Oh good. We’re opening on a matte painting with obviously fake trees and flowers in front of it similar to the horribly fake outdoor scenes from the ranch and ski lodge episodes of seasons two and three. I guess that means we’re about to have yet another arc away from Bayside because why should a show about high school take place in high school? So we’ve been to Paris, the mall, and to build a house in two weeks this season. How will we top those episodes? And how long have Mr. Belding, Screech, and the gang been away from Bayside this year?
Why, in the woods. As you can see, Screech is doing his best “I’ve got to shit” face in anticipation of doing survivalist shit. Turns out they’ve been on this trip many times before because they’re hardly ever at Bayside doing their fucking jobs. The writers just never showed them on this trip before because our gang has never been on it, and they’re the only six students at Bayside who matter. Also, Screech threatens to put on a loin cloth and run through the woods. I think I just threw up a little.
We quickly meet Shelly, who works for wherever the hell we are as a guide (we’re never actually told; just that we’re in the mountains and, for all I know, this could be taking place in the Alps while they were in France). She tells them to get a bite to eat in the conveniently located Grizzly Cafe and then they’ll meet for orientation. And, if you think Shelly looks familiar, that’s because she played Zack Morris’s fantasy manager in “Rockumentary,” the one that broke up Zack Attack. She’ll also be in California Dreams as a teacher later because Peter Engel loves reusing actors.
So we quickly establish our plot points and it’s not yet clear which is going to be our main plot this episode. First, Maria’s fucking stupid when it comes to nature and thinks an obviously stuffed bear in the cafe may be real. She also complains a lot. Second, Nicky and Eric brought a portable television with them. Which will win out as our lame main plot? Stay tuned and see!
So it’s time to watch orientation. And what sort of orientation does our gang need for hiking and camping, you ask?
Why, rock climbing of course! Yes, our gang need to learn how to climb mountains in case Screech’s incompetence gets them stranded up one!
And the balance beam, because…it gives us a chance to see Screech act like a fucking moron and knock Mr. Belding off it. Why is he allowed to be responsible for young lives?
And last is first aid, as Screech is allowed to demonstrate how to turn Mr. Belding into a mummy if he has a broken arm. Again, why?
The recurring theme throughout all this is Maria either sucks ass at everything or is scared of it. Since the stupid television thing with Nicky and Eric hasn’t come up again yet, I’m assuming Maria’s going to be the main plot, somehow.
Shelly partners the gang off in twos so they can help each other. Katie and Liz, Nicky and Eric, and Ryan and Maria will each be in teams. Liz asks if she can be with Ryan so they can go off and fuck, but Shelly says Ryan’s the most experienced camper and, without him, Maria’s likely to die and shit.
So after that little five minutes of time wasting which resembles no orientation for any school camping trip I ever went on, we find ourselves at the camp site, which is conveniently located at the same rocks Screech once modeled in front of in the season three ski lodge episodes. Maria won’t stop bitching and moaning because she hates hiking and camping and shit, which leads me to ask why she came along in the first place? For fuck’s sake, Rachel’s the one I would have expected to be like this when she was on the show and she never complained half as bad about shit as Maria.
Nicky and Eric have self-inflating air mattresses they brought along for the trip because air mattresses aren’t roughing it and shit. None of them brought tents along. I think that’s roughing it enough, especially if a storm comes through.
And Mr. Belding discovers that Screech unpacked all their supplies and replaced them with bricks because he wants Mr. Belding to have to catch their dinner. Fucking hell…Screech really is going to kill Mr. Belding! Why is he in charge of anything?
That night around the campfire, most of the gang enjoy their dinner while Maria pushes it aside, horrified at being asked to eat shit. Mr. Belding eats some berries he found shortly before finding out Screech has now hidden his sleeping bag because Screech is going to get every person on this trip killed before the episode is over.
And Nicky and Eric watch a football game while eating popcorn they somehow popped. I still haven’t figured that one out…
During the night, Maria won’t stop fucking complaining about everything and she finally drive Shelly crazy enough that she says if Maria will fucking go to sleep, she’ll get Ryan to take her back to the lodge in the morning. Now, as we’re soon to find out, that’s a six hour trip and she’s sending two teenagers alone, one of whom is a fucking nutcase, which has to nullify some liability forms. I guess it’s better than the alternative, though: send Maria with Screech.
