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.