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.