The New Class Season 5, Episode 20: “Foreign Affairs”

I can only assume that this episode will feature Screech causing an international incident, and the gang have to bring Jimmy Carter in to get him out of it.

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Okay, so we open at Cafe USA to what looks like Maria watching Ryan masturbate. No such luck as that would actually make this episode interesting. We’re treated, instead, to the knowledge that Ryan purchased a camera and is so completely incompetent about how cameras work that he’ll spend much of the episode trying to figure out how to make it go.

Lucky for him, though, the group just happens to have a photographer: a woman named Maggie who sounds like she has a really bad British accent. I’ve never heard of anything else the actress has been in and I’m unwilling to watch it just to confirm she’s not really British, so I’ll just assume the casting department was fucking lazy again. In any case, Maggie’s purpose is to tutor Ryan in how to make cameras work, including such difficult tasks as loading film. Ryan will be so glad when they invent digital cameras in a few years.

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Meanwhile, Eric continues his subplot from the last Paris episode: whining about how horrible everything in Paris is and making bad jokes about shit, like how France’s pre-Euro monetary system sounds like a name for a hot dog. He tells Nicky that nothing’s going to change his mind…

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…until he spots his love interest for the episode: Danielle, the group’s tour leader, yet another fake French person living in Paris. Her accent is the worst and sounds like something you’d hear in a Jeff Dunham comedy special, and she’s probably much too old for Eric. But she’s available and breathing so that makes for perfect love bait for Eric.

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And so we get a montage of clips to remind us that we are in Paris and not a cheap Hollywood set.

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And some of the clips are just reused from the last Paris episode. But what’s worse is what comes next.

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See, we transition to night during the montage by having the stock footage suddenly take place at night. It’s one of the most jarring transitions I’ve ever seen in any visual medium, but I guess it’s cheaper than flying the cast to Paris and showing them enjoying themselves, which is how one would expect such an episode to work.

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And the gang find themselves on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower. Everyone’s all excited while Maria, Nicky, and Katie are all, “This is where we got arrested last week!”

I do have to admit that I’m semi-impressed by the set. I could actually believe the gang are at the Eiffel Tower, which makes me think this set was built for another production and The New Class just happened to luck into it. In any case, it’s a lot better than their usual piece of crap attempts to make you think they’re outside, like that ski slope from season two.

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Ryan suddenly has a secret admirer in Franco, a random guy who seems to be hanging around the group most of this episode in hopes of picking up underage girls. Rather than call the police and reporting a sexual predator, the gang seem to humor him because the message of this episode is that talking to strangers is cool. Also, I spent most of the episode trying to figure out what nationality accent Franco is supposed to have. I assumed he was Spanish most of the episode until, towards the end, he finally randomly blurts out that he’s Italian, proving once again that the writers have no concept of accents.

Eric, meanwhile, starts quoting random facts about Paris to impress Danielle, and she believes him because all foreigners just randomly walk around spouting trivia for no good reason.

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Liz reveals that her plot this episode will be to just randomly be jealous of Ryan and Maggie since she must have heard Ryan was smooching with a Hang Time girl last season while he was dating Rachel. Maria and Katie remind Liz that this whole plot is unnecessary and could just be solved by Liz telling Ryan how she feels, but Liz is determined the episode won’t end twenty-five minutes early and continues to pursue this jealousy angle.

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Of course, Mr. Belding and Screech buy the most touristy hats they could possibly find because working with Screech for four years has turned Mr. Belding’s brain into mush.

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Back in Mr. Belding’s office, which he apparently doesn’t have to sleep in any longer, we get our subplot for Mr. Belding and Screech: Screech decides that Mr. Belding needs a bust to remind future generations how great a man he is. Bullshit. I think Screech is going to pleasure himself at night to it. Screech just happens to have a block of concrete and gets to work despite the fact he has no experience in sculpting and promptly breaks the block to pieces.

Eric walks into the gang’s room glowing from the possibility of sex on the horizon. Everyone else is grumpy about his sudden change of mood but he insists he now loves Paris because of a girl, and nothing could possibly no wrong based on this, even as Nicky reads one of Eric’s bitter letters to his mother about how much Paris sucks. Good thing the letter’s strategically placed in a spot where it will be sure to influence the plot later.

Maggie comes in and invites Ryan to shoot a boat parade with her that night. Liz is obviously jealous but doesn’t say anything about it as Ryan and Liz takes off. Maria and Katie show signs of getting sick of Liz’s neurotic bullshit and even decides Ryan must like Maggie.

