Before we find out what pain I must endure from The New Class this week, I want to give a plug for my new project, California Dreams Reviewed. As the title implies, I’m delving into Peter Engel’s first attempt to capitalize on the success of Saved by the Bell by having a show that’s basically the same but with a band. New posts will be every Friday so please check it out and let me know what you think!
Please tell me this is going to be some lame episode about the gang putting on a Paris-themed dance or some shit…
No, please tell me they’re not really going to do this…
God, tell me this is some sort of mistake…
No, unfortunately, it’s not a mistake. Our band of roving teenage caricatures has been transported to Paris for a month. The why isn’t clear but they’re part of something called the “International Academy,” which doesn’t really exist but that’s never stopped Saved by the Bell before. I assume it’s a situation like the semester at sea where they’re doing stuff that’s awesome for the plot while taking classes in the middle of France.
We open as you would expect, with the gang pontificating for a full minute and a half about how awesome Paris is and how they love it even though they got here and how they can’t wait to bring the blandness of The New Class to famous Paris landmarks. Well, all except Eric, whose subplot this episode is that he’s super homesick even though he just got there. Naturally, Ryan and Liz are ready to fuck in the city of love while Maria expresses jealousy that she still has to wait eight more episodes to get a new boyfriend.
Oh, and their rooms are basically a redressing of the dorms from Cal U. It’s nice they’re still finding ways to recoup their money out of the failed production of The College Years.
Of course Mr. Belding and Screech are there too, because, for a school whose vice-principal is rarely seen anymore, Mr. Belding seems to get a lot of time to go and do a lot of shit with his students. And Screech is wearing all kinds of shit that only a goofy, overenthusiastic American tourist, the type the French love to hate, would wear. Would you expect any more from him?
We meet Madame Dumars, the academy’s chief administrator, and Mr. Belding starts pontificating about how grateful they are to be there. Screech tells him to get the fuck on with shit and, for once, I agree with Screech: they’re wasting a ton of time on really bad setup. You’re in Paris. You’re excited. I get it. This sounds like the writing of a high school student who’s just taken a creative writing class and thinks all their thoughts are super profound.
And, for the record, as far as I can tell, every “French” person in this episode is an American doing a really bad French accent, which is pretty fucking borderline offensive. I didn’t have the energy to track them all down in other roles as none of them are well known actors and actresses but, judging by their other credits on IMDB, it doesn’t sound like they’re very French. Fucking The New Class. Because it would have been so difficult to track down native French people living in Hollywood.
Maria wants to go see the city but Mr. Belding tells them to unpack and get ready for dinner as they need to establish even more sets.
Madame Dumars takes Mr. Belding and Screech to see their office, because they need an office for some reason. And we finally get their stupid subplot of the episode: Madame Dumars gets a phone call informing her the writers have decided to give away their rooms for the episode, which means they’ll have to sleep on cots together in the office. Great, can we do something yet?
Screech does mention that things like this happen to them all the time, which I actually chuckled at as a bit of referential self-parody.
Apparently not as now we need to be acquainted with the ripoff of The Max for this arc of episodes. This is Cafe USA. Yes, the diner where Mr. Belding wants them to have dinner is American-themed. I agree with Nicky: this is fucking lame and so stereotypical American to go all the way to Paris and eat American food. Maria and Katie refuse to eat, though, as they’re saving themselves for a meal in the Eiffel Tower.
Mr. Belding comes in and tell the gang he’s setting a 9:00 curfew, which means they have a half hour to get back to their rooms. The gang think this sucks because they want to wander the streets of Paris in the middle of the night. And it’s so cute how the extras in the cafe listen to Mr. Belding like they have something to do with this episode.
Back in their rooms, Maria, Nicky, and Katie decide they’re not going to fucking sit around their first night in Paris. Instead, they’re going to sneak out and go do something or other while they wander the hallways. Ryan and Liz decide to stay so they can fuck and Eric’s still homesick and shit so half our gang are staying behind. Finally, a hint of main plot rears its head!
We soon find Nicky in a cab in between his ex-girlfriends in the city of love, and any other show might say this was a sign of kinky things to come. Instead, since their American taxi driver doing a bad French accent can’t speak English, they direct him to go to the Eiffel Tower.
They soon arrive at the Eiffel Tower’s restaurant, which you’ll be glad to know has stayed open late just for our gang and has apparently relaxed their normally formal dress code as well because it’s convenient to the plot. An American waiter with a bad accent comes over and pours wine for our gang and I suddenly have a fear this is going to be another poorly made alcohol-themed episode.
Back in Mr. Belding and Screech’s subplot, Screech annoys the fuck out of Mr. Belding by doing random exercises and wanting Mr. Belding to sing him a lullaby. Jesus Christ, is Screech a fucking child?
