Monthly Archives: February 2016

The New Class Season 5, Episode 8: “Boy II Man”

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We open with plot dump as Eric passes out fliers for the Teen Machine’s open mic night. Maria asks him why the fuck he’s passing out fliers if he doesn’t work there and Eric says he’s going to “win” the open mic night so he can sing there every night. Seems logical to me. Why do I get the feeling the writers of The New Class have never been to an open mic night?

Meanwhile, Liz is freaked out because she’s realized the cookies she’s selling are unhealthy. Yeah, please tell me she’s not supposed to be the smart one now that Rachel’s gone.

And Ryan would rather hangout with Liz than listen to what Nicky says. Okay, at least they’re going slightly back to the characterization we were introduced to two seasons ago.

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And in subplot number three, we find out Mr. Belding continues to spend all his free time at the mall without his wife and son because he’d rather hang out with his idiot administrative assistant and his students. But, more important, the powers that be at the mall have decided Screech is the right person to train a rookie. While you might expect this would stoke his ego, he instead thinks he’s so important he doesn’t have time to train a rookie.

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But his attitude soon changes when he realizes the producers have dressed up an actress to appear as Violet might had she not moved to 90210. This is Lucille, and she’s a kiss ass and thinks it’s so awesome that Screech is a huge idiot she can learn from. And before you go thinking she could be a recurring love interest for Screech, remember: this is The New Class, where we haven’t had a recurring character since season three.

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At the Teen Machine, Eric performs and, predictably, “wins” since the only other person that night is flapping his arms in some semblance of Irish dance. That means he gets to perform at the Teen Machine all week, which is an honor I guess.

But, in the crowd, there’s one man who I think may be too old to be at the Teen Machine. This could be a very special episode on bad touches, or it could be another predictable plot about Eric making it big in the music industry.

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Yes, this is Teddy, a music agent from Fat Town Records, and he wants to offer Eric a music contract. He tells Eric to meet him at the Teen Machine tomorrow for lunch where he’ll tell him what he has to do in order to be a big star.

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The next day, Screech teaches Lucille the ins and outs of “patrolling stores. The owner of The Cookie Jar makes a big deal about wanting to give them free cookies, but Screech reminds Lucille that this is a plot point for their stupid subplots and they can’t accept free food from store owners.

And now it’s time for the episode to take a turn towards crazy-ville. Yes, if ever there was a “so bad it’s good” episode in the vein of “Jessie’s Song” or “Pipe Dreams” for The New Class, this is it.

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See, Liz has suddenly decided she doesn’t want to serve cookies to fat people. This woman, who needs to become a recurring character so she can slap the shit out of our regulars, is none too pleased that Liz has decided to no longer sell cookies. Liz starts insanely rambling about cookies being poison and her boss has to serve the customer to keep her from slapping the shit out of Liz. Her look in the screen shot says it all. And thus ends our “cookies are evil” subplot, although I’m waiting for a very special episode on junk food soon. Seriously, this woman might be my favorite character on this show since Milton and Ron left.

The next day, in the food court, Liz can’t believe she got fired for not selling cookies in a cookie store, and Katie’s all, “You’re insane!” Ryan decided it’s time for their subplots to converge and he pressures Nicky into hiring Liz at Media Mania because there just happens to be an opening when they need it.

Meanwhile, Teddy tells Eric there’s more to being a star than talent, and he’s going to have to reinvent himself to be a star. This is going to include changing his name to “Thug Dog Little” and rapping about raising hell. No, really, they say the word “hell” in the Saved by the Bell franchise. I think this is about as edgy as they’ve ever gotten in this franchise. Yes, Eric is going to be a gangster rapper and, dear god, why do I get the feeling this is going to be gloriously awful?

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Maria tries to give Eric the standard “be yourself” pep speech, but Eric is all, “I want a record contract and I’m going to get it however I have to!”

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Mr. Belding comes to find out how Lucille’s doing and sees Lucille bringing a burrito to Screech, because that’s the sort of training he’s supposed to be doing. Lucille proves she’s been learning from Screech, though, by acting insane at the possibility of Mr. Belding carrying a drink into a store.

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At Media Mania, Ryan doesn’t want to listen to Nicky because he’d rather hang out with Liz. He, quite literally, pushes Nicky around, and Nicky fires Ryan for being a dumb ass. He runs out, yelling about how he’ll find a better job and fuck all you fools!

In the food court, Ryan reveals to Katie he can’t find a job, and Katie’s only role this episode seems to be moving subplots along so she  suggests he go to the Cookie Jar and get Liz’s old job.

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And, yeah, he gets to work making cookies.

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And Lucille forgot her wallet and accepts a free cookie. Screech runs away and loses his mind as he decides how this horrible crime should be punished.

And now it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the debut of Thug Dog Little.

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And dear god it’s gloriously awful. So awful you must view it for yourself.

This is what white people in their eighties from the suburbs think gangster rap is like, because when I think of the great gangster rappers like Snoop Dogg and Tupac, I think of my parents riding my case and dropping out of school.  Yeah, Thug Dog Little is so rebellious! I’m so scandalized!

It’s scary, but this makes Vanilla Ice suddenly not seem like such a poser by comparison. Yeah, Teddy really knows what the hip teenagers want. Why do I suspect the only reason they cast Teddy as an African-American was so we didn’t accuse the writers of being horribly racist here.

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Back at the food court, Screech reveals he knows Lucille took the cookie and he has to turn her in for this horrible crime.

Liz sees Ryan running to the Cookie Jar and, as official plot-mover-alonger, Katie lets her know that Ryan’s working there now.

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And Mr. Belding takes time out of his day to get away from the family and lecture Eric on saying the “hell” word. Eric’s all, “But I need a contract!” Mr. Belding kindly delivers the moral of the episode: to be yourself and promote the things you like, which will be a huge wake-up call for Jessie, who’s no doubt still stripping in Vegas. But Eric’s not having any of this because Thug Dog Little has a record contract!

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Liz confronts Ryan at the Cookie Jar and tries to get him to just apologize to Nicky for being an idiot. Ryan doesn’t want to until his boss comes out and chews him out for putting two extra chocolate chips in a cookie, prompting Ryan to quit because we’re all now sure there’s narcotics in these cookies making people who work there do crazy shit.

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A random white kid tells Eric that he loved Thug Dog Little’s performance and that his gangster rap really spoke to him, convincing him to drop out of high school and drift pointlessly. Eric suddenly realizes his lame version of gangster rap may overly influence stupid white people who don’t know not to do something just because it’s in a song, and he has a decision to make.

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At the Teen Machine, it’s time for subplot resolution as Lucille says she was reprimanded and has a spot on her record, but she’s happy Screech set an idiotic example she can follow. So, when Maria gives Screech a free fruit punch, Lucille drags Screech off to be reprimanded for violating the rules. Good, it’s about time Screech had some consequences for something, even if they are stupid.

And Ryan apologizes to Nicky and ask for his job back. Nicky’s all, “Sure!”And our pointless subplots are wrapped up without any long-term consequences for anyone. Well, except for Liz not working for the Cookie Jar anymore, but now she can be closer to Ryan so the writers can force them together.

Eric comes out on stage, having ditched the Thug Dog Little shit, and raps about staying in school, because this episode just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.

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Teddy asks Eric what the fuck he’s doing and Eric tells him he has to be himself and rap about what he wants to. Teddy is all, “No contract for you!,” and our episode ends with Eric being all proud and shit that he refused to give into the dark side of gangster rap made by the most white bread people ever.

Oh my lord. Was I high for the last twenty minutes? Gangster rap and non-nutritious cookies. It’s like God’s telling me, “Don’t worry. The next year will have some ridiculous bright sides.”

The New Class Season 5, Episode 7: “The Great Stain Robbery”

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Ah, it’s time to rip off this episode. You remember, the one where Mr. Tuttle randomly gave the students money to develop and sell products. Except this time it’s a one episode teacher, “Mr. Bobbins,” and he’s not giving his students any money but still expects them to develop and sell products. Way to get rid of the only element that made the original plot possible: money. Even if we questioned where the hell Mr. Tuttle got his money, at least he realistically enabled his students.

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In the hallway, Nicky wants to team up with Ryan, but Ryan says everyone will want to be his partner because he’s just super awesome like that. He soon finds, though, that Maria and Eric both think he sucks ass and, since Katie and Liz are barely in the episode this week and aren’t in this class, he’s stuck with Nicky, determined they’re going to get an A. That leaves Maria and Eric teamed up.

