Category Archives: All Saved by the Bell Episodes

Saved by the Bell: The Original Class…Reviewed!

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When Wedding in Las Vegas aired on October 7, 1994, it was essentially the end of the original cast’s era. Sure, Screech went on to be the most annoying administrative assistant ever on The New Class while Zack Morris, Slater, and Lisa will make cameos, and there were a few more novels and comics produced featuring the original cast, but the closest we’ve come to a reunion has been the Jimmy Fallon sketch. Most of the cast hate Dustin Diamond so much that it’s likely we will never get another live action entry for the original cast.

And if the franchise started with a whimper, with the only reason anyone took notice of Good Morning Miss Bliss being the collaboration between NBC and Disney Channel, it went out with a bang. Zack Morris and Kelly’s wedding was highly promoted and The New Class even shoehorned in a reference to make sure everyone knew this was happening. Hell, even if you didn’t watch the show, you probably knew the wedding film was being aired.

And, nearly thirty years after the original class made its on screen debut, the series has become legendary. Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski, Screech Powers, and A.C. Slater are household names among kids from my generation. And the legend continues to be well known. When the YouTube series Teens React did an episode in honor of the original series’ twenty-fifth anniversary, some of them readily recognized Saved by the Bell.

And it’s no wonder. The original series has been in near constant syndication since before it left the air. As of this writing, reruns continue to air on MTV2. At times, edited episodes of Good Morning Miss Bliss and The College Years have even aired in the rotation. The show that was panned by critics has become a legend today and shows no sign of going away anytime soon.


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I’ve said about as much as I can in the reviews and individual recaps, but an interesting question I have barely touched on is: why has this silly franchise persisted when so many others have faded? It’s clear from the documentaries that the people responsible for this show had no fucking clue, and the critics and academics fared little better. Maybe this is why The College Years crashed and burned so hard: there was no serious thought behind why people actually watched this show.

To me, it appears to be a combination of things. Boys wanted to be Zack Morris, the cool, attractive, athletic guy who almost always got the girl and could always scheme his way out of trouble. Girls wanted to be Kelly Kapowski, the cool, pretty, popular girl who everyone wanted as a friend and who seemed to have it all, despite coming from a lower economic class than the rest of her friends.

But, more than this, it was a microcosm of high school life, and I think the critics are on to something when they say we hoped things would turn out for us as well as they did for the Saved by the Bell characters. I mean, hell, Zack Morris was a slacker and managed to get into an Ivy League college. Screech was a fucking dumb ass and managed to not let his own stupidity get him killed (and people liked him, for some reason). And everyone seemed happy and part of a group.

And it was just pure fun. Very few people took the stupidity of some of these episodes seriously. Did anyone seriously think caffeine pills were dangerous? Did we really believe the government was stupid enough to mistake Screech for an alien? Were we really in the dark how unrealistic this portrayal of high school life was? I don’t think so. We took it for what it was: a gloriously ridiculous show that only bore a passing resemblance to reality.


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And behind it all was Zack Morris, undoubtedly the central character to the original cast. What we don’t tend to remember is how much of a sociopath Zack Morris was. I mean, hell, he actually got married just to prevent Kelly from going on a semester at sea program. What it boils down to is that Zack Morris had no concern for anyone but himself (unless, of course, the plot called for it to be otherwise).

The New Class tried and failed to replicate Zack Morris four times. There can only be one, and his antics are what made the show. It’s been argued that Zack Morris and Slater were essentially the same character and, while there are similarities, their personalities were definitely different. No one will ever accuse Slater of being the sort of sociopath that Zack Morris became.

For six years, Zack Morris gave hope that one could do whatever the hell they wanted and get away with it. I mean, who wouldn’t want that? From coming to class nearly naked to getting virtually any girl he wanted, rigging elections to gaining admission to a university he clearly didn’t deserve, Zack Morris was a role model for the boys and a sex object for the girls (and the gay and bi boys).

The problem is that the longer the original class aired, the more serious they took themselves, and that just didn’t work. We went from goofy episodes about Screech getting psychic powers or Zack Morris thinking Kelly was a psycho in season one to the drudgery that was much of season four and The College Years. It just didn’t work to take this goofy, so-bad-its-good show and try to turn them into Full House. And that’s exactly what many of the later episodes were: boring shadows of how the show started.


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Would Saved by the Bell make it today? I think it would. Think about how many cheesy shows on Disney and Nickelodeon owe their existence to the Engle-verse. Would Hannah Montana or Drake and Josh have become household names had there never been Bayside High? I tend to think not. Saved by the Bell wasn’t the first live action scripted show to be primarily marketed to young teens, but it was the first to show that such shows could be successful and, more importantly, profitable.

Even if NBC is no longer producing programs aimed at teens, the legacy continues and will continue. There will continue to be teen comedies and dramas for the foreseeable future. Some will be more popular and successful than others, but all will owe their existence to an accidental success: a teen sitcom about a sociopathic young boy, his five easily tricked friends, and their naive school principal. Oh, and there was a shitty magician thrown in there for a season as well.


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I don’t think any of us will ever know for sure what the on-set dynamics were like. I tend to think Dustin Diamond was full of shit at least eighty percent of the time in his tell all, and the Lifetime biopic is almost certainly equally inaccurate. Watching interviews with the cast, I tend to think most of them have a genuine affection for one another. Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley seemed genuinely happy to be together again on Extra, and the whole cast minus Diamond and Voorhies seemed to work really well together on Jimmy Fallon.

Most of the cast have, understandably, distanced themselves to some degree to avoid being typecast. The big exception is Dustin Diamond, who’s still trying his damndest to ride the B-list celebrity status that thirteen years associated with this franchise gave him. What’s for sure are that these actors were talented, even Diamond, and that the success of the show depended a lot on their performances. After all, look how horribly The New Class falls flat due to bringing in a bunch of actors who couldn’t cut it.


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It’s time to say goodbye to most of the original cast. We’ll have another opportunity to say goodbye to Dustin Diamond and Dennis Haskins. For now, though, it’s time to bid farewell to the rest of the original cast.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar found himself typecast following The College Years and had a bit of trouble finding work. He got his big break in 2001 when he was cast as a replacement for the lead role on NYPD Blue. Since then, he’s aced almost constantly, with his other most famous role being the titular Franklin on Franklin and Bash. As of 2015, he’s married and has two children. All in all, it seems like he has a good life.

Mario Lopez has acted nearly constantly since The College Years was cancelled, with recurring roles on The Bold and the BeautifulNip/Tuck, and The Chica Show. But his most famous role has, by far, been as the co-host of Extra. He’s also somewhat of a fitness expert, authoring his own book on fitness.

Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, or Tiffani Thiessen as she prefers to be called nowadays, found steady work faster than any other cast member as replacement Shannon Doherty on Beverly Hills, 90210. No, really, she was replacement Shannon Doherty. She was even briefly considered as a replacement for Doherty on Charmed. She’s worked nearly constantly. Other than 90210, her most famous role was as a regular on White Collar. As of 2016, she seems to be taking a break, with her last acting credit being the Jimmy Fallon sketch, presumably taking a break to raise her new baby.

Following Saved by the Bell, Elizabeth Berkley made the mistake of starring in the so-bad-it’s-good cult film Showgirls, as I’ve made fun of her for several times. Though she’s continued to act over the years, many people find it difficult to take her seriously, which is unfortunate, as Showgirls being as terrible as it was clearly wasn’t her fault. She’s had very few recurring or starring roles as a result, with notable exceptions being on The L Word and CSI: Miami. She also runs a non-profit, Ask Elizabeth, which aims to help teenage girls overcome personal issues, and is raising a beautiful family.

Lark Voorhies has been, perhaps, the least successful actress post-Saved by the Bell. She’s been in a lot of stuff, but her only recurring roles have been on Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, and In the House. She’s been twice married and divorced and recent photos seem to suggest she’s been having Michael Jackson levels of plastic surgery. Her last acting credit was in a 2014 children’s show, and she seems to be keeping a low profile nowadays. She’s also the only cast member that seems to be cordial to Dustin Diamond nowadays.


