The New Class Season 5, Episode 19: “Thanks for Giving”

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We open for yet another stupid idea for a The New Class arc: have the gang build a Habitat for Humanity house for a service project, because while they’re taking month long trips to France they have plenty of time to take off and build a fucking house! Evidently, though, this is not any ordinary house as they’ve managed to go from an empty lot to a fully standing house in just a week, and they’ve promised the would-be-inhabitants, the Reynolds family, they’ll have the whole house ready for them to have Thanksgiving dinner in just another week! And this is not me exaggerating this time. They make it a point to emphasize multiple times that they went from empty lot to habitable house by the end of this episode in a total of two fucking weeks.

If I were the Reynolds family, I would ask a building inspector to come check this shit out before the whole thing falls down on them in their sleep, especially if Screech is involved.

Oh, and, in case you’re wondering, this is actually the final episode of the Habitat for Humanity arc. Yes, some dip shit at NBC decided it would be perfectly acceptable to air the final episode of the arc before the first episode. I know this is par course for this series, but it still annoys the fuck out of me when the writers put five seconds of thought for continuity into this series and they’re rewarded by NBC playing eainie-meanie-miney-mo with the schedule. It’s like the writers of this series were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.

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Speaking on damnable things, Screech is involved in the building of this house and has managed to get himself stuck in a door. Jesus, do the Reynolds family really want to live anywhere this dumb ass helped construct? Mr. Belding takes him to get him out so they can get started on their subplot: planting the garden.

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The boys start the main plot by trying to win tickets to fly to Dallas and see the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day from KNFS, Tulare, California’s best 100 watt community radio station! That 100 watts must be going a long way if Eric’s picking them up in Los Angeles on his Walkman! Naturally, they don’t win yet because it’s not yet convenient to the plot, but we’ll check back with them when it is.

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And a member of the Reynolds family, Mike, comes around to introduce Maria to her subplot: he wants her to speak at the dedication for their house, and she’s overjoyed because it means everyone will be looking at her and wishing they were as awesome as her.

Now, funny thing: when I first saw this episode before I saw the first Habitat for Humanity episode, I thought Mike was the father of the family. He certainly looks like he could be old enough. Strange enough, it looks like he’s an older son, which will be even more disturbing when we see him in the other episode. Keep this in mind that this is how you were introduced to him: with absolutely no context as to who he is.

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In the living room, the boys try again for the trip and this time it’s convenient to the plot. Unfortunately, they’re now looking for the fan who deserves to go more than anyone so, after the boys brag about building a Habitat for Humanity house, the DJ says they’ll pick the winner later today and wait for a phone call. KNFS must be psychic in addition to their amazing reach for a 100 watt station because they don’t ask for the boys’ name or phone number or anything! Yay for more magical abilities!

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Outside, Screech regales young Sandra Reynolds and her mother, Mrs. Reynolds, with stories of gardens to come. Yes, Mrs. Reynolds is the only member of the Reynolds family not deserving of a first name because she’s a woman and shit. Screech’s lunacy doesn’t seem to phase her, though, even when she points out that they only have two flower beds, and young Sandra hasn’t been taught not to hug strange dumb asses as she leaves the scene.

Oh, but we’re not done with Screech’s lunacy yet as he literally starts eating dirt to test the “chemical makeup of the soil.” Yeah, this subplot is going to be the most ridiculous thing so far this season as it serves no purpose other than to make Mr. Belding look stupid and petty despite the fact he’s the one with some common sense. Yes, when Mr. Belding doesn’t want to eat dirt like Screech, he agrees to do one flower bed while Screech does the other.

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Mike teaches the girls how to paint a door and warns them not to use the paint sprayer as it may clog. Of course, as soon as Mike leaves, she gets the sprayer out…

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…and manages to spray her cheek without getting any paint in her hair. Convenient happenstances just abound in this episode! Katie and Liz take Maria to see the boys, and Eric tells her not to worry as the paint will wear off in like six weeks. In a world where we can build a house in a week, we still can’t remove paint from skin in a timely manner.

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The boys initially think they’ve lost the contest, but, when the winner declines the tickets, they’re runner up and get to go to Dallas.  But plot contrivance works against them when Mr. Belding comes in and informs them that the wallpaper won’t arrive until tomorrow morning, which means they’ll have to work through Thanksgiving and won’t be able to go to Dallas.

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At The Max, the boys want to back out of finishing the living room so they can go to Dallas and I’m really confused by this whole subplot. I’m actually with the boys on this: it’s not their fault the wallpaper isn’t there and it’s not like the family can’t have Thanksgiving dinner and finish the living room later. But we’re supposed to be with Katie and Liz on this, who think the boys are being super selfish and shit and need to finish the living room. The boys decide that they can cut corners like Maria and finish the job in time to go to Dallas.

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Meanwhile, Sandra loves Screech’s flower bed to the point she’s practically kissing his ass…

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…while Mr. Belding seems to have planted dead shit. Seriously, the writers want us to believe that this is because Mr. Belding didn’t eat dirt like Screech wanted, but, unless he planted dead shit, nothing short of extra strong grass killer is going to kill plants this fast. The writers are really getting off on insulting my intelligence this episode. It’s like they knew NBC was going to air the episode out of order so they just didn’t care.