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Meanwhile, we get our subplot: Mr. Belding thinks Screech’s incompetence is so great that the school board must witness it! No, that would make too much sense. Actually, Screech has made some pitch about computers at Bayside and Mr. Belding wants him to deliver it to the school board himself. Screech has a fear of public speaking, though, something that’s never been mentioned before in the decade he’s been a part of this franchise because plot. In fact, as I recall, he didn’t have much of a problem speaking at graduation or for various class projects. Surprise, surprise, The New Class has forgotten various plot points.

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At…I guess Maria’s house since there’s no bunk beds, it’s never actually acknowledged where we are, Eric and Maria formulate their product: a dye to make a spot on one of Maria’s shirts disappear. Somehow, this dye turns out to be an awesome stain remover that makes the spot completely disappear, making me think that Eric doesn’t actually understand what a dye is. Yeah, I cant figure out for the life of me how you could get from a dye to a stain remover, but the two think it will be an awesome way to make money since they’ve been complaining about their lack of money most of the scene. Yeah, the money they make at the mall must go for hookers and booze.

Oh, and yay that we’re also ripping off the pimple cream episode. The resolution of this episode won’t be obvious to anyone who’s watched the original series.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Mr. Belding decides to help Screech overcome his fear of public speaking that never existed before this episode.

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And we get to see Screech make this disturbing face, proving once again that he was unjustly overlooked for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.

Naturally, Screech has trouble speaking to just Mr. Belding because that’s totally how fear of public speaking works. Mr. Belding tells Screech to picture him in his underwear…

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…and Screech is only too happy to take that directive literally. Oh, Screech, you wonder why girls naturally run from you. It’s because they can smell your homoeroticism from a mile away. In any case, this doesn’t help Screech focus so Mr. Belding decides they’ll just have to try something different tomorrow so they can stretch out this subplot.

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And…it’s apparently already time for the business projects to be due because not only did Mr. Bobbins not give them money but he also gave them an unrealistic deadline.  I guess you could argue we skipped ahead to the future but then why is Screech only now tackling his fake fear of public speaking?

In any case, Ryan and Nicky’s product is basically a tool belt repurposed, which must of taken them all of a trip to home depot to develop. Because they’re such great friends, Maria and Eric heckle the two and make fun of their suck ass product because I guess there can only be one A and it needs to be fought for?

When it comes time for Maria and Eric to demonstrate their product, Maria pours ink on Mr. Bobbins’ jacket and then used the stain remover, which they’ve dubbed “Scrubbo,” to remove it. Through some not so subtle camera cuts, the stain comes out. Mr. Bobbins is so impressed he gives the two an A+ because they were actually able to complete his assignment, and everyone wants a bottle of Scrubbo.

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The next day, apparently Maria and Eric were just randomly allowed to take over the gym to film an infomercial for their product. I’m glad that Bayside is a place where the every whim of its students is capitulated to. Maria’s hesitant suddenly because she wonders whether they tested Scrubbo enough, but Eric is all, “Money!” and she forgets about her objections.

So, yeah, they film the informercial featuring Eric with a dirty jersey…

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…and Katie, in her first appearance this episode, with a barely visible stain on her shirt. This demonstration is enough to make people rush the stage to buy Scrubbo because stains are apparently a major issue at Bayside. What is in their fucking walls that’s creating stains a washing machine can’t get out?

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Meanwhile, Mr. Bleding teaches Screech how to meditate…on bean bag chairs? Mr. Belding tells Screech to clear his mind, but that instruction wasn’t needed since there’s nothing there to begin with. It’s impressive that the writers know meditation exists but they’ve apparently only heard of mantra meditation as Mr. Belding tells Screech he needs a phrase to repeat. Being a dumb ass, Screech picks the words “waffle,” making him hungry in the middle of the meditation, so he runs to the cafeteria to eat since I guess the cafeteria at Bayside serves food twenty-four hours a day.

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In the hallway, Eric sells Scrubbo to the whole football team, and they must be taking lessons from Tommy D on intelligence as they don’t understand what scoring off the field means. It’s nice to see the spirit of Tommy D is alive and well on this show.

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Maria reveals that, surprise, surprise, Scrubbo ate through her shirt because a dye that turned out to be a stain remover is apparently made from acid. Fucking hell. I don’t think the writers understand how chemistry works. In any case, Eric convinces her that it must have been the number of cleaners she used on the shirt so they can drag their plot out a while longer.

At The Max, Mr. Russell apparently decided to let the gang do whatever the fuck they wanted as usual, as Maria and Eric are busy preparing for a…Scrubbo party. Yeah, there’s nothing that spells party more than stain remover! We do get an aside, though, that Mr. Belding bought several bottles of Scrubbo and is on his way to the school board meeting, where I’m sure nothing will go wrong. We also get a reminder that Ryan and Nicky’s belts are stupid.

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Maria and Eric announce new Scrubbo products including…Scrubbo locker lather, car cleanser, and sneaker squeaker. Fucking hell, there’s ignorance of chemistry and then there’s The New Class. Apparently no one on this show realizes that chemicals have different reactions on different surfaces. The stupid is shutting my brain down and I want off!

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This whole line is short lived, though, as people’s clothes just start randomly disintegrating, starting with Katie and Liz, who is making her first appearance in the episode thirteen and a half minutes in. The football team also comes in with disintegrating uniforms and Scrubbo seems to predictably be malfunctioning.

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At the school board meeting, Screech gives his speech successfully, but we only hear the last few seconds so that we don’t have to witness Screech being competent out of character. The real question is: why does the school board hold meetings in Bayside’s gym? Is this the only school district in the world without its own administration building? Also, why is the superintendent not there and why is this the only school board meeting ever where Mr. Belding and Screech are the only guests? Of course, this is probably another example of the writers having no fucking clue how the education system works.

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Mr. Belding stands up to address the school board and discovers his pants have disintegrated where he used Scrubbo, meaning he flashes the school board. The more disturbing thing, though, is that we find out Screech accurately imagined Mr. Belding’s underwear earlier in the episode. If I were him, I’d change the locks on the door, install a security system, and adopt a guard dog.

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The next day in the hallway, Maria and Eric try to hide from disgruntled students who are pissed to have been made a plot point. Eric insists the way to get through all of this is just to keep denying that Scrubbo is responsible for the clothing damage because that’s a viable option at this point.

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Mr. Belding and Screech hand the two a summons to…business class court…after school. Oh, god, this is going to be ridiculous, isn’t it?

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Of course it is, as Screech gets to be the prosecutor…for some reason. And he’s about as incompetent as you’d imagine. He’s over the top in this scene, even for Screech, and it’s painful to watch. He struts around, talking ridiculously and calling irrelevant witnesses like Ryan and Nicky who had nothing to do with this plot, and lunging at Eric across a table at one point. It’s painful to watch and even the audience seems to be divided on whether it’s funny or not. At this point, I’m thinking that the denial defense may actually be viable.

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Unfortunately for them, they forget completely about the denial defense and just randomly fight over who’s to blame for this whole episode. Mr. Bobbins, acting as judge, decides he has to rule for Screech since there’s no real defense and that, because Eric and Maria didn’t properly test their alien substance that cleans all surfaces while also acting as an acid, they have to pay back everyone for both the bottle of Scrubbo and the ruined clothes.

At The Max, Maria and Eric pay back as many students as they can, including Katie and Liz, who have been so vital to this episode and actually could have been replaced by bit parts, and tell the rest to come back when they have more money. They repeat the theme of the episode, in case it was too stupid for you to catch on to: always test your high school created products before you sell them to avoid liability.

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And our episode ends with Maria and Eric cleaning The Max  to earn money using Ryan and Nicky’s stupid belts, because I absolutely needed resolution for that crucial plot point. I guess Mr. Russell must be really rich to just be able to randomly hire people to do nothing but the job that his bussers are supposed to be doing. It’s a good thing that there are enough hours in the day for Maria and Eric  to go to school and hold down two jobs each. Wasn’t that an already forgotten plot point last season?

The New Class Season 5, Episode 6: “Letting Go”

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Our episode opens with Ryan super excited about the new Tom Cruise film, and he wants to know if the gang want to go see it. At the time this episode aired, the newest Tom Cruise film was Jerry Maguire, so, yes, Ryan, I will go see the new Tom Cruise film with you. Katie and Eric are too tired from working at the gym so Ryan suggests that Nicky and Maria could double date with Liz and him because Ryan apparently now has no memory of the events last week. Nicky reminds Ryan that this episode is kind of chronologically consistent and that he and Maria just broke up last week but Ryan and Liz aren’t dating yet.  Oh, The New Class, it’s so cute when you try to be consistent in your chronology and you fail.

