had near enough conflict in this episode thus far.

Nicky apologizes to Katie for being a manipulative asswipe and tells her he doesn’t really have a date to the dance. If she really thought he was going with someone else, why did she try so hard to get Maria not to match her up with Nicky? I’m confused! In any case, Katie says that, since Nicky’s really sorry and not just pulling a Zack Morris to get on her good side, she’ll go to the dance with him.

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At the dance, Eric’s bored to tears because Jennifer doesn’t want to dance and, instead, wants to sit around and talk about coins.

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While Maria has a really good time with Fuzzy because she finds out nerds can dance. Are we seriously going for the shallowest possible “looks don’t matter” moral for this episode?

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I guess so because Mr. Belding finds out he accidentally ordered too much guacamole and too few chips for the dance and tells Screech he feels stupid with glasses. Screech convinces Mr. Belding he’s the same guy, with or without glasses, and Mr. Belding feels so emasculated by being corrected by Screech he vows to wear his glasses from now on. I’ll put Mr. Belding wearing glasses in the “firsts,” but why do I have the sneaking suspicion this is the last time we’ll ever see his glasses>

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Maria reveals that she’s setting Ryan and Rachel up with each other because they’re both being stupid, petty human beings for the sake of the plot. She reveals that they both said look don’t matter (ha! yeah right!) and they decide that this entire plot has been stupid anyway. And our episode ends with Ryan and Rachel dancing and vowing to forget they ever cared about their height.

Firsts: Fuzzy, Nicky likes Katie, Mr. Belding wears glasses.

5 responses to “The New Class Season 4, Episode 5: “The Tall and the Short of It”

  1. Is Jennifer… Gabrielle Union??? Sure looks like her.

  2. ILovedKellyKapowski

    It’s been said the reason Screech joined The New Class was to be a mentor to the kids. It seems they can learn valuable life lessons without any of his help. The only life lesson he gave was to Mr. Belding – a middle-aged adult!

    Even worse, Screech actually reinforced Ryan’s stupid insecurities about his height.

    Maria really shined in this episode though, this might be her best episode yet. She showed she can go beyond just being a tough, self-centered bitch.

  3. Looking back, Screech was a mentor to the kids… In season two and parts of three. After that it seemed like he was there to have wild hijinks with Beldiing.

    Season four was the start of Screech just being there for sub-plot B or even Sub-Plot C. He had less and less stories about himself and little to no interacton with the students. So much so that by Season six, you kind of want MORE Screech. Yes, I did say that.

  4. I can see why Samantha Becker was the longest serving student in the series. She was one of the only ones who could actually act.

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