We open at The Max, where Maria rushes in to declare she’s suddenly on the swim team just like Liz and Katie! This serves absolutely no purpose in the rest of the episode other than to give Maria a reason to be pissed about what follows, but, hey, let’s just put all the girls on one sports team just like we randomly put all the boys on one team!
Also, if Maria just came from tryouts, why wasn’t Liz, the team captain, there? I get that the writers of this show don’t understand how high school works, but they could at least pretend!
For the first time this season, the episode revolves around Liz and how this guy named Travis asks her out because her vagina is feeling lonely since Ryan moved away. She’s insecure, though, because she’s only had one boyfriend even though we’ve clearly seen her with other guys this season, but to hell with continuity, right?
In our subplot, the boys find a bracelet on the table that looks like it came straight from one of those gaudy dealers at a flea market. I guess Tony’s continuing his theme of not doing his job very well. Tony decides to hold onto the bracelet in case the owner calls.
And, in our Mr. Belding and Screech subplot, Screech has fucked up and lost Mr. Belding’s speech to the school board because of course he did. What else do you expect when you put Screech in charge of something? He also forgot to tell Mr. Belding that the meeting was moved to two hours ago. Mr. Belding says he’s sick of Screech fucking up even though he passed up a perfectly good opportunity last week to fire him, and says he’s going to make Screech go to a seminar on efficiency instead, as if Screech can be taught anything to do with competence.
Liz and Travis go to see a movie that’s apparently about a dog running away because it’s in a movie being featured on The New Class. While Maria and Katie listen in on the two like a couple of crazed stalkers, Travis whispers sweet nothings in Liz’s ear as he tells her how awesome her hair would be if it were like the woman in the movie we can’t see or hear. Also, we find out Liz is suddenly shy to give public displays of affection in public even though she did so with Ryan about a thousand times.
Tony comes in the middle of the movie and starts talking real loud about the bracelet. “LADY CALL TONY! LADY SAY BRACELET BELONG TO HER! LADY SAY SHE GIVE TONY MONEY TO BRING BRACELET BACK!” Surprisingly, no one in the theater seems upset about Tony’s bad acting in the middle of the theater and Nicky says he’ll bring the bracelet by since the woman’s house is near his.
Back at Bayside, Screech is wearing a suit and walking like John Cleese from Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. Yes, an efficiency seminar is all about dressing in suits and deciding you don’t want to be called by nicknames in the workplace. Well, I’ve been questioning since day one why Screech isn’t Mr. Powers on this show, but the writers want him available to be the seventh member of the gang when convenient to the plot. And he starts his efficiency bullshit by saying Mr. Belding should send a fax instead of attending the basketball tryouts because that makes complete sense.
Nicky tells Eric and Tony that he delivered the bracelet but declined the reward money because plot. Of course, I’m sure it was going to be like a nice shiny quarter since the bracelet didn’t look like it was worth shit, but let’s pretend they could have actually got some money out of it. But Nicky has a new leather jacket, which immediately leads to speculation that Nicky stole the reward money.
Liz reveals her new fashion sense is based on Fran Drescher because Travis loves it and shit. Travis does, indeed, love her hair and convinces her to blow off a swim team meeting at lunch to go to the beach with him. The audience sounds like they don’t know how to respond to these events, uttering noises that make me think they want to lose their shit but aren’t sure if it’s appropriate to the intention of the scene.
After a commercial break, we get a nice recap in case we fell asleep over the last ten minutes. Tony finds out Katie bought the jacket for Nicky for his birthday, but Eric says Nicky’s birthday was three months ago so they decide he’s a big phony, a big, fat, phony. Meanwhile, Maria and Katie are pissed at Liz for skipping the swim team meeting, Travis convinces Liz they’re just jealous that she gets to have the hanky panky with him and then manipulates her into kissing him in public.
One thing to note is that every scene between Liz and Travis in this second half is creepy as fuck. He’s beginning to sound like the villain from a slasher film. Even the audience seems to be completely in the dark about how to react as there’s a very distinct lack of emotions coming from them as they watch this, like they can’t figure out whether to like Travis because he’s doing almost identical stuff to what Zack Morris once did or hate him. It’s very awkward. But we liked Zack Morris because he was Zack Morris so I guess we’re supposed to hate Travis because he’ll never be on the show again.
