Monthly Archives: January 2016

Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas

If I’m completely honest, I’ve not been looking forward to this review. Hawaiian Style was a pain in the ass to review so I’ve been anxious about whether this one would be as well. Yet, it really is a finale for the original cast so I can’t well justify ignoring it. So, here we go, with our final outing by the full original cast.


And, naturally, our film about a wedding in Las Vegas opens…in the woods…


…with guys with weapons prowling around it…


…and surveillance staking out the enemy. You know, did Amazon send me the wrong film? Maybe this is some war film and I need to complain to get the right one sent to me. Hell, if that’s the case, maybe I should just review that film. Maybe it would be better than what I came to review.


No, that might be interesting. Instead, we’re watching Zack Morris, Slater, and Screech playing paintball, because that’s what I was expecting in this film. Yeah, they ambush some guys on the other team, eliminating their enemies, and then monologue about how this is their last weekend out before Zack Morris gets married. Slater’s back to his old characterization, too, as he doesn’t give a shit about Zack Morris ruining his life. Instead, he’s worried about Zack Morris not getting anymore vagina if he’s married to Kelly, but Zack Morris emphasizes that Kelly’s the girl he’s always wanted because fuck Stacey, Andrea, and Tori.

Just then, they’re ambushed by three more members of the opposite team because they suck at math. The other team doesn’t fire right away because plot, and this gives the boys an opportunity to create a diversion the best way they know how: argue, have Screech act like a moron, and then push him down so he can get a hold of a gun. They’re able to shoot their three ambushers, winning the game and ending our cold opening.


And we go into the credits in Las Vegas despite the fact our characters won’t be there for a little while because the producers want to assure you that this really is Wedding in Las Vegas.

While we’re watching the credits, I want to mention when this  film takes place. Last week, Zack Morris was ready to immediately rush off to Vegas to get married. The New Class claimed that Screech was off to attend the wedding in the middle of season two, after he went to work at Bayside. Later in the film, we’ll find out Jessie skipped finals to be at the wedding. And it must be noted that Slater, Screech, Kelly, and Lisa all have dramatically different hair styles than last week.

So, when does this take place? Fuck if I know. I don’t think anyone involved in the production of this franchise knows either. In any case, it takes place sometime after the end of The College Years and Zack Morris decided to randomly stop off in Las Angeles before he got married.


And, take it in: we get, perhaps, the only full exterior shot of Bayside we’ll ever see as the boys randomly decide to stop there. They even put up a sign that said “Bayside High School” so you know the props department went all out. The boys brag about how horrible of students they were and then decide to get going before they have to meet the new versions of them that are now wondering the halls.


Slater drops Zack Morris off at his house, which looks suspiciously different than it did in the series (almost like they’re using a different set!) and Zack Morris has an uncomfortable dinner with Derek and Melanie. Derek continues his disapproval from last week’s episode over the upcoming nuptials, and says Zack Morris is a fucking dumb ass for getting married so young because money and success and shit. He says he refuses to be at the wedding, causing Zack Morris to go up to his room in disgust.

On a side note, I think this is the first time Derek and Melanie have actually shared a scene. Who knew that a husband and wife could manage to never see each other. I have to give it to the producers, though: they got the original actors for Derek and Melanie back. They even brought back the same actor who played Frank Kapowski in season one even though these are the types of details that only someone as anal about shit as me would notice. Kudos on attention to some semblance of detail.

Melanie follows Zack Morris upstairs and tells him that, though she thinks he’s too young to get married, she supports whatever choice he makes, though she can’t attend his wedding because Derek has put his foot down and everyone knows the woman can’t cross the men because of outdated gender norms.

Melanie gives Zack Morris a concession prize of two vouchers for free rooms at the Stardust she won during poker night at church, and they hug with her wishing he was still a little boy and Zack Morris thinking how much of a better father Peter Morris was.


The next days, the rest of the original gang sans Jessie comes to pick up Zack Morris. Seems they’ll be travelling in separate cars in order to better facilitate the shenanigans that are to follow. The girls will be in Lisa’s convertible while the boys will be in Slater’s SUV he suddenly has even though he had to borrow Mike’s car to drive home for Thanksgiving just a few weeks ago. But who the hell cares about consistency? This is Saved by the Bell after all!

So you know what I’ve been thinking Saved by the Bell has been missing all these years?


Scenes of driving of course! We get to see the gang travel out of Las Angeles because that’s exciting shit! The girls soon fall behind the boys and, when Zack Morris calls Lisa on her mobile phone to talk shit, they make a bet that whoever gets to Vegas first will have the loser buy them dinner.

Now, of course, if they just made it to Vegas immediately and got married, this would be a very short film. So, in addition to scenes of driving, we need some conflict…


…which starts when Lisa’s car randomly breaks down on the side of the desert and the car phone is out of range. Kelly wonders if the boys will be worrying about them.


The boys have problems of their own, though, as Zack Morris randomly took the driver’s seat from the last scene and decided to take a shortcut which, in sitcom cliches, means they’re going to hit trouble. He gets pulled over for speeding by Sheriff Myron Thorpe, who I’m pretty sure is supposed to be a corrupt back country cop, but really just comes off as congested and easily annoyed. I mean, hell, Screech isn’t half as annoying in this scene as we all know he can be but he still acts like a jack ass anyway.

So, the sheriff tells Zack Morris that nobody speeds in his county and gets away with it, except for all those people who probably speed in his county and get away with it…


…which seems like the perfect line to go to a commercial break with a shot of a rattlesnake that will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the rest of the film. I wonder if it’s the same rattlesnake from that season two ranch episode of The New Class? If so, I bet this poor snake is wishing they’d quit randomly inserting her in this franchise.

We come back from break with Zack Morris still dealing with Sheriff Thorpe. Turns out Slater has lost his registration so Sheriff Thorpe has to run their plates because he wouldn’t do that otherwise? I’m pretty sure this isn’t how a real traffic stop works…

The sheriff comes back and arrests our male protagonists, saying the car’s been reported stolen. Yeah, they finally get arrested for something in this franchise and it’s actually something they don’t deserve jail for.

Kelly and Lisa continue hoping for the boys to come by and help when help arrives…


…in the form of a random guy walking up through the desert. Meet Curt Martin, who says he’s a teacher at an Indian reservation nearby…in the desert. While Lisa is suspicious of him, Kelly believes he’s their salvation, and he turns out to be half competent. He quickly assesses that the fan belt broke and overheated the radiator, so he MacGyvers Lisa’s belt into a replacement fan belt and gets the car running. He also hitches a ride with them to Vegas, saying he was about to hitchhike out there when he found them since he works at a hotel part of the year to make ends meet. Though Lisa wants nothing to do with him, Kelly, ever the naive optimist about human nature, brings him along.

And we get plenty of bantor between Lisa acting as the stuck up rich girl and Curt acting as a hippy type. Oh, casual classism, it’s about time you found your way back into this franchise!

At the police station, the boys are allowed to randomly stand around and annoy a deputy while the sheriff does other stuff because it’s common to keep possible felons out in the middle of the station. Oh, and the deputy’s last name is “Dano” because that will give them the opportunity to say, “Book ’em, Dano!” and everyone knows a Hawaii Five-O reference is almost as good as an actual joke.


So we get to see the boys getting their mug shots, starting with Zack Morris…


…and Slater…


…and…oh, god…I’m pretty sure in the pre-digital age that this sheriff department wouldn’t randomly waste a bunch of photographs on Screech acting like a dumb ass and not seeming to understand that he’s potentially being charged with a felony. God, how did he not die at some point out of pure dumb assery?


Sheriff Thorpe tells them that the car really has been reported stolen and they fit the descriptions of the perpetrators. As such, he’s going to put them in jail. God, this better all pay off for something that actually makes sense.


Yeah, Screech is actually awe-struck to be in jail. They’re also sharing their cell with one of the ZZ Top looking guys who used to be on Home Improvement and a guy who apparently killed his wife and stuck her in the trunk of his car. I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time that real life has inserted itself into this franchise. It’s like Criminal Minds meets Saved by the Bell. At least one of the CSI techs will be around in a bit to help them out with this.


Kelly and Lisa arrive in Vegas. Curt departs, saying he hopes he’ll be of some help to the plot later in the episode. They go to check in but find out that the boys haven’t arrived yet. In that short period of time, Curt has put on a hotel uniform and revealed himself as a bellboy. This will be a running theme of this film: being able to quickly change your clothes to accommodate the plot.

Also, Lisa starts showing one reason she’s in this film: to put doubt in Kelly’s mind that Zack Morris actually wants to marry her, because she’s just a shitty friend like that. She suggests maybe Zack Morris has cold feet, but Kelly assures her that Zack Morris is completely different than the sociopath she met five years ago.

Meanwhile, in jail, Screech annoys everyone but ZZ Top and crazy murderer wants to dance with the boys so we have an excuse to have a gay panic joke.


The sheriff comes and says he got the word from Sacramento that really was Slater’s car, but he’s still not releasing them because they have to appear in court for the speeding violation because that’s the way speeding tickets work. Sheriff Thorpe reveals he’s a corrupt cop after all and Screech, being a complete dumb ass, just blurts out how much money Zack Morris has. He gives Sheriff Thorpe all his money but $40 and the sheriff allows them to go on their way as Screech and ZZ Top exchange phone numbers so they can hook up later.

Yeah, it’s never really clear what all this was about but it’s implied the whole stolen car thing was just bull shit to allow a small country sheriff to blackmail people from out of town into giving him money. As such, it’s not entirely clear why Zack Morris chooses to handle the events that follow as he does since none of this is his fault and he surely has a case against this department. Also, apparently Slater never thought to just call his father because we don’t want an obvious solution to a stupid situation.


Back in Vegas, the girls marvel over the Considine Diamond, a completely fake jewel that convienently lists its market value for anyone wishing to steal it. Yeah, I’m sure this random insertion won’t play any other role in the film.

In any case, Kelly and Lisa decide they’re tired of waiting for the boys nnd they need to burn some screen time, so they decide to burn some run time by having Lisa give Kelly her wedding present…


…a nice little two minute montage featuring manicures, pedicures, massages, and saunas, because THIS is what you want to show and not just recap later. This franchise needs to go back and take a basic creative writing course.


Meanwhile, the boys arrive in Vegas without further incident. Zack Morris decides that, after being illegally detained and having to pay a bribe to a corrupt sheriff, the best course is to not tell Kelly and Lisa about any of this because we need to create pointless conflict in this film. Naturally, Screech almost blows it right away because he’s a complete moron.


Slater gets the romantic subplot of this film, though, as he spots one of the girls from CSI, no doubt investigating a murder. She smiles at him, which is practically a signal to fuck on top of the slot machines.


Slater decides the best way to get Zack Morris’s money back and waste some more time is to randomly caddy  at a golf course because complete amateurs are always allowed to just drop in and make money.


Of course, they caddy for a bunch of assholes, including one who makes Slater go into the water trap to retrieve balls…


…and another who wants Zack Morris to help him cheat.


Screech’s might be the most sane, but he’ll soon be insane by Screech’s usual stupidity, including making as much noise as possible during tee off.


Eventually, Slater’s player runs out of balls and sends Slater to the pro shop to buy some more. There, he sees the CSI, who’s no doubt there undercover waiting to jump on a perp. No, actually, her name is Carla and she’s the manager of the pro shop and, though she seems nice enough, she gives Slater the cold shoulder on a date because we need to waste some more time before they eventually get together. Is it just me, or are they basically copying and pasting the Zack Morris/Andrea romance from Hawaiian Style?

While Slater’s at the pro shop, Zack Morris and Screech manage to crash two golf carts loaded with clubs into the water trap, angering the players, who say they’re completely incompetent, despite the fact Zack Morris was helping the guy cheat like he wanted. They fire the duo as well as Slater despite the fact he wasn’t even there because why the hell not, and we’ll not see the golf course the rest of the episode. That was a nice waste of time, wasn’t it?


So, with that important plot out of the way, it’s time for a pool montage so we can get lots of shirtless and bikini shots of our cast because that’s why people are really watching this film. The only relevant thing we find out here is that Zack Morris is supposed to meet Kelly at the wedding planner’s office the next morning.


For some reason, Carla’s hanging out at the Stardust pool because it makes complete sense to have a local using a resort’s facilities. Despite her hesitation to have anything more to do with this film, Slater convinces Carla to go on a date with him that night.


Of course, something has to be up with Carla so we see two random goons watching her because conflict.


Meanwhile, Zack Morris recaps the fact they’ve lost their money to Screech and Gilbert Gottfried overhears . Oh, yes, if there was something I’ve always thought Saved by the Bell needs, it’s an appearance by the man with the most annoying voice in the world.  And, yeah, like every movie he’s in, Gilbert Gottfried is here to play the role of the shifty plot device who’s going to bring in some more conflict. In the case of this film, he’s here to convince Zack Morris and Screech to become…male escorts…

Jesus fucking Christ! Who thought this was a good idea for a subplot? Zack Morris is giving Kelly ample reason to distrust him.

Though they’re initially hesitant to take the gig, Gilbert Gottfried tells Zack Morris and Screech how much male escorting pays and they instantly agree to sell their bodies to needy older women. And, if The New Class‘s timeline for this film is correct, Screech is also cheating since he was dating Alison at this point. How lovely. They’re both pieces of crap!


At the wedding planner’s office, Kelly and Lisa marvel over dresses that are too expensive even if Zack Morris hadn’t lost all his money to a corrupt cop. Of course, Zack Morris is a no show and Lisa continues serving her purpose of planting doubt in Kelly’s mind about whether Zack Morris really wants to get married  Of course, Kelly is one hundred percent confident in Zack Morris for the time being because the plot demands it.