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And now what some of you have been waiting for: the future of this blog on Fridays. When I began, this was as far as I knew I wanted to go with this blog, and it has been a painstaking process, especially since I added The New Class to the mix. I’ve been keeping a steady pace on this blog for nearly two years and have never missed a deadline. While reviewing the original class, my life has changed drastically, and I’ve even lived in multiple countries since this blog began. I’m tired.

Some people expressed surprise that i decided to go directly into The New Class when I finished Good Morning Miss Bliss. It was partially motivated by the fact that I knew this day would eventually come: the day when all I have left to review are episodes of the bastard stepchild of the franchise.Given the reputation of The New Class, I didn’t quite fancy having nearly three more years of reviews to go when I finished The College Years, so I decided to jump right in and get it over with.

But I need a break from this pace. I’m definitely continuing The New Class on Mondays, but Fridays will be less structured. I’m eventually going to finish reviewing the comics and delve into some of the other oddities of the franchise (and, yes, the Lifetime biopic will probably eventually be in that mix). I’ve considered reviewing the teen novels, of which thirty-seven exist, but it would mean tracking down all these on ebay and Amazon Marketplace and then actually reading them. And I’d still love to delve into some of Peter Engel’s other TNBC series, though a full TNBC Reviewed blog doesn’t seem tenable given that some of the more obscure series seem to have disappeared without a trace. What should come once I get some energy back? You let me know.

For now, thank you for reading the rambling of a guy who managed to miss Saved by the Bell completely during the nineties despite being the age of the target demographic. I know it may be tempting for some of you to leave now, but please don’t! Share my pain as I review the final three seasons of The New Class! Don’t make me do it alone! In the coming weeks, we’ll get to experience the dangers of marijuana and herbal supplements, watch the gang build houses for Habitat for Humanity and travel to Paris, and wonder why Kareem-Abdul Jamar was so desperate he accepted a cameo on The New Class. Doesn’t that sound exciting kids?!?

I know. I’m kidding myself again.

Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas

If I’m completely honest, I’ve not been looking forward to this review. Hawaiian Style was a pain in the ass to review so I’ve been anxious about whether this one would be as well. Yet, it really is a finale for the original cast so I can’t well justify ignoring it. So, here we go, with our final outing by the full original cast.

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And, naturally, our film about a wedding in Las Vegas opens…in the woods…

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…with guys with weapons prowling around it…

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…and surveillance staking out the enemy. You know, did Amazon send me the wrong film? Maybe this is some war film and I need to complain to get the right one sent to me. Hell, if that’s the case, maybe I should just review that film. Maybe it would be better than what I came to review.

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No, that might be interesting. Instead, we’re watching Zack Morris, Slater, and Screech playing paintball, because that’s what I was expecting in this film. Yeah, they ambush some guys on the other team, eliminating their enemies, and then monologue about how this is their last weekend out before Zack Morris gets married. Slater’s back to his old characterization, too, as he doesn’t give a shit about Zack Morris ruining his life. Instead, he’s worried about Zack Morris not getting anymore vagina if he’s married to Kelly, but Zack Morris emphasizes that Kelly’s the girl he’s always wanted because fuck Stacey, Andrea, and Tori.

Just then, they’re ambushed by three more members of the opposite team because they suck at math. The other team doesn’t fire right away because plot, and this gives the boys an opportunity to create a diversion the best way they know how: argue, have Screech act like a moron, and then push him down so he can get a hold of a gun. They’re able to shoot their three ambushers, winning the game and ending our cold opening.

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And we go into the credits in Las Vegas despite the fact our characters won’t be there for a little while because the producers want to assure you that this really is Wedding in Las Vegas.

While we’re watching the credits, I want to mention when this  film takes place. Last week, Zack Morris was ready to immediately rush off to Vegas to get married. The New Class claimed that Screech was off to attend the wedding in the middle of season two, after he went to work at Bayside. Later in the film, we’ll find out Jessie skipped finals to be at the wedding. And it must be noted that Slater, Screech, Kelly, and Lisa all have dramatically different hair styles than last week.

So, when does this take place? Fuck if I know. I don’t think anyone involved in the production of this franchise knows either. In any case, it takes place sometime after the end of The College Years and Zack Morris decided to randomly stop off in Las Angeles before he got married.

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And, take it in: we get, perhaps, the only full exterior shot of Bayside we’ll ever see as the boys randomly decide to stop there. They even put up a sign that said “Bayside High School” so you know the props department went all out. The boys brag about how horrible of students they were and then decide to get going before they have to meet the new versions of them that are now wondering the halls.

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Slater drops Zack Morris off at his house, which looks suspiciously different than it did in the series (almost like they’re using a different set!) and Zack Morris has an uncomfortable dinner with Derek and Melanie. Derek continues his disapproval from last week’s episode over the upcoming nuptials, and says Zack Morris is a fucking dumb ass for getting married so young because money and success and shit. He says he refuses to be at the wedding, causing Zack Morris to go up to his room in disgust.

On a side note, I think this is the first time Derek and Melanie have actually shared a scene. Who knew that a husband and wife could manage to never see each other. I have to give it to the producers, though: they got the original actors for Derek and Melanie back. They even brought back the same actor who played Frank Kapowski in season one even though these are the types of details that only someone as anal about shit as me would notice. Kudos on attention to some semblance of detail.

Melanie follows Zack Morris upstairs and tells him that, though she thinks he’s too young to get married, she supports whatever choice he makes, though she can’t attend his wedding because Derek has put his foot down and everyone knows the woman can’t cross the men because of outdated gender norms.

Melanie gives Zack Morris a concession prize of two vouchers for free rooms at the Stardust she won during poker night at church, and they hug with her wishing he was still a little boy and Zack Morris thinking how much of a better father Peter Morris was.

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The next days, the rest of the original gang sans Jessie comes to pick up Zack Morris. Seems they’ll be travelling in separate cars in order to better facilitate the shenanigans that are to follow. The girls will be in Lisa’s convertible while the boys will be in Slater’s SUV he suddenly has even though he had to borrow Mike’s car to drive home for Thanksgiving just a few weeks ago. But who the hell cares about consistency? This is Saved by the Bell after all!

So you know what I’ve been thinking Saved by the Bell has been missing all these years?

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Scenes of driving of course! We get to see the gang travel out of Las Angeles because that’s exciting shit! The girls soon fall behind the boys and, when Zack Morris calls Lisa on her mobile phone to talk shit, they make a bet that whoever gets to Vegas first will have the loser buy them dinner.

Now, of course, if they just made it to Vegas immediately and got married, this would be a very short film. So, in addition to scenes of driving, we need some conflict…

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…which starts when Lisa’s car randomly breaks down on the side of the desert and the car phone is out of range. Kelly wonders if the boys will be worrying about them.

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The boys have problems of their own, though, as Zack Morris randomly took the driver’s seat from the last scene and decided to take a shortcut which, in sitcom cliches, means they’re going to hit trouble. He gets pulled over for speeding by Sheriff Myron Thorpe, who I’m pretty sure is supposed to be a corrupt back country cop, but really just comes off as congested and easily annoyed. I mean, hell, Screech isn’t half as annoying in this scene as we all know he can be but he still acts like a jack ass anyway.

So, the sheriff tells Zack Morris that nobody speeds in his county and gets away with it, except for all those people who probably speed in his county and get away with it…

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…which seems like the perfect line to go to a commercial break with a shot of a rattlesnake that will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the rest of the film. I wonder if it’s the same rattlesnake from that season two ranch episode of The New Class? If so, I bet this poor snake is wishing they’d quit randomly inserting her in this franchise.

We come back from break with Zack Morris still dealing with Sheriff Thorpe. Turns out Slater has lost his registration so Sheriff Thorpe has to run their plates because he wouldn’t do that otherwise? I’m pretty sure this isn’t how a real traffic stop works…

The sheriff comes back and arrests our male protagonists, saying the car’s been reported stolen. Yeah, they finally get arrested for something in this franchise and it’s actually something they don’t deserve jail for.