In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech won’t let Mr. Belding eat his lunch because it’s not efficient. If I were Mr. Belding, I’d kick Screech in the fucking balls and be done with it, but Mr. Belding just sighs and accepts his fate in life like a good peon who’s not got much time left on this franchise.
Travis delivers a fake note to Liz to give him a chance to manipulate her more into doing shit he wants to do instead of what she wants to do. An important note: this teacher is Miss Bickle, who is played by an actress that has already portrayed two other teachers, two mall patrons, the voice of a robot, and a voice at mission control, all since season two, and will still play another mall patron before the show is over. This actress gets around. Peter Engel must have had the hots for her. She’ll actually play Miss Bickle in a few episodes over the next two seasons so this is technically her first regular role on the series.
Also, why is Miss Bickle talking about the Jurassic Period if shit about Albert Einstein and relativity is written on the wall behind them? Come on, writers, you need to communicate better with your prop people!
Travis asks Liz to go out again tonight but she says she needs to get some extra sleep so she’s ready for the relay. He’s all, “Do what I want! Do it! Do it! Do it!” and she’s all, “I guess I don’t need to be in the relay since I’m supposed to be manipulated by you even though I’m usually a stronger character than this on the show. I’m so confused by my inconsistent characterization!”
And Screech has a new plan to eliminate horseplay in the hallway: give the students like ten seconds between classes to get to class, because that wouldn’t actually do the reverse of his plan and throw off efficiency by making students not have time to get shit from lockers or use the restroom or shit…
Mr. Belding realizes what I did five seasons ago: when you put Screech in charge of anything, it’s sure to go wrong because it’s Screech. Now fire him and get it the fuck over with.
In the gym, Eric and Tony act like fucking idiots around Nicky and, as he’s walking away due to the sheer stupidity of their stuff, he overhears them give some exposition about how they believe he stole their reward money, and walks away pissed that he’s the butt of yet another stupid subplot.
Liz reveals to Maria and Katie that she’s dropping out of the relay and they say that if Travis cared about her, he would let her do the things they think he should do and not the things he wants her to do. Liz walks away, convinced that Travis was right about their desire for his penis.
After a break, Liz overhears Katie and Maria very loudly thank a random girl for filling in for Liz. They talk about how they can’t believe Liz is doing shit, leaving Liz looking like she’s constipated and running for the restroom.
Nicky puts a revenge plan in motion, pretending like he bought a new boombox and that he’s going to treat them to lunch at The Max.
And Mr. Belding concludes the other subplot by telling Screech that, now that Bayside is so efficient, he’s going to fire Screech and shit. YES! DO IT! Screech freaks out and tells Mr. Belding that he can’t fire someone who’s so lovable.
Unfortunately, this is Screech’s lovable face, which I’m sure I will soon have nightmares about. Screech learns his lesson that there’s a balance between efficiency and bat shit crazy and we conclude that subplot, unfortunately with Screech continuing on the show.
Eric and Tony join Nicky at The Max to find out he’s bought lots more shit, and they freak out on him about it. Nicky reveals he went to the trouble of borrowing all of that stuff to get back at them for being stupid enough to believe the bracelet would be worth that much money. Turns out Katie’s poor and shit so it took her three months to save up for the jacket, and this subplot ends with vows to communicate with each other, which I’m sure all three will follow to the end of the series.
Travis tells Liz he bought tickets for Pearl Jam on Saturday and tries to convince her to skip a swim meet. He tries to tell her she never does what he wants and finally goes off on him, telling him that he’s a disposable one-shot character and needs to get the fuck off this show while her swim career will continue for the rest of the series when it’s convenient to the plot.
Maria and Katie come in and Liz takes advantage of the last thirty seconds to hit the reset button, apologizing for all the out of character shit she did this episode, and our episode ends with Liz begging the girls to help her get her hair out of that stupid style.
Firsts: Miss Bickle.