And what important task is Zack Morris learning? Why, cliche “walking with a book on your head” shit of course because we need more Gilbert Gottfried apparently. Yes, our idiots are getting training in being male escorts, which I’m sure will include a bedroom training between Zack Morris and Screech. The training done, Zack Morris gets his first assignment: meet a woman at the revolving restaurant on the top floor of the strip, and he rushes off to meet Kelly.

He arrives at the wedding planner and assures Kelly nothing’s wrong despite the fact they’ve never had an adventure in five years that didn’t involve something going wrong. She tells him she made dinner reservations at the top of the strip, and, of course, it’s the same time as his escorting gig because this film isn’t finished exploiting cliches yet.

That night, Screech is manhandled into a pink limousine for his assignment.


Meanwhile, Lisa encounters Curt, and her hostility for him is really forced at this point. I get being suspicious of a shirtless guy coming out of the desert, but he’s a hotel employee talking to you. Are we really to believe that Lisa is this classist? Curt randomly asks Lisa on a date to a steak buffet and she accepts because that plot just came the fuck out of nowhere. If anything, I thought Curt was going to cause conflict between Zack Morris and Kelly, but I guess we can’t imply Kelly would ever question her complete devotion to Zack Morris.


Screech’s date definitely wants to touch Screech’s winkey dink, and this seems to gross him out since he was hoping Violet or Alison would be the first to do that. I still find it unbelievable that any woman would find Screech attractive, even a woman obviously this desperate for the touch of a man, or some semblance of one. I feel sorry for a woman willing to pay good money for him.


She does what most sex-deprived women do: take a complete idiot who agreed to escort for Gilbert Gottfried to tango. Of course, I have questions about who would hire Gilbert Gottfried to get them an escort in the first place, but I would sure ask for my money back.

It’s time for dinner and we get the tired cliche that’s been done in so many films and television shows it’s completely obvious how it will end: Zack Morris arrives at the restaurant with Kelly and tries to keep his escorting date at the same time.


He sneaks away to meet his other date, a Russian woman who speaks very little English, but just enough to create a misunderstanding that Zack Morris wants to marry her, because why the hell not? Of course, fulfilling the cliche, Kelly comes over and catches them, and she says that she should have listened to Lisa this whole time and realized Zack Morris is a piece of shit. Actually, if you were really paying attention, Kelly, you would have realized that way back in season one of the original series. She runs off, realizing what most of us have known for years.

Also, we keep hearing that this is the most expensive restaurant in Vegas, but Zack Morris only has $40, some of which he used to buy Lisa dinner earlier. How, exactly, was he planning on affording dinner for Kelly and how is he eating at all?


To save money on sets and, despite the fact the two restaurant plots don’t intersect at all, Slater and Carla eat at the same restaurant and share their backgrounds, with Slater insisting he didn’t have girlfriends overseas despite the fact this was a plot point for an episode of the series.  Carla won’t talk much about herself, though, and says she doesn’t have a boyfriend.


Zack Morris follows Kelly to her room but she won’t listen to him because the plot demands this entire convoluted plot.vlcsnap-2016-01-05-18h53m06s191

Back at the restaurant, Carla’s ex-boyfriend, Freddie Silver, shows up to create some conflict for our final half hour. When he won’t leave Carla, Slater punches him out. Carla tells Slater to run, and the two goons from the swimming pool come in and chase Slater and Carla out of the restaurant. Turns out they’re working for Freddie Silver, whoever the hell he is since the film has done absolutely no foreshadowing to get us to this point so let’s just role with it. They run through the restaurant and the casino to eventually arrive back in the boys’ room.


Zack Morris, meanwhile, decides the best way to resolve his current subplot is to climb out on the balcony and try to make it to the girls’ room without falling to his death, which will mean breaking an entering into someone’s room who doesn’t want to see you right now but, hey, who the hell cares about making Zack Morris look any more like a jack ass at this point.

Back in the boys’ room, Carla tells Slater that Freddie Silver is a “bad man with bad connections.” Yeah, that explains everything! She says she broke up with Freddie when she realized but he’s a dangerous man, which is why they have to get out of the room when the goons manage to track them to a specific room thirty seconds later. Yeah, that’s believable.

Slater gets the same idea: for Carla and him to climb into the girls’ room, and he discovers Zack Morris about to fall to his death. Slater climbs over and helps Zack Morris and then pulls Carla over. In the process, Zack Morris tells Kelly he whole story. She instantly forgives him because that’s what the plot needs right now and we wouldn’t want her to question too much why Zack Morris is such a socipath.


In the room, Kelly tells Zack Morris she doesn’t care about any of the shit he has been the entire episode and they can just get married in a small chapel for all she cares, thus rendering most of what’s happened before completely pointless.

Carla reveals there’s more to Freddie than wanting to murder Slater. See, he came to Vegas just to steal the Considine Diamond because stealing expensive jewels from a low security area like we saw earlier is a plausible get rich quick scheme. Lisa says she thinks she has a way to get them out of this…


…and she has Curt sneak Slater and Carla past the goons on a luggage cart while someone gets Slater’s SUV so we can get another character involved in this whole thing. Of course, our resident dumb ass pulls up at exactly that time so he can show why he wasn’t in this scene, other than to show a really desperate woman trying to molest him: so he can turn the luggage cart around and the goons see it.

The boys and Carla rush off in Slater’s SUV while the goons steal a taxi to chase after them, which I’m sure won’t bring unwanted attention to potential diamond thieves. After all, grand theft auto is no big deal in the Saved by the Bell universe unless it directly affects the plot, like earlier in this film . The girls and Curt follow not far behind in Lisa’s car just because we need everyone involved in this shit.

What follows is a three way car chase where no one acts with any sense, driving erratically through the streets on the night the police must have taken off. They all hit a red light, leading to a foot pursuit after the boys and the goons randomly abandon their cars in the middle of the street because no one cares about anything in Vegas. And, no, we’ll ever actually find out what happened to the cars.


So the boys and Carla randomly break into a wax museum during the foot chase. The goons are really bad at this chase thing, though, as they are far enough behind that the boys and Carla have the opportunity to change into random costumes that just happened to be laying around, including Zack Morris reprising his casually racist Arab getup from season one of the original series. The goons run out of the museum, not having found our heroes, and the four believe they’ve escaped, even after looking directly at them and not being able to recognize faces like most people in this franchise.

A random man threatens to call the police unless our heroes get the fuck out of there because he apparently hasn’t heard this is the day the police station is closed. Zack Morris asks Carla the obvious: why didn’t she call the police and tell them what she knows about Freddie Silver. She responds that she’s been followed constantly and hasn’t been able to. Um, we saw you in the pro shop earlier and the only one there was Slater. Even if the goons were outside and out of sight, you could have called the police and asked them to come down. I seriously doubt the goons would have made a move on you with cops there, and the police could have protected you. But that would have rendered all this pointless and we can’t have that.

The boys and Carla casually walk down the sidewalk, apparently having forgotten the goons were onto them only moments ago. Naturally, our duo walk right past them and the chase is on again and, god, can someone just die and get it over with? This fucking chase is taking way too long!

The girls and Curt spot the others and stop their car in the middle of the road to join the chase because why the hell not at this point! The chase leads into a casino, where they’re soon spotted after Screech doesn’t understand that hiding under a table involves not letting people know that you’re there. And, yay, more thrilling chase as they go backstage at some scantily clad show, which gives Zack Morris an idea…


…dress the four of them up as scantily clad women! Unfortunately, since the plot demands it, the goons can now recognize faces in costume. The girls and Curt go backstage to try and get the rest out and yeah, a guy backstage calls security, but the goons show them credentials and say they’re security. I don’t understand who these people are supposed to be! But, yeah, they pull out guns and take our seven bumbling idiots hostage, finally putting an end to this whole stupid chase thing that was making me want to go to sleep.


They just happen to be in the hotel Freddie Silver is staying at so the goons take them upstairs, apparently no one in the hotel caring that there’s two guys brazenly walking around with guns drawn. They’re ready to kill our seven protagonists when Curt offers to help them steal the Consadine Diamond if Freddie lets the rest of them go. See, Curt’s father owns the Stardust, a point not even slightly hinted at throughout the rest of the film, and he says he can get Freddie in to steal the diamond.

Lisa wonders why Curt wouldn’t tel her that so she could stop treating him like shit and he’s all, “Insert cliche about not caring about wealth here.” In any case, Freddie takes Curt up on his offer but says he won’t let the rest go until he has the diamond.


Curt dresses as a security guard and opens the safe successfully while Screech prattles on about being Janet Reno’s nephew. Hey, it’s about as believable as him being Jim Harbaugh’s cousin. Freddie sends his goons in to steal everything in the safe.


But, now, we see the only reason for the paintball shit in the cold opening. The boys do the stupid routine again that fooled their opponents earlier, punch out Freddie Silver, and lock his goons in the safe. Lisa says she can’t believe that worked again and I wonder how she knows it worked in the first place. Did they give her a whole thrilling recap of the paintball game?

Well, the police are working again so Curt calls for security as Zack Morris and Kelly make out to how sexy it was they got to do one more unrealistic thing in this franchise before they get married.

Everyone makes their way to a cheap wedding chapel, ready for Zack Morris and Kelly to get married. And you can tell it’s cheap because there’s a husband and wife Elvis impersonator team, a pregnant woman, old people, and someone who looks suspiciously like Tori, all waiting to be married.


And the writers decided we needed one more Gilbert Gottfried appearance, so here he is as an officiant, ready to marry our duo with his grating voice that kills ear drums.


But it’s not meant to be because Derek and Melanie burst into the chapel and object! See, Slater called Derek off camera and convinced Derek he needed to support Zack Morris. Yeah, we could show ten minute chases and pedicure montages but we couldn’t show Derek Morris going through the only character development he’s received in any of his appearances in this franchise. He says that he’s decided it’s Zack Morris’s life and, if they want to get married, they’re not going to let Gilbert Gottfried be the officiant so they say give them the next scene and they’ll have a super great wedding!


And, right on time, the wedding is on! Kelly’s parents are even there, apparently also getting over their objections from last week’s episode of The College Years. Apparently Zack Morris also gets two groomsmen, which begs the question why Kelly couldn’t have all three girls standing with her and why last week’s subplot was necessary at all.


We cut to our assembled “former cast members who have no more time than a scene for this stupid movie” and they all brag about how they know Zack Morris and Kelly. Uh, guys, you all know each other. Remember? Mr. Belding randomly showed up at Thanksgiving with food. Or were Mike and Alex busy making out with Marsha Warfield?

Leslie is conspicuously absent. I guess she stopped caring about the wedding when The College Years was cancelled and she found out she didn’t have a job anymore.

Also, Mr. Belding claims Zack Morris and Kelly met in his school. Unless Kelly moved with them from Indianapolis, this conflicts with so much that’s been established about when Kelly became a part of the gang. But we’re ten minutes from the end of the original class, so who the hell cares about continuity at this point.


But it’s not a wedding without Jessie randomly running in and interrupting shit because she didn’t have the decency to call and say she was coming, even color coordinating with Lisa, which is quite a task for someone they didn’t know was coming. Naturally, she gets to stand with Lisa as a bride’s maid, which really calls into question the point of last week’s subplot. Also, we find out she skipped finals to be at the wedding and will just take summer school to make it up. Um, Jessie, college doesn’t work that way. You know most colleges only allow you to repeat a certain number of classes and they’re not always offered every semester? Methinks this is the real reason Jessie had to stay in Vegas and be a stripper.

So, to pad out some time, we get a nice montage of clips of Zack Morris and Kelly over the years to remind us that, yes, they really are in love and not just in a horrible codependent relationship that will end horribly. Absent are references to Kelly cheating on Zack Morris with the captain of the starship Enterprise or the many times Zack Morris treated Kelly like shit. But, hey, this is supposed to be a fairy tale wedding the tweens will remember and gush over well into their thirties, so we have to make it perfect. But they do creepily remind us that Zack Morris had a cardboard cutout of Kelly that descended from his bedroom ceiling.


And so the wedding goes on with only a mild interruption from Screech acting like a dumb ass, and, though Kelly has one more opportunity to pull out of this shit before it’s too late, she doesn’t, and she’s now Mrs. Zack Morris. And all this just to keep Kelly from going on the semester at sea program, in case you forgot the stupid ass reason that got us to this point to begin with.


At the reception, it’s time for our cameos to get individual screen time with Zack Morris and Kelly. Alex hopes they won’t forget her crazy ass now that they won’t be living in the suite.


Mike gives Zack Morris a big bear hug, sad his acting career is now basically over, and says that he wished he’d had the opportunity to figure out who the hell the writers wanted him to be.


Mr. Belding says he wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to throw his professional boundaries to the wind one more time and that they were very special to him, unlike the dumb asses walking the halls of Bayside now. He tells them to not forget to visit in case a rich alumnus who loves one of Zack Morris’s relatives who just happens not to be at the wedding tries to randomly shut down the school .


Jessie tells Zack Morris he better take care of Kelly or she’ll come back and kick his ass if she doesn’t kill her acting career with a horrible movie.


Zack Morris thanks everyone who appeared in this film despite the fact it was destined to be incomprehensible to anyone who wasn’t already a fan of this franchise, and they invite everyone to their new apartment.


After Slater toasts them, Kelly’s family comes in to earn their paychecks and tell Kelly they’re proud of her. Two of her brothers are there as well, the littler of the two I assume is the one the gang once babysat. Absent are her sister since she was spurned by Zack Morris, and the brother who’s a big football star at Bayside.


Derek tells Zack Morris he has a lot of faith in Zack Morris that, since he’s conned his way this far in life, he’ll continue to do so and make it despite the odds.


