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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Maria makes a great shrew, though, beating a random extra with her script because being mean is her character trait.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maria and Sandy come in with the giggles and the munchies because they apparently smoke pot in school.
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.
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.
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..
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!”
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.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
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.
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.