Kelly and Lisa continue hoping for the boys to come by and help when help arrives…

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…in the form of a random guy walking up through the desert. Meet Curt Martin, who says he’s a teacher at an Indian reservation nearby…in the desert. While Lisa is suspicious of him, Kelly believes he’s their salvation, and he turns out to be half competent. He quickly assesses that the fan belt broke and overheated the radiator, so he MacGyvers Lisa’s belt into a replacement fan belt and gets the car running. He also hitches a ride with them to Vegas, saying he was about to hitchhike out there when he found them since he works at a hotel part of the year to make ends meet. Though Lisa wants nothing to do with him, Kelly, ever the naive optimist about human nature, brings him along.

And we get plenty of bantor between Lisa acting as the stuck up rich girl and Curt acting as a hippy type. Oh, casual classism, it’s about time you found your way back into this franchise!

At the police station, the boys are allowed to randomly stand around and annoy a deputy while the sheriff does other stuff because it’s common to keep possible felons out in the middle of the station. Oh, and the deputy’s last name is “Dano” because that will give them the opportunity to say, “Book ’em, Dano!” and everyone knows a Hawaii Five-O reference is almost as good as an actual joke.

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So we get to see the boys getting their mug shots, starting with Zack Morris…

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…and Slater…

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…and…oh, god…I’m pretty sure in the pre-digital age that this sheriff department wouldn’t randomly waste a bunch of photographs on Screech acting like a dumb ass and not seeming to understand that he’s potentially being charged with a felony. God, how did he not die at some point out of pure dumb assery?

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Sheriff Thorpe tells them that the car really has been reported stolen and they fit the descriptions of the perpetrators. As such, he’s going to put them in jail. God, this better all pay off for something that actually makes sense.

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Yeah, Screech is actually awe-struck to be in jail. They’re also sharing their cell with one of the ZZ Top looking guys who used to be on Home Improvement and a guy who apparently killed his wife and stuck her in the trunk of his car. I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time that real life has inserted itself into this franchise. It’s like Criminal Minds meets Saved by the Bell. At least one of the CSI techs will be around in a bit to help them out with this.

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Kelly and Lisa arrive in Vegas. Curt departs, saying he hopes he’ll be of some help to the plot later in the episode. They go to check in but find out that the boys haven’t arrived yet. In that short period of time, Curt has put on a hotel uniform and revealed himself as a bellboy. This will be a running theme of this film: being able to quickly change your clothes to accommodate the plot.

Also, Lisa starts showing one reason she’s in this film: to put doubt in Kelly’s mind that Zack Morris actually wants to marry her, because she’s just a shitty friend like that. She suggests maybe Zack Morris has cold feet, but Kelly assures her that Zack Morris is completely different than the sociopath she met five years ago.

Meanwhile, in jail, Screech annoys everyone but ZZ Top and crazy murderer wants to dance with the boys so we have an excuse to have a gay panic joke.

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The sheriff comes and says he got the word from Sacramento that really was Slater’s car, but he’s still not releasing them because they have to appear in court for the speeding violation because that’s the way speeding tickets work. Sheriff Thorpe reveals he’s a corrupt cop after all and Screech, being a complete dumb ass, just blurts out how much money Zack Morris has. He gives Sheriff Thorpe all his money but $40 and the sheriff allows them to go on their way as Screech and ZZ Top exchange phone numbers so they can hook up later.

Yeah, it’s never really clear what all this was about but it’s implied the whole stolen car thing was just bull shit to allow a small country sheriff to blackmail people from out of town into giving him money. As such, it’s not entirely clear why Zack Morris chooses to handle the events that follow as he does since none of this is his fault and he surely has a case against this department. Also, apparently Slater never thought to just call his father because we don’t want an obvious solution to a stupid situation.

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Back in Vegas, the girls marvel over the Considine Diamond, a completely fake jewel that convienently lists its market value for anyone wishing to steal it. Yeah, I’m sure this random insertion won’t play any other role in the film.

In any case, Kelly and Lisa decide they’re tired of waiting for the boys nnd they need to burn some screen time, so they decide to burn some run time by having Lisa give Kelly her wedding present…

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…a nice little two minute montage featuring manicures, pedicures, massages, and saunas, because THIS is what you want to show and not just recap later. This franchise needs to go back and take a basic creative writing course.

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Meanwhile, the boys arrive in Vegas without further incident. Zack Morris decides that, after being illegally detained and having to pay a bribe to a corrupt sheriff, the best course is to not tell Kelly and Lisa about any of this because we need to create pointless conflict in this film. Naturally, Screech almost blows it right away because he’s a complete moron.

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Slater gets the romantic subplot of this film, though, as he spots one of the girls from CSI, no doubt investigating a murder. She smiles at him, which is practically a signal to fuck on top of the slot machines.

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Slater decides the best way to get Zack Morris’s money back and waste some more time is to randomly caddy  at a golf course because complete amateurs are always allowed to just drop in and make money.

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Of course, they caddy for a bunch of assholes, including one who makes Slater go into the water trap to retrieve balls…

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…and another who wants Zack Morris to help him cheat.

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Screech’s might be the most sane, but he’ll soon be insane by Screech’s usual stupidity, including making as much noise as possible during tee off.

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Eventually, Slater’s player runs out of balls and sends Slater to the pro shop to buy some more. There, he sees the CSI, who’s no doubt there undercover waiting to jump on a perp. No, actually, her name is Carla and she’s the manager of the pro shop and, though she seems nice enough, she gives Slater the cold shoulder on a date because we need to waste some more time before they eventually get together. Is it just me, or are they basically copying and pasting the Zack Morris/Andrea romance from Hawaiian Style?

While Slater’s at the pro shop, Zack Morris and Screech manage to crash two golf carts loaded with clubs into the water trap, angering the players, who say they’re completely incompetent, despite the fact Zack Morris was helping the guy cheat like he wanted. They fire the duo as well as Slater despite the fact he wasn’t even there because why the hell not, and we’ll not see the golf course the rest of the episode. That was a nice waste of time, wasn’t it?

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So, with that important plot out of the way, it’s time for a pool montage so we can get lots of shirtless and bikini shots of our cast because that’s why people are really watching this film. The only relevant thing we find out here is that Zack Morris is supposed to meet Kelly at the wedding planner’s office the next morning.

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For some reason, Carla’s hanging out at the Stardust pool because it makes complete sense to have a local using a resort’s facilities. Despite her hesitation to have anything more to do with this film, Slater convinces Carla to go on a date with him that night.

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Of course, something has to be up with Carla so we see two random goons watching her because conflict.

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Meanwhile, Zack Morris recaps the fact they’ve lost their money to Screech and Gilbert Gottfried overhears . Oh, yes, if there was something I’ve always thought Saved by the Bell needs, it’s an appearance by the man with the most annoying voice in the world.  And, yeah, like every movie he’s in, Gilbert Gottfried is here to play the role of the shifty plot device who’s going to bring in some more conflict. In the case of this film, he’s here to convince Zack Morris and Screech to become…male escorts…

Jesus fucking Christ! Who thought this was a good idea for a subplot? Zack Morris is giving Kelly ample reason to distrust him.

Though they’re initially hesitant to take the gig, Gilbert Gottfried tells Zack Morris and Screech how much male escorting pays and they instantly agree to sell their bodies to needy older women. And, if The New Class‘s timeline for this film is correct, Screech is also cheating since he was dating Alison at this point. How lovely. They’re both pieces of crap!

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At the wedding planner’s office, Kelly and Lisa marvel over dresses that are too expensive even if Zack Morris hadn’t lost all his money to a corrupt cop. Of course, Zack Morris is a no show and Lisa continues serving her purpose of planting doubt in Kelly’s mind about whether Zack Morris really wants to get married  Of course, Kelly is one hundred percent confident in Zack Morris for the time being because the plot demands it.