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And we get our main plot for the week: Maria insists to Liz that she’s okay with the break-up and they can still hang out with no problem. Jesus fucking Christ, this is like the third time we’ve gotten this plot now and it’s about the relationship on this show I’ve given the fewest shits about. Really, Nicky and Maria had less chemistry than Brian and Rachel, and that’s saying something.

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Ryan realizes that his wallet is missing and Deputy Dumb Ass runs up to assist, saying someone’s been stealing shit. But our resident incompetent moron is on the case and determined to catch the perp. Eric correctly reflects all our thoughts when he says that Ryan should just kiss his wallet goodbye. After all, this is the man once mistaken by the government for being an alien.

At Media Mania, we learn the reason this store will be out of business by next season: management just randomly hands out overtime by request. Yes, Ryan asks Nicky for overtime, and he’s all, “Sure!”

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Nicky and Ryan then meet Courtney, the new computer bookkeeper since Media Mania apparently loves hiring teenage girls for this position. Nicky’s all, “Hi, pretty girl! Please marry me!”

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Maria and Liz come in, and Maria’s completely over Nicky when she assumes Courtney must be a bimbo.

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Meanwhile, Screech throws nets on random customers looking for the purse snatcher, one of whom just happens to be Mr. Belding. Mr. Belding is all, “Quit being a dumb ass away from Bayside and Screech is all, “But I have to prove I can do one thing competently!”

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At the gym Eric and Katie get to help a guy who can’t lift a basic barbell. They commiserate over how tired they are when their boss comes out and tells them they need to work tomorrow because it’s common for businesses to just randomly change their employees’ schedules with only one day’s notice and expect not to kill morale.

Another member comes in who seems full of pep despite saying he just worked all day. And thus begins the closest The New Class has ever come to copying the unintentional hilarity of “Jessie’s Song.”

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See, the member is taking an herbal supplement called “Pep Pals” that he says is giving him all this energy. He assures them that even this show won’t do two drug episodes in a row and that it’s “all natural” and available at the health food store. They take samples from him, hoping that it’s not the start of a very special subplot.

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Mr. Belding finds that his bag has been stolen by the thief and says that Screech needs to do something better to catch the thief than throwing nets on random customers. Screech says he has a plan to catch the thief, which should scare Mr. Belding away, but Mr. Belding is all, “What the fuck. I have nothing better to do this episode!”

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Eric and Katie run up to Ryan, full of bad acting and talking loud, ready to go to the Teen Machine with Ryan. He says he’s tired from work but they share their herbal supplements with him. They’re soon joined by Maria and Liz, but Nicky says he and Courtney want to go see the new Tom Cruise movie instead. Maria decides she’d rather go see the movie so she can push her plot even further.

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In the theater, Maria sits so she can stare awkwardly at Nicky and Courtney.

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But Ryan, Eric, and Katie bounce around like they’re on caffeine pills.

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And then they get up and dance manically to the previews. Um, I’m pretty sure the writers of this episode have mistaken herbal supplements for speed. It’s an honest mistake for someone who can’t be bothered to do basic research I guess. At this point, it feels like I’m in a surreal comedy, maybe something directed by Jean-Luc Goddard. I’ve never known an herbal supplement that can make someone act this way. If there is, I want some!

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We find out Screech’s plan is to have Mr. Belding dress up as Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life and leave a purse casually unattended. Oh, Mr. Belding, when will you learn to run as far away from Screech and his bullshit as possible.

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Soon, what’s obviously a man dressed as an old woman passes by and, though it’s clear by sitcom cliche conventions that this is going to be the thief, she knocks Mr. Belding’s wig off, revealing two men dressed in drag.

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Nicky soon discovers Mr. Belding like this and decides that he’s already seen stranger shit in the two seasons he’s been with this show.

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Back at the gym, Katie and Eric have introduced the wimpy member to the herbal supplement speed, and it’s given him pep to run around the room jumping rope. My god, surreal comedy.

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In the food court, Maria convinces Screech that Courtney is the thief because that won’t piss Nicky the fuck off. Screech hauls Courtney off on suspicion of theft because he’s trying to get a law suit for the mall since that’s totally illegal.

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Back at the gym, our herbal pumped member is going full speed. Mr. Belding is alarmed to find out that the member took evil herbs! The member soon collapses and Mr. Belding directs an extra to call 911.

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In the food court, Screech reveals to Nicky that Maria convinced his feeble mind that Courtney was the thief. Nicky confronts Maria and calls her a jealous, conniving, controlling bitch and tells her to fuck the fucking fuck off.

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After a commercial break, Screech tells Liz he’s depressed he can’t find the thief as it’s yet another indication of his complete incompetence. He loudly announces that he’s given up on the thief. He also loudly thanks Maria for her help.

Liz asks Maria what Screech was yacking about, and Maria reveals what she did to Courtney. Liz is all, “I need to be the voice of reason and tell you to accept that you and Nicky are over.”

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At the gym, Eric and Katie’s boss reveal the member will be okay. The herbs made his body feel like it could keep going when it couldn’t. He says he’s suspending them for…recommending a legal product the member misused? Fuck if I know, but they’re really laying it on thick to convince me that herbal supplements are dangerous.

Speaking of laying it on thick, Mr. Belding lectures them they shouldn’t take anything that they don’t know what it will do to their bodies because anything that could possibly change how your body reacts is evil! They say they told everyone to get off the herbs, but not before Ryan runs in to give us one more surreal comedic moment.

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Ryan, Katie, and Eric soon discover that they have no energy once they’re off the supplements. Seriously, what the fuck kind of herbal supplements ever did this?!?! Do the writers know what a herbal supplement is?

Come on. Yes, herbal supplements can have interactions with over the counter and prescription medication and, much like anything else, it can have side effects and unintended consequences in high doses. but this is fucking ridiculous.

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Maria apologizes to Nicky for acting like a neurotic fool. She says she guesses she’s not as over him as she thought. Nicky says their emotionless relationship will always mean a lot to him no matter who else he dates, and they apologize.

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The old woman from earlier tries to steal Katie’s purse and is soon revealed by a hidden Screech to predictably be a man dressed as a woman because I didn’t call that about a half hour ago. Screech says he wanted the thief to beleive he’d given up but he always gets his man, unless his name is Zack Morris. And our episode ends with our gang and the assembled extras congratulating Screech on being able to hide and watch people in order to do something semi-competent on this show once.

The New Class Season 5, Episode 5: “Highs and Lows”

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We open in the hallway, where Maria, acting as Captain Exposition, quickly establishes that Katie is directing the school play, The Taming of the Shrew, and Maria wants Katie to cast Nicky and her as the leads, because Maria has to be a pushy twat despite the fact Nicky doesn’t want to be in it. Katie says that, for once, it’s up to the teacher who is cast, not her, so Maria prepares to suck up to an adult for the role.

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Ryan and Liz plan to try out as well, but Eric needs to leave himself open for a subplot this week so he doesn’t want to be in the play.

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And meet the costume designer, Sandy, whom I’m convinced is a mix between Fran Drescher and Tammy Faye Baker with that sense of fashion. Needless to say, this actress hasn’t done a whole lot else in her career and it shows. The New Class must have been spending so much on cameos at this point they had nothing left over to hire semi-competent actors for supporting roles. In any case, Sandy invites the gang to a party at her house tonight as her parents won’t be there. Oh, and we finally get a NEW YORK joke again because it’s apparently why Nicky doesn’t know “rents” is slang for parents…I guess? I’m pretty sure New Yorkers know that…

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Meanwhile, because God hates me, Screech shows up to work in his boxer shorts because that’s a sight I needed to see. Turns out he’s sick so Mr. Belding sends him home. Screech is worried Mr. Belding won’t be able to handle shit without him, and Mr. Belding reminds him that he ran this whole place for five years without Screech and he can continue. But he’ll probably just hire a temp, which gives Eric a great idea for a subplot as he needs money to fix his car. I guess the mall isn’t paying enough anymore.

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It’s time for the auditions and Liz naturally sucks ass because that was predictable. Nicky doesn’t like wearing tights so it’s implied he’s out of the running because our teacher is that vain.

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Maria makes a great shrew, though, beating a random extra with her script because being mean is her character trait.

