Ah, yes, one more mall episode for the season, with Liz explaining that she’s convinced every store in the mall to donate ten percent of their holiday sales to some charity for underprivileged kids, or at least that’s what Katie exposits they are since the dialogue on this show sounds like nothing any kid has ever said. Yes, welcome to our final Christmas episode on this show, and boy is it a doozey, making me wish for the good ‘ole days of clip show Christmas episodes. But there’s no time for thinking about that because Liz continues that the employee who makes the most sales wins a $500 mall gift certificate.
Now I was going to point out all the flaws in this plan, like that an employee of Gadgets and Gimmicks is more likely to win than, say, an employee at the movie theater concession stand since Gadgets and Gimmicks sells higher priced items, but Eric does it for me, pointing out that a pet store isn’t the most likely place to win such a fucking rigged contest. Liz, of course, responds by saying, “Sucks to be you!” and encourages everyone who’s not Eric to do their best and totally not become spoiled greedy bastards.
As everyone else scurries out to win this contest, Maria recruits Eric to help her win the gift certificate so she can buy a new watch, which I find highly unbelievable because it means this episode is implying Tony knows how to tell time.
Meanwhile, in our Mr. Belding and Screech subplot, Screech has quite literally fallen in love with a chess computer Gadgets and Gimmicks is selling and, rather than actually work, he brings it to the food court to play. This angers Mr. Belding since this is the one specific thing he asked Screech not to do, leading me, once again, to ask how he has a fucking job! Any of his fucking jobs!
In the hallway, Katie uses her feminine wiles to lure nerds to join the gym because she learned nothing from unwanted sexual advances a few weeks ago when it happened to her.
And Nicky and Tony convince Screech to go see Sludge Monster in the theater because I guess that counts as a sell and shit.
Maria has Eric sing a song about eating snacks at the Teen Machine and, because this mall has the most easily impressed patrons in the world, good singing makes all the patrons instantly run into the Teen Machine as if Eric is the Pied Piper of shitty mall clubs. When Eric suddenly realizes his voice is like capitalist voodoo, he decides it should be used towards getting him the gift certificate.
At Gadgets and Gimmicks, Screech chases a customer off rather than sell her the chess computer because Screech just sucks at life and, once again, should not have a job. Any job. Mr. Belding misses this termination worthy exchange and sends Screech to the back to find a toaster or some shit, and sells the chess computer while Screech is gone.
Naturally, this makes Screech freak the fuck out and act over-dramatically as if Mr. Belding just sold Screech’s favorite sex toy. God this show disturbs me sometimes. Seriously every scene with Screech this episode, my jaw just drops to the floor…
At PetZilla, Eric uses his musical wiles to convince people to buy hella lots of lizards and shit, because Eric singing is enough to convince a random mother that lizards are the best shit ever. We also find out that PetZilla sells rattle snakes, once again, leading me to question whether the writers understand the difference between a pet and a potentially lethal animal.
Maria’s none too happy about Eric’s decision to use his voodoo for himself, though, and sabotages Eric’s next performance, because his amp apparently has a setting that makes him sound like a brain dead chipmunk. In the meantime, Liz wanders around pontificating about how great it is everyone is doing shit for the charity and tells Eric and Maria that the others are doing shit too, which they can’t have.
So Eric goes and finds Nicky and Tony giving out random shit to people for seeing a movie, and I’m glad to see Tony’s finally not wearing makeup on set. As soon as they’re gone, Eric makes a small child cry so he won’t want to see the movie, because now I’ll definitely feel sympathetic towards his eventual quest for redemption.
Meanwhile, Katie continues seducing nerds with sex…
…but Maria’s ability to use sex in her advantage trumps Katie’s, and she convinces the guy to come and look at her breasts at the Teen Machine.
Now here’s another problem with this entire plan: none of these stores are mutually exclusive, so there’s nothing to stop this nerd from both joining the gym and going to the Teen Machine if he hopes to have a threesome with Maria and Katie, but I bet this will never be addressed. I bet they also won’t have Nicky and Tony address the fact that their girlfriends are using sex to sell shit.
Back at Gadgets and Gimmicks, the customer who bought the chess computer brings it back and wants it deprogrammed so it no longer talks about the sex acts it wants to complete on Screech. Screech tells him it’s broken beyond repair and tells the guy to leave his address and they’ll send him a refund, which leads me to believe that, in addition to all the other shit the writers of this show don’t seem to understand, we can add refunds at retails stores to the list. Mr. Belding comes out to find the chess computer returned and is shocked the guy returned it since he bought it for a dying father or some shit, leaving Screech feeling constipated judging by the look on his face.
At the Teen Machine, the head of the charity shows up with two underprivileged kids. We’re going to see other poor kids in this episode and I think they all have something in common: the costume designers went out to a random Goodwill and bought whatever old looking clothes they could find in a desperate attempt to make the kids look what they believe to be poor. Seriously, are these two kids Depression-era farmers or what?
But, yeah, in front of the woman, Eric comes in and he and Maria start expositing about all the shit they’re doing to each other to win as Eric releases a rat on the floor to scare everyone out of the Teen Machine.
Then everyone else comes in and starts yelling about Maria and Eric’s sabotage, the charity lady says they’re not going to accept any shit from this mall because of a couple of stupid kids who could just easily be fired if you complained about them, and Liz is left looking exasperated and wondering why she didn’t just go film for The Bold and the Beautiful today.
In the food court, Maria and Eric bicker some more so that anyone who fell asleep during the episode can pick up on the important plot points. Liz tells them they’re fucking stupid and just ruined things for the Joad kids. Maria and Eric decide it’s time to come up with a plan that will make everything okay and hit the reset button.
Speaking of stupid resolutions, Screech finally confesses to Mr. Belding what he did and says he’s sorry he wanted his masturbation fantasy device back. He says he’ll deprogram the chess computer and send it to the customer. Rather than being cause for termination, because Screech, once again, learned not to act like an irresponsible moron as a grown ass adult, everything’s okay now, so of course he won’t lose his job.
At the Teen Machine, we find out Maria’s plan. First she has a bunch more of the Goodwill kids come in and sit on the floor…
…as Mr. Belding and Screech come in dressed as Santa and a very stupid Rudolph.
And the clincher of the plan is that Eric uses his musical voodoo on the kids in the form of his rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which instantly enraptures the kids because they apparently like this more than kid oriented Christmas songs the producers couldn’t afford the rights to.
Eric’s magical musical voodoo works on the president of the charity as well, leading her to declare that, since everyone’s sorry for acting like fucking morons, everything’s okay.
Eric reveals he’s getting his mom a lizard with a big fake horn on its nose, and I feel for the fact there’s a live lizard that suffered the indignity of being on this show. Not since the snake back in season two has an animal had to suffer so much in this franchise.
And our episode and our season ends with Mr. Belding giving out presents to all the kids who were almost screwed out of a happy Christmas by a couple of selfish assholes who will, as usual, suffer no consequences for their actions because that would actually require real, thoughtful writing and shit. And we can’t have none of that stupid drivel on this, the best show in the world ever to star Tom Wade Huntington!
So I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I’ve always said I try to be fair to the producers of this show for things that weren’t necessarily within their control, like out of order episodes. And, yes, seasons six and seven are artificially separated seasons, all filmed for airing in 1998, but broken up in half to give us an extra year of excruciatingly horrible television. As such, I won’t be doing a separate recap for season six, but will wait and recap it along with season seven in January, if for no other reason than I don’t really want to have to analyze Tony twice. So tune in next week as we dive into the last god damned season of this awful show!