The College Years Episode 11: “A Thanksgiving Story”

I swear, it’s complete coincidence this is the episode for Black Friday. But, in any case, now that you’ve had a good Thanksgiving meal (at least if you’re reading this in America), let’s ruin it all with Thanksgiving, Saved by the Bell style.


In the cold opening, the boys are packing to drive home for Thanksgiving when Kelly rushes in, excited that Thanksgiving weather in LA is going to be in the nineties. Well, what the hell do you expect? Los Angeles isn’t exactly known for cold weather. You act like it’s the first time you’ve been there. Screech pontificates about being eighteen and just sounds like an idiot.


Mike’s not going home for Thanksgiving, though, because he has twenty underprivileged kids coming for Thanksgiving dinner. He has four Raiders tickets to give away and gives them to Zack Morris after he gives them a bull shit story about having a brother in the Peace Corps who just got home from Guatemala. Naturally, after Mike leaves, he tells Slater he’s planning on scalping them for some major money because Zack Morris is just like that: a complete jack ass. Oh, Zack Morris, never stop being a selfish imbecile.


After the credits, we find out Alex is going home with Slater because, when you date someone for a short amount of time in college, it’s obviously love and you need to introduce them to the family. I get the idea that none of the writers for this show have ever been to college.


Kelly tries to follow their example by offering to take Leslie home to meet her family, but Leslie says that Thanksgiving has never been a big deal around her place because of rich people shit. Instead, she’s going to stay and help Mike with the decorations for his Thanksgiving.


At the student union, Leslie makes stupid little decorations that Mike says these kids will murder her for. Also, NBC Sports is sending Marv Albert over to do a pointless cameo since viewers of football halftime shows enjoy seeing washed-up NFL players doing random things.

Meanwhile, the boys are ready to go and, since Cal U’s staff have no boundaries, Mike loans them his truck to drive back to LA, all the while making them promise not to allow Dumb Ass in the driver’s seat.

Now, Mike knows Screech is a complete idiot but he still waits for Zack Morris and Slater to go outside and asks Screech to help him move the pool table.


Of course, this leads to Mike injuring himself when Dumb Ass doesn’t lift the pool table. Had this show been renewed for a second season, Screech would have killed Mike. After all, he did kill Danielle to make room for Kelly.


Zack Morris and Slater go back to the suite where they discover Screech continuing to injure Mike by pushing him into a vending machine. Screech tells them he has to stay and help Mike since he’s pretty much responsible despite Mike’s protests that he doesn’t want the dumb ass anywhere near him considering bad things only happen when Screech is around.


The remaining four strike out for LA singing the classic Thanksgiving song, “La Bamba.” It wouldn’t be Saved by the Bell if something didn’t go wrong, though, so, in the midst of Alex worrying if Slater’s family will like his new psycho girlfriend, the truck breaks down.


So Slater works on the truck as Zack Morris and Alex scare everyone by recounting fake Twilight Zone episodes. It’s to the point that Kelly won’t even go to the restroom in the woods.


Back at the suite, Leslie nurses Mike but is horrified when he tells her he won’t be able to cook dinner and that it will fall to her since, you know, she’s rich and shit so she doesn’t even know that tsp. is the abbreviation for teaspoon. I’m sure nothing could possibly go wrong with this plan.


Mike’s horrified when Screech says it’s time to take Mike’s temperature and he pulls out a turkey thermometer. When he discovers Mike’s not into having his ass probed, he says he intended to use it for the turkey, which will make absolutely no sense in a few minutes when we find out Mike’s ordering the turkeys in already cooked.

Back at the truck, Slater discovers the oil pump’s out so they don’t know what they’re going to do given they’re somehow in the middle of nowhere in between San Francisco and LA. So, Zack Morris and Kelly naturally talk about all the good times they’ve had in broken down cars over the years since that’s what I would want to talk about.


They see a car coming and Alex does the idiotic thing, threatening to shoot them with a flashlight if the strangers help our idiot. Yeah, she’s citing a fake Twilight Zone episode again because it’s cool to pretend to know something about classic sci-fi without having to actually do any research.