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And it’s time to announce the roles. Nicky’s overjoyed to be in charge of props. Liz will play the haberdasher, who only has one line. Ryan will play Petruchio while Maria will be the shrew because she doesn’t need to act for that role. Sandy invites Maria out back to celebrate and…smoke a joint…

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Did this just turn into a very special episode? Oh, geez, I’m in for a painful fiteen minutes, aren’t I? And, yes, that’s how long we have to deliver a convincing anti-marijuana message with two subplots thrown in: fifteen fucking minutes.

Well, in any case, Maria says she’s not quite ready to embrace the wacky tobacco yet and she has something else to do.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Eric is well underway working for Screech because it’s completely normal for students to also be staff members.  Mr. Belding worries that this job will interfere with Eric’s school work, but Eric tells him not to worry as it’s such an easy job it only takes study hall and lunch to perform. Wow, could we give any more of an indictment about how unneeded Screech is at Bayside? Eric even woos Mr. Belding by not giving a shit about him eating chocolate.

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Screech calls Mr. Belding and is distressed to learn that everything’s going fine without him. Screech worries that Mr. Belding will soon learn that a high school student can do his job in less than two hours and won’t need him any longer. So…Screech is worried that the writers will start writing as if it was in the real world and not the bizarro world of the Saved by the Bell franchise.

So it’s time for Sandy’s party and Nicky runs in, excited to be prop guy because everyone gives a shit about that.

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Liz runs around bugging the shit out of people about how to say her one line and only Ryan will put up with this neurotic shit because he’s eventually going to want in her pants. Well, I see they’re giving Liz all the exciting subplots.

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Eric’s would-be love interest of the week thinks he sucks ass because he’s working for Mr. Belding instead of being in the play.

And Sandy and a random guy heckle Maria that she’s never done Shakespeare before, because lots of high school kids have been in Shakespeare productions.

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After making her nervous about the role, Sandy offers Maria a joint and, though Nicky tries to speak for her and say she doesn’t want one, but Maria says, “Fuck that shit! I do what I want!” and smokes a joint.vlcsnap-2016-01-11-20h30m27s237

After a commercial break, Eric’s still doing as good a job as Screech. Screech forces himself into Bayside, saying he’s ready to come back to work, but quickly collapses. Mr. Belding tells him to get th efuck out of here and quit trying to get some screen time in. Screech decides he needs to do something that will show Mr. Belding he’s actually needed on this show.

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Nicky’s still shocked that Maria would smoke a joint because she could get in trouble! Oh, how horrible! As if people in this franchise haven’t gotten away with stuff before that should have sent them to prison.

Liz continues bugging the shit out of Ryan about her one line and her subplot continues to go nowhere.

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Maria and Sandy come in with the giggles and the munchies because they apparently smoke pot in school.

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Their teacher is shocked that she’s found herself in the middle of a bad drug PSA. I would be too given the track record of this franchise and its equating heroin with diet pills.

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Screech puts his plan into motion to make Mr. Belding think he needs him: set off a smoke bomb in Mr. Belding’s office, because that’s a perfect way to get your boss to think highly of you! The smoke bomb sets Mr. Belding’s trash can on fire, and Eric has to rush in and keep the school from burning down. Apparently Screech learned nothing from last season’s finale, as did no one else. Mr. Belding asks a question someone should have asked long ago: what the fuck is wrong with him. Rather than continuing to do what people should have long ago by firing Screech, he sends him home again to get well.

At dress rehearsal, Ryan finally snaps at Liz and tells her to fucking say her line already. And Maria’s nervous so she and Sandy go out to Sandy’s car for a little something something.

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After a time lapse, Liz is actually good with her line but Maria can’t remember any of her lines. Katie tells Maria that she sucks ass at remembering shit since she started smoking marijuana so Katie is going to give the role to the understudy since lots of high school productions have understudies. Maria is all, “But we’re friends and shit!” but Katie isn’t moved by Maria’s attempted manipulation..

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Maria wants Nicky to support how angry she is at Katie and to quit the play in solidarity but Nicky is all, “You’re wrong and shit!” and Maria is like, “Maybe we should break up then since no one ever bought us as a serious couple to begin with!”

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At The Max, random romantic interest continues to not want anything to do with Eric because working for the principal is like lame and shit. He sees Screech and, realizing this is his future unless he gets out of this job, says he’s excited Screech will be coming back to work but Screech says that Bayside doesn’t need him since Eric can do his job. And I guess this is the departure of Screech! Hallelujah! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of this franchise!

Ryan apologizes to Liz for yelling at her, but Liz says that’s the reason she got her line right, and we end that thrilling subplot.

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Nicky has a random lunch with Maria’s mother and Mrs. Lopez wants to know what’s the matter with Maria. Nicky won’t tell her what’s wrong but he does clarify she was fired  and says she’s been hanging out with Johnny Dakota’s lackeys. Nicky says he can’t tell her what exactly is wrong because plot and tells her to talk to Maria.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech arrives to tender his resignation, but Eric acts intentionally incompetent to make Screech feel needed. Mr. Belding  says Screech is irreplaceable as long as the producers keep thinking they need him on this show…

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…and we get this creepy look from Screech. So much for getting rid of Screech once again. We asked all the right questions such as “What the fuck is wrong with him,” but we didn’t follow through with the right actions.

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Maria shows up, pissed that Nicky even had lunch with her mom. The rest of the gang back up Nicky, saying Maria’s really changed since she started smoking marijuana. Well, so far we’ve been given legality, giggling, forgetfulness, losing your completely unbelievable relationship, and hanging out with new friends as reasons not to do pot. I have to admit: it’s not as bad as the anti-smoking episode but, once again, it’s pretty lackluster in that it’s never going to convince anyone that smoking marijuana is bad BECAUSE YOU NEVER GAVE ANY REASON BEYOND THE SUPERFICIAL TO BELIEVE IT’S BAD! As usual, Saved by the Bell falls right in with the hysteria that said marijuana is as bad as cocaine and heroin.

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And, yeah, the next scene is opening night for the play, and Maria’s shown up to support them. See, she decided off screen that marijuana is bad and we’re just supposed to accept her decision that marijuana is bad, mmmkay? She had a long talk with her mom and she’s not going to do that shit anymore. She makes up with the rest of the gang one by one.

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When she gets to Nicky, they decide they should remain broken up because their relationship was never going to convince anyway and they should just breakup so they can be prepared for new relationships. And our episode ends with Nicky and Maria vowing to still be friends because neither of them are leaving this franchise until the end.

Firsts: Mrs. Lopez.

Saved by the Bell: The Original Class…Reviewed!

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When Wedding in Las Vegas aired on October 7, 1994, it was essentially the end of the original cast’s era. Sure, Screech went on to be the most annoying administrative assistant ever on The New Class while Zack Morris, Slater, and Lisa will make cameos, and there were a few more novels and comics produced featuring the original cast, but the closest we’ve come to a reunion has been the Jimmy Fallon sketch. Most of the cast hate Dustin Diamond so much that it’s likely we will never get another live action entry for the original cast.

And if the franchise started with a whimper, with the only reason anyone took notice of Good Morning Miss Bliss being the collaboration between NBC and Disney Channel, it went out with a bang. Zack Morris and Kelly’s wedding was highly promoted and The New Class even shoehorned in a reference to make sure everyone knew this was happening. Hell, even if you didn’t watch the show, you probably knew the wedding film was being aired.

And, nearly thirty years after the original class made its on screen debut, the series has become legendary. Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski, Screech Powers, and A.C. Slater are household names among kids from my generation. And the legend continues to be well known. When the YouTube series Teens React did an episode in honor of the original series’ twenty-fifth anniversary, some of them readily recognized Saved by the Bell.

And it’s no wonder. The original series has been in near constant syndication since before it left the air. As of this writing, reruns continue to air on MTV2. At times, edited episodes of Good Morning Miss Bliss and The College Years have even aired in the rotation. The show that was panned by critics has become a legend today and shows no sign of going away anytime soon.


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I’ve said about as much as I can in the reviews and individual recaps, but an interesting question I have barely touched on is: why has this silly franchise persisted when so many others have faded? It’s clear from the documentaries that the people responsible for this show had no fucking clue, and the critics and academics fared little better. Maybe this is why The College Years crashed and burned so hard: there was no serious thought behind why people actually watched this show.

To me, it appears to be a combination of things. Boys wanted to be Zack Morris, the cool, attractive, athletic guy who almost always got the girl and could always scheme his way out of trouble. Girls wanted to be Kelly Kapowski, the cool, pretty, popular girl who everyone wanted as a friend and who seemed to have it all, despite coming from a lower economic class than the rest of her friends.