In the morning, we see that Eric can somehow access the internet in pre-WiFi days because the writers don’t understand how the internet works.
Ryan gets so tired of Maria’s complaining that he decides to take a shortcut through another matte painting. Why do I get the idea that, for them, “roughing it” means hanging out in a bad natural history museum for the night?
They come up to a one person bridge, and takes her backpack off to go across but freezes up in the middle. Ryan takes his back pack off to help her out, but their combined weight is too much for the bridge and they just barely make it across before the bridge snaps. But, oh no! Their backpacks, with the map, are trapped on the other side of the matte painting! What will they do?
Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are making lean-tos for some reason, even though, as we’ll see, they’re not spending another night outside. Shelly scolds Nicky and Eric for making theirs out of nails and glue because TECHNOLOGY EVIL and shit, even though everyone except Mr. Belding and Screech are eating purchased food. Also, somehow, they can power a toaster in the middle of nowhere.
Speaking of the Dumbass Duo, Mr. Belding, while trying to catch a squirrel, ends up catching a skunk in stead and gets sprayed because it’s his fault for trusting his life with the dumbest administrative assistant in the history of forever.
Checking back in on Ryan and Maria, they’re hopelessly lost and Ryan finally loses it about Maria’s idiocy. He goes off on her, telling her this whole stupid shit is her fault but then softens his stance when he realizes he’s hurt her feelings because of shit.
But then Ryan trips on a prop rock and instantly knows from his career week training last week that he’s broken his leg, meaning they’ll surely die now because Maria will just sit around complaining that Ryan’s broken his leg and shit.
Back at the Grizzly Cafe, Shelly scolds Screech for not bringing his supplies, which completely contradicts her previous scolding of Nicky and Eric but fuck if the writers care because they’re done with that subplot. Katie and Liz run in and say Ryan and Maria are missing, so Shelly instantly decides to send out search parties because they couldn’t possibly be in the bathroom.
Back at Team Lost, Maria’s suddenly turned into Bear Grylls and starts a fire with sticks and shit. Ryan passes out because broken legs apparently have that effect in this universe. Maria turns to the one option she has left and prays to God. I hate to break it to you, Maria: if God gave a shit about this show, he would have gotten NBC to cancel it about four seasons ago before the abomination Screech came on.
Back at the cabin, Shelly’s recalled the search teams for the night and Mr. Belding tries to console Liz by telling her the rangers will continue looking. Screech, on the other hand, is a fucking shitbag and tells Ryan and Maria’s friends they’re probably dead and shit. Shelly comes in, having found Ryan and Maria’s backpacks. And we get our message of the episode from Nicky and Eric. Care to guess what it is?
“Take survival shit seriously.” Not, “Don’t go down unmarked trails,” or, “Don’t send two teenagers off in the woods alone,” or even, “Don’t let the fucking dumb ass Screech anywhere near your supplies.” It’s, “Take survival shit seriously.”
Part of me wants to scream at how idiotic this entire episode is. But then there’s the part of me that’s died inside because I think I’ve found the single stupidest scenario for a The New Class episode ever. Well, maybe not quite as stupid as Mr. Belding running around Paris with his head plastered or building a house in two weeks, but certainly the most irritating because they haven’t thought any of this shit through.
Back at Maria and Ryan’s grave site, Ryan wakes up to find Maria’s still in full Bear Grylls mode, having set Ryan’s broken bone and gotten water to wash his face and gotten him berries to eat and shit. They hear a helicopter and decide it must be a search party so Maria decides she needs to climb up a cliff so they can see her.
Maria makes it and signals the helicopter with her best Titanic impression, and the episode quite literally ends with Maria saying she somehow knows they found her as Peter Engel’s name comes on to sign off on this whole stupid episode.
Jesus Christ! This episode was painful! Can we never have that excruciating of an episode again? I mean, every time I think I’m heading towards home stretch on this series, I get something awful like this to make it seem like the next twenty-eight episodes will never end. This may have been the worst episode of the series to date.
Firsts: Shelly, Camp Grizzly, the wilderness.