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After a commercial break, Danielle arrives for dinner with Eric. Eric’s filled the room with stereotypical French bullshit like berets, accordion music, and a French flag, but Danielle’s no better with a grocery back complete with loaves of French bread sticking out. She has some sweetbread for Eric to try and, because he’s playing up the stereotype of the stingy American who refuses to try anything foreign, he’s disgusted with Nicky tells him it’s cow’s pancreas.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, we see that Mr. Belding will never learn his lesson. He’s decided to let Screech put plaster all over his head and create a bust from the mold, even as Screech reads a book to figure out how.

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Of course, this results in a mold that slightly resembles the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man. Of course Screech’s book is missing the pages that tell him how to remove the mold and, after a stupid attempt with prop scissors to cut the mold, he gives up and teases Mr. Belding with water.

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At the bridge, Ryan thanks Maggie for indulging him in his new hobby that will likely never be mentioned again, even considering Ryan didn’t know enough about it at the beginning of this episode to load the film.

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The girls show up dressed as bad mimes to spy on Ryan and Maggie and, after entertaining a really easily amused old woman, see Ryan moving towards Maggie and leave, assuming that Ryan’s getting ready to kiss Maggie. Yeah, you girls are really bad at this spy shit, aren’t you?

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Back in the repurposed The College Years dorm set, Eric’s hating this sweetbread shit and spits it out when Danielle isn’t looking. Danielle apparently is in the habit of randomly picking up private letters laid out in public and reading them, because she soon learns that Eric really believes that Paris sucks ass. She runs out, realizing that Eric was just using her as his relationship of the episode.

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In the hallway, Screech randomly leads Mr. Belding around and leaves him alone in the hallway while he goes to get help instead of doing something sensible like leaving in the room. Danielle comes storming out of the room and knocks Mr. Belding aside, who then decides it’s time to do his Mr. Magoo impersonation and wander around Paris in a plaster cast. Jesus fucking Christ. Mr. Belding is going to die.

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Liz decides to go on a date with Franco to make Ryan jealous because that seems to be a regular thing she does this season. Ryan finds out from the rest of the gang that she’s planning to go to the Eiffel Tower so he runs off to protect her from the sex offender.

And Screech rushes in to get Maria, Nicky, and Katie to help him look for Mr. Belding since they’re more familiar with the area after their arrest than him and they don’t have subplots of their own to worry about.

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Eric finds Danielle at Cafe USA  and apologizes for being a jack ass. He says he was just trying to impress his one episode relationship like usual but he really likes Paris because she’s in it and he might get laid and shit. Danielle decides all is forgiven because she hasn’t been honest with him about being French, either, and thus ends Eric’s lying about liking Paris plot.

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At the Eiffel Tower, Franco tries to put the moves on Liz but she realizes she doesn’t like creepy ethnically ambiguous sex predators so both she and an arriving Ryan both threaten to push Franco off the Eiffel Tower unless he gets off this show and never comes back.

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Ryan and Liz have a heart to heart where Ryan’s all, “I would never cheat on you because that was my thing last season, not this season! Also, you need to tell me shit because I’m not a mind reader as I haven’t been struck by lightning yet!” They make-up and prepare to continue their relationship another few episodes.

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Mr. Belding somehow manages to stumble up the stairs to the observation deck past security and ticket takers because it’s The New Class. Screech is right behind him and our episode ends with Mr. Belding attempting to finally rid himself of his persistent problem by pushing Screech off the Eiffel Tower.

But the most surprising thing about the events of this episode…

Firsts: Danielle, Eric dates a girl for more than one episode.

3 responses to “The New Class Season 5, Episode 20: “Foreign Affairs”

  1. The subplot with Mr. Bending and Screech is the only thing I remember about the episode. I remember Dennis Haskins saying he was frustrated because the writers kept taking more and more liberties with Mr.Belding and this episode is another good example of that.But truth be told he wouldn’t be on the show anymore otherwise since TNC started to leave Bayside behind for jobs at the mall(spoiler alert next season Mr.Belding gets another retail job), wilderness camp, and the police academy.

    This was also around the time I started to have a crush on Lindsay Mckeon since she started growing her hair out longer.

  2. This episode seemed hard to get through. Not even the site of Katie, Maria and Liz as Mime’s would save it.

  3. ILovedKellyKapowski

    Luckily for Franco (and Danielle), the legal age of sexual consent in France is 15.

    (Unless, of course, they’re not REALLY in France, but a cheap TV set in Hollywood, California …)

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