Outside the Stardust, it’s time for everyone to go their separate ways, and Lisa prepares to go back to the reservation with Curt because now that she knows he’s rich, she wants him badly. And, if they end up together, it makes Screech’s stalking of Lisa well into their twenties all the more creepy.

Screech gives them a teary goodbye. Zack Morris and Kelly they ll him they’re sure they’ll see a lot of him, but he tells them, no, he’s going to randomly take a position at Bayside that means he’ll only be back at Cal U to randomly bring some students there.


Slater and Carla leave together, with Carla apologizing that her subplot padded the running time of this episode to keep the event people tuned in to see from happening too soon, and Kelly says that’s okay because Carla will one day be on a much better show that also takes place in Vegas.


Kelly throws the bouquet and, in one final cliche, Screech catches it, just as his desperate client finds him again and begs him to give her his sweet man chowder.


Zack Morris and Kelly hop in a limousine and kiss as it pulls away.


And our film and the era of the original cast ends with the Stardust congratulating Zack Morris and Kelly on making a stupid mistake that the writers only went through with as a stupid gimmick to end this part of the franchise on a ratings high point.

Final thoughts on this film? It is what it is. Though Hang Time will later refer to it as a cult film, it’s hardly anything but an attempt to give fans closure on the cliffhanger from the last episode of The College Years. As I’ve said before, it’s so apparent that this wasn’t going to be how the season two premiere of The College Years was going to go so it’s kind of painful to just see them unquestioningly move towards a marriage based on Zack Morris’s sociopathy.

This film was never going to have wide appeal. It knows its audience: people who invested five years of their life into finding out if Zack Morris and Kelly would get together. There’s so much padding in this it’s painful, and I counted eleven interwoven subplots, which was way too many for this film. There’s also something very unsatisfying about the titular wedding, as if it’s an after though being thrown in at the end.

With that being said, I think I slightly favor this film over Hawaiian Style. It at least has a point, and its events will be referenced later in the franchise, unlike the other film. To top it off, it was a good idea to bring Jeff Melman back to direct this. Melman directed almost all the episodes of The College Years, so his involvement does at least give the film a consistent feel.

As Slater says, it’s the end of an era. It’s time to move on.

And that, my friends, is it for the original cast, as hard as that is to believe. I’ll have bonus posts next week on Wednesday and Thursday. Next Friday, tune in for one final overarching recap on the original cast era, where I’ll share my final thoughts on the era spanning Good Morning Miss Bliss, the original series, The College Years, and both films.

Saved by the Bell: The College Years…Reviewed!


Saved by the Bell is the show that refused to die for over a decade, but perhaps it should have.

With the end of Saved by the Bell, producers decided that the franchise had become too much of a cult hit to just let die. The decision was made to spin-off the series into two series: The New Class, which would continue the story at Bayside with new characters, and The College Years, which followed four of our original characters to college at California University. The College Years was an interesting experiment. After all, it took the show to prime time and tried to make it more adult oriented for the aging target audience.

For this new series, Jeff Melman was brought in to direct. Melman is real television talent, having directed for series such as WingsNight CourtFrasier, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. With that sort talent, and the backing of someone at NBC who I’m convinced Peter Engel had blackmail material on, The College Years should have been a success. It had a built-in audience: kids who had followed Saved by the Bell for four seasons. So what went wrong?


From the beginning, it seems as if there was one main problem: The College Years had no fucking clue why it existed. Was it a continuation of the original series with light and whimsical fun? Was it a serious adult sitcom following beloved characters into adulthood? The show suffered from a serious lack of direction, and it shows.

The pilot cast were pretty much mimicking roles from the original series. Leslie and Danielle were cookie cutters of Kelly/Jessie and Lisa respectively, Mike was doing his best to be the Mr. Belding-like authority figure, and Alex may have been the most original thing in the series, which is kind of a sad indictment of their creativity and originality.

Character development was arbitrary and came the fuck out of nowhere. Plots were predictable and trite. There seemed to be no direction the majority of the season. All of these are criticisms that could be levied against the original series as well.

The difference? The College Years was boring as fuck!

Some of you have said you think this show is worse than The New Class. Objectively speaking, I can’t agree with this criticism. The New Class has no clue what it’s doing. The College Years is at least following a cookie cutter formula it’s hoping still works. But I’d rather watch The New Class any day over any episode of The College Years. While The New Class may infuriate me with its incompetence, at least I don’t want to fall asleep with every passing minute of most episodes. If I wasn’t doing this blog, I never would have watched past the pilot of The College Years.

We also get absolutely no explanation why Zack Morris, Slater, and Kelly decided to randomly go to Cal U over the schools they were accepted to in the original series. This is, perhaps, the most unrealistic part of the whole thing. How many of us went to college with a close high school friend? We were usually lucky to know anyone at all. I think the series could have worked had they followed one student from the previous series, but all four was ridiculous.

Going into this, I honestly wondered if The College Years would have been cancelled had it aired on Saturday mornings. I think the answer is yes.  This show was destined to die from the beginning. It was a cheap cash-in designed to keep the money train going. It failed. Miserably.

I put off talking about the theme until now because of how long the review for the pilot episode was. The theme song is okay. It’s much more upbeat, conveying a sense of hope and enthusiasm as our characters move forward in life. It’s standard nineties theme song fair. The opening sequence is just scenes of the cast members, what we’ve pretty much come to expect from this franchise. All in all, it’s a good way to set a different tone for this series over the previous. It’s just a shame they couldn’t deliver on the promise of a new direction for the franchise.

Let’s talk characters.


From the original series to The College Years, Zack Morris doesn’t change at all. In fact, if anything, he regresses, stalking Kelly at one point, and going back to a level of sociopathy we haven’t really seen since the early seasons of the original series. He receives absolutely no character development over the course of this series, and I strongly believe Zack Morris is worse for having appeared in The College Years.

If the producers really wanted to do this series, they should have actually advanced Zack Morris into adulthood. I don’t expect him to be perfect overnight, but, for fuck’s sake, he has no consequences for his actions. Ever. Even when he paints an entire floor of the dorm randomly for a one-off event. What was even the purpose of continuing his character into adulthood if you weren’t going to do anything with him?


Things were even worse for Kelly. She was only had two major plots through the series: her relationship with Lasky, an obvious rip-off of her previous relationship with Jeff Hunter, and her return to Zack Morris, which was completely out of nowhere and reduced her character. It feels like Kelly was only there to satisfy sad little fan boys and girls who were upset she and Zack Morris didn’t end up together at the end of Saved by the Bell.  On top of this, her sudden desire to practice medicine had no foreshadowing and was completely unbelievable.

If the writers had wanted to actually do something with Kelly, they could have had her get together with Slater. After all, that’s a plot thread that was almost completely forgotten about after she and Zack Morris got together. Show how this effects her friendship with Zack Morris. Take a chance. Do something that could actually propel this show in new and original directions. But this was The College Years and nothing original was ever going to happen.


Out of our four returning characters, Slater is the only one who truly receives character development. And he suffers the most because of it. Slater’s development, if you truly want to call it that, comes completely out of nowhere in the form of his sudden interest in his Latino heritage and his judgmental disapproval of Zack Morris and Kelly’s upcoming wedding. His relationship with Alex comes the fuck out of nowhere, goes absolutely nowhere, and  was a wasted opportunity to actually do something different with this franchise.

Much of the rest of the time, Slater’s a yes man for Zack Morris’s antics, except when he’s randomly not. I feel like they were trying to mature Slater, and, as usual for this franchise, they told when they should have shown. I needed to see Slater go through this transformation, go from the guy who had no interest in Jessie’s social activism to a person who wanted to make a difference in the world and who had a bigger perspective on the world. Instead, we got a Slater who came off as an asshole much of the time.


Oh, Screech, you were pointless in this series. No, really, he’s just there to be a dumb ass most of the time. Only one episode centers around Screech, and the events don’t matter to the rest of the series at all. To paraphrase how Dean McMann so eloquently put it: how the fuck did Screech get into college to begin with? Why was he even on this show?

Of course, there shouldn’t be anything unexpected here. Screech doesn’t experience characer development after Good Morning Miss Bliss, and this series is no different. He’s the comic relief that’s not funny but just irritating, and one experiences an unfortunate sadness that his parachute opened when he went skydiving. Seriously, were there people who liked Screech back in the day?


Leslie was obviously developed as a love interest for Zack Morris before Kelly joined the cast. The pilot pushes his interest in her hard, and it’s clear this was going to be a plot thread over the course of the season. When Kelly returned, though, this was quickly abandoned, and Leslie became the most superfluous member of the gang. Really, why they didn’t drop her from the cast when they got Kelly, I’ll never know.

She does often act as the voice of reason and she hates that her parents are rich. Other than that, she shares her personality with Jessie as the super social conscious, reasonable, and smart one of the gang. There’s no reason for her on the show. Hell, they could have created a love triangle between Zack Morris, Kelly, and her and that would have been so much more interesting than anything they actually did. But interesting isn’t the main concern for this writer.

Anne Tremko continued acting throughout the ’90s and early 2000s with minor roles and guest appearances in various movies and television shows, but she never again had a major role. Information on her today is pretty sparse and uncertain. Her last acting credit was a 2003 guest spot on Judging Amy.


I said early on that Alex reminded me most of Vicki from season one of The New Class: they’re both bat shit crazy and need to be committed to mental institutions. That’s pretty much Alex’s character. She wants to be an actor and she dates Slater for a time. That’s about it. As I said, it’s a sad indictment of this show that she’s their most original character. I don’t even know what else to say about her other than I almost wish they’d kept Danielle and got rid of Alex after the pilot.

Kiersten Warren has been in a ton of shit over the years and continues to act to this day. You may have seen her as a regular for a season on Desperate Housewives or in movies such as Independence Day13 Going on 30, and Bicentennial Man. She’s married to actor Kirk Acevedo and has two children.


The producers really had no clue what they were doing with Mike. He started off in the pilot as an obvious Mr. Belding-like authority figure with wisdom to impart to the gang. The longer the season went on, the more he became the seventh member of the gang, not enforcing rules that had played a major role in early episodes, and it was just sad. By the end of the season, he was showing his ass to random college students. I have to wonder what the direction for him would have been by the end of the season.

What’s worse, Bob Golic is, by far, the worst actor on the show. I have to wonder if he could play a corpse on CSI convincingly. It’s obvious much of his role was being taken over by Dean McMann by the end of the season, and I have to wonder whether he would have been a part of a second season or whether he would have gone the way of Max. Would there have been much more they could have done with Mike’s character? I seriously doubt it.

Bob Golic was, of course, a real-life former NFL player. His foray into acting didn’t last much longer than The College Years. He had a couple guest spots on Dave’s World and Charlie Grace and in the 1997 interactive adult movie Dreamboat. He’s since been doing radio sportscasting work, something he’s much more qualified for, and has left the acting world behind, thankfully.


What else can be said about Lasky that hasn’t been said already? He had an inappropriate one episode relationship with Kelly after making a big deal about how horrible it would be to date a student and enabled Zack Morris’s sociopathic behavior. I was actually quite surprised that he was bumped to also starring late in the season. Was there anything else they could have done with him at this point? Hell, his last scene was so unimportant it was cut from the DVDs. Maybe he would have caused friction between Zack Morris and Kelly. We’ll never know.

Patrick Fabian is a prolific actor and has been in a ton of shit over the years. You may have seen him in his recurring roles on General HospitalJoan of Arcadia, Better Call Saul, and Veronica Mars. Or you may have seen him in movies like The Last ExorcismBad Ass, and, amusingly enough, Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike. He’s also been in a ton of ads and continues to act to this day.


By the time Dean McMann came around, it felt like the producers were trying to retool the show. Zack Morris needed a real authority figure, not one that was  series desperately trying to be as young as those he was in charge of. Enter Dean McMann, perhaps the best character ever in this franchise. Though she’s written horribly, randomly knowing through psychic ability what Zack Morris is going to do and unconvincingly acting like an asshole to everyone around him, she is the only character who sees the gang for the incompetent buffoons they are. I would have loved to have seen her make Screech cry. That would have made this series so worth it.

I think she would have played a larger role in the second season. She would have eventually had a cliche “connecting with Zack Morris” episode, but she would have provided an actual antagonist for the series.  If she had been introduced earlier and better utilized, there may have been more tolerable episodes of this series.

Holland Taylor continues to be a prolific actor. On television, she’s had recurring roles in The PracticeThe L WordTwo and a Half Men, and All My Children.


What would have been season two of The College Years? One thing is for sure: it wouldn’t have featured a Zack Morris and Kelly wedding. The cliche of getting quickly engaged has been done so often on television it’s become predictable. My theory is the season premiere would have gone much like when Boy Meets World did this: Zack Morris and Kelly would have realized they were too young to get married and would decide to wait to get married, likely until the series finale. They may or may not have decided to keep dating. But it would have given the writers three more years to tease the Zack Morris/Kelly relationship.

The wedding only became the resolution to the cliffhanger because Peter Engel wanted big ratings for the finale of the original cast. I’ll have more to say about this next Friday. But I can’t imagine a scenario where Zack Morris and Kelly would have gotten married in the season two premiere.


Peter Engel’s luck finally ran out with this series. He produced a series completely inferior in every way to the original. In response, the collective viewership yawned. Old Saved by the Bell viewers didn’t like what they’d done with the characters. New viewers were horrified by the boring plot lines and horrible characterization. The College Years was destined for the graveyard of failed one season wonders.