But, more than this, it was a microcosm of high school life, and I think the critics are on to something when they say we hoped things would turn out for us as well as they did for the Saved by the Bell characters. I mean, hell, Zack Morris was a slacker and managed to get into an Ivy League college. Screech was a fucking dumb ass and managed to not let his own stupidity get him killed (and people liked him, for some reason). And everyone seemed happy and part of a group.

And it was just pure fun. Very few people took the stupidity of some of these episodes seriously. Did anyone seriously think caffeine pills were dangerous? Did we really believe the government was stupid enough to mistake Screech for an alien? Were we really in the dark how unrealistic this portrayal of high school life was? I don’t think so. We took it for what it was: a gloriously ridiculous show that only bore a passing resemblance to reality.


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And behind it all was Zack Morris, undoubtedly the central character to the original cast. What we don’t tend to remember is how much of a sociopath Zack Morris was. I mean, hell, he actually got married just to prevent Kelly from going on a semester at sea program. What it boils down to is that Zack Morris had no concern for anyone but himself (unless, of course, the plot called for it to be otherwise).

The New Class tried and failed to replicate Zack Morris four times. There can only be one, and his antics are what made the show. It’s been argued that Zack Morris and Slater were essentially the same character and, while there are similarities, their personalities were definitely different. No one will ever accuse Slater of being the sort of sociopath that Zack Morris became.

For six years, Zack Morris gave hope that one could do whatever the hell they wanted and get away with it. I mean, who wouldn’t want that? From coming to class nearly naked to getting virtually any girl he wanted, rigging elections to gaining admission to a university he clearly didn’t deserve, Zack Morris was a role model for the boys and a sex object for the girls (and the gay and bi boys).

The problem is that the longer the original class aired, the more serious they took themselves, and that just didn’t work. We went from goofy episodes about Screech getting psychic powers or Zack Morris thinking Kelly was a psycho in season one to the drudgery that was much of season four and The College Years. It just didn’t work to take this goofy, so-bad-its-good show and try to turn them into Full House. And that’s exactly what many of the later episodes were: boring shadows of how the show started.


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Would Saved by the Bell make it today? I think it would. Think about how many cheesy shows on Disney and Nickelodeon owe their existence to the Engle-verse. Would Hannah Montana or Drake and Josh have become household names had there never been Bayside High? I tend to think not. Saved by the Bell wasn’t the first live action scripted show to be primarily marketed to young teens, but it was the first to show that such shows could be successful and, more importantly, profitable.

Even if NBC is no longer producing programs aimed at teens, the legacy continues and will continue. There will continue to be teen comedies and dramas for the foreseeable future. Some will be more popular and successful than others, but all will owe their existence to an accidental success: a teen sitcom about a sociopathic young boy, his five easily tricked friends, and their naive school principal. Oh, and there was a shitty magician thrown in there for a season as well.


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I don’t think any of us will ever know for sure what the on-set dynamics were like. I tend to think Dustin Diamond was full of shit at least eighty percent of the time in his tell all, and the Lifetime biopic is almost certainly equally inaccurate. Watching interviews with the cast, I tend to think most of them have a genuine affection for one another. Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley seemed genuinely happy to be together again on Extra, and the whole cast minus Diamond and Voorhies seemed to work really well together on Jimmy Fallon.

Most of the cast have, understandably, distanced themselves to some degree to avoid being typecast. The big exception is Dustin Diamond, who’s still trying his damndest to ride the B-list celebrity status that thirteen years associated with this franchise gave him. What’s for sure are that these actors were talented, even Diamond, and that the success of the show depended a lot on their performances. After all, look how horribly The New Class falls flat due to bringing in a bunch of actors who couldn’t cut it.


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It’s time to say goodbye to most of the original cast. We’ll have another opportunity to say goodbye to Dustin Diamond and Dennis Haskins. For now, though, it’s time to bid farewell to the rest of the original cast.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar found himself typecast following The College Years and had a bit of trouble finding work. He got his big break in 2001 when he was cast as a replacement for the lead role on NYPD Blue. Since then, he’s aced almost constantly, with his other most famous role being the titular Franklin on Franklin and Bash. As of 2015, he’s married and has two children. All in all, it seems like he has a good life.

Mario Lopez has acted nearly constantly since The College Years was cancelled, with recurring roles on The Bold and the BeautifulNip/Tuck, and The Chica Show. But his most famous role has, by far, been as the co-host of Extra. He’s also somewhat of a fitness expert, authoring his own book on fitness.

Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, or Tiffani Thiessen as she prefers to be called nowadays, found steady work faster than any other cast member as replacement Shannon Doherty on Beverly Hills, 90210. No, really, she was replacement Shannon Doherty. She was even briefly considered as a replacement for Doherty on Charmed. She’s worked nearly constantly. Other than 90210, her most famous role was as a regular on White Collar. As of 2016, she seems to be taking a break, with her last acting credit being the Jimmy Fallon sketch, presumably taking a break to raise her new baby.

Following Saved by the Bell, Elizabeth Berkley made the mistake of starring in the so-bad-it’s-good cult film Showgirls, as I’ve made fun of her for several times. Though she’s continued to act over the years, many people find it difficult to take her seriously, which is unfortunate, as Showgirls being as terrible as it was clearly wasn’t her fault. She’s had very few recurring or starring roles as a result, with notable exceptions being on The L Word and CSI: Miami. She also runs a non-profit, Ask Elizabeth, which aims to help teenage girls overcome personal issues, and is raising a beautiful family.

Lark Voorhies has been, perhaps, the least successful actress post-Saved by the Bell. She’s been in a lot of stuff, but her only recurring roles have been on Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, and In the House. She’s been twice married and divorced and recent photos seem to suggest she’s been having Michael Jackson levels of plastic surgery. Her last acting credit was in a 2014 children’s show, and she seems to be keeping a low profile nowadays. She’s also the only cast member that seems to be cordial to Dustin Diamond nowadays.


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And now what some of you have been waiting for: the future of this blog on Fridays. When I began, this was as far as I knew I wanted to go with this blog, and it has been a painstaking process, especially since I added The New Class to the mix. I’ve been keeping a steady pace on this blog for nearly two years and have never missed a deadline. While reviewing the original class, my life has changed drastically, and I’ve even lived in multiple countries since this blog began. I’m tired.

Some people expressed surprise that i decided to go directly into The New Class when I finished Good Morning Miss Bliss. It was partially motivated by the fact that I knew this day would eventually come: the day when all I have left to review are episodes of the bastard stepchild of the franchise.Given the reputation of The New Class, I didn’t quite fancy having nearly three more years of reviews to go when I finished The College Years, so I decided to jump right in and get it over with.

But I need a break from this pace. I’m definitely continuing The New Class on Mondays, but Fridays will be less structured. I’m eventually going to finish reviewing the comics and delve into some of the other oddities of the franchise (and, yes, the Lifetime biopic will probably eventually be in that mix). I’ve considered reviewing the teen novels, of which thirty-seven exist, but it would mean tracking down all these on ebay and Amazon Marketplace and then actually reading them. And I’d still love to delve into some of Peter Engel’s other TNBC series, though a full TNBC Reviewed blog doesn’t seem tenable given that some of the more obscure series seem to have disappeared without a trace. What should come once I get some energy back? You let me know.

For now, thank you for reading the rambling of a guy who managed to miss Saved by the Bell completely during the nineties despite being the age of the target demographic. I know it may be tempting for some of you to leave now, but please don’t! Share my pain as I review the final three seasons of The New Class! Don’t make me do it alone! In the coming weeks, we’ll get to experience the dangers of marijuana and herbal supplements, watch the gang build houses for Habitat for Humanity and travel to Paris, and wonder why Kareem-Abdul Jamar was so desperate he accepted a cameo on The New Class. Doesn’t that sound exciting kids?!?

I know. I’m kidding myself again.

The Original Class: The Ten Best Episodes

Yesterday, I counted down my least favorite episodes from the original class. While it may be cathartic to examine the worst of anything, it’s also good to examine when the franchise, intentionally or unintentionally, got it right. And this franchise has gotten it right, sometimes very right. So let’s celebrate these wins before we go back to more epic fails on Monday, and remember the episodes that were just that good.

Like my ten worst list, this list comes from the original class era: Good Morning Miss BlissSaved by the BellThe College Years, and the films (spoiler alert: there’s not a single The College Years episode on this list). So, now, sit back and let’s look at the episodes that made this franchise a legend.