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In the living room, the boys decide they don’t need to wash the walls and they just put the wallpaper directly up, not even taking time to not put wallpaper over Nicky.

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Maria decides the solution to her problem is to channel the spirit of Tammy Faye Baker. After Katie, Liz, and Mike screech in horror, she decides she can’t deliver a speech to assembled classmates, Reynolds family members, and dumb ass faculty members with a blue stain on her face.

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And, in the garden subplot, Mr. Belding and Screech basically just start destroying each others’ flower beds, because they need to learn a very special lesson about not being morons.

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The boys complete the wall paper, but it starts coming off the walls almost immediately after they leave. Now I’m not an expert on hanging wallpaper but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be this shitty a job unless they tried to hang it using school glue sticks. Oh, and to top it off, Nicky left the water running in a small bucket because he’s apparently blind. I don’t know! I can’t figure out this episode for the life of me! It’s like it was written by people who took their knowledge of building a home from Looney Tunes!

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At The Max, Katie and Liz come and tell the boys about their physics defying wallpaper but the boys are all, “We’re done with this shit! We’re going to Dallas!”, leaving the girls to think they’re going to have to do the job themselves.

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Mike comes in and finds Maria. He tells her he’s sad a stupid subplot is going to keep her from delivering her shitty little speech. He’s all, “I don’t give a damn if your cheek looks like a Smurf! Please give your speech!”

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Back at the house, Mr. Belding and Screech learn their lesson about working together I guess and decide to work together to finish both flower beds.

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And the boys show up to help Katie and Liz because of course they did! They tell the girls their nagging and guilt tripping made them realize what the conclusion of their plot needed to be and this shit it almost over.

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The next day, Maria gives her little speech, thanking the volunteers for building a fucking house in two weeks! Seriously, Habitat for Humanity houses take six to eight months to build and they built a shobby piece of crap house in two weeks because it’s apparently made out of straw like the first little pig!

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The cast and assembled extras are invited to Thanksgiving dinner. For some reason, this includes a little girl who isn’t Sandra. Are the writers finally acknowledging that some of Bayside’s students are old enough to have children of their own?

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Mrs. Reynolds thanks the boys for working through the night to ensure the house was done in time for Thanksgiving. They pout about how they didn’t get to see the Dallas Cowboys but are all, “We learned a lesson and shit!” Mr. Belding violates separation of church and state by saying grace on a school-sponsored outting, and our episode ends with everyone enjoying the best Thanksgiving dinner since random NBC prime time stars stopped by four years ago.

God, this episode. I really hope when I see the first episode in the arc, we get to see a building inspector marveling at the fair dust being used to construct this demon spawn house. Is all this finally evidence that Screech is the spawn of Satan?

Firsts: Mike Reynolds, Sandra Reynolds, Mrs. Reynolds, Habitat for Humanity.

10 responses to “The New Class Season 5, Episode 19: “Thanks for Giving”

  1. This episode is as bad as I remember except for one part. Liz in her short shorts and worker boots is hot as hell.
    This episode is a good example of everything wrong with the new class. It’s just goofy for the sake of being goofy.

    • I thought the same thing when I saw that picture. Liz was channeling her inner Pam Anderson from Home Improvement in this episode.

      Speaking of Home Improvement, their Habitat for Humanity episode is a lot better then this one.

      I’ve been to a couple Thanksgiving day games in my time. Once in the old Texas Stadium and once in the new one. Great atmosphere.

      By the way, isn’t the next few weeks a mess order placement wise on this show? Isn’t the next episode we’re back in France then after that we go back to Habitat for Humanity?

  2. NBC originally aired these in the correct order. Part 1 at 11:30 and part 2 at 12:30. Another TNBC show aired in between (Hang Time, I think)…

  3. Why would they take time out of their already tight schedule to paint spots on the back of their jeans? Weird.

    I see that Belding’s abandoned his family for yet another holiday. Although to be fair he’s got the rest of his life to spend time with his real kid whereas these kids will all be gone within the next two years.

  4. ILovedKellyKapowski

    I think Screech urinated on Mr. Belding’s flowerbed, and made the plants die.

    Also, I watched the first episode of the Habitat for Humanity arc, when the house was still a concrete slab without walls. The square footage seems really SMALL!

    What eventually becomes the dining room (for the Thanksgiving dinner) takes up 1/2 the floor space. It’s hard to imagine 2-3 bedrooms crammed into the remaining area, not to mention where a bathroom, living room, kitchen, and storage closets would go …

    • Maybe they were ahead of the curve. They liked the whole, small house craze about twenty years before it became “popular.”

  5. “Katie and Liz take Maria to see the boys, and Eric tells her not to worry as the paint will wear off in like six weeks. In a world where we can build a house in a week, we still can’t remove paint from skin in a timely manner.”

    This episode was in the mid to late ’90s. So when was water based paint a normal thing? I know oil based paint stinks and will take weeks to get off. Water based paint on the other hand all Maria had to do was wash her face a few times and it’s gone.

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