As someone said in the comments, the only thing people typically remember about this series is that it propelled Zack Morris and Kelly towards their wedding. It’s completely unbelievable in every way and has no real justification for its assistance. The prime time experiment in the Saved by the Bell universe was a failure, proving that the franchise should have ended after the original series. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of the franchise, and it would continue for another six fucking seasons on The New Class, proving that Peter Engel was still getting good use out of his blackmail of someone at NBC.

My Picks

I can’t honestly say there are any episodes in this series I truly enjoyed. I don’t hate them all, but, given a choice, I would never watch any of these episodes again. That being said, there are some I do truly hate. Let’s look at the top five.

Episode 3: “Rush Week”: This episode was just boring. I have no interest in fraternity shit, and they really didn’t need to devote a whole episode to reminding me how shallow fraternities are. On top of this, as someone pointed out, this episode had already been done in Good Morning Miss Bliss, and that episode was shitty, too.

Episode 4: “Slater’s War”: This episode did more to damage Slater’s character than any other episode featuring  the original cast. Slater’s transformation to social justice activist is completely the fuck out of nowhere and makes no sense. I have nothing against activism, but Slater showed no interest in it at all until he could get laid with it. Zack Morris comes off as an asshole as well. Bonus points for the actress playing Theresa using an anglicized stage name after she preaches at Slater for doing the same.

Episode 6: “The Poker Game”: This one nearly put me to sleep. It has nothing to do with anything . It highlights how Mike’s rules are based on his own personal whims and inability to set boundaries with those he’s in charge of. In addition, the subplot with the girls liking their karate instructor is about as cliche as they come.

Episode 10: “A Thanksgiving Story”: They missed an opportunity to do a special Thanksgiving episode where the gang go back to L.A. in favor of watching Mike mentor inner city kids. Yeah, that makes sense. The pointless cameos by NBC stars of the time were stupid and date this episode significantly, and the subplot about Kelly being homesick was so unnecessary it was cut from the DVDs.

Episode 16: “Love and Death”: There’s no reason for this episode to exist. We’re supposed to feel sad about a one episode character dying. Yeah, right. It seems the only reason it was made was to keep the Zack Morris/Kelly relationship in our face until the end of the season. You could watch the previous episode followed by the next and not miss out on anything important at all. It loses points as well for not killing Screech off in a skydiving accident.

And that’s it for The College Years! But stay tuned this Friday as we conclude an era with the final entry for the original series cast. It’s one for the ages!

The New Class Season 5, Episode 3: “It’s Not About Winning”


We open at The Max for a swim team pep rally. Yeah, remember all those tense swim team matches that you totally didn’t fall asleep at even if you weren’t the one swimming? Also, yay for totally retconning Ryan and Nicky as swimmers considering last season they retconned Ryan as a wrestler. It’s so cool how a show with next to no sense of continuity can just think random shit up in their heads and make it so.

Well, here’s the deal: the girls are undefeated and the boys haven’t won a match. Naturally, this means Bayside loves the girls  team and thinks the boys suck ass.


Which sets up conflict between the captains, Liz and Ryan. You know, I have to say: The New Class is showing a bit of restraint here. Ryan and Rachel have been broken up a whole episode and they don’t have these two fucking yet. Congrats, The New Class!


And it’s time to set up our subplot. See, Eric is supposed to be interviewing Nicky for the radio station, but he’d rather interview Shauna right into his bedroom. Since it’s Eric, we know this will be a one episode romance, if that, so let’s humor Eric that he actually has a chance at this.


And we cut directly to the boys discussing their defeat against Westwood. Yeah, Westwood matches don’t matter worth shit because they’re only a warm-up to the Valley match next week, which matters a whole lot more. Liz and Katie aren’t confident against Valley, either, so they decide they need more practice time. But the pool is already fully booked, so Liz will have to find an idiotic administrator within Bayside who can make it happen. Whoever will she choose?!?!


In Mr. Belding’s office, Eric pulls the gender card so he can get Mr. Belding to switch him to covering the girls team and he can stare at Shauna in her bathing suit. Mr. Belding, having been born yesterday, agrees to this, which also means Maria will be switched to covering the boys team despite the fact I distinctly remember her being fired from the radio station last season for getting it on with Nicky.

After Eric leaves…

May you have the same nightmares I will tonight. But, yes, Mr. Belding and Screech practically orgasm over the possibility of a state championship for Bayside, something Mr. Belding says they haven’t even glimpsed the possibility of since he was in the spelling bee. Of course, this completely ignores Slater’s football and wrestling as well as Zack Morris’s cross country in season one of the original series, but, as with Ryan and Nicky suddenly being swimmers, if it pops in the head of the writers, it is true via the retcon monster.


After Mr. Belding leaves, Liz comes in and, surprise, surprise, the incompetent moron she picked was Screech. She tells Screech they need more practice time and, though Screech initially tells her this is impossible, she pulls the “we might not make it to state championships” card. Screech says he will make it happen because plot.


At the pool, Screech breaks the news to the boys that they suck ass so they can’t practice and become better because he’s a jack ass. He promises he’ll find a way for them to practice, though.


Eric continues flirting with Shauna, and he soon breaks the news to Maria, who’s crushed she has to cover a team that sucks ass. Her attitude upsets Nicky because, oh yeah, they’re still dating. I can’t believe I forgot that by their lack of on-screen chemistry.


In the gym, we see Screech’s idiotic idea for the boys.

practice: suspend yourself above a baby pool and do the strokes in the air. I wish I was fucking joking about this one. This is why Screech shouldn’t be allowed to do anything. Ryan decides it’s time to put a plan into action to get their practice time back so he doesn’t have to put up with Screech’s bull shit anymore.


This involves Ryan calling the girls on the payphone and telling them that Bob Costas wants to do a piece with them about undefeated high school swim teams. Going by the rule that all characters in this franchise are idiots when it’s convenient to the plot, Liz sees nothing odd about Bob Costas giving a shit about their team or about the fact he’s calling them on a payphone. Ryan keeps them distracted long enough that they’re in the hallway after the bell so Mr. Belding catches them and gives the entire team detention because Bayside apparently doesn’t give warnings for minor infractions of the rules.


The girls are none too happy they were fooled by Ryan’s stupid plan and Ryan’s pissed about the girls being haughty and possessive with the pool. So Ryan challenges Liz to a one-on-one race with the winner getting all the practice time, though Nicky reminds Ryan that Liz is a regional swimming champ.


And, so, we get to the only good part of this episode: Richard Lee Jackson in a speedo. Say what you will about the character of Ryan or Richard Lee Jackson’s acting, but he sure fills out a speedo nicely. It brings some nice feelings to an otherwise dull and all over the place episode.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t help him beat Liz as she hardily kicks his ass in the match.

After the match, Shauna calls Eric out for using the reporting to try and go out with her and she marches off in the best disgusted/offended look her actress can muster.


Mr. Belding comes in, upset that he heard from the radio about the grudge match. Ryan quits, saying the boys suck ass and it’s not even worth it.


In his office, Mr. Belding says he can’t believe his administrative assistant would do something so incompetent. I don’t know why Mr. Belding is always so surprised by Screech’s conduct. This is his fourth year of idiocy in his position of authority and he just keeps getting worse every year. Mr. Belding must have a short memory. Liz says it’s all her fault because she wanted to win so bad. Once again, Liz’s confession means that Screech will have absolutely no repercussions for his behavior. Liz and Screech decide they have to find a way to make it up to the boys, though.

At The Max, Eric tells Maria she can cover the girls again since he’s not going to get laid by Shauna anyway. She says she’ll take it since the boys suck ass so bad, upsetting Nicky because they’re dating and stuff, remember?


Liz and the girls team come in and throw an impromptu pep rally for the boys’ team, saying that they’ve learned a valuable lesson: that they need to support all teams, whether they’re winning or losing, and we have our educational content for the week. Screech saying his usual idiotic shit doesn’t even dampen the spirit. Also, it’s a good thing Mr. Russell doesn’t mind that Bayside just randomly comes in and disrupts his business for their own purposes without paying. Why did he rebuild The Max again?


The entire boys team comes up except Ryan, so Liz goes over to apologize to him personally. She convinces Ryan not to give up swimming because the writers spent so much time creating this retcon.

Maria tells Nicky she feels guilty she made fun of the boys team so much and they kiss and make up because they’re dating! She tells Eric she’s staying with the boys team so she can root for her man.

Shauna overhears, surprised that Eric wanted to give up covering the girls team. This somehow makes up for her being pissed at Eric earlier, and we have a confusing resolution to Eric’s subplot.


At the match, there’s a record crowd there for a swim meet, and we get some more Richard Lee Jackson in a speedo, which might make this last minute and a half a bit more bearable.


Liz wishes Ryan luck and introduces him to Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans, who likes to go to random high school swim meets and coach the swimmers when there’s pride on the line. Jesus, did NBC make Olympic athletes take a blood oath to appear on their shitty Saturday morning shows when they won the rights to cover the 1996 Olympics? In any case, Janet Evans gives Ryan some advice: try not to lift up your head when you breathe, and relax, this is supposed to be fun. Naturally these are things Ryan should have learned when he took swim lessons.


But they apparently work, and Ryan wins the match, the only win for the boys that day. So, was this a happy ending or not?


I’m going with not, because our episode ends with Screech pushing Janet Evans in the pool and Janet Evans briefly considering whether to murder him or not. That would have been a happy ending.

The College Years Episode 19: “Wedding Plans”


In the cold opening, Zack Morris and Kelly get all lovey dovey and shit with each other, prompting me to want to vomit my food up. Then we get a recap of events…from two episodes ago. Seriously, the recap just shows the skydiving shit when Kelly radioed up and told Zack Morris she loves him. To listen to the recap, this is when they got engaged, not in the anticlimactic way they actually did last week. So much for the writers forgetting one fucking episode ago.

Well, while we get our inaccurate recap, Kelly calls her parents to tell them the news she’s getting married, and they react about as expected: telling her she’s a fucking idiot for getting engaged to a sociopath during her first year of college. Well, maybe it’s not really that harsh, but, in any case, they say they’re not going to help pay for the wedding, which I’m not sure why they would considering they’re supposed to be the poor family while Zack Morris has a virtual surplus of disposable income.


After the credits, Zack Morris’s parents have a similar reaction to the news of a wedding, though I’d be a hell of a lot less worried about adding Kelly to my family than Zack Morris. So Kelly worries she’s not going to have the dream wedding she’s always imagined but Zack Morris swears to her they’ll get married this weekend and she’ll have a dream wedding. See, he has $1,800 in savings bonds from his grandmother,which I’m sure will buy a hell of a wedding, right?


Zack Morris goes in the boys’ room and, after a disturbing exchange where Screech wants Zack Morris to touch his pants zipper, he tries to recruit Slater and Screech to help him put on a wedding. Screech readily agrees because he’s a lemming, but Slater tells Zack Morris he’s too young and he won’t be a part of any of this shit. I swear, Slater in The College Years is a judgmental prick. Even if I disagreed with my friend’s choice, I would have supported them through it. People wonder why Zack Morris and Slater are often paired up in erotic fan fics: because they write Slater like he’s a jealous, jilted lover.

In any case, Zack Morris asks Screech to be his best man just to piss off Slater, and it seems Slater does fill a might jealous that Zack Morris is going towards the old reliable idiot to fill this role.


In the student union, Zack Morris is taking this wedding planning seriously, even planning Kelly’s dress for her since she’s too much of a girl to know what kind of dress she likes. Leslie and Alex separately ask to be maid of honor and Zack Morris promises it to both of them since we need a wacky subplot that will inevitably lead to conflict.vlcsnap-2015-12-27-19h08m00s238

Back at the suite, Bob Golic earns his paycheck for the episode by having Mike try to talk Zack Morris and Kelly out of marrying but, instead, giving them reasons to marry as he remembers the lover he gave up in college. You were always such a vital part of this cast, Mike. It’s nice to see your final scene for the series is equally useless as all your other appearances.


After Mike leaves, there’s a knock on the door, and who could it be but Lisa Turtle coming to make a special guest appearance. Yes, after the audience finishes losing their shit over her being back, we find out Lisa flew all the way out from New York to be Kelly’s maid of honor since she’s Kelly’s lifelong friend, or at least lifelong since the great move from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. This, naturally, gets a subplot going where Lisa, Leslie, and Alex fight over who gets to be maid of honor (fuck Jessie since she’s off stripping now) and Kelly’s pissed off because she actually wants to plan a detail like who gets to have the highest honor in her wedding.

Screech comes in and we find out that Zack Morris can’t afford a ring and the chapel is booked for the next six months because plot. This distresses Kelly but Zack Morris promises her the writers will come up with enough contrivances to fix all of this. Leslie throws one more plot point in, though: they need permission from Dean McMann to live off campus, and Lisa naturally guesses that Dean McMann must be the sane character who sees through Zack Morris’s bullshit.


This gives Dean McMann an excuse to appear and, though Dean McMann initially wants to lecture Kelly on how she’s throwing her life away, she realizes that, time and time again, the man always has to drop out of school and work to support the family. She realizes this is a nice way to get rid of Zack Morris and says she’ll do anything she can to get him the fuck out of Cal U.

She also bumps a professor’s funeral in the chapel for their wedding on the condition the minister wants to meet them. So many questions. Why are so many professors at Cal U suddenly dying? Why was the chapel booked six months in advance if a funeral, which usually has quite a bit less than six month’s notice, was able to be fit into the schedule? And what does Dean McMann have on the minister that she has the power to bump shit like this? These are all questions we’ll never know the answers to as we say goodbye to Dean McMann forever.


In the girls’ room, find out Kelly and Lisa made a bet when they were ten that the first to get married had to say goodbye to their first love, Kirk Cameron. I don’t think it would have worked out with either of them and Kirk Cameron. After all, why would Lisa want to date the only guy who makes Screech look sane by comparison.

