You know what this third-rate rip off needed? Why, a trip to Space Camp of course, because if there’s something this show was missing it was seeing Screech act like an astronaut. Welcome, folks, to the subplot trying to rival the Semester at Sea arc from last season for the stupidest idea for a The New Class story!
And we start off wonderfully with Nicky being amazed by an Apollo 13 astronaut suit in the lobby and Eric wondering if someone is still inside. Yes, Eric, the Grim Reaper is waiting inside to finally kill this show. God, if only…
The gang exposit about how wonderful it is to spend two weeks at Space Camp to make up for the away from Bayside episodes this season only being lame trips to the mall and the hospital. They somehow get high school credit for two weeks at Space Camp, but apparently only for them because the producers could only afford one guest star this episode. Yeah, notice how by now they’re not even trying to pretend that the gang are receiving preferential treatment?
Mr. Belding says they have Screech to thank for that and our resident idiot comes out dressed in a stupid looking helmet. He says he attended Space Camp five years ago so he arranged for our gang to get to have the experience as well. Well, five years ago he would have been a senior at Bayside so maybe he fit it in between Hawaii, Malibu Sands, and Palm Desert. Or maybe Bayside has always just been really loose about the requirement that students actually attend school.
In any case, you know what the problem with this whole scenario is? Space Camp California didn’t open until 1996, the year this episode aired. Yeah, the idiot producers didn’t even bother to research the business they’re doing a giant promotional arc for. Welcome to the pain that is my life on Mondays.
We’re introduced to Commander Skip Connors, Space Camp director who was also in charge when Screech was there. Nicky represents him as “the guy who trained all the astronauts” because the writers have decided Nicky needs a love of space as a complementary characteristic to being from New York. I’m betting it’s never mentioned again after this episode.
Commander Connors tells the gang to check into their dorms and meet back at 14:00, which Rachel somehow mistakes as being two months from now because we have stupid Rachel this episode.
Lucky for us, 14:00 is the next scene or else we’d have to suffer through a subplot. Commander Connors introduces the gang to the MMU, Man Maneuvering Unit, which Ryan has somehow missed seeing on the many television series it’s been featured on so Nicky takes the opportunity to say it will simulate being in space.
Screech, Rachel, Ryan, and Eric suck ass at the MMU. Of course, Nicky is the only one that gets it and he gets some praise from Commander Connors.
Maria gives Nicky a congratulations kiss to remind the audience that, yes, despite there being episodes where they act like they barely know each other, they really are a couple this episode.
Commander Connors dismisses everyone to eat and reminds them they need to seelect a Moon Mission Commander by tonight. Nicky starts plotting, sure that they will select him since he’s the only one competent with regards to space travel.
In the cafeteria, we finally get our subplot, Mr. Belding getting jealous over Screech’s attention to Commander Connors. Also, we find out Mr. Belding saw the soccer coach’s ass. No, really, he actually says he did. I’m disturbed that he brought this up in conversation…
We need some conflict for the episode so, of course, Ryan wants to be Moon Mission Commander in addition to Nicky because why not since Ryan doesn’t know shit. The gang take a vote and Ryan wins because it’s the best way to piss Nicky off and get the plot rolling. Seriously, this is so contrived. Why wouldn’t you vote for the guy who actually knows what the hell he’s talking about.
After a commercial break, Nicky and Maria eat again because the cafeteria must be the most interesting place at Space Camp. Nicky thinks Ryan’s acting like a jackass as commander and Maria gives him the great advice to “chill out.”
The rest of the gang join them and says his first act as commander is to choose a crew. He has to leave two people at Mission Control, which no one wants to do because it’s more boring than the cafeteria, and Ryan says they’ll choose based on performance on the simulators today.
Meanwhile, Screech gets Commander Connors breakfast and calls him “chief,” making Mr. Belding jealous. How exciting. Mr. Belding also apparently isn’t capable of getting his own breakfast so he goes hungry due to Screech’s negligence of him.
Maria and Katie compete trying to collect flags. Maria gets all of hers while Katie sucks ass.
Next is endurance, which Eric sucks at. Ryan goes just over a minute while Nicky lasts over three minutes. A close up of Ryan while Nicky’s on the simulator seems to suggest he’s either jealous or constipated. I think I’d actually rather see the constipation plot and that’s something I never thought I’d say.
Ryan’s ready to pick his crew. Katie volunteers to work mission control while Ryan chooses Nicky to stay behind as the other mission control person because he’s a petty jackass. Ryan claims that it’s because Nicky was “showing off” on the simulators which apparently means doing the best since there was no indication that he was doing anything but his best.
And if there’s any question what they’re going for here, it’s resolved in the next scene where Rachel and Maria fight over who has a bigger jackass for a boyfriend. Seriously, every time they try to make Nicky out to be an asshole, they don’t do a very good job at it. Oh, boy, Nicky’s confident and possibly mildly arrogant about his own abilities. How horrible!
They decide they’re not speaking to each other and Maria drags Katie into it by telling her she better not be a skank and steal away the boy that Maria stole away from Katie. Damn this show and their completely cluelessness about real teenagers.
In the cafeteria, Mr. Belding lectures the gang on acting like mature representatives of Bayside and shit, and says that, unless they turn it around before the big mission tomorrow, they’re going to go home early and everyone will receive a F. After Mr. Belding and Screech leaves, the girls make up but Nicky says Ryan’s still a complete idiot and says he’s leaving.
In the dorm, Eric packs Ryan’s clothes and says he and the girls voted that Ryan and Nicky are both idiots and are going home so they can stay. Ryan and Nicky instantly realize the lesson of the episode and make-up, promising to work well together.
No, this is not a repeat cap. They seriously do almost exactly the same scene over again. Commander Connor say they’ll barely have enough fuel for the trip so there will be no room for error. Mr. Belding gives them a motivational speech and they prepare for take-off. They take-off and arrive on the moon without any problems (boy, those are words I never thought I’d say on this blog).
Rachel and Maria collect the moon samples and need to get back before the shuttle runs out of fuel. The hatch won’t open, though, and Nicky helps them in rewiring the hatch because he apparently knows everything about the electric configuration of the simulator. This helps them get back in and take off with just enough time to get back. What’s never addressed is whether this was an actual part of their simulation or whether the simulator was just in such a state of disrepair that the hatch jammed. Way to leave questions about the state of repair of the business you’re trying to promote, The New Class.
Commander Connors says Mr. Belding is awesome and motivated the gang through his threats to take them home and spank them. He says he sees now why Screech is constantly up Mr. Belding’s ass despite the fact that Commander Connors acted earlier like he hadn’t seen Screech in years and…why am I even trying to logically understand this. This is The New Class, where I’m lucky if they maintain continuity within the same scene, much less in the same episode.
In any case, our episode ends with our shuttle crew celebrating their victory and Ryan thanking Nicky for helping them even though Ryan was a complete douche bag to his stepbrother this entire episode.
Firsts: Space Camp.