Back in the gang’s room, Ryan’s attempt to finally lose his virginity comes crashing down when Eric crashes his romantic dinner with Liz, citing more stupid and exaggerated homesickness. They try to give him a task like writing to all his relatives to get him out of their hair, but it doesn’t work because Ryan and Liz will never have privacy.
We return to the Eiffel Tower to find a drunk Nicky making his lobster dance. Jesus Christ, I would be surprised if at least one of these morons doesn’t cause an international incident while they’re in Paris. I’m betting on Screech. Also, Ben Gould plays a drunk guy like a teenager who’s never touched a drop of liquor in his life.
They decide to pay the bill and go to the observation deck. They find it’s ₣1,200 and assume that’s like $20 or something. Jesus they’re fucking morons. The first thing you learn travelling is that restaurants and bars inside famous landmarks are generally the most expensive in the city. But if this is the Le Jules Verne, the real restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, this place is Michelin rated, one of the best, and most expensive, restaurants in all of Paris. Hell, today it’s not uncommon there to pay €300 per person, not even including alcohol. But our gang, despite having experiences most teenagers could only dream of, lack any sort of common sense about how shit works and are busy giving American tourists a bad name.
Maria calls the waiter over and asks how much the bill is in American money because, while they’re busy being stereotypically offensive American tourists, they might as well complete the act by assuming they can just pay in dollars anywhere in the world. Because the waiter is American himself, he just happens to know the bill converts to $200 which, for the Le Jules Verne, sounds like they ordered off the kids menu, especially given the large amount of wine they apparently consumed. They don’t have enough money to pay the bill so decide the best course of action they can take thousands of miles from home is to leave as much cash as they can and hope the waiters never learned how to add.
Oh, it’s not an alcohol episode. It’s a dine and dash episode. One night in Paris and our gang is giving this wait staff plenty to complain about on the customer service hell reddits. Oh, wait, reddit didn’t exist back then. I assume they’re bottling this story up for years later when reddit is invented.
Unfortunately, their plan is foiled by a combination of French schools giving these American expats a good education in math and the fact that elevators typically open again when an object passes between the doors. We go to commercial break with the trio wondering what important life lesson will result from this subplot.
Back in the office, Mr. Belding kicks Screech out for snoring and shit. Someone once said that Dennis Haskins and Dustin Diamond liked to improvise their own comedy on this show because the scripts were so bad. If that’s the case, they’re not very good at improvisation. No offense to you, Dennis, if you’re reading this. After all, you’re the member of this comedy duo I like.
Back at the International Academy, Ryan and Liz sent Eric off on another chore, which leaves them free to do it with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Unfortunately, Eric interrupts them once again to tell them Maria, Nicky, and Katie have been arrested and Mr. Belding went to bail them out.
Mr. Belding and Madame Dumars bring our misbehaving trio towards…a sleeping Screech. Jesus, Ryan and Liz were about to do it just feet from Screech? This show just keeps giving me nightmares! This is the stuff nightmares are made of!
Mr. Belding tells them that they were fucking stupid for thinking they could dine and dash on a Michelin rated restaurant. Oh, and boo drinking, too, because we just had to throw that in! Madame Dumars tells them that the usual punishment for such behavior is to send the entire group home because punishments that stir up the most conflict are usually the most convenient to the plot, even though they make no fucking sense whatsoever.
Maria, Nicky, and Katie enter Cafe USA suddenly the next day to find none of the extras like them anymore. In fact, everyone’s pissed that their actions are leading to a draconian rule being enforced against them all before they even get to see Paris. The trio plead with Mr. Belding to talk Madame Dumars into being a reasonable human being, but he’s all, “With great power comes great responsibility and other such cliches!”
The gang and extras assemble to hear Madame Dumars’s verdict on their future. Oh, and Mr. Belding resolves his subplot by apologizing to Screech for daring to be annoyed with his idiocy. Was there a point to that subplot other than to waste time?
Madame Dumars is ready to send everyone home…
…when Maria, Nicky, and Katie plead with her to be reasonable and only send her home like most academic programs not trying to create fake conflict for the sake of Saturday morning television would. This moves her, and she decides to let everyone stay because taking responsibility for your actions apparently makes everything okay and shit. But, most amusing, are the extras in the background apparently having a private dance because it’s been too many episodes since they got to party in one of Bayside’s many social functions and they’re going into withdrawal.
And our episode ends with Eric bemoaning the fact he doesn’t to go home early. Fucking hell, if you’re going to piss and moan so much, why’d you come to Paris in the first place? I’ve lived abroad. Three times. I’ve been homesick. Guess what: it doesn’t set in within the first twenty-four hours. Once again, The New Class doesn’t know what it’s talking about, but that’s nothing new really.
Firsts: Paris, the International Academy, Cafe USA.