Leslie and Alex come in and they fight some more about maid of honor and shit. Is this subplot over yet?

In the student union, Screech bugs Slater about coming to Zack Morris’s bachelor party. Zack Morris delivers them wedding invitations and Slater delivers some more overly judgmental bullshit.


Zack Morris, Screech, and Lisa go to see a shady jewelry dealer and Lisa negotiates a price on a ring because she’s apparently an expert in everything having to do with shopping, which doesn’t seem contrived at all.

Zack Morris returns to the suite and shows Kelly her ring she had no say in picking out. He tells her he also got them an apartment without her seeing it.


This leads into a dream sequence, and it’s not clear initially whose dream sequence it is but it soon becomes clear this is how Zack Morris hopes Kelly will treat him in married life: as the dominate man who controls her every desire.


He even imagines their kids, Zack Jr. and Zackerina, as well behaved youngsters who are going to bed quietly so their mom and dad can fuck in peace. Run, Kelly, fucking run.


Zack Morris and Kelly go to see their new apartment and it is, naturally, deserving of being condemned.


Even worse, their landlord is Stingray, which should be a sign to run as fast as they can, but Zack Morris says it’s the only apartment they can afford so he gives Stingray a deposit, thus ensuring they’ll have zany antics next season with the guy whose status at Cal U is completely undetermined.


Back at the suite, Zack Morris admits that maybe Slater was right about marriage and shit, which instantly makes Slater come around and decide to be a part of this wedding shit because he was just being a dick for no reason apparently. Slater tells Screech he’s going to be a part of the bachelor party as well.


In the girls’ room, Lisa, Leslie, and Alex fight over potential brides’ maid dresses so Kelly comes in and says she just wishes everyone could get along and find a way to wrap up this stupid subplot. She marches out and the three decide they need to put together a bacelorette party that won’t cause further conflict at all.


That night, Zack Morris and Kelly wait for the minister to come visit them, because ministers like to meet in dorms rather than a more professional place like, say, an office, when they’re invaded by a shitty bachelorette party. They try to get rid of it, but the boys invade with a simultaneous bachelor party because no one coordinated.


A police officer comes in to complain about the noise…


…but turns out to be Office McNasty, a stripper Slater hired to be mildly provocative. Wouldn’t this have been a perfect cameo appearance for Jessie?


Wouldn’t you know it: the minister picks that moment to show up and, after he sees Zack Morris handcuffed to the stripper and Alex demands he strip, he declares that Zack Morris and Kelly are sinners too far gone for a university chaplain to marry since they get to refuse anyone who doesn’t live up to their rigid moral standards. Spoiler: once again, Saved by the Bell doesn’t understand something. Chaplains don’t get to dictate moral standards the way a parish minister does. This guy would be fired for refusing to marry them.


In the boys’ room, Zack Morris is depressed that Kelly’s dream wedding isn’t turning out the way he’d hoped it would but Kelly says none of that matters anyway even though it totally did at the beginning of the episode. She says all that really matters is that Zack Morris is trying to make her happy, and she’s sure The College Years will get a second season to resolve this whole mess. And our episode and series ends with Zack Morris and Kelly deciding to run off to Las Vegas to be married since they don’t have judgmental chaplains there who will turn a blind eye to Zack Morris’s sociopathy.

In the recap, I’ll be talking about how I think the series would have wrapped up this plot had they been renewed, but, for now, let’s just say that this plot has been done a thousand times in bad sitcoms, and this isn’t particularly one of the better times I’ve seen it done.


During the credits, Mike expresses his love for Kelly.


And we get a cut scene involving Professor Lasky spitting water when Slater tells him Zack Morris and Kelly are getting married. Sorry, Lasky, your final scene on the show was so inconsequential the writers decided to cut it altogether. Why were you still on this show again?

And, with that cliffhanger, that’s it for The College Years! Stay tuned on Wednesday for a recap of the series. And, well, I guess that’s it for series involving the original cast. Nothing else to see here, right?

Yeah, I know.

Stay tuned on Friday to see the forced conclusion to the wedding plot as we review the final Saved by the Bell film.

The New Class Season 5, Episode 2: “Suddenly Ryan”


We open a new school year with the realization that, the past four years, Rachel was apparently the only thing holding together competent looking signs at Bayside. Now, she’s moved to Boston, and her replacement for sign maintainer, Maria, is so incompetent that even Nicky and his New York attitude thinks she sucks ass.

So, yeah, everyone bemoans the fact that Rachel’s gone and how awesome she is but Ryan says they’re still dating and talking and emailing every day in hopes she may yet appear in the opening credits this season.


Mr. Belding comes out to fuck with the kids while Screech comes to fuck with Mr. Belding. See, the grand re-opening of The Max is at 4:00 pm so, naturally, Mr. Belding can’t eat an apple or he’ll ruin his appetite for the celebrations. He steals Mr. Belding’s apple and throws it to a random nerd while Mr. Belding tries to retrieve his snack. Remind me again why Mr. Belding didn’t let Screech go to Valley a few episodes ago…


Welcome to the new Max, which is almost exactly like the old Max except it looks like Sherwin Williams came in and vomited all over the set. With these producers, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what happened: someone spilled paint and they decided they didn’t have the budget to fix it so BURN IT ALL!

Of course, the gang thinks it’s the best thing since the last bad idea the producers of this series had and they’re super excited that the status quo will be maintained after all.


The other big change is that The Max now has an unsecured internet terminal that anyone can jump on and check their porn collection. This is The New Class, though, so they probably have no clue what the hell porn even is. In any case, Ryan uses it to check for email from Rachel.


And Screech almost orgasms from the sight of the redesigned set as he and Mr. Belding recap the events of “Fire at the Max” just in case someone blocked the episode from their memory. And, speaking of things I want to block from my memory, Screech reminds us of the time he danced as the Pineapple Princess, thus traumatizing an entire generation of teenagers.

But, yeah, we get Screech’s subplot for the episode. See, Mr. Belding reminds him something could happen to The Max again, so he starts freaking out that he may lose his favorite diner where no one ever eats…again!


Back to the gang, Katie was worried about not making the swim team but Liz, the captain, rushes in to tell Katie that the coach makes decisions for the team faster than anyone else alive and that she made it. Remember, this was supposed to be Liz’s introduction and not her stupid appearances at the mall last week but someone in this whole insane mess decided it was more important to have a cameo from a random Olympic gymnast in the season opener than actually introduce a new character. In any case, Liz pulls Katie away from the thrilling events of talking about how awesome The Max is so she can sit with the rest of the swim team, blowing off helping Maria with her crappy sign work.


Back at Bayside, Screech decides he wants Mr. Belding to buy The Max. Mr. Beding says that, after owning two failed businesses the last two seasons, he can’t afford to buy a business this season. Screech has a plan, though, that involves mortgaging Mr. Belding’s house and having Mr. Belding model for photographs in his underwear while he dresses as a clown. God, the nightmares this show gives me. Mr. Belding tells Screech to stop being stupid, which is pretty impossible when that’s the only character trait Screech has nowadays, and Screech rushes out.


But, not one to be deterred, Screech realizes he has a student body to exploit and enlists Eric to help him carry out an unethical plot that would get him fired in real life.

Meanwhile, Katie tells Maria how in love with Liz she is. Maria, jealous, suddenly realizes she’s been spending too much time on Nicky in an alternate universe and that it’s time to go after what she really wants: Katie. Katie blows off shopping with Maria so Liz can help her with her “breast stroke,” and Maria forces Nicky to go shopping instead. Yeah, this subplot is going to be a repeat of a season three plot because we’re recycling ideas we’ve already used on this show now.


In Ryan’s room, his giant head shot of Sarah Lancaster just isn’t cutting it so he just stares at the phone, hoping Rachel will come back to the cast. Nicky comes in, exhausted from shopping, but the phone rings, interesting that fascinating dialogue, and it’s Rachel. And, yeah, things are obviously not so good judging by Ryan’s tone. Yeah, Rachel’s decided not to return to the cast, which means we need an excuse to get her out of Ryan’s life, so the writers decided she met another guy and is breaking up with Ryan as we go to commercial.

By the way, what ever happened to Ryan and Nicky sharing a room being a temporary thing? Didn’t they say there was going to be a new room for Nicky and they were only going to be in the same room for a short time? So much for continuity on this shit.


Back at Bayside, Screech decides he needs to distract Mr. Belding by lying to him and telling him the superintendent wants him to call parent to personally let them know about the welcome back dance. Though this is a ridiculous instruction and sounds like one of the idiotic things Screech would come up with, Mr. Belding believes it anyway and goes off to allow Screech to advance the plot.


The other subplot continues basically the same. “Liz is awesome so Maria hates her because she’s taking Katie away from her.” How fun.


Meanwhile, Ryan’s devastated that he’s been dumped for other girls two seasons in a row, so devastated he forgot to wear a shirt. Nicky goes to see if they can find him a shirt as Screech and Eric approach the two and charge them a “hall toll,” saying the budget cuts hurt the school bad. Well, there’s the first believable thing considering it seems like this school is constantly in a budget crisis due to taking the main cast on a million expensive field trips.


At The Max, Ryan found a  shirt and a new girl. See, he says he feels like he wasted the entire summer saving his virginity for Rachel, so he’s going to make up for lost time. Yeah, sorry guys, but it seems Space Camp couldn’t have taken place during the summer because Rachel had already moved. That’s what you get for trying to make sense of the chronology of this show. And, yes, I’m aware they’ll completely contradict this in just two episodes.

Meanwhile, Maria and Katie were having a special lunch together when Katie invites Liz in. Damned hussy.


In Mr. Belding’s office, Mr. Belding’s finished calling all the parents and wants to eat, but Screech has another task for him: sign a head shot for every student because…damned if I know. Does he think all the students fantasize about Mr. Belding as much as him? In any case, it appeals to Mr. Belding’s ego and buys him some more time to extort money out of the students.


At the dance, Screech makes everyone pay $5.00 a head to hear more than a few seconds of Saved by the Bell elevator music. I’m pretty sure that’s more than they paid the people who composed music for this show.


Meanwhile, Maria bitches to Nicky about how Liz is just so perfect and shit and stealing Katie away from her and Katie should just marry her and shit. Katie comes in and asks Maria if she’s seen Liz, and Maria thoroughly loses it, saying Liz just needs to back the fuck off her woman. As Maria storms out, Liz comes in and hears the tail end and tells Katie she’s not sure what the fuck kind of show she’s joined the cast of as she wants nothing to do with this stupid subplot.


Ryan asked three girls to the dance because it’s not obvious at all that this will end with the three girls finding out about one another.


The girls don’t much appreciate Ryan’s new polygamist leanings and make a special announcement about how much of a jack ass he is so no one will want to date him this season.

Back at Bayside, Ryan realizes he blew it with the girls but decides he needs to take out his anger on Rachel. You know, I’m not so sure Ryan didn’t grow up to be a wife beater.


At The Max, we find out Mr. Belding discovered Screech’s bull shit off screen so he’s here to deliver the message of the episode: men in their early twenties shouldn’t be taking money from teenagers they’re in a position of authority over under false pretenses.  Rather than firing Screech for gross violations of both the law and school policies, Mr. Belding tells Screech to just give the money back to everyone and it will be okay. Never mind how impossible that take will be, but this is The New Class. Oh, and Screech learns to appreciate The Max for what it is.

There’s a difference between Screech’s usual bullshit and engaging in gross misconduct. Screech, throughout the episode, has committed acts that could get him jailed, much less fired, and all he gets for it is a Belding lecture. Why are the parents at this school not outraged and protesting that one of the idiots they’ve trusted to be in charge of their children is extorting money out of them for a selfish purpose.

And, yes, I’m deliberately ignoring the fact that he’s extorting money from teenagers to buy a restaurant from someone he’s not even sure wants to sell it. Feel free to comment about the stupidity of this entire subplot.


Liz forces Maria and Katie together and tells them both they’re being dumb asses and need to make up. Katie apologizes for neglecting Maria and Maria says she felt lonely with her being gone so long and needed to feel her precious touch. They have a make-up kiss and Maria invites Liz to stay since they still need a sixth member of the gang and, since she’s in the credits, Maria figures she’s as good a choice as any.


In their room, Ryan tells Nicky he’s written a scathing letter to read to Rachel about how much of a bitch she is, but Nicky tells Ryan he’s used up his asshole quota for the episode so he better shape up.


As Nicky leaves the room, Ryan calls Rachel and has a final talk with her, telling her that he was angry but now he’s going to get over her because he’ll never see her again. And our episode ends with the camera panning away as Ryan cries over the loss of a relationship I never really bought to begin with.

Firsts: The “new” Max.

The College Years Episode 18: “Marry Me”


In the cold opening, Zack Morris and Kelly hump while the gang and Mike watch what I assume is a romantic comedy a few feet away. I guess they’re exhibitionists, or else lazy writers have to remind us that Zack Morris and Kelly are a couple again since it’s going to be crucial to this episode.

There’s the expected cliche jokes about Slater thinking emotion is for losers while Leslie, Alex, Screech, and even Mike get all emotional shit over the film. Slater decides they should go get a pizza but Zack Morris and Kelly stay behind so they can fuck in peace.

Out of all the cold openings for this series, this one may be the most pointless so far. Of course, they have one more chance to prove they can be even more pointless.


After the credits, Slater and Alex set up the subplot: they hate everything the other person loves. I’m pretty sure they’re repeating a subplot they’ve already done because they’re out of things for Slater and Alex to do. After all, Slater’s character has been radically altered all season and Alex’s sole characterization is that she’s just slightly more competent than Screech.