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And what important task is Zack Morris learning? Why, cliche “walking with a book on your head” shit of course because we need more Gilbert Gottfried apparently. Yes, our idiots are getting training in being male escorts, which I’m sure will include a bedroom training between Zack Morris and Screech. The training done, Zack Morris gets his first assignment: meet a woman at the revolving restaurant on the top floor of the strip, and he rushes off to meet Kelly.

He arrives at the wedding planner and assures Kelly nothing’s wrong despite the fact they’ve never had an adventure in five years that didn’t involve something going wrong. She tells him she made dinner reservations at the top of the strip, and, of course, it’s the same time as his escorting gig because this film isn’t finished exploiting cliches yet.

That night, Screech is manhandled into a pink limousine for his assignment.

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Meanwhile, Lisa encounters Curt, and her hostility for him is really forced at this point. I get being suspicious of a shirtless guy coming out of the desert, but he’s a hotel employee talking to you. Are we really to believe that Lisa is this classist? Curt randomly asks Lisa on a date to a steak buffet and she accepts because that plot just came the fuck out of nowhere. If anything, I thought Curt was going to cause conflict between Zack Morris and Kelly, but I guess we can’t imply Kelly would ever question her complete devotion to Zack Morris.

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Screech’s date definitely wants to touch Screech’s winkey dink, and this seems to gross him out since he was hoping Violet or Alison would be the first to do that. I still find it unbelievable that any woman would find Screech attractive, even a woman obviously this desperate for the touch of a man, or some semblance of one. I feel sorry for a woman willing to pay good money for him.

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She does what most sex-deprived women do: take a complete idiot who agreed to escort for Gilbert Gottfried to tango. Of course, I have questions about who would hire Gilbert Gottfried to get them an escort in the first place, but I would sure ask for my money back.

It’s time for dinner and we get the tired cliche that’s been done in so many films and television shows it’s completely obvious how it will end: Zack Morris arrives at the restaurant with Kelly and tries to keep his escorting date at the same time.

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He sneaks away to meet his other date, a Russian woman who speaks very little English, but just enough to create a misunderstanding that Zack Morris wants to marry her, because why the hell not? Of course, fulfilling the cliche, Kelly comes over and catches them, and she says that she should have listened to Lisa this whole time and realized Zack Morris is a piece of shit. Actually, if you were really paying attention, Kelly, you would have realized that way back in season one of the original series. She runs off, realizing what most of us have known for years.

Also, we keep hearing that this is the most expensive restaurant in Vegas, but Zack Morris only has $40, some of which he used to buy Lisa dinner earlier. How, exactly, was he planning on affording dinner for Kelly and how is he eating at all?

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To save money on sets and, despite the fact the two restaurant plots don’t intersect at all, Slater and Carla eat at the same restaurant and share their backgrounds, with Slater insisting he didn’t have girlfriends overseas despite the fact this was a plot point for an episode of the series.  Carla won’t talk much about herself, though, and says she doesn’t have a boyfriend.

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Back at the restaurant, Carla’s ex-boyfriend, Freddie Silver, shows up to create some conflict for our final half hour. When he won’t leave Carla, Slater punches him out. Carla tells Slater to run, and the two goons from the swimming pool come in and chase Slater and Carla out of the restaurant. Turns out they’re working for Freddie Silver, whoever the hell he is since the film has done absolutely no foreshadowing to get us to this point so let’s just role with it. They run through the restaurant and the casino to eventually arrive back in the boys’ room.

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Zack Morris, meanwhile, decides the best way to resolve his current subplot is to climb out on the balcony and try to make it to the girls’ room without falling to his death, which will mean breaking an entering into someone’s room who doesn’t want to see you right now but, hey, who the hell cares about making Zack Morris look any more like a jack ass at this point.

Back in the boys’ room, Carla tells Slater that Freddie Silver is a “bad man with bad connections.” Yeah, that explains everything! She says she broke up with Freddie when she realized but he’s a dangerous man, which is why they have to get out of the room when the goons manage to track them to a specific room thirty seconds later. Yeah, that’s believable.

Slater gets the same idea: for Carla and him to climb into the girls’ room, and he discovers Zack Morris about to fall to his death. Slater climbs over and helps Zack Morris and then pulls Carla over. In the process, Zack Morris tells Kelly he whole story. She instantly forgives him because that’s what the plot needs right now and we wouldn’t want her to question too much why Zack Morris is such a socipath.

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In the room, Kelly tells Zack Morris she doesn’t care about any of the shit he has been the entire episode and they can just get married in a small chapel for all she cares, thus rendering most of what’s happened before completely pointless.

Carla reveals there’s more to Freddie than wanting to murder Slater. See, he came to Vegas just to steal the Considine Diamond because stealing expensive jewels from a low security area like we saw earlier is a plausible get rich quick scheme. Lisa says she thinks she has a way to get them out of this…

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…and she has Curt sneak Slater and Carla past the goons on a luggage cart while someone gets Slater’s SUV so we can get another character involved in this whole thing. Of course, our resident dumb ass pulls up at exactly that time so he can show why he wasn’t in this scene, other than to show a really desperate woman trying to molest him: so he can turn the luggage cart around and the goons see it.

The boys and Carla rush off in Slater’s SUV while the goons steal a taxi to chase after them, which I’m sure won’t bring unwanted attention to potential diamond thieves. After all, grand theft auto is no big deal in the Saved by the Bell universe unless it directly affects the plot, like earlier in this film . The girls and Curt follow not far behind in Lisa’s car just because we need everyone involved in this shit.

What follows is a three way car chase where no one acts with any sense, driving erratically through the streets on the night the police must have taken off. They all hit a red light, leading to a foot pursuit after the boys and the goons randomly abandon their cars in the middle of the street because no one cares about anything in Vegas. And, no, we’ll ever actually find out what happened to the cars.

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So the boys and Carla randomly break into a wax museum during the foot chase. The goons are really bad at this chase thing, though, as they are far enough behind that the boys and Carla have the opportunity to change into random costumes that just happened to be laying around, including Zack Morris reprising his casually racist Arab getup from season one of the original series. The goons run out of the museum, not having found our heroes, and the four believe they’ve escaped, even after looking directly at them and not being able to recognize faces like most people in this franchise.

A random man threatens to call the police unless our heroes get the fuck out of there because he apparently hasn’t heard this is the day the police station is closed. Zack Morris asks Carla the obvious: why didn’t she call the police and tell them what she knows about Freddie Silver. She responds that she’s been followed constantly and hasn’t been able to. Um, we saw you in the pro shop earlier and the only one there was Slater. Even if the goons were outside and out of sight, you could have called the police and asked them to come down. I seriously doubt the goons would have made a move on you with cops there, and the police could have protected you. But that would have rendered all this pointless and we can’t have that.

The boys and Carla casually walk down the sidewalk, apparently having forgotten the goons were onto them only moments ago. Naturally, our duo walk right past them and the chase is on again and, god, can someone just die and get it over with? This fucking chase is taking way too long!

The girls and Curt spot the others and stop their car in the middle of the road to join the chase because why the hell not at this point! The chase leads into a casino, where they’re soon spotted after Screech doesn’t understand that hiding under a table involves not letting people know that you’re there. And, yay, more thrilling chase as they go backstage at some scantily clad show, which gives Zack Morris an idea…

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…dress the four of them up as scantily clad women! Unfortunately, since the plot demands it, the goons can now recognize faces in costume. The girls and Curt go backstage to try and get the rest out and yeah, a guy backstage calls security, but the goons show them credentials and say they’re security. I don’t understand who these people are supposed to be! But, yeah, they pull out guns and take our seven bumbling idiots hostage, finally putting an end to this whole stupid chase thing that was making me want to go to sleep.

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They just happen to be in the hotel Freddie Silver is staying at so the goons take them upstairs, apparently no one in the hotel caring that there’s two guys brazenly walking around with guns drawn. They’re ready to kill our seven protagonists when Curt offers to help them steal the Consadine Diamond if Freddie lets the rest of them go. See, Curt’s father owns the Stardust, a point not even slightly hinted at throughout the rest of the film, and he says he can get Freddie in to steal the diamond.

