We open at…the hospital, where Eric apparently now volunteers for the purposes of this episode. He has the task of taking this woman for a walk outside and she says it did her good.
Unfortunately for her the duo that give small children a phobia of clowns show up.
Our old woman suddenly realizes she’s in a shitty Saved by the Bell spin-off. Her magic powers kick in and she high tails it out of there before they turn her into a stupid sub-plot. She’s so magical she can make her wheelchair move forward without actually touching the wheels. No, I’m not even kidding. She just moves her hands through the air. Well, this episode is starting out well…
Mr. Belding says he’s hosting a farewell party for the volunteers and their patients on Saturday and he wants Eric to sing, which he readily agrees to. I wish I knew what the fuck is going on. I really wish I knew what the fuck is going on.
Katie has a professional interaction with this guy, Greg, which leads Rachel and Maria to conclude that they need to fuck. Katie says she’s not interested in dating anyone yet since she’s so confused by the way her breakup with Nicky was aired out of order. After she walks away, Rachel and Maria decide that it would be good for Katie to date someone so, like all good friends, the’re going to meddle in her social life.
Ryan and Nicky have the supposedly unenviable take of taking care of Mr. Madison, whom the episode wants us to believe is kind of a crotchety old man but just seems intolerant of Ryan and Nicky’s bullshit incompetence to me. Ryan and Nicky decide they would rather take care of someone who won’t point out their stupidity, so they pawn him off on Eric since it’s going to be another Eric-centric episode and shit.
So, based on what’s happened so far and based on the fact there’s another episode that takes place in the hospital, I can only assume that we’re witnessing another instance of NBC’s incompetence in airing episodes in some semblance of a logical order and that the gang are completing some sort of volunteer project. I guess we’ll find out later in the season what’s actually happening on this show. God, I hate this show.
Also, Mr. Madison is played by Jack Carter, who’s apparently a legendary Las Vegas comedian and former host of Cavalcade of Stars and Texaco Star Theater who was pretty prolific when my grandparents and parents were younger than I am now. Yeah, I had no idea who he is either and had to look it up on IMDB. He gets a Very Special Guest Star credit for this episode, which means they intended this to be a star-studed appearance, but I have a feeling that, if I have no idea who he is, neither did the target audience in the mid-nineties. In any case, how horrible that this guy’s career spiraled so low that he has to guest star on The New Class.
Eric tries to help Mr. Madison and just gets a bunch of gruff because he’s supposed to be unlikeable so Eric stands up to him and is told he doesn’t like spunk either. Let’s hate the guy because the writers think we should.
Unfortunately for Mr. Madison, his luck just keeps getting worse and worse as the world’s worst clowns come in to cheer him up. Mr. Belding recognizes him as a legendary comedian who used to be on television and Mr. Madison says he just hopes he didn’t inspire any of this idiocy.
Mr. Belding and Screech proceed to try and do a stupid act. In the process, Mr. Belding’s unconscious hatred for his administrative assistant comes out and he smacks Screech upside the chest, knocking him down and making his back go out.
This is the point where I hope this will be a very special episode about doctor assisted suicide and that Screech’s doctor is named Kevorkian. Unfortunately for me, we instead get a generic female doctor who doesn’t know what’s wrong with Screech but is determined to find out before the end of this episode so we can go back to the same old status quo. Really, I know you took the Hippocratic oath, doctor, but no one will fault you if you just walk away.
Meanwhile, Screech starts guilting Mr. Belding into doing stuff for him. Of course he does because we needed a subplot for these two.
Greg comes in with Screech’s lunch and Rachel and Maria take advantage of the situation to hype up how much Katie doesn’t talk about him while Maria sizes him up as the next guy she can have a contrived love plot with.
This leads Greg to do the unbelievable: ask Katie out on a date! Katie says she’s busy washing the stench of Nicky out of her vagina, leaving Rachel and Maria shocked that Katie wouldn’t want to focus her life on boys while she’s in high school.
Meanwhile, Eric relives Ryan and Nicky from the horrible task of having to sit with Mr. Madison. He tells Mr. Madison that he wants to be a performer so he figures the best way to get this forced plot going is to ask Mr. Madison for advice on making it big. He sings for Mr. Madison and Mr. Madison says that, considering the other sucky things that happen on this show, his singing doesn’t completely suck. Mr. Madison invites Eric to call him “Larry,” which either means he’s joined the Three Stooges or they’ve now bonded.