In this case, Alex doesn’t want to go to a car show but it’s a good thing there’s a one episode love interest available because  Christie here wants to ride Slater all the way to the show.


Meanwhile, Dean McMann seems overly invested in Zack Morris and Kelly making out…again. Jesus, I’ve heard of public displays of affection but this is ridiculous. Dean McMann is here to berate Zack Morris and also to tell Kelly she’s been selected for the semester at sea program we’re only now hearing about since it’s a plot point. Why am I not surprised that The New Class even ripped off the worst idea for an episode arc they’ve had to date?

The ship leaves Tuesday but, naturally, it won’t be that simple because, though Kelly wants to go, Zack Morris is back to his old, possessive ways as wants his property to stay behind and do his bidding.


Back at the dorms, Slater walked Christie home and proceeded to kiss her because she likes cars and shit. Lucky for the plot, Leslie just happens to be on the same floor and witnesses the kiss, and she immediately pretends she saw nothing so she can draw out those consequences to another scene.


We get a scene in Professor Lasky’s office where Zack Morris sucks up for a recommendation letter to the semester at sea program, presumably so Patrick Fabian could collect a check this week. Lasky says he can’t give Zack Morris a recommendation, not because Zack Morris is a shithead who would likely cause an international incident if it let him get into Kelly’s pants, but because he’s already given a recommendation and there’s apparently only one recommendation allowed per professor. Though Lasky is hesitant to say who the recommendation is for, we soon find out when Screech bursts in and reveals that Lasky gave the recommendation to another shithead who’s likely to cause an international incident.


Back at the suite, Zack Morris pays off Stingray to tell Screech all kinds of horror stories about shark attacks on the semester at sea program. Naturally, Screcch doesn’t question the story of a possibly mentally ill person and runs out scared.


Meanwhile, Leslie confronts Slater about the contrivance she saw and forces him to address it with Alex. Instead, he tells her a half truth, saying that he was really out with a “Chris” at the dog show and that, no, he’s not a gay homosexual. I swear to god, I wasn’t out with Slater at the car show or I would have tried to convince him not to do two episodes of The New Class!


Zack Morris attends the orientation for the semester at sea program, for some reason, even though he isn’t even being considered right now. He meets Curtis, a random guy who was talking pleasantly with Kelly and, because he’s not hideous like Screech, Zack Morris instantly goes into jealousy mode, assuming Kelly’s going to jump Curtis the minute the boat leaves port.


While he’s there, he also changes Dean McMann’s slides to imply last year’s ship sank, further freaking Screech out and causing him to quit the program and run out. Zack Morris assumes this means he’s a shoo in for the program, but Dean McMann says she wouldn’t let Zack Morris represent Cal U in any capacity if he was the last person at the school. Besides, he’s a shithead and hasn’t done anything to endure himself to her since they met.

The only thing: if Dean McMann didn’t intend to let Zack Morris go, why didn’t she tell him to fuck off when he came to the orientation. Well, unless she was just trying to fuck with him, which sounds like a good enough reason as any.


That night, Zack Morris has a dream sequence, the first one of the series and the first without those nice neon pink borders to remind those too dense to realize the events aren’t happening. Basically, the dream sequence consists of Curtis and Kelly practically fucking on the deck of the boat, and Zack Morris wakes up, sure of what to do.


He rushes into the girls’ room and tells Kelly his incredible possessiveness won’t allow him to believe Kelly could be monogamous, especially after she cheated previously with the captain of the starship Enterprise. When Zack Morris realizes his patriarchal pleadings aren’t working, he spontaneously proposes to Kelly, waking up Leslie and Alex.

Naturally, Alex and Leslie butt in and take opposite sides. Leslie, since she’s the intelligent one, points out how stupid it is for them to get married given they just started actually dating last episode. Alex, the one just slightly more competent than the character who believed Jaws would be waiting patiently to eat him, says she thinks it’s romantic and they should do it.

Well, Kelly kicks them both out and tells Zack Morris there’s lots to think about, like how they’re going to support themselves and whether there will be a second season of The College Years. She tells Zack Morris she has to think about it and Zack Morris leaves, believing that thinking is stupid stuff that won’t get you anywhere.


Leslie tries to force Slater to tell Alex about Christie, and this leads to the most natural of outcomes: a wrestling match…


…which concludes with Leslie appearing to be giving it to Slater just as Alex walks in. She thinks Slater and Leslie are dating…again…and Leslie bursts out that Slater’s seeing someone else.


Leslie rushes out and Slater says he’s finally realized Alex is an idiot and he’s not sure why the writers paired them up to being with other than convienence. Alex rushes out, upset.


Zack Morris tells Screech the truth about the semester at sea program off screen and buys him some porn so he can get laid from himself. Screech packs and leaves since apparently it’s possible to opt back into a Cal U program at the very last minute.

Kelly comes in and tries to get Zack Morris to come to the S.S. Plot Contrivance to see her off, but he’s all, “Wah! I’m a little baby and I’m the only one whose feelings actually matter!” Kelly leaves, hurt, and tells Zack Morris she has feelings, too.


On the boat, Mike makes his second appearance of the episode to see Kelly off, acting as a walking, talking, Lonely Planet guide to what to do in possible international situations. I’m so glad Mike’s around for such important scenes.

The rest of the gang sans Zack Morris are there as well and give Kelly her wishes. Kelly says she can’t leave unless Slater and Alex resolve their subplot so they agree to break up on good terms since it was stupid for them to be together to begin with. Also, Screech decides he gets seasick way too easily and decides not to go on the boat after all, which explains why he later goes on the same program on The New Class. We have final goodbyes and everyone leaves.


But then Zack Morris shows up with flowers for Kelly and tells her that he’s sorry as he’s never considered the possibility she may have feelings before, and they can wait three months. As Zack Morris prepares to leave, Kelly says she’s decided to throw all common sense to the wind and that she’s going to accept Zack Morris’s proposal for the sake of the end of the series. And our episode ends with the boat seeming to take off with Zack Morris on board because stowaways are completely cool in international situations. Yeah, a random guy without a passport isn’t going to cause problems at all. Maybe it will lead to a movie: Saved by the Bell: Customs and Immigration Style.


During the credits, Kelly and Zack Morris mess up their lines. How thrilling.

Firsts: Zack Morris and Kelly get engaged.

The New Class Season 5, Episode 1: “Desperately Seeking Work”


Our season opens with a sight unrealistic even for Reno 911: Screech as a mall security guard. Yes, some idiot decided it would be a good idea to give Screech authority over shit because that always works out well. Also, it would seem that Yukon Yogurt went out of business as there’s a new store in its place and Mr. Belding basically wanders around the mall most of the episode with the excuse he’s buying presents for Little Zack’s birthday, but I’m beginning to think he doesn’t want to go home anymore. At least Mr. Belding admits that he doesn’t have much time between work and having a family. I just wish he’d realized that two seasons ago when he started taking random jobs.


Maria joins Eric, Katie, and a random blonde girl in the food court to announce that the Teen Machine wants to hire a waitress. It would seem that Maria has managed to hold a job at the same place longer now than any character from the franchise except for Kelly. It’s a good thing there are constantly old stores closing and new stores opening in the mall or the rest of the gang would never find jobs!

Now, most important is: who the hell is this random blonde girl? You’d be really confused if you were watching this when it first aired as they don’t say her name once the entire episode and she only has a couple scenes. But a quick glance at the opening credits confirms she’s Rachel’s replacement.

Well, luckily, this is 2016 and we have a little invention called IMDB. As a result, I know this is Liz Miller (Ashley Cafagna), the latest addition to our gang of the damned. And, yes, NBC fucking aired the season premiere out of order because they’re dumb asses. The reason they made this stupid choice will become crystal clear in a moment, and it will be even stupider. In any case, we’ll be formally introduced to Liz next week.

While I’ve been distracted by who the hell Liz is, Katie and Eric announce they’re both going for the same job at the mall gym, Pumps, setting up the main plot.

Nicky arrives and announces he’s gotten a job at Media Mania, the store that took Yukon Yogurt’s place in the food court, because, when I think food court, I think cheap CD Rom games. Ryan’s working there too and helped Nicky get the job, thus marking the second time in three episodes he’s gone against character and got a job instead of being a lazy fuck up.


In the gym, Katie’s interview goes well and the manager takes Eric back for his interview. She tells a jogging Maria how stoked she is that she thinks the job is a done deal, and they get a juice to celebrate the obvious conflict that’s about to happen. After a wipe screen indicates some time has passed, the manager comes out and tells Katie she sucks ass and he’s hiring Eric instead. Now, one could interpret this as a regurgitation of the sexism plot from last season but, no, this is season five so it will be even more boring. Maria tells Katie not to worry as she can still apply at the Teen Machine.


At Media Mania, the boss, Wacky Wanda, likes to give everyone wacky nicknames like “Nutty Nicky” and “Ring-a-ding Ryan.” It’s a shame Screech doesn’t work there or he could be “Shithead Screech.” Well, we quickly find out what this subplot will be as Ryan makes Nicky clean the employee restroom while he sexually harasses some girls.


Oh and Eric apparently gets commission for recruiting new members and gets to work convincing Mr. Belding how much of a fat ass he’s become. Mr. Belding decides to join but, don’t worry, this isn’t a new subplot. It’s just another random thing Mr. Belding’s doing while he’s wandering aimlessly throughout the mall.


So Screech with any sort of authority goes as you’d expect: he harasses old women and small children. He also gives Mr. Belding a “mall citation” for missing the trashcan with a cookie wrapper because three of those means Mr. Belding is banned from the mall. Yep, dropping a cookie wrapper is a horrible offense. Seriously, why doesn’t anyone lock Screech away in a padded cell and throw away the key? He’s acted like a complete dumb ass for years now, but now he’s a complete dumb ass with authority!

Meanwhile, Maria lets Katie know she didn’t get the job at the Teen Machine because she continues to suck at life and because Maria’s boss apparently sends messages through his employees rather than contacting them directly. I’m sure that violates some confidentiality laws. She says that there’s a job at the Cookie Jar she might be able to get.


But she gets there and finds that Liz, the girl whose name no one even knows her name yet, has beat her to the job because Katie is lower on the totem pole than the random blonde girl who wandered into their group of friends and can’t even get a job serving cookies even though this is obviously the Yukon Yogurt set repurposed. Please tell me Mr. Belding doesn’t no own a cookie store…


After a commercial break, everyone talks about how awesome it is to have jobs. Katie talks about how horrible it is that no one wants her as an employee and, since the mall is the only place in Los Angeles that ever hires teenagers, she’s out of luck for a job. It’s a shame there’s not a place that recently burned down that might be looking for an employee for its grand reopening. Nah, that’s just crazy talk.

Nicky mentions that Media Mania is hiring a new computer bookkeeper but Katie sucks ass at QuickBooks, too, so she’s not qualified. After the rest of the gang leave, Katie tells Maria she’s good at math so she might be good at bookkeeping after all and decides she will “stretch the truth” on her resume because that’s not likely to blow up in her face on a show that has to have a lesson for its target audience every episode.


Meanwhile, Screech continues to harass Mr. Belding over parking his car crooked. He has Mr. Belding’s car towed because he’s a jack ass. And yet Mr. Belding was worried last season that Screech would go to Valley. Why don’t they get rid of his shitty ass for good?

At Media Mania, Nicky finds out that they need someone to dress up in a giant bone and wander around with a Great Dane that is The New Class‘s rip-off of Lassie. Nicky tricks Ryan into taking the job by implying that Ryan would get to hang out with a star.

Katie shows up with her liar, liar, pants on fire resume and gets the job.


So Ryan finds this whole experience humiliating, which I don’t quite understand. I love dogs. Why wouldn’t you want to get paid to walk a dog around the mall? So the fuck what if you have to wear a costume. You’re getting paid! Between this and the ugly jackets subplot last season, the writers of this show must have a really low opinion of how vain teenagers are.


In any case, we get to see Screech talk to the damned dog while the dog stares ahead as if to say, “It’s so humiliating to have to share a scene with this dumb ass.”


At the gym, Mr. Belding insists he only ate an apple for lunch, which is very unhealthy and an early sign of anorexia. Lucky for him, Eric seems to have become a personal trainer without any training and is here for Mr. Belding.


Unlucky for him, Screech stalks him via the security camera and shows the pictures to Eric. Remember, if you go shopping in the Saved by the Bell universe, Stupid Ass Brother is watching you!


Back at Media Mania, Katie seems way too excited about having a job as a bookkeeper, which apparently involves working at the counter and not in an office. In any case, why is she even working at the store? Don’t bookkeepers usually work at a corporate office?


Ring- a-ding comes in pissed off because he got attacked by kittens and shit. Yeah, Ryan sucks at walking dogs that are trained good enough to be in films. He swears he will get revenge on Nicky.

Katie sucks at her job so much she manages to crash the entire POS system, including Nicky’s cash register which is obviously the old school style that didn’t depend on an external computer. But we need a reason for Katie to screw up so why the hell not?


As usually happens in this universe, Katie blurts out that she lied on her application, and Wacky Wanda takes it about as well as you’d expect a character in this universe to who actually believed a teenager had extensive bookkeeping experience.  Wacky Wanda fires Katie and she goes off, despondent that she sucks once again.

In the hall, Ryan tells Nicky that Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller is coming to the mall to promote her new gymnastics video and he can’t see her because Ring-a-ding has a list of jobs for Nutty to do to keep him from meeting Shannon Miller.


Katie feels down on herself for getting fired but, lucky for her, Shannon Miller is there. See, she asks where Media Mania is and Katie tells her all about how she got fired and how much she sucks at life. Well, Shannon Miller gives her a motivational speech about how she shouldn’t give up, making everything okay for Katie and giving her an idea for a plan.

