The New Class Season 5, Episode 9: “Big Sister Blues”

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We open episode one hundred of The New Class to learn that Katie’s won an award for a poem she wrote. Now I just have to pause for a moment to let that sink in. Great shows get cancelled every season, but this piece of shit made it past one hundred episodes. Peter Engel had blackmail on someone at NBC. That’s the only conclusion I can come to on why this show lasted so long.

Katie’s teacher invites her to read her poem but then interrupts every few seconds to gush about how awesome Katie’s older sister Robyn is until the bell rings and Katie hasn’t gotten to read her poem. Two things: one, I’m impressed they actually remembered Katie has a sister. Two, there’s a recurring theme in this episode that the adults are overly obsessed with Katie’s sister, which is actually pretty fucking creepy. And it’s only the adults who are obsessed as the rest of the gang are too busy with subplots to give a fuck about her.

Naturally Katie exposits  the A plot to Nicky and Eric: she wonders how she can live up to Robyn, who was captain of the volleyball team, valedictorian, Rhodes scholar, and, of course,  the second coming of Jesus who brought peace to the Middle East and cured AIDS and cancer, and caffeine pill addiction all in one afternoon. Cue a predictable plot that I can already tell is going to bore me. I want Eric’s horribly white gangster rap back for me to laugh at.

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In the hallway, Maria asks Katie and Liz in the most passive-aggressive way possible if they intend to run for homecoming queen as she’d really hate to run against her friends and kick their asses. Naturally, they both say no since the plot demand it and Maria enlists Katie to nominate her since that’s a thing now I guess.

And, so we can get all the subplots going, Ryan asks Liz to the homecoming dance, presumably because the last two girls who dated Ryan had to leave the show after doing so.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Mr. Belding and Screech obsess some more over Robyn as they read an article in the Bayside Breeze about her. Okay, I guess I believe the school paper would do a front page article on this sort of thing. More amusing, though, are the other headlines, including “Dog Bites Principal” and Dorms Get a Face Lifting.” Bayside has dorms now? What the fuck?

While we’re at it, we get our final subplot of the week: Screech has a hard on for Robyn.  Apparently their time as students at Bayside overlapped, but it’s not clear by how much. They couldn’t have been in the same graduating class since Screech was the valedictorian of his class but, you know, whatever. It’s not the biggest question this franchise has ever posed. In any case, Screech refers to Robyn as the one that got away. Maybe Lisa can finally breathe easy since Screech is now obsessing over other girls from his high school days.

Back in the hallway, Ryan’s confused about why his obvious love interest of the season would turn him down, the one who looks good in a Speedo. Nicky and Eric decide they’ll go spy on Liz and find out what’s preventing her from getting with the plot.

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Mr. Belding comes out, congratulating Katie. She mistakenly believes someone gives a shit about her poem, but, no, he’s just obsessing over her sister again. Mr. Belding asks for Robyn’s phone number, presumably so he can call her up and breathe heavy on the phone as he thinks about how awesome Robyn is.

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At The Max, Nicky and Eric pontificate to Liz about how depressed Ryan is that she won’t get with the program. Liz tells them that she likes Ryan, but the writers have inexplicably written her so that she’s never been on a date in her life, seemingly the first student in the history of this franchise who didn’t have time to do a million things and have a social life. Nicky and Eric promise to coach her on what to do on a date because the two most qualified people to help her are the guy who cheated on his girlfriend and the one who can’t keep a relationship for longer than an episode. Nothing could possibly go wrong!

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Mr. Belding tells Screech the news: since they’re all enjoying their obsession over Robyn, he’s decided to bring her into the episode. She’ll be coming to homecoming to accept the Distinguished Alumni Award. Now, don’t get me wrong, becoming a Rhodes scholar is a big deal, but I find it difficult to believe that this qualifies her for such an award. These awards usually go to someone who’s contributed significantly to their community over a long period of time. I mean, we know Bayside has had at least one successful alumnus who even agreed not to tear the school down. Surely there’s someone else they could give this award to!

