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.

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

  1. At least they’re doing, what seems to be, actual outdoor scenes. We will see more of this until the end of the run.

  2. I never understood why they created The Max anyway instead of just the school cafeteria. What kind of school lets its students leave campus for lunch?

    With the sheer amount of times that The Max hosts school functions, it might as well have just been the school cafeteria.

    Hell, I think even the writers got confused about it. I remember one episode where Zack, at The Max, motioned and said “Right here at Bayside.”

    • “I never understood why they created The Max anyway instead of just the school cafeteria.”

      It’s interesting you say that, because I always wondered that myself. I remember in my HS, they hardly let you leave the building once classes started. Too many bad things could happen. And without a doubt no one was allowed to eat at a burger joint that might of been a mile away. So why not have a cafeteria set? Makes more sense.

      But even after school the gang goes to the Max and eat and hang out. Don’t these kids ear dinner with their family?

      I guess it was a case of the writers and producers forgetting what HS was like.

  3. ILovedKellyKapowski

    How big is Bayside’s swimming pool? Surely there’s enough room for both teams to practice? (1/2 the pool for boys, other 1/2 for girls). And then, the 2 teams can share tips and support each other.

    Bigger question is: Why are swim teams separated by gender? (Am I too forward-thinking?)

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