And, seriously, is this the reason NBC aired this episode as the season premiere: so they could brag about Shannon Miller being in it? Fucking hell NBC are dumb asses. They care more about a celebrity cameo than making sense and introducing their new character.

What’s worse, there’s really no excuse. Shannon Miller and Liz Miller both have the same last name. They could have easily introduced Liz via Shannon as a cousin or some shit and it would have made a lot more sense. Or, in any case, it wouldn’t have made any less sense than Jim Harbaugh being Screech’s cousin. But, no, this is the show determined to see if it can suck any worse than it has previously.

It’s no wonder they’re kind of known as being the network of suck today.


But we need another gag involving Shannon Miller so Screech randomly accuses her of stealing her gym bag despite having absolutely no evidence of this and despite the fact he just put the mall at risk of a huge lawsuit. Why does this fucker have a job again? Luckily, Mr. Belding is there to inject some sanity into this whole thing and tells Screech to stop acting like a moron. He says he’s disappointed in Screech for acting like an idiot the way he usually does and says he needs to cut that shit out and act like he has an IQ at least matching his age.


Back at the gym, Katie gets Eric and the gym manager to support her plan: she’s going to increase gym membership so he can afford to hire a second employee. The manager says this is so unlikely he’ll gladly agree to this ridiculousness.


At Media Mania, Ryan does practically everything to impress Shannon Miller except ripping off his shirt while yelling, “Hulk mad!” Also, Ryan’s now randomly captain of the swim team despite the fact that this has never been mentioned before and that he was a wrestler last season. This show just loves to retcon sports into its characters’ pasts.

Nicky comes in, having completed all his tasks and Wacky Wanda is so impressed she gives Nicky a promotion to assistant manager, allowing him to abuse his new authority to do lots of shit so he can spend time with Shannon Miller.


Screech starts to harass Eric and Katie over not having a permit but then gives them one, bringing his whole subplot to a stupid end.


Katie dances with some random fat guy on stage in the food court and this encourages all kinds of random extras that they can exercise, too. Having a handful of new customers is apparently enough for the manager to be able to afford another employee, and our episode ends with Katie dancing with Shannon Miller and the assembled extras as the gang looks on, Ryan counting down the weeks he’ll be in this franchise.

Firsts: Liz Miller, Pumps Gym, the Cookie Jar, Media Mania.

The College Years Episode 17: “Love and Death”


vlcsnap-2015-12-15-18h36m38s119In our cold opening, Kelly blows off Zack Morris to go out with the girls Saturday and Screech is disappointed he doesn’t have a vagina so he can’t go, but he hopes maybe Zack Morris might go out with him instead. Zack Morris’s characterization here is more akin to his early original series self than what I’d hoped he’d evolved into. He’s possessive: Kelly should clear her schedule for him and he shouldn’t have to ask her out; it should be assumed her duty is to him and fuck everything else. Also, the plot thread that’s littered throughout this episode is, “Does she love me or not?” Love in The College Years has not progressed far beyond the original series.

More interesting, we find out what happened between Screech and Linda, his last girl: he “handled” her. I can only assume this means she’s six feet under with Danielle and that Screech will soon be appearing in an episode of Criminal Minds. This is why no woman should touch Screech, ever.


After the credits, we meet Professor Rich, who conducts his class in the student union because he’s edgy and shit. I haven’t the slightest clue what kind of class this guy is teaching. He mentions Paul Revere, but I don’t think it’s American history as he’s giving the standard Carpe Diem speech, encouraging his students to seize the day and even complementing Zack Morris on not paying attention to him so he can hit on Kelly. It’s the last day of yet another class that every one of the gang is in despite the fact that, at the beginning of the semester, they didn’t look like they’d be in any classes together. I don’t remember being in any college classes with all my friends. Sometimes I was lucky to know anyone at all. But this is The College Years, where a class can be a set of motivational speeches and no one bats an eye.


Speaking of which, Dean McMann decides that having class is too edgy so she makes sure to tone it down on the Robin Williams impersonation. Inspirational Robin Williams, not cross dressing Robin Williams or Martian Robin Williams. Yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s no university administrator around who actually gives a fuck if the classrooms are used or not. Dean McMann does, though, because she has to appear to be a strict prick. Also, she gets on her phone and arranges to have a bunch of students go to her office and drop their pants.

Zack Morris says he’s going to miss Professor Rich and the strong bond they’ve developed over the last couple of minutes and Professor Rich says not to worry: he’s going to Egypt tomorrow but he’s heard all about the loose boundaries with Cal U’s faculty so he’ll stop by his suite.

At the suite, the gang prepare a surprise party for Professor Rich and we find out Alex entrusted the cake with the only member of the gang less competent than her so it’s late. No introduction needed. Professor Rich knocks on the door and Zack Morris shoos everyone into the girls’ room until the cake gets there.



Zack Morris stalls Professor Rich by listening to Professor Rich tell Zack Morris how awesome he is. Professor Rich says he’s a fake and has played it safe his whole life. He’s never taken a risk. But Egypt will be the first time he’s actually taken his own advice.

On this note, Zack Morris goes into the girls’ room to find out what’s going on and they find out Screech has managed to wreck the cake store because he’s a complete dumb ass. Zack Morris says they can’t wait any longer so they all rush out and throw confetti and streamers on Professor Rich and…


Kelly pronounces him dead because she works for the student medical center and shit. Yeah, he died in this position and doesn’t move until Screech rushes in and makes an ass out of himself as usual by pushing the late professor over.  I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure someone who died wouldn’t just stay in this staged position. Fortunately, Leslie’s the only one with enough sense to call 911 as the rest just stand around agasp. Kelly, our potential future doctor, doesn’t even think to do CPR because we need Professor Rich to be dead to advance the rest of the episode.

I get really annoyed by one-off characters who die in their sole appearance. Both the original series and The New Class did it, and it frankly always falls flat because we’re not emotionally invested in this character. You know what would have been better? Rather than have Professor Lasky around, whose sole purpose has been to instigate conflict between Zack Morris and Kelly, why not have Professor Rich as a recurring character for the entire season and actually do some character development to make us care about him. That way, we’ll feel the sadness just as much as the gang does. Instead, I’m busy feeling numb because I don’t give a shit about this guy!

But this is Saved by the Bell. What do I expect? Good writing? That’s just crazy talk!


After a commercial break, we see the gang preparing for Professor Rich’s funeral. Yes, Screech is seriously dressing as a vampire because he doesn’t have a black suit. Why does anyone let him go out in public? A guy they supposedly care about died and the writers are playing it for laughs. How sensitive. And, yes, it gets worse.

Also, interesting enough, Screech tells Slater he’s been to a funeral: for his Grandfather Powers. Yes, the Grandfather Powers we’ll get to meet in season three of The New Class. Oh, Saved by the Bell, it’s so cute how you don’t give a shit about continuity.


Zack Morris decides that just before a funeral is the perfect time to find out if Kelly loves him or not, and she’s just as appalled at his insensitivity as I am. She finally relents and tells him that she can’t say she loves him because she wants to be a doctor and won’t have time for love, which is complete and utter bullshit of course. If it weren’t for the rest of the episode, I’d suspect that she’s just blowing him off, and not in the good way.


At the funeral, Mike shows up to fulfill his purpose of the episode: to run around asking if anyone wants to talk to someone who’s training to be a therapist. Yeah, that and pointing out that Screech is wearing high heels are Mike’s only contribution to the episode. I only wish I was joking about this.


Dean McMann shows up to give the eulogy and drops her cell phone in the casket. So she reaches in and gets her jewelry caught on Professor Rich’s shirt. So now we have Screech dressed in high heels as a vampire and Dean McMann with her hand stuck in Professor Rich’s casket. What a respectful way to send out someone the gang supposedly cared about so much.


Zack Morris interrupts in the middle of the dean’s eulogy to point out what Professor Rich told him about being a fraud. So Zack Morris says he doesn’t know about all the other chumps but he’s going to go out and seize the day by playing ultimate Frisbee in the cemetery because upsetting grieving loved ones is the perfect way to honor those who have died..


Back at the suite, the rest of the gang are worried about Zack Morris until he rides in on a motorcycle. Yeah, his idea of seizing the day is driving a motor vehicle in an area with lots of people who could be injured because that’s edgy. Yeah, the writers of this show wouldn’t know edgy if it bit them in the ass.


At the student union, Dean McMann tells Slater to call security because there’s an idiot climbing down the building.


Naturally, it turns out to be Zack Morris, who’s decided that repelling down the student union is a great prank, once again proving that the writers don’t know shit about college. Also, he deflates Dean McMann by not caring about being suspended, since he’s figured out that all authority figures in this universe eventually back down because he’s Zack Morris and he must be around until the end of the series.

For whatever reason, the writers decided to portray Slater as the reasonable one and he’s suddenly really uptight and judgmental about Zack Morris’s antics.


Kelly’s also judgmental but Zack Morris tells her she shouldn’t care since she can’t love him. She says he’s an idiot and could jump out of an airplane for all she cares, and he decides this is a really good idea. He goes to prepare for his ultimate edginess.


And he leaves Screech hanging outside the student union while the extras look on.  As far as I’m concerned, they can leave him like that the rest of the episode.

Back at the suite, Zack Morris peer pressures Slater to come along with him skydiving, citing his sudden change in characterization, but he doesn’t want to go until he finds out this would make him more pathetic than Screech as our resident moron has decided to jump out of a plane.


And, without any further delay, we’re on a plane. Yeah, they’re actually going to do it…except Screech and Slater both chicken out. Zack Morris says they’re pathetic and prepares to jump when the instructor starts receiving an alien message from a planet far, far, away.


No, it’s just Kelly at the airport but the alien thing might be more interesting. And, yes, the airport randomly decided to let Kelly use the radio to let Zack Morris know that she figured out off-screen that she loves him and doesn’t want him to jump out of a plane because I’m sure that doesn’t violate any FAA regulations. Zack Morris decides he doesn’t want to jump after all…


…but then the instructor almost pushes Zack Morris out of the plane. I have to give it to the producers on this one: at least they didn’t chicken out and do an obviously fake looking set: they actually got real footage in the air. Kudos on doing something right.

Zack Morris tells the instructor to turn the plane around because none of them are jumping. He does without closing the door…


…and all three fall out of the plane. Geez, this company is a law suit waiting to happen. What would they do if Slater and Screech had taken off their parachutes after they decided not to jump? Well, I mean, Screech could have and it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Also, I can’t tell whether the three actors actually jumped or if it’s look alike stunt doubles. It’s sad that skydiving may be the best scene of this series so far.


Back at the airport, Zack Morris and Kelly kiss and declare their love for each other and shit and our episode ends with them practically fucking in the middle of the airport as Zack Morris breaks the fourth wall and asks for privacy.


During the credits, we get to see the set crew torturing Dustin Diamond, which is totally worth the extra scene.

The New Class Season 4 Recap


Ah, another season, another year of The New Class that I’d rather forget ever happened. But yet, try as I might to forget, I really did sit through another twenty-six episodes of pure, unadulterated shit because, yes, that’s what it was. Not a single episode I truly like and at least one hit a new low for me.

And yet, this was even after a bunch of changes, both behind the scenes and in front. Gone are half of our characters from season three, again, replaced with fresh faces that will be with us until the end of the series. I don’t know how to sum up my feelings on these three. They’re not particularly irritating the way R.J. or Tommy D were, and Katie’s just as bland a character, if not more so, than Lindsay. But I have no emotional investment in these people, and I’m sure the people who were watching in 1996 didn’t either. After all, with this series’ track record, we could be replacing the entire cast for season five.

There was also more of an attempt to drop little Easter eggs of continuity. Besides appearances from Slater and Mr. Dewey and Screech recounting scenes from the original series involving the rest of the cast, we had references to teachers not seen in nearly eight years, acknowledgments that Tommy D and Lindsay had moved (no one gave a shit about R.J. anyway), and even a suggestion that Kelly’s little brother is now a football star at Bayside. Season four almost seems like it was trying to apologize for its three predecessors using the Saved by the Bell name by trying to convince you that, yes, it really is Saved by the Bell. Of course, it fails in all but the most superficial sense.

Behind the scenes, gone was Franco E. Bario as show runner, replaced by associate producer Chris Conte. I don’t know a lot about Conte, but, if his IMDB page is any indication, I’m not impressed. The only other scripted series he’s really been head of over the years was Malibu USA, another Saved by the Bell clone. Other than that, he’s been in charge of shows like Access Hollywood and Last Call with Carson Daly. And, while Conte had been affiliated with the franchise since Good Morning, Miss Bliss, there’s a distinct feeling that he’s trying to bring something different to the table while still pleasing fans of the original series.

Unfortunately, those new things aren’t all good. Screech is more irritating than ever, the love triangle between Nicky, Katie, and Maria was extremely unbelievable and resolved way too soon, and the crossover with Hang Time felt forced. Really forced. On the positive side, more of the main plots were going to the gang rather than Screech, but that didn’t say much as he still had annoying subplots, maybe more annoying than ever.

There was as little attention paid to the chronology as usual, although, this year, at least the Space Camp episodes weren’t used in the clip show episodes so they could at least take place after Christmas. (They  take place in the summer, as we’ll see in a few episodes, but Rachel’s departure complicates this, as we’ll also see.) What this season, overall, signaled is that nothing will ever change, as they neatly assured us Bayside and The Max will always be there, no matter what else happens.