Lisa wonders why Curt wouldn’t tel her that so she could stop treating him like shit and he’s all, “Insert cliche about not caring about wealth here.” In any case, Freddie takes Curt up on his offer but says he won’t let the rest go until he has the diamond.

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Curt dresses as a security guard and opens the safe successfully while Screech prattles on about being Janet Reno’s nephew. Hey, it’s about as believable as him being Jim Harbaugh’s cousin. Freddie sends his goons in to steal everything in the safe.

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But, now, we see the only reason for the paintball shit in the cold opening. The boys do the stupid routine again that fooled their opponents earlier, punch out Freddie Silver, and lock his goons in the safe. Lisa says she can’t believe that worked again and I wonder how she knows it worked in the first place. Did they give her a whole thrilling recap of the paintball game?

Well, the police are working again so Curt calls for security as Zack Morris and Kelly make out to how sexy it was they got to do one more unrealistic thing in this franchise before they get married.

Everyone makes their way to a cheap wedding chapel, ready for Zack Morris and Kelly to get married. And you can tell it’s cheap because there’s a husband and wife Elvis impersonator team, a pregnant woman, old people, and someone who looks suspiciously like Tori, all waiting to be married.

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And the writers decided we needed one more Gilbert Gottfried appearance, so here he is as an officiant, ready to marry our duo with his grating voice that kills ear drums.

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But it’s not meant to be because Derek and Melanie burst into the chapel and object! See, Slater called Derek off camera and convinced Derek he needed to support Zack Morris. Yeah, we could show ten minute chases and pedicure montages but we couldn’t show Derek Morris going through the only character development he’s received in any of his appearances in this franchise. He says that he’s decided it’s Zack Morris’s life and, if they want to get married, they’re not going to let Gilbert Gottfried be the officiant so they say give them the next scene and they’ll have a super great wedding!

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And, right on time, the wedding is on! Kelly’s parents are even there, apparently also getting over their objections from last week’s episode of The College Years. Apparently Zack Morris also gets two groomsmen, which begs the question why Kelly couldn’t have all three girls standing with her and why last week’s subplot was necessary at all.

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We cut to our assembled “former cast members who have no more time than a scene for this stupid movie” and they all brag about how they know Zack Morris and Kelly. Uh, guys, you all know each other. Remember? Mr. Belding randomly showed up at Thanksgiving with food. Or were Mike and Alex busy making out with Marsha Warfield?

Leslie is conspicuously absent. I guess she stopped caring about the wedding when The College Years was cancelled and she found out she didn’t have a job anymore.

Also, Mr. Belding claims Zack Morris and Kelly met in his school. Unless Kelly moved with them from Indianapolis, this conflicts with so much that’s been established about when Kelly became a part of the gang. But we’re ten minutes from the end of the original class, so who the hell cares about continuity at this point.

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But it’s not a wedding without Jessie randomly running in and interrupting shit because she didn’t have the decency to call and say she was coming, even color coordinating with Lisa, which is quite a task for someone they didn’t know was coming. Naturally, she gets to stand with Lisa as a bride’s maid, which really calls into question the point of last week’s subplot. Also, we find out she skipped finals to be at the wedding and will just take summer school to make it up. Um, Jessie, college doesn’t work that way. You know most colleges only allow you to repeat a certain number of classes and they’re not always offered every semester? Methinks this is the real reason Jessie had to stay in Vegas and be a stripper.

So, to pad out some time, we get a nice montage of clips of Zack Morris and Kelly over the years to remind us that, yes, they really are in love and not just in a horrible codependent relationship that will end horribly. Absent are references to Kelly cheating on Zack Morris with the captain of the starship Enterprise or the many times Zack Morris treated Kelly like shit. But, hey, this is supposed to be a fairy tale wedding the tweens will remember and gush over well into their thirties, so we have to make it perfect. But they do creepily remind us that Zack Morris had a cardboard cutout of Kelly that descended from his bedroom ceiling.

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And so the wedding goes on with only a mild interruption from Screech acting like a dumb ass, and, though Kelly has one more opportunity to pull out of this shit before it’s too late, she doesn’t, and she’s now Mrs. Zack Morris. And all this just to keep Kelly from going on the semester at sea program, in case you forgot the stupid ass reason that got us to this point to begin with.

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At the reception, it’s time for our cameos to get individual screen time with Zack Morris and Kelly. Alex hopes they won’t forget her crazy ass now that they won’t be living in the suite.

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Mike gives Zack Morris a big bear hug, sad his acting career is now basically over, and says that he wished he’d had the opportunity to figure out who the hell the writers wanted him to be.

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Mr. Belding says he wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to throw his professional boundaries to the wind one more time and that they were very special to him, unlike the dumb asses walking the halls of Bayside now. He tells them to not forget to visit in case a rich alumnus who loves one of Zack Morris’s relatives who just happens not to be at the wedding tries to randomly shut down the school .

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Jessie tells Zack Morris he better take care of Kelly or she’ll come back and kick his ass if she doesn’t kill her acting career with a horrible movie.

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Zack Morris thanks everyone who appeared in this film despite the fact it was destined to be incomprehensible to anyone who wasn’t already a fan of this franchise, and they invite everyone to their new apartment.

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After Slater toasts them, Kelly’s family comes in to earn their paychecks and tell Kelly they’re proud of her. Two of her brothers are there as well, the littler of the two I assume is the one the gang once babysat. Absent are her sister since she was spurned by Zack Morris, and the brother who’s a big football star at Bayside.

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Derek tells Zack Morris he has a lot of faith in Zack Morris that, since he’s conned his way this far in life, he’ll continue to do so and make it despite the odds.

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Outside the Stardust, it’s time for everyone to go their separate ways, and Lisa prepares to go back to the reservation with Curt because now that she knows he’s rich, she wants him badly. And, if they end up together, it makes Screech’s stalking of Lisa well into their twenties all the more creepy.

Screech gives them a teary goodbye. Zack Morris and Kelly they ll him they’re sure they’ll see a lot of him, but he tells them, no, he’s going to randomly take a position at Bayside that means he’ll only be back at Cal U to randomly bring some students there.

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Slater and Carla leave together, with Carla apologizing that her subplot padded the running time of this episode to keep the event people tuned in to see from happening too soon, and Kelly says that’s okay because Carla will one day be on a much better show that also takes place in Vegas.

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Kelly throws the bouquet and, in one final cliche, Screech catches it, just as his desperate client finds him again and begs him to give her his sweet man chowder.

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Zack Morris and Kelly hop in a limousine and kiss as it pulls away.

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And our film and the era of the original cast ends with the Stardust congratulating Zack Morris and Kelly on making a stupid mistake that the writers only went through with as a stupid gimmick to end this part of the franchise on a ratings high point.

Final thoughts on this film? It is what it is. Though Hang Time will later refer to it as a cult film, it’s hardly anything but an attempt to give fans closure on the cliffhanger from the last episode of The College Years. As I’ve said before, it’s so apparent that this wasn’t going to be how the season two premiere of The College Years was going to go so it’s kind of painful to just see them unquestioningly move towards a marriage based on Zack Morris’s sociopathy.

This film was never going to have wide appeal. It knows its audience: people who invested five years of their life into finding out if Zack Morris and Kelly would get together. There’s so much padding in this it’s painful, and I counted eleven interwoven subplots, which was way too many for this film. There’s also something very unsatisfying about the titular wedding, as if it’s an after though being thrown in at the end.

With that being said, I think I slightly favor this film over Hawaiian Style. It at least has a point, and its events will be referenced later in the franchise, unlike the other film. To top it off, it was a good idea to bring Jeff Melman back to direct this. Melman directed almost all the episodes of The College Years, so his involvement does at least give the film a consistent feel.

As Slater says, it’s the end of an era. It’s time to move on.


And that, my friends, is it for the original cast, as hard as that is to believe. I’ll have bonus posts next week on Wednesday and Thursday. Next Friday, tune in for one final overarching recap on the original cast era, where I’ll share my final thoughts on the era spanning Good Morning Miss Bliss, the original series, The College Years, and both films.