Number 10: Saved by the Bell Season 3, Episode 12: “The Last Weekend”

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The Malibu Sands episodes were a very good idea on the part of the producers. After getting to know our gang for the last two seasons, we have an opportunity to see them in a new setting, interacting with new characters. These episodes were all good, despite completely forgetting to make it clear Mr. Carosi wasn’t supposed to know about Zack Morris and Stacey’s relationship. I must admit, I was sad to leave them behind around mid-season. Despite being, arguably, the most pointless of the clip episodes, “The Best Summer of My Life” was right: Malibu Sands was awesome.

My pick for the best of these episodes was, well, the last one. We get a touching conclusion to the Zack Morris and Stacey relationship plus a final admission from Mr. Carosi that he had grown fond of the gang, especially Zack Morris. Despite the creepiness of Rusty from Full House hitting on Kelly and the barely acknowledged subplot involving a secret admirer for Slater, this is a solid episode and one that illustrates how the Malibu Sands episodes helped keep Saved by the Bell fresh into its third season.

Number 9: Saved by the Bell Season 3, Episode 26: “Mystery Weekend”

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Season three of Saved by the Bell seems like it was about taking risks to keep the show fresh, and this may be the oddest of them all. Many episodes his season took place away from Bayside, with some better than others. The premise is that the gang won a mystery weekend, but Zack Morris soon finds himself accused of a real murder. Soon, even Lisa disappears and he finds his friends doubting him.

And, strange enough, it works! We get a chance to see Zack Morris squirm for something he didn’t do (for once) and we get a genuine mystery as we at home try to figure out what happened (well, until we realize that the two women are men in bad drag). It’s a nice break late in the season and, as an unintentional season finale, it’s a fun excursion from the normal on this show.

Number 8: Good Morning Miss Bliss Episode 1: “Summer Love” 

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Good Morning Miss Bliss‘s second attempt at a pilot didn’t waste any time establishing Zack Morris as the primary character of the gang and, in this episode, we get a hint of what the show could have been had the episodes been much more consistent. Zack Morris has a summer romance with an older girl, lying to her about his age, and is shocked when she shows up as a new student at RFK Junior High. He tries to keep up the charade for the benefit of the girl, but can’t keep it up forever.

The episode perfectly balances Zack Morris’s story with Miss Bliss’s subplot about going on a date. She’s the mentor figure that Mr. Belding became at his best and is dedicated to her students, helping Zack Morris figure out what he needs to do. It is kind of creepy that Miss Bliss’s students know where she lives and randomly show up at her back door, but it’s a minor unbelievable plot point that we would have just laughed and poked fun at. All in all a good episode.

Number 7: Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 5: “The Bayside Triangle”

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Lisa didn’t get much of a chance to do anything on Saved by the Bell other than being the voice of reason (and absorbing some of Kelly and Jessie’s characteristics during the Tori episodes) so this episode is refreshing. Zack Morris and Lisa work together and realize they’re falling for each other. It’s also nice in that she didn’t often get to have a relationship longer than an episode so the possibility of her actually dating a main character was intriguing.

If the episode has a weakness, it’s Screech’s idiocy in being jealous at the new relationship, and it’s really a sign of things to come with Screech’s borderline psychotic relationship. The episode is saved by Lisa being the one to stand up to Screech and tell him to back the fuck down. It’s unfortunate that the writers decided to forget about the Zack Morris/Lisa episode after this. It could have made for a nice arc. Of course, the writers would have eventually defaulted back to Zack Morris/Kelly, but it’s nice to think of them actually doing something different.

Number 6: Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 21: “Earthquake”

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It’s understandable the Tori episodes have a bad reputation: Tori was a replacement for two popular characters whose absence is never explained. But Tori really wasn’t that bad, and all of the episodes she appears in during season four are better than most of the Kelly/Jessie episodes. For a tacked on arc where one could excuse the writers for not giving a fuck, they really put out some good episodes.

“Earthquake” is my personal favorite of the bunch. It starts ridiculous, with Zack Morris using Mrs. Belding’s pregnancy as an excuse to get out of a test, and ends with Zack Morris and Kelly delivering Mrs. Belding’s baby. Sure, it’s absurd. Slater single-handedly kicks down a door. Mr. Belding and Screech run around like morons. Tori has a phobia of earthquakes. But it all somehow works in this absurdest humor sort of way, delivering a solid episode in a mostly low quality season.

Number 5: Saved by the Bell Season 3, Episode 11: “Pipe Dreams”

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Now we get to a whole other form of “good” altogether: the unintentionally hilarious! And what do you get when you mix an oil tycoon so stereotypical he could have been in an episode of Captain Planet, a desire for improvements at Bayside and Zack Morris’s love for a duck? Why, the stupidest take on environmental issues ever.

And it’s so bad it’s good! Everything about this episode is so over the top that one can’t help but find it absolutely hilarious at points where the producers obviously intended seriousness. If the writers had simply embraced the self-parody of this episode, we could have had the most epic episode of the franchise. What more can I say other than, “Becky!”

Number 4: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 9: “Jessie’s Song”

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Speaking of the “so bad, it’s good” category, Saved by the Bell‘s first attempt at a very special episode is just amazing in how over the top it is in every way. All you really need to know is that it thinks a serious examination of drug use is Jessie misusing caffeine pills. Yeah, it’s as stupid and ridiculous as it sounds and Jessie’s breakdown as she quotes Pointer Sister lyrics is known even by people who know nothing else about Saved by the Bell.

I tend to wonder if the cast realized they were making an episode that has turned out to be so epic. In any case. Saved by the Bell created an absolutely awe-inspiring display of pure unintended humor. Later very special episodes fell flat because it was obvious they were taking themselves too serious, but this one…once again, it could be considered self parody if it weren’t clear from reading about the episode that Peter Engel was intending to be one hundred percent serious.

Number 3: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 1: “The Prom”

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Season one teased us with who Kelly would pick: Zack Morris or Slater. This episode resolved that running plot to some degree, though Slater would continue to try to win Kelly over for much of the season. But, more than this, it showcases Zack Morris at his best: doing his best to make Kelly feel better about not being able to attend the prom.

Kelly’s socio-economic status often seemed like a plot point that was only brought up when it was convenient to the plot, but this episode makes good use of it and deals with an issue that many in the target demographic will actually face: not being able to live up to the popular standards of their peers. It was a good start to a continuing plot that would have its up and downs over the season.

Number 2: Good Morning Miss Bliss Episode 5: “Parents and Teachers”

Zack Bliss heart to heart

I still maintain that this episode is not only the best episode of Good Morning Miss Bliss. It’s one of the best of the franchise. The plot is simple: Miss Bliss goes on a blind date with a man who turns out to be Zack Morris’s original father, Peter Morris. Though she’s quite taken with Peter, Miss Bliss has to decide whether to date him, especially when Zack Morris deals with the news of his father dating his teacher in a less than excited way.

Miss Bliss shines in this episode and shows her obvious devotion to her students that she would put her own happiness aside in order to help her students. It’s a high point in the series, perfectly showcasing Miss Bliss’s dilemma over an issue that I’m sure many real teachers have faced, and Zack Morris’s reaction is so realistic: even if he likes Miss Bliss, he’s not necessarily ready for her to date his father. Unfortunately, neither Miss Bliss nor this incarnation of Zack Morris’s father made it to Saved by the Bell, but we can imagine what might have been.

Number 1: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 15: “The Fabulous Belding Boys”

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What can I say about this episode I haven’t already said? It highlights Mr. Belding at his best: not as a boundary crossing, idiotic clown that many episodes, especially in The New Class, will portray him, but as a mentor figure that loves his students and won’t stand to see anyone, even his own brother, hurting them. More episodes should have utilized Mr. Belding like this rather than making him look barely competent to engage in everyday life.

The way Zack Morris discovers Rod Belding’s irresponsibility is perfect, too. It’s not the usual Saved by the Bell omniscient point of view, but he overhears Rod ditching the gang and Mr. Belding kicking him out of the school. This is the point in the series where Zack Morris should have finally seen Mr. Belding as the wise and sagely figure, but they’ll never explore this, although it could have been a perfect lead into Mr. Belding naming his son after Zack Morris.


And there you have it: my picks for the ten best episodes from the original class (and, by extension, the best episodes of the franchise). Feel free to disagree with me in the comments. And stay tuned tomorrow as we take one more look back at the original class and why it’s endured in the hears of viewers nearly thirty years after its introduction.

The Original Class: The Ten Worst Episodes

The original cast have a cult following for a good reason, which I’ll be analyzing on Friday in my final recap for them. But, for all the highs of the series and the beloved episodes, there are an equal number of bad ones, some of them really bad.