Naturally, Screech’s first thought is how he’s going to make it with Robyn because eew!

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Katie doesn’t take the news well either, almost immediately going into a dream sequence where she’s trying to read her poem at homecoming.

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She’s interrupted by Robyn floating in dressed as a life-sized Barbie doll.

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She decides that she has to do something so Robyn won’t show her up at homecoming, so she decides to run against Maria for homecoming queen. They both nominate themselves, making me wonder why Maria was so obsessed about finding someone to nominate her.

Meanwhile, at Nicky and Eric’s prompting, Liz messes up her lines until she finally gets out to Ryan that she’d like to go to the homecoming dance with him after all.

After a commercial break, the writers decide to pretend that Maria and Katie are huge rivals for homecoming queen by having Maria talk smack to Katie in the hallway. I don’t know who they think they’re kidding, though, since it’s obvious they don’t give a shit about this plot and it’s actually lower on the totem poll than the subplot about Screech having a boner for Robyn.

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So Nicky and Eric coach Liz on what to do on her date with Ryan. They pick the only person worse than the two of them to give dating advice, and he promptly pretends to drive a car and talk about Robyn and shit. Nicky and Eric fight over the best way for Liz to impress Ryan,  talking about whether Ryan has  kissable lips or not, and she runs out, having suddenly realized her mistake over asking the three biggest relationship idiots for advice.

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And, yeah, it’s this scene, the one that’s caused a new generation rediscovering this season’s opening credits on YouTube to ask, “What the fuck?” Yeah, Screech decides that the only reason Robyn would reject him is his face, but I think his face is the least of his concerns since most people would rather date the Elephant Man than Screech.

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Naturally, Robyn comes in during this, prompting Screech to pretend to be Mrs. Belding and shit in the worst impression of a woman I’ve ever seen on television. He gets away quickly so she won’t realize he’s a potential sexual offender.

The first thing I notice about Robyn is that they managed to find an actress who matches Lindsey McKeon’s bad acting. I guess I can believe they’re sisters after all.

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Naturally, every other adult in Bayside rushes out to obsess some more over Robyn. This is becoming really fucking creepy. Interestingly enough, something I didn’t realize before, Frank Bonner is playing the creepy ass teacher way too obsessed with Robyn. You may remember that he played Mr. Harrington, Alison’s father, back in the country club episodes of season two. Has he come to get revenge on Screech for dating his daughter by steal a girl Screech is obsessing over?

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In the gym, I guess Nicky and Eric are busy randomly urinating against the wall. Seriously, did they think Ryan wouldn’t see them if they couldn’t see him? Yeah, their real purpose is to give Liz some more misdirection about the date and shit and confuse her so much she runs off, declaring that she’s just going to die a virgin and shit.

Mr. Belding gives the results for homecoming queen. Of course, Maria wins.

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This makes Katie so sad she gives her best “I have diarrhea” face.

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In the hallway, Maria apologizes to Katie for winning but Katie says she didn’t care about that shit anyway as it was just a cheap plot device. Katie says it means, though, that she won’t be able to make the dance since she can’t stand the way the faculty of Bayside obsess over Robyn.

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Ryan tells Liz that Nicky and Eric told him why she’s been acting like a spaz and tell her not to worry as he was horrible at this dating thing as well before he was on the show. He tells her it will be okay and she should just give into the fate of the predictable continuing plot of the season. She agrees and their fate is sealed.

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In Katie’s room, Katie tells Robyn she can’t stand being overlooked by the Bayside faculty. Robyn apologizes for being the object of the WKRP in Cincinnati guy’s wet dreams, and says that she thinks Katie is awesome for her poem and shit. Also, it’s super terrific that Katie has friends as Robyn only had creepy stalkers like Screech.

