The New Class Season 4, Episode 18: “Campaign Fever”

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We open to discover Mr. Belding doesn’t have anything better to do so he’s  suddenly become the guidance counselor and is personally advising Rachel on how to make herself more marketable to colleges. See, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. Colleges want more. Just ask George W. Bush.

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Meanwhile, Screech has become a pirate. His explanation is that he had a band mishap since Screech is apparently the band teacher now because why the hell not. He interrupts the advising session since he has no sense of boundaries to use the oft-forgotten intercom to announce student council elections in the most annoying way possible: using patriotic music. Yep, after last week’s very special episode about the 1996 Presidential Election, this week we get another election. Why do I get the idea this was a badly conceived theme Saturday? There are clues along the way that this episode takes place much earlier in the season, especially the fact that Nicky seems to be closer to Katie than he should be following his whoring ways, not to mention the fact that several scenes from this season’s opening credits come from this episode. I think they paired up these two on purpose.

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It turns out that, yes, Screech remembering the intercom exists has a narrative purpose since it gives Rachel the idea to run for Student Council President. Ryan, naturally, wants to run her campaign since he’s the one with the least integrity

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Meanwhile, Maria suddenly works for the school television station again and is on the beat looking for comment on the upcoming election.

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Nicky, Katie, and Eric are all, “We weren’t in the scene where the election was announced so we don’t know about it, but come to our production of Bye, Bye, Birdie, because we need a subplot to motivate us!”

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Yeah, for some reason, Bayside no longer has a drama teacher because the rap version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sucked so much. As such, Katie’s director of the school drama program because…plot. And, yeah, they suck as much as you’d imagine they would. But this isn’t truly important to Katie’s story arc so let’s cut it off here.

Yes, Mr. Belding comes in and announces that, yet again, Bayside is facing its millionth budget crisis and has to cut all funding for the drama club in the middle of a production. Well, Mr. Belding, maybe if you weren’t busy personally advising students and actually hired staff, you could have, I don’t know, DONE YOUR FUCKING JOB AND MANAGED THE FINANCES SO THERE ISN’T A BUDGET CRISIS EVERY FEW EPISODES! Fucking hell.

Katie’s outraged by this latest round of incompetence from Bayside’s faculty and thinks the students ought to have a say in how the school’s money is spent. Lucky for her, our resident butt pirate picks that very moment to come up and personally recruit people to run for student council. Eric nominates Katie, saying people will listen when she talks and he just really wants to be in Bye, Bye, Birdie because nothing jump starts an acting career like being in the high school production of a musical.

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Rachel and her campaign entourage come along, and they find they’re running against each other. They wish each other luck, hoping that this doesn’t lead to a mediocrely executed conflict.

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At The Max, Maria tries to interview Katie about her campaign but Eric decides to hog the camera and make everything about himself. Maria gets bored with talk of issues and shit.

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So, when Rachel’s entourage comes in, she rushes over to cover a real candidate. See, last week Rachel learned that propaganda and empty slogans are more important than talking issues so she’s decided to run on the platform of, “I Love Everyone, Even Butt Pirates!”

Nicky steps in to act as Katie’s campaign manager so Katie won’t lose and convinces her she needs to change to a less sustenance-based campaign.

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Jesus, did Rachel go to a baby photographer to get that photo taken? I’m surprised she isn’t naked lying on a rug with a teddy bear in hand. Actually, that may have made this episode more interesting.

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And her campaign strategy is helping to make it easy for her classmates to masturbate over her. Yeah…this is the equivalent of Alex P. Keaton having a photo of Ronald Reagan on his nightstand on Family Ties. Creepy. No wonder Marty McFly wanted to change the future.

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But, hold on! Katie has a bad rap to back her up so everyone suddenly loves her because a bad rap is the most important factor to being electable. Katie starts talking about issues, though, so Nicky tells her to shut the fuck up and let the rap do its magic.

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Oh, yeah, the world’s worst pirate has a subplot about doing stupid polls and making idiotic electronic shit. I wish one of them would blow up in his face so we can have a very special episode about Screech being in a coma.

At The Max, Ryan volunteers Rachel to buy everyone there’s soda to counter Katie’s new superficial campaign. No question about where the money for this is coming from. It’s just happening. Also, Screech and Maria come in for the sole purpose of announcing that Katie’s catching up in the polls, as one would expect from this plot, and Maria invites Rachel and Katie to debate each other.

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Where are they going to debate each other? Why, on…Maria’s…talk…show…

Oh, god, Maria now thinks she’s Ricki Lake.

So Ryan’s strategy is to make Katie look like she only cares about the drama club and wants to see the other clubs die a horrible death. Nicky won’t let Katie give in, though, and, instead, shows a superficial campaign video about how awesome Katie is. It’s about as bad as one would expect.

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Of note, though, is a rare exterior shot of Bayside that looks like it was shot by Norman Lear in the ’60s. I’d be interested to know if this is actually the same building from Wedding in Las Vegas. Actually, if you look closely, aren’t those the Verdugo Hills in the background?

Eric and the drama club decide suddenly that Katie’s campaign doesn’t really care about them because we need a catalyst for Katie to suddenly change again before the fourth act.

Seriously, this is The New Class‘s idea of conflict. Ryan mildly suggests Katie doesn’t care about other clubs, Nicky and Katie act like superficial politicians, Eric pretends to be outraged over Katie’s predictable behavior, and Rachel sits there looking pretty. Serious, can the writers of this show please take some remedial fiction writing classes? The least they could do is throw me a predictable plot about Rachel and Katie slinging mud at each other.

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Eric tells Katie she totally sucks now because she’s become a real politician. Katie decides that the scorn of a friend is enough to totally change her perspective and fires Nicky as her campaign manager. She says she wants to make changes at Bayside so it’s time to bore her fellow students with issues and shit.

At The Max, Katie reveals her new strategy of talking about shit and Rachel thinks it’s totally cool Katie’s acting on her principles. Eric rejoins the campaign to help her and they start pushing their agenda on the student body.

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In the gym, it’s time for the polls to open as the candidates give their final thoughts. Katie’s all, “Vote for me because I care and I’ll form a council to make sure the faculty can’t abuse their positions and shit!” Rachel’s all, “I need a sudden, flat resolution to this non-conflict where there wasn’t true mud slung, so I’m dropping out of the election and throwing my support behind Katie!” Mr. Belding calls for an instant verbal vote of affirmation from the extras assembled since they’re the only students who really count.

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Katie and Rachel celebrate the resolution of their non-conflict as Rachel secures a place as one of Katie’s new advisers.

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And this very special episode of The New Class that doesn’t understand how conflict works ends with Screech’s vote counting machine blowing up in his face as, once again, Screech places Bayside in danger of burning to the ground.

One response to “The New Class Season 4, Episode 18: “Campaign Fever”

  1. Rachel doesn’t have enough extracurricular activities? Honestly Belding there are six students a year you have to pay any attention to! If anything she should be leaving off some of her many clubs, sports and committees as well as her evening/weekend/holiday jobs because no one would buy it.

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