The New Class Season 4, Episode 21: “The Fifth Wheel”


Oh, yippee, aren’t I just lucky that we get another Space Camp episode this week since the first one was so amazing! Why don’t we just move the setting of the show to Space Camp and do everything there! I mean, why the hell not? It’s not like this is a show about high school!


Well, we open with Ryan and Rachel getting so lovey dovey with each other that even Barney the Dinosaur would want to kick the shit out of them for being more fake sugary than a bowl full of Splenda. Ryan’s got Rachel’s breakfast and that’s the most amazing thing a boyfriend could ever do for his girl. Why do I get the idea the writers of The New Class were never touched by the opposite sex in high school?


Nicky tries to imitate Ryan’s example but, as with everything in the Nicky and Maria relationship, it comes off as horribly fake and worthy of deaf.


Naturally, all of this is making Eric and Katie want to lose their lunch, Katie probably because she once dated one of those boys. Katie says she’s glad Eric is as single as she is because those whom the writers have chosen to marginalize without significant others have to stick together.


Unfortunately for Katie, it seems like more students have arrived since the last Space Camp episode because Eric has yet another one episode crush on a girl named Karen and he’s planning on making her his until the writers forget he exists.


Well, we need something to break up all this lovey stuff so we get it in the form of Screech being an idiot again, for some reason testing rocket shoes for Commander Connors in the middle of the cafeteria. Leaving aside the fact that Screech is testing something in a completely inappropriate place where it could injure someone, why the hell is Space Camp testing experimental gear anyway? Did the writers put more than five seconds worth of thought into their gags?

Well, in any case, Screech is in charge of getting people to sign up for three days in a space shuttle simulator. Ryan and Nicky don’t want to do it because that means they would miss the dance in three days. Yes, you read that right. Even at Space Camp, we’re having a god damned dance because these characters look for even the flimsiest of excuses to have yet another dance.

Eric initially agrees that the space shuttle simulator idea sucks ass until Karen says it sounds like fun. Seeing the opportunity to get a girl into a small, confined space with him, Eric changes his mind.


Before boarding the shuttle, Katie begs Eric not to leave her with the saccharine quadruplets but he says this may be the last chance this season for him to get laid and he’s not turning that chance down.


After Eric boards the shuttle, we meet part of Katie’s plot for this episode, Gordon, a guy who likes her a lot but I guess we’re supposed to think is really icky because he likes sci-fi and is really intelligent. Seriously, if this guy is supposed to scream the Screech or Weasel vibe, the writers failed miserably. He’s reasonably attractive, well spoken, and will probably be making a lot of money in a few years. But we’re supposed to hate him because intelligent people sucks ass unless they’re in the opening credits. This annoyed me about shows in the nineties: they depicted their geeks as being incredibly hot to the point one couldn’t figure out why they were ostracized. Think about it: 90210 had Brian Austin Green, SeaQuest DSV had Jonathan Brandis, and Boy Meets World had Lee Norris, all very attractive men who were repulsive to women, for some reason.

I’m really trying to figure out why I’m supposed to find Gordon repulsive. Is it because he wears a tie? Is it because he looks like he was a runner-up for the role of Nicky? God only knows.


Katie gets excited because Karen’s sick and thinks that means Eric won’t get to go on the mission after all.


Unlucky for her, she forgot Mr. Belding and Screech don’t have subplots yet. Yeah, after all that talk two weeks ago about how Space Camp is for the kids, Mr. Belding and Screech have decided that Space Camp is for them as well. Yeah, let’s leave the horny teenagers alone for three days without chaperons. That makes a whole lot of sense. Unless the Space Camp staff is keeping an eye on the gang, in which case, why the hell are Mr. Belding and Screech there in the first place?


Though Eric’s initially horrified to find he’s on the mission with Mr. Belding and Screech, he soon falls into playing card with Screech.  I do have a question about this space shuttle simulator: is it really simulating the conditions of a space shuttle mission as advertised if you can walk around freely in it because of gravity? I get there’s some things you can’t get around, but if this is their idea of simulating space, I can see why Space Camp California went out of business.