Saved by the Bell Season 4 Recap

Season four of Saved by the Bell is simultaneously the weirdest and least consistent of the seasons. Pretty much every source from interviews to documentaries to the Lifetime biopic each confirm that this was intended to be the shortest season since the first season but NBC, at the last moment, decided to expand the number of episodes for maximum profit. This would normally be a disastrous move but, as we’ll see, it didn’t turn out as bad as it could have…or as bad as most people remember.

This is a complicated season to recap as well since the twenty-six episodes fit into four categories, none of which really have anything to do with one another: Kelly-Jessie episodes, Tori episodes, clip show episodes, and out of season episodes. I’ll deal with the first two categories in a moment. All I’ll say about the clip show episodes is they’re horrible, each more terrible than the last, and completely worth skipping unless you have a penchant for the most boring episodes of the series. They’re not even worth putting in my bottom episodes list because they’re not even real episodes. I won’t talk much about the out of season episodes but they will come up later.


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The Kelly-Jessie episodes are the eleven that were intended to air this season. They were considered to be an epilogue for the series, featuring the gang’s senior year and providing some closure as to the series. And, to say the least, these episodes were underwhelming. They were so all over the map and provided no character development that lasted longer than an episode. Zack Morris and Lisa date…and then never speak of it again. Screech dates Punky Brewster and then break up with her. Slater and Jessie & Zack Morris and Kelly renew their relationships and redeclare their love for one another…and then never mention it again. With the exceptions of “The Fight” and “Graduation,” I really can’t understand the purpose of most of these episodes.

This doesn’t even take into account how stupid many of these episodes are. A square dance senior prom would bring open rebellion from the students. Nobody cares about Screech’s love life or his spaghetti sauce. And we get a completely unbelievable excuse to put Zack Morris in charge of the school and a resolution to the plot that left a Donald Trump presidency looking plausible by comparison. All of our favorite characters were really at their worst in these episodes, as we’ll discuss more in characterization. If these had been the only episodes of the season, this would have been my least favorite of the series.


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The Tori episodes are the ones usually remembered as bad and I think the reason has been voiced by many people in the comments: many people were bitter that Tori replaced Kelly and Jessie. And I will be the first to say she’s not a good replacement for Kelly and Jessie. With that being said, she’s not bad as people make her out to be and, more surprising, the episodes featuring her this season are of a higher quality overall than the Kelly-Jessie episodes. Even the worst Tori episodes, like “Day of Detention” and “School Song” are a lot better than the worst Kelly-Jessie episodes. Tori brought something different to the series and, for that, I’m impressed.

It’s even more impressive considering these episodes were kind of ordered at the last minute to pad out the season. The writers could have very easily just blow off these episodes and not done crap with them and, though we would have hated the episodes, we wouldn’t have been able to blame them. Instead we got some high quality episodes that aged well and are enjoyable. There’s faults with the episodes, like every Saved by the Bell episode, but, with the possible exception of continuity issues, the faults are easy to overlook.

Where and how exactly these episodes fit in is another matter entirely. Kelly and Jessie don’t seem to exist in the Tori episodes. This has lead to lots of fan speculation, from the idea that they take place in a parallel universe to Chuck Klosterman’s theory that Zack Morris and the gang just weren’t hanging out with Kelly and Jessie during these episodes. I have trouble accepting either explanation because of some continuity problems during the season. Slater has a new magic sister, Lisa doesn’t seem to remember that she dated Zack Morris earlier in the season, Slater doesn’t seem to remember Zack Morris’s relationships with Kelly and Stacey, and Screech goes back on his promise to stop sexually harassing Lisa. The biggest problem of all, though, is the fact that some elements of the Tori elements find their way into The New Class episodes, including the school song and Little Zack. It’s just impossible to resolve these contradictions. As such, I don’t think there is a satisfactory explanation. It’s just one of those things we have to accept, like the magic move from Indiana to California.


Let’s talk characters.

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Zack Morris is douchey, as usual. This isn’t helped by his competing claims in both Hawaiian Style and “Senior Prom” that he has either loved no one like he did Andrea or no one like he did Kelly. One might excuse this as just being a horny teenager who can’t make up his mind, but he doesn’t reflect on his changing tastes so it’s not clear there is character development. So much on this show is done off camera so you never know, but we need to be able to see it to be sure that it’s real.

Having so many out of season episodes, though, did demonstrate that Zack Morris has grown somewhat. He has more of a conscience than he did during season one and, rather than being a complete sociopath, is only a partial one. After all, he does engage in a pissing match with Slater over multiple girls who aren’t attracted to either of their dumb asses. I continue to fail to believe he was admitted to Yale as well and am convinced the writers don’t understand college admissions requirements.

He’s at his best in “Earthquake,” taking charge of a bad situation and turning it around. If he was like this in every episode, he might actually be a decent human being. Instead, he’s a caricature because that’s what we’ve gotten used to. Naturally, he’ll probably lose any character growth once he reaches college.

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The number of out of season episodes also shined the spotlight for me on how Slater has changed. Whereas Slater started as a rival for Zack Morris, he evolved into a clone of him, with the only discernible difference being a worse taste in fashion. Really, Slater hasn’t had a whole lot to do this season. The problem is he doesn’t have much to do this season. Only two season four episodes focused on him: one on his relationship with his father and the other one on a sister that had never been mentioned before and will never be seen or mentioned again.

Sure, he had a brief flame up of his relationship with Jessie that came the fuck out of nowhere, but that doesn’t really cut it. I miss the rival Slater, and I think that was something this series drastically needed: regular tension that wasn’t always forced through situations and guest stars.

In any case, I can’t hate Slater. He was just there. I don’t believe for a second, though, that, in real life, he would hang out with Zack Morris or Screech. The girls maybe, but not Tweedle Preppy and Tweedle Dumb. In any case, his just being there must have paid off since little girls fought over who made them tingle more: Zack Morris and Slater and, in the end, maybe that’s what Slater contributed the most to Saved by the Bell.

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Screech is a moron and the longer he’s with this franchise, the bigger a moron he is. I’ve decided that Screech’s biggest function this season is to be a walking, talking plot contrivance. Really, the only episode he’s truly the focus of is “Screech’s Spaghetti Sauce” and that episode is fucking stupid. He’s around to tell secrets, to cause drama, and to prevent anyone from dating Lisa except for himself. The fact that someone doesn’t punch him every episode is beyond me.

Really, he’s the court jester, the one who makes the lame ass jokes that make no sense. Despite this, he pushes on, convinced of his own humor, which is not so far from Dustin Diamond in real life. I don’t believe for a second he’s the real valedictorian or that he could really create artificial life. Screech reminds me more of a Ralph Wiggum or Peter Griffin than an Einstein. The fact that he was admitted to multiple Ivy League schools but chooses Cal U instead says it all. No semblance of common sense.

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Kelly hasn’t changed a bit over the past four years. Not a bit. She’s around to be pretty and give all the little boys boners. That’s it. There’s an ample comparison between “Video Yearbook,” an episode produced during season two, and “Senior Prom,” both of which feature Zack Morris doing despicable things to Kelly and both of which lead to Kelly instantly forgiving Zack Morris to get back to the status quo. Really, if it weren’t for her being overly nice, she wouldn’t have a personality at all.

I’m going to say something controversial: I didn’t miss Kelly much during the Tori episodes. She just doesn’t do a lot of important things. She has a role in “Student-Teacher Week” and a major plot in “Senior Prom,” but both plots are only in relation to Zack Morris’s plot. This season, Kelly only does things in conjunction with the rest of the gang. She doesn’t do things on her own.

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Jessie is at her strongest when she’s the moral center of the group, which doesn’t say much considering she’s pretty much a caricature of feminism. This gradually fades over the years until there’s only a handful of instances where she acts as the ethical one. Other than that, her only other discernible character trait is being a psychopath…about everything. Going off on Slater. Believing a t-shirt to be sexist. Wanting to be valedictorian way too much. All signs of an unstable mind.