Interestingly enough, this season would also be the last for longtime director Don Barnhart. Barnhart directed virtually every episode of the original series and The New Class to this point so his departure is a serious blow to continuity. I have no idea why he left but, like Bario, it apparently was on good terms. His only directing credits since have been a few episodes of California Dreams and ten episodes of the Canadian teen drama Student Bodies. Other than a few documentaries about Saved by the Bell, he’s virtually dropped off the map.

Let’s talk characters, starting with the returning members of the gang.


Rachel really took a step backwards this season. Think about it: she was at her best when she was single and available for whatever plots were available, hence why I think her best season was three. After all, that was when she was in what is, to date, the only episode of The New Class I have truly liked. Any other time she is defined by the man she is with. In season one, she was an object to be used for Scott’s plot. In season two, she was totally defined by her relationship with Brian. And, in season four, Rachel had no characterization apart from her relationship with Ryan, which came the fuck out of nowhere.

She’s dull as ever this season and, as much as I should be sad that our last connection to the first season other than Mr. Belding is leaving, I can’t help but think the writers never figured out what to do with Rachel. She’s no Kelly because, while Kelly was also underdeveloped, we at least gave a damn what happened to her. Rachel will be replaced by another blonde next season and, sadly, there will probably be very little discernible difference.

I also have no idea how old Rachel was supposed to be. If she was a freshman in season one, that means she should be a senior this year, yet there’s no indication she was any older than our other characters who will graduate in season seven. Had Sarah Lancaster continued, would they have just pretended like all was as it should be? I think we’ll have our answer to that when Maria stays with the series until the end.

As with most of the women on this show, Sarah Lancaster has been considerably more successful post-The New Class than most of her male counterparts. She’s been in a ton of stuff since she left, but, most notably, she had a recurring role on Scrubs and starring roles on Chuck and Everwood. I watched her on Everwood and, I must say, her acting has not improved a bit since she was on The New Class. It was hard to watch her on here and not see the college co-ed who was fucking young Ephraim Brown.


Ryan’s just a dick this season. While it’s clear the writers are trying their damndest to turn him into a Zack Morris-like character, they have no clue how, and Ryan just comes off at times as being controlling, egotistical, and as an asshole. Take, for instance, his treatment of Nicky in “Oh, Brother.” Nicky did nothing to Ryan, yet Ryan was determined to make the former’s life completely miserable. Couple this with his controlling attitude towards Rachel and the fact that he was the one to cheat on her with a girl from Hang Time, and I really got pissed off at Ryan at times.

I’m really becoming convinced that Ryan has multiple personalities that rarely coexist in the same episode. There is, after all, asshole, controlling manipulative Ryan; conniving Ryan; loyal Ryan; and, of course, random responsible Ryan who gets a job at The Max after insisting he’d never do anything silly like get a job. All are equally underdeveloped and which one is used in a particular episode depends on what is most convenient to the script.

And, yet, he’s still an improvement over Brian. He’s at least a leader and does more than spout about being Swiss and loving Rachel. Ryan’s a constant reminder that it could have been worse, and let’s pray that it won’t be after season five. I’m still unsure what to make of the retcon that turned him into a wrestling star considering he showed no interest in wrestling last season, but it definitely wasn’t the most annoying thing that happened this season.


Maria started out the season continuing her role as the voice of reason, often intervening in conflicts, but her relationship with Nicky quickly hijacked all of that, and Maria suffered greatly for it. For once, though, she wasn’t completely defined by her relationship with Nicky. In fact, as I’ll mention when I get to Nicky, she was so not defined by her relationship with him that it was easy to forget she was even in a one to begin with.

And, what else can you say: Maria’s still as undeveloped as she was last season. She shows the hints of a real character but can’t seem to get past cliches and contrivances. If putting her with Nicky was supposed to help flesh out her character, it completely and utterly failed as I can’t think of a single bit of character development that’s truly come out of that relationship.


Nicky is an improvement over Tommy D. They don’t force him to be an idiot and he often serves as the voice of reason among the boys. Unfortunately, his character development is slow–in the first few episodes, all we really knew about him was he had the power of NEW YORK! He slowly gained other characteristics, and most made sense (though I still don’t buy he was obsessed with astronomy). It was clear that, with Nicky, they were seeking a foil to Ryan.

The worst episodes with Nicky involve his relationships. His love for Katie comes the fuck out of nowhere, and he just randomly falls for Maria. Neither relationship is believable–it’s pretty bad when episodes have to remind us that Nicky is in a relationship for us to remember. Both relationships just seems completely forced and have no chemistry. Sad as it is to say, Tommy D and Lindsay are still the gold standard for a believable relationship on this show, and Nicky doesn’t come anywhere close to living up to that.


We have to remember the line of characters we’ve gone through to get to Eric: Weasel, Bobby, and R.J. None of these has been particularly meaningful and I doubt there has been much weeping about the departures of any of these characters as they were basically there…to be there. The gang needed six characters, and so they added in a half-baked one hoping no one would give a damn.

So, is Eric an improvement? Yes, but a talking toaster would be better. Eric is best when they integrate the fact Anthony Harrell a singer in real life into his character. He’s worst when they try to make him a football star–I believe Eric’s a football star even less than the episode where Weasel was star for a day. The rest of the time, it seems like they’re trying to make him a lovable goofball and failing greatly. Eric’s the least developed character of the season. Also, continuing in the steps of his predecessor, he will never have a relationship longer than an episode or two, so you’ll never even get back door development for him.


The writers really can’t seem to figure out what to do with Katie. Is she smart? Is she poor? Would she do hair with a French guy named Jean-Paul? Is she Nicky’s girlfriend? Does she swim? Is she a bitch to random guys whose love brims? These are all things they have done with her this season, and the answer is still unclear to any of them as they usually last an episode and are then forgotten. What is Katie’s purpose on the show? Damned if I know and I think the writers are still trying to figure it out, too.

In any case, she’s defined half the season by her relationship with Nicky and the other half by nothing in particular. The second half of the season reminds me of Lindsay after she and Ryan broke up: nothing to do in particular because the only thing of consequence she had going is gone. Since we have three more seasons to develop Katie, I’ll wait and see if she improves. Judging by this season, though, I’m not too optimistic of that happening.


The biggest positive this season is that they’ve toned down the Screech and Mr. Belding plots. They’re still there but they’re usually more minor Mr. Belding is back to dispensing his usual judgmental lectures and Screech is a fucking moron. But they’re in positions on the show now that are at least tolerable.

Mr. Belding receives no character development this season. However, I have to mention his purchasing of Yukon Yogurt. Mr. Belding keeps insinuating his principal’s salary won’t support a wife and kid, yet he keeps purchasing businesses in the mall which are, presumably, failing, How can he afford this if he is so destitute?

Screech is more annoying than ever this season and has become a caricature of a cartoon character. Seriously, if Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd strolled into Bayside one episode, they would still be more believable than Dustin Diamond’s performance this season. Screech’s incompetence is truly astounding and how he keeps a job, I’ll never know. Even when the writers do a clip show trying to tell us how awesome Screech is, they succeed in little other than showing us how much he sucks at life. At least he doesn’t have to be involved in every little thing the gang does unlike the first three seasons, but his presence is still fucking annoying and not appreciated.


Given how many genuinely good shows are cancelled before they really have the chance to succeed, it’s truly astounding that this show just kept getting renewed season after shitty season. The burning down of The Max is kind of symbolic of what this season did to the reputation of the Saved by the Bell brand. I mean, by now, most loyal original series fans will say they abandoned ship, and very few have gone into the depths of the last few seasons as I’m about to. I’m convinced at this point that Peter Engel had blackmail on someone at NBC. After all, how else can you account for the fact that this show has now had more episodes than the original, which, though a silly but harmless teen show, is still considered a classic?

God I’m not looking forward to these last few seasons.

My Picks

We’re back this season to five episodes I hated more than the others since there were no episodes I even remotely liked. Please feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments.

Episode 6: “Little Hero”: I don’t buy Eric as a football player for a second, much less as the star of the team. Add in a stupid cameo by Jim Harbaugh and the fact the writers completely fucked up Mr. Dewey’s character, and I just really hate this episode with a passion.

Episode 8: “Fall Formal”:  Last season, I was really hard on episodes involving R.J. This season, it seems I’m hard on Katie-centric episodes. I really don’t get what the big deal was, especially considering the beautiful dress Katie came up with. Add the clueless consumerism of Rachel and Maria and I really hate this episode. Oh, and one can’t help but mention that this is the episode the now-infamous air conditioner repair subplot came from.

Episode 11: “Renaissance Faire”: It was a really bad idea to have the gang put on a renaissance faire anyway, but to do so while making a regular character look like a complete jackass because, out of nowhere, he believes his girlfriend is cheating on him…god, what were they thinking?

Episode 21: “The Fifth Wheel”: Another Katie-centric episode in which she randomly rejects a good looking guy because he knows about science. How horrible of him to actually learn something more than the idiotic ramblings of The New Class! The subplot involving ugly jackets just made me hate this even more. It is, possibly, the worst of the Space Camp episodes.

Episode 26: “Fire at the Max, Part 2”: I normally wouldn’t put a clip show episode on this list, but, considering how badly this one resolved the cliffhanger of the first part, it had to be added. What made the writers think they could burn down a beloved staple of the franchise and then resolve the plot via clips? A mangled cameo by Slater didn’t help it at all and the whole “Ryan’s feeling guilty” thing was barely given mention.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 26: “Fire at the Max, Part 2”


We open with Mr. Russell and the gang sans Ryan entering the lightly burned remains of The Max. They thank Mr. Russell for giving them one last chance to say goodbye to the shitty restaurant. Mr. Russell says it’s no problem since he has some paperwork to randomly do in a burned out building since burned out, potentially unsafe buildings are the best place to do paperwork. Plus they were randomly going in and out of the building last week so they might as well.


The gang sit in their old booth, the remains apparently still recognizable after this horrible fire, and recount what happened in the last episode, especially emphasizing how Ryan wants to transfer.

So, after burning down a beloved icon of the franchise in the last episode, how would you expect The New Class to handle the conclusion in part two? If you answered tactfully and respectfully, you obviously haven’t watched enough of this shitty show. No, the correct answer is: another clip show episode! Yes, the producers of this show think so little about your intelligence that they built up some semblance of drama and emotion last episode only to let it implode in the laziest cliche in television.

Get ready to relive events of the past season that have occurred at The Max, because they have a whole episode of them waiting for us! And, since this is a clip show episode, I feel the need to point out that, once again, an entire season of The New Class, including Nicky dating two girls, volunteering at the hospital, and jobs at the mall (except Space Camp, of course, which took place in the summer but makes the chronology of this season even messier as we’ll see in the coming weeks), have all taken place in the space of four months. I know, I know. If you really stretch it, it’s possible. But wouldn’t it have been much easier to make this a whole school year like competent writers would have done?


And, when Mr. Belding and Screech show up, after recounting their own events of the last season, we even have time enough to show some clips from the original series so Screech can recount his youth and show how he’s never been competent at anything. Also, we see how he’s still obsessed over Lisa after all these years. Considering how Danielle disappeared after Screech’s sole date with her, Lisa needs to go into witness protection now!


And who shows up in the middle of it but A.C. Slater himself, having been summoned from wherever the hell he’s living nowadays by his Slatey sense so he can do his own grieving over The Max. When I reviewed “Goodbye Bayside,” I said that episode was the final episode for Zack Morris, Slater, and Lisa, and some of you corrected me in the comments. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and I still have no idea why Mario Lopez made this appearance unless he was just that hard up for a paycheck in the mid-1990s. I hate to say it, but I think “Goodbye Bayside” would have been a more dignified curtain call for Slater. At least “Goodbye Bayside” did more with Slater’s character than have him recount clips. No, he got to stand around and say stupid things in that one.

And what do they do with the final cameo by an original series cast member? If you answered something meaningful and classy that would have brought a satisfying conclusion to a beloved character, you’ve really not been watching the same show I have the last four seasons. No, as if to pour salt in the wound for anyone who was expecting this to be a satisfying resolution to the first part, Slater’s appearance is merely an excuse to show more god damned fucking stupid ass clips!

Watching this show is like ingesting seven seasons worth of dog shit while I’m tortured by the vocal renditions of Yoko Ono and William Hung. I swear to fucking god.


But, in case you were worried, Screech takes advantage of the situation to put his snot on Slater’s shirt, because that makes all this stupid ass shit worthwhile.


Ryan finally shows back up and reveals that, off screen, he’s dealt with most of his grief over burning down The Max, and his final lingering regret is fixed by a pep talk from Slater. This gives Ryan the opportunity to show his own clip from the past season, and Ryan decides not to transfer after all.


So, with exactly one minute left, Mr. Russell reveals he’s been listening in this whole time and his icy heart has been melted by their stupid ass clips. He’s decided to rebuild and make it a bigger and better Max to ensure that the status quo of this franchise is never broken, and our episode and season mercifully end with the assembled regulars and guest stars cheering a completely unsatisfying resolution to this whole cluster fuck.

My fucking god this was a squandered opportunity. Not only did they not show Ryan work through his emotions at all, but they also missed the opportunity to make the Teen Machine the new hangout for the gang. I mean, it was perfect: take an existing locale and have this gang make it their own, differentiated from the original series, and actually do something different. Instead, we get a clear sign that, as long as this franchise exists, nothing will change, ever, because the producers and writers for this show are the laziest fucks on the face of the planet.

And that’s it for season four of The New Class. Tune in for a recap this Wednesday. Next Monday, we’ll delve into the fifth season of my self-imposed punishment and try to figure out how this show kept getting renewed.

Also, this is the second anniversary of this blog and, once again, thank you for making it such a success! You guys are why I keep torturing myself with The New Class. I am so grateful for everyone who reads, shares, and comments on my posts. Here’s to two years of watching this franchise!