On to the suplot for our love birds: Ryan buys Rachel a really stupid jacket to help her remember how much Space Camp sucks. Yeah, really, this is basically their subplot for the episode: Ryan buys a stupid jacket for Rachel and she hates it but doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.

Conveniently, there’s a meteor shower that night so Nicky suggests they pack a picnic for it. Katie realizes that the couples will probably be fucking under the meteors and doesn’t want to be alone so she asks Gordon out despite the fact he’s supposed to somehow be repulsive to her.


After a commercial break, surprise, surprise, Nicky gets in on the bad jacket subplot by buying one for Maria.  This is such a riveting subplot.


Back in the shuttle simulator, Mr. Belding’s unable to sleep in the bag strapped to the wall. He soon discovers that Screech and Eric ate his food. So he’s hungry and cranky and I’m sure this won’t play into his subplot at all in a few minutes. He wants to leave the shuttle but Screech tells him he can’t because it will end the mission.


At the meteor shower, everyone’s having fun except Katie. The couples decide to give her and Gordon some privacy to get to know each other better, but Katie freaks out and calls them back when Gordon dares to try and touch her. Katie serves desert as the boys get the bad jackets back out because that’s such an amazing subplot.


Maria proceeds to spray whipped cream all over her jacket, claiming clumsiness, and, despite the fact that I’ve never seen whipped cream stain anything, claims she’ll now have to have her jacket cleaned and won’t be able to wear it to the dance.


Rachel gets in on the “spraying whipped cream on yourself” action, and I’m beginning to think this is really a fetish thing and has nothing to do with the stupid jackets. She just wants an excuse for Ryan to lick her. Eeew.


Back on the shuttle simulator, it’s day two and Mr. Belding has officially gone insane. I think it’s from knowing Screech for nine years but they claim it’s because he can’t handle the pressure of the simulator that doesn’t really simulate. Despite just a couple minutes ago saying they couldn’t end the simulation early, Screech calls mission control and ends the simulation, literally throwing Mr. Belding off the shuttle.

Funny enough, the voice of mission control is the same voice of Eric’s stupid robot from last week’s episode. I guess Screech found a use for it after all: to be a slave to the whims of The New Class writers.


Back at the cafeteria, Gordon’s being a horrible person buying Katie flowers and telling her how much he likes her and shit. What a monster! He asks her to the dance and, since she’s suddenly codependent this episode despite being single and fierce back in the hospital episodes, she says yes.

Also, the boys had the stupid jackets cleaned so the girls can wear them to the dance. When will this subplot end?!?!

Mr. Belding, Screech, and Eric come in and Mr. Belding reveals that he was the reason they had to end the mission early: he just couldn’t handle the pressure and he suddenly knows what it means to be Screech.

Eric asks Katie to the dance and she says yes. She only realizes she now has two dates when Rachel points it out, and we cut to commercial with the non-committal music of The New Class playing.

Back at the shuttle simulator, Screech tricks Mr. Belding back in under pretense of looking for his watch because he really wants to kill Mr. Belding and take over Bayside. No, the real reason is he reasons that the best way to make Mr. Beldig feel better is to give him a full on panic attack so he pretends they’re accidentally locked in the simulator.


Katie decides to try to make Gordon not want to go to the dance with her by having him agree to a pre-dance agreement that he won’t do anything remotely charming. This disappoints her as he signs the agreement and says going with her will be enough. What a monster!


Katie tells Eric she can’t go with him and loudly proclaims that Gordon’s such a horrible person she’s guaranteed not to have a good time because Gordon sucks ass despite seeming to be an attractive, intelligent, all-around great guy. Gordon naturally hears and says that Katie doesn’t have to go with him if she doesn’t want to and that this whole show is stupid and how did he get roped into being in it.