It’s no wonder Slater’s really her only boyfriend over the course of the series. I mean, you could count her dance partner in “Dancing to the Max,” but that guy just didn’t know what he was getting himself into. She ranks as just slightly more tolerable than Screech but, suffice it to say, I won’t miss her on The College Years. It was time for Jessie to go, even if that exit was only caused by Elizabeth Berkley doing an NC-17 movie.

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Lisa finally got shit to do this season! After spending much of the last three years as just a big plot contrivance as Slater, she actually got to date Zack Morris for an episode, even if that was quickly forgotten in the realm of plots the producers didn’t care to carry over for more than one episode. Not to mention the fact that, in the Tori episodes, she kind of becomes a lead girl, picking up the slack for Kelly and Jessie. It’s the way she should have been used throughout the series.

And, yet, something was still missing. It feels like the producers never took Lisa seriously. Out of all the characters, she shows the most growth over the course of the series, even growing to tolerate Screech, a feat I’ve not yet accomplished. I like Lisa and I wish she had carried on to The College Years.

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Mr. Belding hit his stride in season two and he’s been going downhill ever since. He shows so much incompetence in administrating Bayside this season that one could make the argument it’s foreshadowing things to come in The New Class. At his best, he’s a wise mentor and a foil to Zack Morris. At his worst, he’s the butt of stupid jokes and just kind of existing in limbo within the series: kind of there but kind of not.

Mr. Belding is the one character who shouldn’t have been the focus of too many episodes but I still wish we could have saw the wise caring Mr. Belding more often. He only goes down after this season and it’s hard to believe that Dennis Haskins really thought his character was growing in the right direction. Rather than character growth, I think we saw character decline in Mr. Belding, not quite as drastic as Screech, but there nonetheless.

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A commenter asked me last season to be easy on Tori and judge her on her own merits, not on her legacy within the fandom. Fortunately, this is where never seeing the series before came in handy. Tori was original. If there’s a previous character I’d compare her to in terms of personality, it’s Stacey. She’s brash, independent, and doesn’t take Zack Morris’s shit. Her relationship with Zack Morris was quite sudden and not really developed, but I attribute that to the low number of episodes she was in.

Naturally, her absence from “Graduation” raises questions despite the fact we know the actual reason for her absence: “Graduation” was filmed before Leanna Creel joined the cast. The solution could have been simple: make her a junior and make her the starring character in The New Class as she befriends a new generation of characters. Unfortunately, people rebelled against Tori. She replaced a popular character and she was never going to be accepted because of that.

Tori got a bum wrap. She’s not the best character ever, but she’s not annoying. She doesn’t deserve the reputation she’s received and, I dare say, there were many times I found her more interesting than Kelly or Jessie. We’ll never know what the potential for her character could have been but there were so many things they could have done with her.

As for Leanna Creel, she continued trying to act throughout the nineties but she never landed another major role. Her next best remembered role was as half of Mike Seaver’s love interest in an episode of Growing Pains (she’s actually a triplet; her sisters appeared in that episode as well). According to IMDB, she currently works as President of Production at Ignite Entertainment. In any case, she never shook the fact that she was the most unloved character from Saved by the Bell  and, last year, appeared in Bayside: The Musical, partly as a way to find closure in her own experience from Saved by the Bell.


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When I started this blog last year, this was as far as I knew for sure I wanted to go. And here I am. Naturally, it’s morphed into a monster featuring multiple incarnations of the franchise, and I’ve loved it completely. Yet there’s something kind of sad about leaving the original Saved by the Bell behind, even if I know that I’m not leaving the original cast yet. This is the series that people look back on fondly as a nostalgic part of their childhoods. This is the series that made six young faces household icons. There’s something special in that and, though I’m not done with this blog, I’m aware that there’s about to be a shift.

I’m not going to do a grad recap of the entire series. I’m saving that for after The College Years. But I’ve enjoyed the process of really dissecting this series. I hope you have, too. If I have made you smile, think, or notice something new in your favorite childhood show, this blog will have been worth it. I’m sure I missed a lot, but I’m only one person. Hopefully, I’ll inspire some other blogger to write about the things I haven’t. Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing this blog. It’s been such a rewarding experience for me so far and I’m looking forward to completing the rest of the franchise.

It’s quite clear that the franchise was not intended to continue. The College Years and The New Class were both huge cash grabs as there was a finality about “Graduation,” even if it was ultimately unsatisfying as a series finale. But I move on, now, to Peter Engel’s attempt to keep the Saved by the Bell cash train going.


My Picks:

As usual, I encourage you to agree or disagree with my picks in the comments section below.

Five Episodes I Loved:

1. “Earthquake” (Episode 21): There’s no question in my mind this is the best episode of the season. It showcases Zack Morris simultaneously at his best and worst and really shows him stepping up to help both Mrs. Belding and Tori. The whole gang really steps up in this episode and it was a quite enjoyable, solid episode.

2. “Teen Line” (Episode 6): I don’t buy the concept of the gang running a teen line, but I like this episode for Zack Morris being forced to confront his own prejudices. It actually shows a rare bit of growth on his part and it’s a nice change.

3. “Slater’s Sister” (Episode 16): Ignoring the inconsistent characterization of Zack Morris and the fact Slater’s sister has never been mentioned before, this is actually a pretty good episode on its own. Slater’s animosity about Zack Morris dating his sister is actually a bit justified and it’s nice to see Slater actually do something.

4. “Masquerade Ball” (Episode 7): Another nice Zack Morris growth episode. If only more could be more episodes could be more like this one. On top of this, Tori proves she’s not one to be fucked with and both Zack Morris and Slater receive much earned comeuppance.

5. “The Bayside Triangle” (Episode 5): FINALLY a good Lisa episode. I heard Lark Voorhies and Mark-Paul Gosselaar were actually dating at the time of this episode, and it shows: the chemistry is there and right and I actually found myself rooting for a Zack Morris/Lisa relationship. The only reason this episode doesn’t rank higher is because of Screech’s idiocy. There was no reason for his jealousy and it’s actually stalker-like behavior for him to control Lisa when she’s never shown a bit of interest in him.

Three Episodes I Hated:

1.  “Snow White and the Seven Dorks” (Episode 20): I hope whoever thought this would be a good idea for an episode was fired. I never wanted to see a rap version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and it just comes off as completely stupid. If I bought a ticket to the performance, I’d walk out. Oh, and the Zack Morris and Jessie possible romance was so forced it wasn’t even funny.

2. “Screech’s Spaghetti Sauce” (Episode 3): Punky Brewster comes off as a caricature of a gold digger and what’s sad is she really doesn’t do anything worse than Zack Morris has ever done. On top of that, the fact the gang actually believed Screech could make them money just showed how much they never truly learn.

3. “Video Yearbook” (Episode 18): This one is just stupid. If Zack Morris really gave girls’ contact information away to possible delinquents, he’d receive more punishment than a “GOTCHA!” He’s at his worst in this episode and, what’s worse, Screech is just as bad as him and gets no punishment.

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 26: “Graduation”

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So I guess Zack Morris’s scheme to replace the normal yearbooks with video yearbooks only lasted as long as it was a plot point because we see all kinds of people getting autographs in their yearbooks in the opening at The Max. Seriously, this could have been the perfect opportunity for lots of subtle references to previous episodes for people like us who pay way too much attention to the details of these episodes, but we apparently have more important things to do, like one more foray into the administerial incompetence that is Bayside.

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Our gang’s excited because they’re done with their last final exam and Screech is a moron like usual, which makes what’s to come seem even more far-fetched.

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Jessie’s super pumped because, if she got an A on the final, she’ll be valedictorian and, since intelligence and quasi-feminism are Jessie’s primary two attributes, this would be the best thing in the world for her. Lisa tells her to fuck off with her fake humble bragging while Kelly’s bummed that their high school career is soon to be over.

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Sylvester, Pete, and Ollie come around to remind the girls to be on time for ballet rehearsal. Like usual, our gang is involved in every possible extracurricular activity so naturally they’re also involved in ballet. I’m more confused by Ollie’s sudden reappearance, though. I’m pretty sure this is his first actual appearance in an episode this season. They brought him back for the series finale but they couldn’t be bothered to bring back any real memorable guest stars?