After a commercial break, Eric bonds with Mr. Madison in the hospital cafeteria. Yeah, they actually paid for a cafeteria set. NBC must have been throwing money at this point hoping to reclaim the old glory of the original Saved by the Bell. Either that, or they found a set from another show and used it. Come to think of it, the latter is probably the more likely explanation.
Ryan and Nicky reluctantly join Eric and Mr. Madison for a game of poker using jelly beans as poker chips. They play and, after a nurse chastises Mr. Madison for eating candy and takes him away, they decide he doesn’t completely suck and they’ve decided to do an about face and like him.
Meanwhile, Screech is still guilting Mr. Belding into doing shit like give him a manicure, read him magazines, and give him a foot massage because it’s supposed to be funny. Geez, they have the most thrilling subplots.
Rachel and Maria give Katie a bouquet of flowers they claim is from Greg but swear her to secrecy because they say Greg doesn’t want her to know. The subplot is weak in this one.
Mr. Madison’s having a bad day so the nurse tells Eric to make it a short afternoon. They talk shit about preforming, Mr. Madison gives Eric the key to his first dressing room as a good luck charm, and Mr. Madison promises to be at Eric’s performance as Eric turns on the boom box to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Eric stays and watches Mr. Madison as he falls into sleep, telling Eric he’ll see him in the morning and the lights dim. Jesus fucking Christ, could the writers beat it into our heads in anymore stereotypical fashion that Mr. Madison is about to die? I think the only worse things they could do would be to have the Grim Reaper appear while Mr. Madison screams about seeing a light! Maybe he’ll meet all of Screech’s murder victims in Heaven and start a new spin-off.
The next day, Mr. Belding gets the news that nothing is wrong with Screech’s back and the pain is psychosomatic so Mr. Belding plots to show Screech he isn’t in pain. I think the psycho part is correct but the somatic part may not be.
Greg gives Katie a bouquet of flowers and lets slip that she thinks he’s already brought flowers. She quickly figures out it was Rachel and Maria engaging in a bad subplot and tells them she can’t believe they’d meddle in her life yet again.
Eric discovers that, surprise, surprise, Mr. Madison died overnight. Eric’s left shocked that the guy who gave him lots of generalized advice and played poker with him is gone, so shocked it’s time to rip off part of the plot from “Running Zack.”
After a commercial break, Eric tells Ryan and Nicky he can’t believe the doctors let Mr. Madison die. They assure him he’s caught in a sappy tear-jerker plot that will be resolved by the end of the episode but Eric can’t handle it and leaves, asking them to let Mr. Belding know he can’t perform that night.
Mr. Belding scares Screech with the prospect of exploratory surgery, causing him to stand up and realize he’s okay, thus ending the “Screech is injured” subplot. I think the wrong character died this episode. I tend to think that Screech was faking the entire time even though they made excuses for him.
Mr. Belding stops by Eric’s house to check up on him, doing the work of grief counseling that a professional should be. Mr. Belding gives Eric a pep talk about Mr. Madison living on in Eric’s house and tells Eric to do what he needs to in order to feel better, even if that means missing the performance.
I’m more pissed about the fact that they could afford to bring in a legendary comedian, build a hospital cafeteria set, and even secure the rights to play a Louis Armstrong show, but they couldn’t be bothered to get Eric his own bed. No, it’s quite obviously Ryan and Nicky’s room with different posters and the lower bunk turned into a clothes rack. It’s not like they don’t have a single bed available; we’ve seen Katie’s room and she has one. This is just laziness and it makes no sense Eric would have a bunk bed if he doesn’t share his room with anyone.
At the performance, held in the cafeteria because who needs to eat, Rachel and Maria apologize for interfering in her life and promise not to interfere ever again until it’s convenient to the plot.
Mr. Belding and Screech do a stupid song about how they will always be friends with the patients at the hospital, even after the writers have long forgotten they ever existed, and it’s as bad as most Saved by the Bell songs.
Of course, Eric shows up after all and does a performance of “What a Wonderful World” featuring magic instruments that aren’t actually there because the props department couldn’t be bothered to make the performance look realistic. And, as if that’s not bad enough, we go into a series of clips…about Mr. Madison. Yes, we get to relive all those magic times from the past twenty minutes featuring Mr. Madison that the writers assumed we’ve already forgotten about us since they want to drum into our heads how special he was. And, as Eric finishes his abbreviated performance, our episode ends with the screen fading to black and Peter Engel’s name over top. Yes, no kidding, that’s it. It ends just as unspectacularly as it’s been the rest of the episode, as if symbolic for how horrible this show is.
This has to be the worst episode of the season…so far…