In honor of reviewing every episode and film featuring the original cast, I thought I’d do two bonus posts featuring the best and the worst of the original cast. Anything featuring the original cast is fair game for these lists: Good Morning Miss BlissSaved by the BellThe College Years, and both films. I plan on doing another list around this time next year when I complete The New Class since that’s a whole other animal in itself.

Today, let’s look at the ten worst episodes in order of badness. So, number one will be, in my opinion, the worst episode of the original cast. Without further adieu, let’s start with number ten.


Number 10: Good Morning Miss Bliss Episode 10: “Stevie”

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I still hate this one so much. A former student of Miss Bliss’s who’s become a pop star returns to RFK Junior High. She makes the decision to quit music so she can go to college, delivering the message that, despite fame and fortune, college is an absolute necessity for everyone and giving unrealistic expectations to thousands of kids who will never attend college. Yeah, this cliche alone was enough for me to hate this episode.

But, on top of it, the actual episode was…wow. Zack Morris kisses the adult Stevie, and keep in mind he’s supposed to be in eighth grade in this episode. The song Stevie performs is just terrible and it’s obviously a recording, not the actress singing it. And the whole premise of Not-Jessie and the rest of the gang not believing Zack Morris kissed Stevie is boring and predictable.

Number 9: The College Years Episode 4: “Slater’s War”

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I hate this episode with a passion. This episode takes Slater, who was a misogynistic uber-masculine guy in Saved by the Bell and makes him suddenly care about his Latino heritage when it may get him laid. This, despite the fact he never gave a shit about any of Jessie’s causes when they were dating. It’s completely out of character for Slater and comes the fuck out of nowhere.

And, it’s all for nothing. This doesn’t figure into the series at all following this episode and the girl is a one episode love interest; Slater gets together with Alex a few episodes later. It also foreshadows Slater’s transformation into an asshole for The College Years. Way to take a character and transform him without any real explanation.

Number 8: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 3: “The Aftermath”

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I’ve never met a Saved by the Bell fan who thinks Zack Morris and Kelly’s break-up was handled well. Kelly is supposed to be the perfect girl but she becomes jail bait for her boss at The Max, a relationship that won’t figure into the series beyond one more episode. She’s the perfect girl, but she kind of acted like an asshole to Zack Morris.

On top of this, everyone in this episode except Zack Morris acts like a jack ass. I mean, how dare Zack Morris have emotions about his girlfriend cheating on and then breaking up with him. Kelly’s hurt by Zack Morris dating another girl in front of her? Fuck off with that shit. The moral of this episode seems to be that all of Zack Morris’s friends are judgmental pricks and need to fuck off. The “it’ll ruin Lisa’s birthday” bull shit is a thin excuse for the whole thing.

I wonder if the mishandling of the breakup is why The College Years were so desperate to get them back together?

Number 7: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 6: “Blind Dates”

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I have a strong hatred of episodes that make Mr. Belding look like an asshole. Sometimes it seems like, for every “The Fabulous Belding Boys,” there are five episodes like this where Mr. Belding does stuff that would get him fired in real life. The plot is basic: Mr. Belding blackmails Zack Morris into dating his visiting niece, leading to Kelly jumping to lots of justifiable conclusions.

Of course, this is a plot that could have been resolved very simply with Zack Morris telling Kelly and his parents that a school administrator was blackmailing him. This will lead to the predictable conclusion of Mr. Belding being fired for abusing his authority. Instead, we get Zack Morris trying his best to flow along with the script for the sake of a really bad episode.

Number 6: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 12: “Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind”

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All the season one out of season episodes were terrible, but this one holds a special place in my hatred for managing to make a plot about Screech becoming psychic from a bolt of lightning look realistic by comparison. God, how I loathe every minute of this episode and completely understand why they held it over and didn’t air it in the first season.

The plot is simple: the government thinks Screech is an alien after he dons the most unrealistic looking alien costume ever. I mean, fucking hell, this makes the special effects on some episodes of the original Outer Limits look quite realistic by comparison. This episode is the epitome of one of Saved by the Bell‘s favorite plot devices: adults are fucking morons unless the plot calls for them not to be.

Number 5: Good Morning, Miss Bliss Episode 12: “Clubs and Cliques”

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I was surprised when I looked back at my Good Morning Miss Bliss recap and found that this one didn’t make the list of episodes I hated. I guess it’s not aged well in my mind. Zack Morris wants to join a group of teenagers way too old to be hanging out with. They make him do stupid shit like jumping jacks on the stage, throw shit at Not-Jessie, and coming to class in nothing but a swimsuit. And, yes, the adults think nothing of one of their students attending class nearly naked.

The subplot about Miss Bliss and Mr. Belding trading jobs doesn’t help. It’s a stupid episode with a stupid plot and cements in my mind the idea that fraternity-like groups are idiotic, no matter how old you are. And I still find myself asking, nearly two years after I reviewed this episode: “What the fuck is a Rigma?”

Number 4: Saved by the Bell Season 3, Episode 22: “Rockumentaryvlcsnap-2015-01-22-22h05m24s205

The entire episode is  Zack Morris’s dream. And you don’t find out until the last minute. That’s about all you need to know about this episode and how important it is to the series. Basically, Zack Morris imagines what it would be like if Zack Attack made it big. The result is a list of cliches that happen to famous bands, including Zack Attack’s own version of Yoko Ono.

Zack Morris’s Vanilla Ice-on -crack-like costume scores the episode a couple points, but they waste the second guest appearance by Casey Kasem, forget that Kelly can’t sing, and create a piece of shit filler episode that’s not needed at all for anything else in this series. I’ve never met anyone who believed this episode was good.

Number 3: Saved by the Bell Season 3, Episode 21: “No Hope With Dope”

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If there’s one thing this franchise proves time and time again, it’s that it has no fucking clue when it comes to drug abuse. They actually equate caffeine pills and marijuana with heroin. It’s like it was written by the same people who did the “this is your brain on drugs” commercials. They even throw in a short anti-tobacco message while they’re at it.

The shaming in this episode is just unbearable and Johnny Dakota’s hypocrisy doesn’t compare to the gang’s judgmental attitude and readiness to buy the “just say no” message hook, line, and sinker. I doubt any kid out there decided to not do drugs based on this episode. Unlike other ridiculous anti-drug episodes like “Jessie’s Song,” it’s not even unintentionally hilarious. It’s just preachy and annoying.

Number 2: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 17: “Breaking Up is Hard to Undo”

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A couple episodes after one that did a really good job at developing character for Mr. Belding, they throw it all away for a series of fights that lead Mr. Belding into Zack Morris’s bed, quite literally. Did Derek and Melanie not think it odd that their son’s principal was hanging out in his bedroom, or is this Mayberry, where no adult ever does anything negative?

As I said, I hate any episode that makes Mr. Belding look like a jack ass. This one utterly wastes any character development that came from “The Fabulous Belding Boys.” On top of that, Kelly and Jessie take back Zack Morris and Slater just to bring back the status quo, once again proving that girls are nothing without the men they’re defined by.

Number 1: Saved by the Bell Season 2, Episode 13: “Running Zack”

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I loathe this episode. I hate this episode with a passion for making light of Native American issues. A blonde hair boy is very unlikely to be a Native American, but they pull out every fucking stereotype in the book to keep pushing the whole “Zack Morris is a racist jack ass” motif. And we’re supposed to care about a guy we just met in this episode who dies and believe he made this much of a difference in Zack Morris’s life simply by spending a few hours together. This episode is the reason we can’t have nice things.

On top of that, the subplot about Jessie trying to make up slavery to Lisa is just idiotic. Yes, slavery was horrible, and there are debates about the legacy of this practice to this day. But no high school student today believes they’re personally responsible for their ancestors’ actions. Lisa should have slapped the shit out of Jessie and told her to go save a fucking tree or advocate t-shirts as being sexist or some shit and leave her the hell alone.

I find this episode personally painful to watch and I cringe just looking at that screenshot.


So those are my picks for the ten worst episodes of the original cast. Feel free to comment, agreeing or disagreeing with me. And tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the ten best.

The New Class Season 5, Episode 4: “Football & Physics”

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We open with Screech apparently believing it’s five years ago and he’s a student at Bayside. I can only assume he’s lost what little bit of sanity he may have been desperately holding onto and is simply going through an automated process of what was, no doubt, the only time in his life he wasn’t a complete outcast.