We discover that the student union is just like The Max: as long as you’re in the opening credits, you can do whatever the hell you want to, including hosting Thanksgiving meals. Leslie’s majorly failed at cooking dinner and the kids are due any minute.


And Mike’s still not learned his lesson about Screech’s idiocy as he put Screech in charge of ordering the turkeys. Mike intended them to be fully cooked but Screech, being a complete dumb ass, ordered them frozen.

Lucky for Mike, the competent members of the gang show up, along with Alex, and kick into high gear to salvage the dinner Screech and Leslie nearly ruined, and just in time because the kids have arrived! Also, we find out Zack Morris got himself onto stand-by for a flight by pretending to be a doctor since the theme of the episode is Zack Morris being a jack ass.


In the kitchen, Screech tries to thaw out the turkey with a hair dryer as Mike realizes it’s time he depended on someone who has at least a measure of competence. So, he sends Zack Morris to find any open store and buy food.


Kelly helps Leslie with the vegetables as she tells Leslie stories about how important Thanksgiving’s always been for her family. Leslie’s sad she’s never had this experience because, you know, rich people shit.


Leslie tries to entertain the kids with a rousing game of “Simon Says” but this group of inner city kids who are only troubled because the script tells us they are say no fucking way to subjecting themselves to the whims of a moron.


Slater tells Alex she loves her even if she is a complete moron and his family will love her. He prepares to kiss Alex as one of the kids from The Sandlot looks  on, hoping to get some pointers.


Back in the kitchen, Zack Morris returns with items procured at a 7-11 and proceeds to bring some racism into the episode by imitating an Indian convenience store episode. Oh, that old Thanksgiving tradition of casual racism! They work to see what they can salvage out of the items Zack Morris bought.


But Mike has more important things to worry about, like the fact that Marv Albert’s arrived and everything sucks. Alex acts insane around Marv Albert because it’s what she does and Mike tries to hurry along the interview but Marv is determined to see everything.


And everything he sees as the gang reveal a feast of turkey jerky. Marv Albert realizes this story sucks and switches to commercial so he can go wonder where his career went wrong that he’s on a Saved by the Bell spin-off.

Zack Morris has a ticket back to LA but everything sucks at the dinner. Fortunately, though, it’s time for pointless cameos, each of which Kelly nearly has an orgasm over.


First, it’s time for an old alumni of the franchise, Jonathan Brandis, bearing a turkey because…you know, he’s famous so he just happens to have extra turkeys.


Marsha Warfield, who was on Empty Nest at the time, shows up with a second turkey because, you know, she’s Marsha Warfield.


Six from Blossom brings some pumpkin pies.


And, in the contrivance of contrivances, Mr. Belding just happens to be in San Francisco visiting his mother so he brings some potatoes and obsesses over the celebrities so he can have an opportunity to appear in every Saved by the Bell series. Yeah, they were all watching Marv Albert’s broadcast and all happened to have extra food lying around and all happened to be in San Francisco so they all decided to stop by Mike’s Thanksgiving. They also all invite themselves to dinner because, you know, why the hell not.

Yeah, there’s absolutely no reason for any of these cameos except to give NBC the opportunity to say, “Hey, here’s a bunch of other celebrities from other NBC series! That makes it a special episode!” At least Marv Albert’s appearance kind of pushed the plot along. The rest of the cameos barely last a few seconds. Even Mr. Belding’s.


Kelly gives a speech about how she now has a shoe horned lesson about learning you can having Thanksgiving wherever you are and not just at home, especially if you have random celebrities show up with food to save the day at the last minute.


And we have just enough time for one more cameo, franchise alumni Brian Austin Green coming in with cranberry sauce so he can have the opportunity to be an asshole to Dustin Diamond again.

Zack Morris takes Kelly aside and tells her he’s giving his ticket to her because he’s selfless all of a sudden and shit. The description of this episode in the box set says that Kelly was homesick so Zack Morris bought her the ticket by scalping his Raiders tickets. As usual, the writers for this franchise were incompetent and forgot to actually depict either of these things so we’re kind of left with it feeling like it came the fuck out of nowhere.


