We sure are at the mall a lot this season, and we’re there again this week as Ryan, Nicky, and Liz, our Media Mania employees, talk about a movie trivia contest the store is sponsoring where the grand prize is a…jet ski? This must be one hell of a trivia contest, with super hard questions that will stump. Of course not! This is The New Class we’re talking about!
In any case, Ryan wants to win that jet ski but Nicky reminds him that employees of Media Mania are disqualified. Ryan says that never stopped him before, which should be a sign for Nicky to watch out for a half-baked scheme, but when did characters on this show ever show common sense?
Speaking of lack of common sense, we see our resident idiot being fired upon by a little girl with a water gun, which just warms my heart to see that even small children can’t stand his incompetence. His boss calls him to go look for a raccoon, because that’s what’s truly important in a security gig…
…and Screech quite literally runs into Mr. Belding carrying a bunch of report cards. Mr. Belding’s pissed off that Screech has been negligent in his duties at school, and the stack of report cards were supposed to have been sent off already. In any case, this is the first indication we’ve had that any of the mall episodes take place on a weekday. Geez, the second episode in two seasons about a realistic portrayal of time management. Let me guess: they’re going to contradict each other, aren’t they? Also, was mailing the report cards something only Screech could do, to the point it required Mr. Belding to immediately go to the mall and chew Screech out?
We also get our A plot: Maria’s going to help her little brother, Tino, find a job. Katie and Eric think that’s a bad idea as Tino’s a huge slacker, but Maria’s all, “But he’s my brother and stuff!”
And Tino does show up an hour late looking dressed for a Nirvana concert. Maria decides to take Tino to get some nice clothes, and, by the next scene, he’s already been turned down for a job at a sporting goods store because he asked about extra days off before he even got the job.
Tino’s played by actor Harley Rodriguez, who was fresh off starring in Sweet Valley High. More recently, though, you may have seen him on The Amazing Race. Strange enough, I think The Amazing Race is a step up over the garbage he’s been in.
The next stop is the Cookie Jar, where Maria coaches Tino within earshot of the manager. Fortunately, he has selective hearing so he doesn’t hear about how Tino’s already screwed up. Despite the fact we know Liz had no previous work experience before she worked there, the manager is uneasy about Tino never having had a job before. Yeah, a cookie store is a place that can be choosy about who they hire because lots of people with experience want to work there. Maria charms the manager, who hires Tino, figuring he can’t be any worse than the girl who didn’t realize cookies were unhealthy.
At Media Mania, we find out Liz sucks at writing trivia questions since every one involves swimming. Swimming is to Liz what New York was to Nicky last season, isn’t it? Funny enough, Liz’s question about what stroke the swimmer in Jaws was performing when she was attacked is better than the stuff they actually come up with. Don’t worry: after this scene, this plays no further role in the episode. Yay for time wasting!
Ryan and Eric commiserate over the jetski and suddenly realize Ryan could get Eric to enter and Ryan will help him cheat because that sort of plot wasn’t obvious based on earlier comments by Ryan.
And Screech now sucks at two jobs as he’s writing a budget for Bayside while an alarm goes off in the mall. I’m pretty sure that’s the principal’s job and, at most, the administrative assistant would type and proofread it but who cares about making sense!
Maria and Katie visit Tino at the Cookie Jar…
…and find that he’s burned them because he didn’t use a timer. The manager’s pissed that yet another person in this universe is incompetent and decides he’s finished with these people and their family members, firing Tino. Admittedly, that is a bit of an overreaction for a first offense on the first day, but what do you expect in the Saved by the Bell universe.
Maria tells Tino not to worry as, since she’s assistant manager at the Teen Machine, she’ll pull some strings and get him a job there.
In the food court, Maria pulls Tino away from a girl to tell him that his new job starts tonight. We’re supposed to believe Tino’s a slacker because he already wants time off to spend it with the girl, which feels so forced considering the shit this franchise has pulled over the years involving jobs.
It turns out the trivia contest is actually a paper test you take with you and turn in because that wouldn’t encourage people to cheat. Ryan pretty much fills out the quiz for Eric since he’s apparently an idiot when it comes to pop culture trivia. And they’re stupid easy questions like, “Who played the villain in the first Batman film?” and “In which movie did Alicia Silverstone play a rich Beverly Hills teenager?”