Back in their dorm, the girls wear their stupid jackets. Katie sulks in and can’t believe Gordon’s feelings are hurt just because she was a bitch to him the whole episode. The surprises you learn on this show.


In the simulator, Screech pretends to be having a nervous breakdown. Isn’t it a funny thing that Dustin Diamond is worst at looking like a spaz when the script calls on him to act like a spaz. A janitor comes in, telling the duo he needs to clean up and Mr. Belding realizes that, once again, he’s been fooled by the world’s biggest dumb ass.

At the dance, Eric makes fun of the stupid jackets. The girls finally come clean that they hate the jackets and the boys ask why this was even a subplot since they’re men and don’t give a shit about clothes. And thus ends the dumb jackets subplot.


Screech apologizes to Mr. Belding for trying to fool him, saying he hoped a panic attack would do him good. Mr. Belding says he’s grateful that Screech tries to cause him pain and says that he’s accepted the fact he won’t be the first principal on the moon, despite the fact that would be more preferable than being in three more seasons of this show.

Katie finds Gordon and apologizes for being a jack ass. She says she should have told him how she felt all along and not use him as an outlet for her codependency and possible future sex addiction. She asks him to dance.


And the episode ends with Katie dancing with the most attractive geek in the franchise’s history. Well, unless you count Tori Spelling out of make-up. If we count her, all bets are off as I think she’d easily sway Katie to the dark side of bisexuality.

6 responses to “The New Class Season 4, Episode 21: “The Fifth Wheel”

  1. What is the hardship for Rachel and Maria in wearing the jackets their boyfriends picked out for them? It’s not cold – half the people at the dance are wearing short sleeves – so after a say five minute walk from their dorm room to the cafe they’d be taking them off anyway. Who would they run into, they’re surrounded by people they don’t know and would never see again?

    There are seven people who would recognise them, one of whom would be wearing an equally ugly jacket. Their boyfriends like the jackets so that just leaves four – two of their best friends, a principal who would presumably only be concerned with the height of their hemlines and the idiot on rocket powered shoes.

    I know teenagers would be more self conscious than most but this seems such a small ask.

    • ILovedKellyKapowski

      Was there supposed to be a moral to the ugly jackets subplot?

      Like to always be honest with your boyfriend?
      Or is it that guys just don’t give a shit about fashion.

      The point is lost to me, I can only imagine how confused a young teenage viewer would be.

      • Well since they’ve got two spoilt jackets they can’t return – “easy come, easy go.” Not even a line about how they could have spent the refund on buying the girls something they did like if they’d just been honest.

        Whether it was being single or the jackets all three girls were overly concerned about the opinions of strangers. How were these two plots not tied together? Maria even had the cheek to call Katie on not caring about Gordon’s feelings while having no thought for her own boyfriend’s.

        They writers weren’t going with any sort of self confidence theme but that was the issue of the day, It also seems like a rare case where Screech should actually have some advice to offer.

  2. I haven’t even seen this series since the NBC days, but Katie does seem to “feel” gay or at least bi to me.

    Anyway, your opening sentence got me thinking, so I looked up an episode guide and counted the number of episodes per season (for the first four seasons) that occur at Bayside:

    Season 1:


    Season 2:


    Season 3:


    Season 4:


  3. ILovedKellyKapowski

    It’s Katie’s boyish haircut, that gives her that unfortunate androgynous look.

    I think Katie and Eric would have made a good couple, way more believable than Ryan&Rachel and Nicky&Maria (WTF?).

    Too bad Eric’s a racist, because he only goes after black girls.

    • I thought they were going to hook up Katie and Eric up too. In the start of the season they had the most scenes together. But out of nowhere it’s Nicky and Katie, then out of left field it’s Nicky and Maria.

      I personally like Katie’s hair. Sometimes short pixie hair looks great on women and doesn’t make them look butch. It works for Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Paris Hilton and I think it worked for Lindsay McKeon.

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