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No, that would actually be semi-interesting and finally explain shit about Screech’s insanity. No, he’s put an ironing board in the locker and is using it as his desk. No fucking joke.  So we immediately get his subplot: he wants some space of his own, but Mr. Belding tells him they don’t have enough space for the dumb ass to have an office. He agrees, though, to give Screech a corner of his office until they figure out something more permanent, which I’m sure won’t backfire at all with the world’s most incompetent administrator.

The more urgent questions, though, is: Is that Lisa on the ironing board? Is Screech seriously hoping Lisa will return to him and marry him? Fucking hell, this is psychotic bull shit right there. Someone call her and tell her to take out a restraining order. Now.

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Meanwhile, Eric runs into Mr. Belding after catching a football. Yes, Eric’s still the only football player in the cast so you just know that, with football in the title, this episode is going to revolve around him. That’s not very comforting considering how I felt about his episodes last season.

In this episode, Ryan and Nicky are helping Eric practice in the middle of the hallway hoping to be a starter. He says the new coach is giving him extra special love and attention for his football game so he’s all fired up. Mr. Belding tells him to take the practice outside like a normal person and then brags to Screech that’s how you handle misbehavior, not with detention or any such nonsense for potentially hurting someone.

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And, with that, it’s time to find out the girls’ subplot for the week. To sum it up: Rachel’s awesome and Liz sucks ass. Yes, throughout the episode, we have to listen as Maria and Katie talk about how awesome Rachel was and how they wish she’d move back and how much better she was in bed than Liz. In this case, they miss Rachel for shopping because Liz has never been in a mall in her life, even though she was in the very first episode this season. Every time The New Class tries to have consistent chronology, they take a couple steps back. Also, what the fuck is up with Katie suddenly liking shopping despite how much whining she did last season when Rachel and Maria started bragging about their expensive purchases. God, it’s like a dog with ADHD.

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In the locker room, we meet Coach Wagner, who’s busy giving his team a pep talk about the game against Central. Don’t worry: this game will have absolutely no bearing on the plot beyond this scene except for a brief scene at half time. He also reminds his players they have to keep their grades up to play on the team.

After the rest of the team leaves, the coach tells Eric he’s starting wide receiver against Central. Coach says Eric earned it since he’s the most unbelievable football star in the history of the sport, but he hopes it’s not for nothing since he saw Eric is taking physics, which is a hard subject he’s sure Eric won’t be able to handle. He suggests Eric drop Physics so he doesn’t jeopardize his chances on the team and asks Eric to at least think about it, thus giving us our main conflict for the episode.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, we discover Screech took what little space Mr. Belding gave him and put a fucking plant in the middle of it, because that makes complete sense. And Screech acts as insane as can be expected, insisting Mr. Belding call him on the phone and then letting it go to voice mail, all the while flirting with Mr. Belding. God, why does Mr. Belding put up with Screech year after year?

In physics, the class is super hard on the first day and the boys don’t know how they’re going to pass.

And, in the hallway, Liz sucks at shopping apparently as someone stole a dress Maria wanted, so she sucks ass and Rachel rocked.

The boys come out and Eric tells everyone he’s thinking of dropping the class to make sure he can stay eligible for football. Maria tells him he’s great at science, which, I thought, was Nicky since he was the one who was good at astronomy. So much for consistency.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech is getting more ridiculous with the office, as is to be expected, even trying to order wallpaper. And now it’s time for you, the viewer, to experience the most terrifying Screech one liner on the face of the planet.

God, if I heard that sound in real life, I would run as fast as I could.

Eric comes in and has Mr. Belding sign his drop form, surprising Mr. Belding but surprising me even more that you need the signature of the principal at Bayside to drop a class. I’m beginning to think that Mr. Belding and Screech really are the only administrators at this school. Eric says he’s sure and Mr. Belding signs the form.

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In the hallway, though, Eric finds out that Coach Wagner didn’t advise his son, who’s also in the physics class, to drop the class as well. No, really, this guy is the son of the guy playing Coach Wagner. I’m sure, with his acting, there’s no other way he would have gotten this gig. Eric’s immediately suspicious as evident by the look on his face.

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Liz continues to suck as she’s not good at giving Maria advice on what to do about Nicky’s sucky cologne. Well, that was a thrilling foray.

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Eric asks Coach Wagner why he didn’t tell his son to drop the class and the coach says he’s more the physics type and shit. Eric just needs to not worry his little head over physics. Ryan and Nicky come in and Eric declares that there’s only one reason Coach Wagner would tell Eric to drop the class and not his son: racism!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, there, The New Class! I was actually taken aback on my first viewing when I got to this point. I would be the first to call out racism on this franchise and I have on quite a few occasions in the past. This is not one of them, though! They have not established racism yet! That’s not the only reason! It could just be that Coach Wagner’s son sucks ass at football and he’s selfishly trying to make sure Eric stays eligible based on his past experience with physics! Jesus, the one time this franchise tries to tackle racism and they prove they don’t understand it! How surprising from the show that dressed Screech up as a Jamaican last season to defraud a DJ out of tickets to an awards show!

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Screech continues to go overboard on the whole office thing, as he does.

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He even brings a student in to be his personal assistant because history shows that, if you give Screech even a little space, he tries to take the whole house!

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Mr. Belding tells Screech that sharing the office isn’t working and they need to go back to normal. Screech sulks out of the office, disappointed on being called out on his bull shit. More disturbing, though: I think that’s a picture of Zack Morris on his desk. I’m really beginning to think Screech has no life outside Bayside and is still pining for his days as a student. Would it really surprise you if he had no friends in his adult years? I mean, it wouldn’t really be that different from Dustin Diamond’s life.

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At The Max, it’s time for the football kick off party, which I’m pretty sure is just some made up shit to give us some chance to have some more tension between Coach Wagner and Eric. But, first, Nicky’s cologne still sucks ass, and Screech whines about not having his own office.

Meanwhile, Eric randomly asks another black football player if he’s taking trigonometry this semester. The player tells him that Coach Wagner convinced him to drop the class since it is hard, and Eric decides that he’s right about Coach Wagner being racist. I’d say that’s circumstantial evidence but it’s still not clear cut this is racism. Two people is hardly a big sample. But we’re going to assume it’s a definitive establishment of racism because The New Class is too lazy to do a good job at anything.

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Maria and Katie make fun of Liz for not having perfume in her purse, telling her, again, how much she sucks compared to Rachel. Liz loses it and tells them she didn’t join the cast of this show to be compared to a character who had inconsistent characterization and was defined by men for three of the four seasons she was on the show. She marches out, leaving Maria and Katie wondering what crawled up her ass.

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Eric tries to duck out before Coach Wagner can introduce him, but he’s too late.

At halftime of the Central game, Coach Wagner tries to figure out what’s wrong with Eric since he dropped three passes. Eric smarts off to Coach Wagner and the coach puts Eric off the team.

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In the hallway, Maria and Katie randomly have Nicky take a picture of them with Liz. They use this opportunity to apologize to Liz for comparing her to Rachel and tell her that, just like the picture, it’s the three of them now and, though Liz will never measure up to Rachel, they’re just going to have to put up with her.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Eric comes to get a slip signed to add physics again. Finding Screech is the closest thing to a competent adult there, he tells Screech an adult did something mildly shitty to him  and he has to decide what to do. Screech tells him that, even if it’s hard, he has to confront adults when they do wrong despite the way we’ve seen Bayside’s faculty abuse their authority in the past.  Also, Screech randomly brings up the incident with Mr. Belding and the desk, saying he went too far.

Mr. Belding overhears and signs Eric’s slip. After Eric leaves, Mr. Belding tells Screech he’s sure they’ll figure out something about space. Screech proceeds to immediately take things too far and knocks shit off Mr. Belding’s desk after taking it over. Nice to know Screech will never have a semblance of sanity in this series.

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Eric confronts Coach Wagner and, though the coach is immediately resistant to the idea he’s racist, Eric convinces him and they kiss and make up, the coach telling Eric he never intended to make Eric lose faith in himself. Coach Wagner vows he’ll make it up to Eric, though he’ll never be seen again.

But, more important, we find out that Space Camp definitely happened during the previous summer as it’s one of the reasons Eric cites that he can handle physics. Well, guess Ryan was exaggerating a bit about how long he had to save himself for Rachel since she couldn’t possibly have moved to Boston until late summer due to being at Space Camp! God, that was two episodes ago and this season can’t keep track of what it’s already established. Does the show consciously realize how big of assholes they make their characters out to be?

vlcsnap-2016-01-03-18h49m26s46In any case, our episode ends with Eric celebrating for single-handedly ending racism in the span of a minute and a half, because The New Class does special episodes the way they do everything: half-assed.