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At the homecoming dance, Liz enjoys dancing with Ryan and he doesn’t call her stupid for stepping on his feet constantly. Nicky and Eric congratulate themselves on setting them up, leaving Nicky to wonder why he didn’t set a girl like Liz up with himself. There’s a hint of potential rivalry here but, with this franchise, it could go either way and we may never see this line turn into anything.

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Screech approaches Robyn dressed as a…gay pimp…the fuck if I know what this outfit is supposed to look like. In any case, she says she liked him as well because apparently every woman in this universe thinks the dumb ass that was once mistaken for an alien by the American government and grew up to talk like a brain dead chipmunk is hot. She goes off to dance with him until she sees Katie come in.

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Robyn tells Katie she’s glad that she came to the homecoming dance. Katie says she’s decided they’re not competing and she wanted to be there for Robyn. And our episode just kind of ends, without really resolving anything except Screech getting his long fantasized dance from replacement Lisa. Well…that sure was an episode! Now let’s never speak of it again, unless the throw away line from Nicky actually goes somewhere.

Firsts: Ryan likes Liz.

8 responses to “The New Class Season 5, Episode 9: “Big Sister Blues”

  1. ILovedKellyKapowski

    Frank Bonner also directed this episode. And Marne Patterson (Katie’s sister) got a “Special Guest Star” credit. Was she a big star back in the day?

    A Rhodes scholarship is a post-graduate award, which means Robyn Peterson must have already graduated college. This is season 5 of The New Class, and if she just graduated from a 4-year college, she would’ve been in the same high school graduating class as Screech, so that can’t be right, because Screech was valedictorian.

    Robyn could have graduated a year earlier than the Original Class? And after college, she spent the past year bringing peace to the Middle East while curing cancer and AIDS? Which would explain how she won the Rhodes scholarship… I guess?

    Ugh, I hate when shows try to retcon a character like this. The revamped Beverly Hills 90210 in 2008 tried to make it look like Rob Estes’ character attended West Beverly High School with the original 90210 cast from 15 years earlier. I didn’t buy that, and I don’t buy this either!

    • “And Marne Patterson (Katie’s sister) got a “Special Guest Star” credit. Was she a big star back in the day?”

      At the time of this episode she was on a prime time show called Something So Right with Jere Burns. So I guess producers/the network thought, she was on a NBC prime time show. Let’s try to make somewhat of a big deal of it.

      Interesting, that when Amy Jo Johnson was on the show they didn’t make much of a deal of it, and Power Rangers was the bigger hit show at the time.

  2. I’m a bit off my SBTB game, but wasn’t the girl who gold dug screech in the original show named Robyn? I think in the secret sauce episode? Completely different in personality & look from this Robyn but maybe that’s what they were calling back to.

    • ILovedKellyKapowski

      Doubtful. These 2 Robin/Robyn’s are totally different characters. If a girl is smart and hardworking like Katie’s sister, she wouldn’t need to degrade herself by dating Screech for his money.

      (BTW, the Robin in the spaghetti sauce episode was Punky Brewster!)

  3. The actress playing Robyn was 17 when this aired. I guess if you have 25 year olds playing teens, you can also have the reverse.

  4. Something I’ve never understood is why Liz is portrayed as being so involved with her swim training that she’s never gone on a date, yet she has time to have an after school job at the mall. If she’s doing serious Olympic training, she shouldn’t be working too, unless she’s also supposed to be super poor like Kelly and they writers just haven’t bothered to tell us.

  5. What’s interesting is that the girl that Zack and Slater fought over in the Season 4 premiere of the original series was named Joanna Peterson. They should have used her instead of Robyn! But that would have been too much continuity for this show!

  6. Continuity..on The New Class? You’d have a better chance finding Jimmy Hoffa then find continuity on this show.

    But it would of been good if TNC had one of the main characters be one of Kelly’s 1,000 brothers or sisters she always talked about. Like that blonde sister who liked Zack for an episode. In stead we got one Easter egg joke in a Eric episode.

    Or how about that tall freshman guy Lisa dated in the season four premirere? Whatever happend to him?

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