But our episode ends with the real reason Zack Morris bought Kelly the ticket: so he could get a little something something from Kelly before she leaves. Of course, the really interesting story is Jonathan Brandis and Brian Austin Green mobbing Mr. Belding to ask him whatever happened to their old sixth grade teacher as Mr. Belding pretends to not know what the fuck they’re talking about.


During the credits, we have more incompetence with food. How fun. In any case, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! May you have a meaningful Thanksgiving with lots of random celebrity appearances!

13 responses to “The College Years Episode 11: “A Thanksgiving Story”

  1. I have seen every episode of the College Years. I know I have. But this episode seems to have been wiped from my memory.

    And for that, I am truly thankful.

  2. I believe this is the first time where Kelly (or anyone, really) acknowledges the fourth wall by replying to Zack’s “Happy Thanksgiving”, which he has addressed to the audience.

    • Second. In the episode where Screech gets struck by lightning, Zack breaks the 4th wall by saying “I got the goose to lay the golden egg” Screech then sticks his head out of the doorway and says “I knew you were going to say that”

  3. As someone said above, I saw every episode of the college years too but this was one didn’t ring a bell either. It does sound awful though and this episode and the one before it, having Kelly kiss Zach, seems like they were aired out of order or something. But what do I know? On a side note, I’m sure BAG appeared because he and TAT were an item back in the day!

    • Considering that, according to the Lifetime biopic, Dustin Diamond was still upset at Brian Austin Green because he wouldn’t read with him during the auditions for Good Morning, Miss Bliss, I wonder how this cameo played out behind the scenes. I wonder if Dustin Diamond whined and cried, “You were a jerk to me six years ago!”

      • That Lifetime movie was a train wreck of epic proportions. Not only did the train went off the rails, it slammed into a school bus then then into a oil refinery.

        I have to say I liked the acting in it. The guy playing Diamond was really good, the guy playing Mario…not so much. And the girls who played TAT and EB were really hot, but the script was horrible.

        Watching the movie, you felt bad for Diamond. But I guess that was the point. Best example was when the cast started being antsy and NBC sent them to locals to promote the show for syndication.

        They sent MPG and TAT to Paris. Wow
        Lark and Elizabeth to New York. Pretty good.
        Mario to Miami. Pretty good as well.

        Pretty good fun locations for a teen. Where did they send Diamond? Mexico City, Australia, Toronto or Montreal, hell Seattle or even Chicago?

        Nope, some small, no name town in rural South Carolina. It was even awkward when the NBC exec told him where he’s going. “We have a lot of fans there, cough.”

    • This episode wasn’t totally wiped from my memory. I actually vividly remember Kelly orgasming as all the guest stars from other NBC shows marched into the Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t remember anything about the rest of the plot.

  4. ILovedKellyKapowski

    Dustin Diamond keeps whining about how he was the outcast during his Saved By The Bell days.

    But from the outtakes during the end credits of this episode, it looks like fun times were had by all. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen had the biggest smile on her face, as she’s laughing hysterically at Screech defibrillate the frozen turkey.

    Dustin, why are you looking for sympathy, when others deserve it so much more?

    • I thought the same thing. I mean sure the cameras are on but not so much as an eye roll that he screwed up the scene and then they let him have his moment without stealing the spotlight.

  5. ILovedKellyKapowski

    After the fake-gun incident, I wonder if Slater starts realizing, in this episode, that he’s dating another crazy stupid psycho nutcase. The Slater-Alex relationship is on borrowed time, starting … now.

    • I think they brake up by the end of the season. I guess Slater wanted to stick with his Chicano heratige and date that other latina girl.

      But….wouldn’t it be funny if Slater years later ended up with Maria Lopez?

    • ILovedKellyKapowski

      Or … Slater could get back together with Jessie, and they both become Las Vegas strippers.

  6. Wasn’t Tiffani-Amber DATING Brian Austin Green at the time? That might explain *his* cameo appearance and yes, I know it’s sad that I still remember this but it was 1993 and I was 13. 🙂

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