Mr. Belding shows back up at the mall to chew Screech out for the Bayside budget, which lists his salary as $13.00 a week. He tells Screech that he’s going to have to redo the budget. He also has to get back to Bayside so he can monitor detention. Wait…when does Bayside hold detention? Does Screech just randomly leave his job at Bayside to do shit at the mall? If the writers had given a moment’s thought to the chronology of this episode, it could have actually been good and made a valid point, but I’m so distracted by how little sense this subplot makes that I’m losing the point.
And, after Mr. Belding leaves, Screech brings in some students and tells them detention is in the movie theater today. I…I can’t even. This is the guy that was so valuable to Bayside last season Valley wanted to steal him away.
At the Teen Machine, Tino breaks a lot of glasses, prompting Maria’s new manager for the episode to wonder how she got into this stupid show. The manager tells Tino to get to work slicing new fruit for that night and toss out the old stuff. Tino tells himself the old fruit still looks good and walks off with it, leading the studio audience to have a “uh oh” reaction.
There is something I’ve been wondering this season. There was an episode last season about how Maria couldn’t take the assistant manager job at the Teen Machine because she couldn’t manage her time with the job. Yet, she’s suddenly the assistant manager again and working weekdays. It’s nice that the writers haven’t forgotten their usual inconsistency that I’ve come to expect out of this series.
At Media Mania, Nicky announces a three way tie with Eric and two other customers. Well, no wonder. You made the quiz so easy to pass and cheat on that anyone who has access to even late nineties internet could win. As such, they will have a special tri.ia play-off to decide who wins the jet ski.
Eric’s initially not worried because he suddenly forgot he’s an idiot with trivia but Ryan reminds him. Ryan decides he’s going to find a way for Eric to win because that’s not the Ryan way.
Mr. Belding corners Screech and says he saw the detention students in the theater. He tells Screech that he’s tired of this incompetence and Screech is going to have to choose between jobs. Oh, please let him pick the security guard! At least that way he won’t be in as many episodes!
At the Teen Machine, Ryan shows Eric a bunch of equipment he’s going to use to win the trivia contest. See, they’re going to watch movies all night long on four VCRs, because that’s a great way to learn shit.
Suddenly, everyone’s getting sick off the punch. The manager realizes instantly that it’s spoiled fruit and fires Tino for not throwing out the old stuff as instructed. She also fires Maria because apparently, in this universe, assistant managers are always responsible for their employees’ actions. I’m pretty sure that’s a wrongful termination suit right there, but, once again, we don’t give a damn about realism on this show so what the hell.
In the food court, Maria tells Katie she can’t believe the manager just fired her after working there so long. She also says she feels sorry for Tino because he was fired twice in a day. Katie tells Maria that Tino is a fuck up and not to feel sorry for him. Katie tells Maria that she enables Tino by getting him jobs and then making excuses for him, because you should never try to help your screw-up relatives, ever. What a great moral for the week!
Ryan quizzes Eric on trivia, starting with the name of the Jedi master who trained Luke Skywalker. I would have said Obi Wan Kenobi but they were apparently looking for Yoda. Something tells me the writers don’t know much about Star Wars to pick an ambiguous questions. In any case, Ryan doesn’t know either answer, making him hopeless about his chances at winning. Ryan says he’ll think of a plan to cheat and shit.
Maria confronts an air drumming Tino and tells him she can’t help him any more. He’s a fuck up and she’s going to follow the moral of the episode: never help people. She leaves to find another job, leaving Tino doing some nice emoting.
Screech ultimately decides to stay at Bayside, unfortunately for me, but not before he makes a big deal about wanting to keep the uniform. Mr. Belding tells him to just shut the fuck up and end this pointless subplot that hasn’t gone anywhere this season.
At Media Mania, Ryan implements his plan of transmitting the answers to Eric via a radio. Unfortunately for him, the radio interferes with Screech’s, and Screech just happens to be having a competent moment. In his last act as security guard, Screech exposes Ryan and Eric cheating and they’re disqualified. And Screech takes the two of them off to mall jail, ending that subplot. Shouldn’t Ryan be fired for suborning cheating? I guess we’ll see if Media Mania is ever mentioned again.
Tino finds Maria and apologizes for being a fuck up. He says he convinced her manager to give her job back because we’re just hitting the reset button after this one. He promises that, from now on, he’s going to take care of things himself and he’s off for another job interview at the movie theater, hoping maybe he can be replacement Rachel there.
And our episode ends with Maria and Tino embracing as Katie looks on as if to say, “I helped!” Katie looks so smug in this screenshot as if to say, “I did something this episode!” Well, Katie, you barely did. Thanks for playing.