Zack Morris has to run because Mr. Belding wants to see him. He figures Mr. Belding’s going to miss Zack Morris so much he wants to give him a goodbye blow job so he rushes off to see his soon-to-be former principal.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Mr. Belding reveals the real reason he wanted to see Zack Morris: incompetence. You see, during Zack Morris’s sophomore year, he apparently dropped a class. In the two years that followed, no one bothered to warn him that this lack of a credit would prevent him from graduating and apparently Bayside doesn’t do any graduation audits until it’s too late to do anything about it so Zack Morris is just screwed. He has to go to summer school all because Bayside apparently has the worst administrators on the face of the planet.

Yeah, I don’t find myself defending Zack Morris very often, but this is fucking bull shit and I’m pretty sure Mr. Belding would be fired for allowing such a thing to happen under his watch, but we haven’t given a damn what high schools are really like for the past four years so why start now?

In the hallway, the rest of the gang find out about Zack Morris’s predicament and, in the usual contrived Saved by the Bell fashion, the girls say it’s a shame Zack Morris isn’t in their dance class since the recital counts as the final and isn’t until Friday. This is despite the fact that, two minutes ago, they were super excited to be finished with their last final. So far this is painful as a series finale or a regular episode.

After the rest leave, Zack Morris tells Slater he has a plan to get into the recital. He returns to Mr. Belding’s office under the pretense of asking for advice on a course to take during summer school.

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While there, Pete comes in and tells Mr. Belding he pulled a muscle during rehearsal and won’t be able to be in the recital. This upsets Mr. Belding since everyone worked so hard.

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Of course, in the hallway, it’s revealed that, predictably, Pete isn’t hurt at all but pretended at the beckoning of Zack Morris and Slater, all for a Letterman jacket because that’s incentive to just quit something you’ve been working really hard on. But this is the Saved by the Bell universe so everything has to work out for Zack Morris in the end no matter what the other students at Bayside have to give up.

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Mr. Belding, depressed and desperate to save the recital, says it’s too bad Zack Morris doesn’t have dance experience. Zack Morris claims he’s been taking dance lessons for the last ten years. Mr. Belding promises Zack Morris that, if he dances in the recital, Mr. Belding will makes sure he gets the credit he needs to graduate. After all, Mr. Belding’s been incompetently administering this school up to this point so why care about the fact that a final exam is only part of the final grade now?

At the recital, the nerds suck up to Jessie for no reason, asking for an extra special ass kissing message in their yearbooks from the soon to be valedictorian. Jessie eats up the attention of people she barely paid attention to the last three years her head is practically ready to explode.

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Mr. Lazaar, the dance teacher, introduces Zack Morris as their replacement dancer and, with the girls still in disbelief, Zack Morris immediately starts sucking at dancing, but not nearly as much as a certain inferior gang a few years later.

Also, Sylvester has the sniffles. Yes, this is actually going to play into the plot in a few minutes.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Lisa shows Mr. Belding the “B” medallion she’s made for the valedictorian to wear. She’s even had Lisa try it on for size. Mr. Belding, continuing in his theme of incompetence for this episode, doesn’t follow education privacy laws so he flat out tells Lisa that Jessie isn’t the valedictorian.

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Yes, that’s right, the stupidest, most incompetent student at Bayside beat out Jessie for valedictorian by a tenth of a point. Screech, proving how stupid he is, runs out of the office insisting he won’t accept the valedictorian and tells Mr. Belding to find another one. I’m pretty sure that’s not how valedictorian works. He’s still valedictorian even if he refuses to give a speech. But why start making sense now.

Lisa chases Screech into the hallway where he says he knows how important the honor is to Jessie so he won’t take it over her. He makes Lisa promise not to tell Jessie that Screch refused to be the valedictorian.

Mr. Belding comes out and delivers bad contrived news to the gang: the nerds are sick so they have to cancel the recital after all. The girls will be graded on their attendance and work to this point but, for Zack Morris, that means that, once again he needs to find a way to earn his credit.

Also, Mr. Belding tells Jessie she’s the valedictorian and, for once, doesn’t violate privacy laws by telling her the reason why.

Mr. Belding and Mr. Lazaar agree that, if Zack Morris can find replacements for the ailing nerds, the recital can go on. Gee, I wonder who’s going to fill in?

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At the recital, we find out Zack Morris’s plan to save the recital: put Slater and Screech in place of the ailing nerds, Screech in a giant red chicken costume. The performance actually doesn’t suck as much as one would expect, especially given that I’ve already reviewed The New Class‘s take on this scene, but Screech in that costume is just terrifying. He even throws eggs into the audience afterwards because…Saved by the Bell has no clue what ballet is really like?

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In the hallway afterwards, this is apparently the first time people haven’t walked out on a ballet performance at Bayside so everyone gets As and Zack Morris gets to graduate. The gang reminisce as they realize this may be their final time loitering in the hallway, but Zack Morris is all, “Fuck Bayside! I’m never coming back unless a rich industrialist we met in Hawaii wants to close the school, but what’s the chances of that happening?” Also, we finally find out that Screech choose to go to Cal U and that he’s upset he won’t have any company there. Oh, Screech, you’re only going to be at Cal U for a year so what the fuck does it matter?

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The rest of the gang conveniently leave Jessie and Lisa alone, where Jessie talks smack about Screech. Lisa lets it slip out that Screech gave up being valedictorian for her and, as Lisa walks away after telling off Jessie, Jessie is obviously moved by Screech’s sacrifice for her.

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And it’s time for the final Saved by the Bell scene: the actual graduation. Mr. Belding says he has more memories involving this class over the last four years than any other class and he’s sure his experiences with them will serve him well as he violates boundaries like never before over the next seven seasons.

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Jessie gets up to give her valedictorian speech but, instead, says that Screech is the real valedictorian and brings him up on stage to honor him. Screech says that he’s not much of a speech person so he brings Zack Morris up on stage to give a speech. Of course, Mr. Belding does nothing to stop all this because it’s completely normal to just randomly bring people on stage during graduation. Why, let’s just allow the whole senior class give speeches while we’re at it!

Zack Morris says he didn’t realize how much Bayside meant to him until it was time to graduate, meaning that, in the space of a scene, he’s resolved his conflict off screen about not giving a shit about Bayside. This would have been a much more interesting plot than the whole ballet thing but why start writing good, compelling stories now when we can just have character development happen off screen and have the characters tell us about it later?

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Mr. Lazaar helps Mr. Belding pass out diplomas because why bring back any of the iconic regular teachers like Miss Simpson, Mr. Dewey, Mr Tuttle, or Miss Wentworth to help out when we can just have a guy help out we only met this episode? God, I hate how cheap this show is sometimes. It’s also a good thing that Bayside doesn’t hand out their diplomas in a sensible alphabetical order and just does it randomly for the most dramatic effect. Jesus Christ, is there nothing about high school this show can get right?

The extras from this episode go first of course, followed by the gang in reverse credits order, each having an emotional reaction to receiving their diploma. Tori and anyone else not having a role in the episode apparently fail to graduate because no one except our six main characters matter in the slightest when i comes to this show.

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Zack Morris and Mr. Belding finally give the audience their long-awaited embrace, hoping for more at the after party. Mr. Belding tells Zack Morris that he know Zack Morris will turn out to be something special and he hopes to be around to see it. Too bad he’ll be with an inferior cast who won’t turn out to be anything special at all.

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Zack Morris gives us the final monologue of the season, proclaiming that the state of California has actually seen fit to grant him a high school diploma despite the fact that the closet he ever came to learning anything at Bayside was when he did a project on his fake Native American ancestry.

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And our episode, our season, and our series ends with our gang and the assembled extras cheering and tossing their hats into the air as we freeze on Peter Engel’s name one more time.

This was pretty bad for a series finale. I wanted something special, not just your run of the mill episode with a half-baked unbelievable plot written by people who never went to high school, much less understand how it functions. I guess this is the mediocre ending we get, though, as Saved by the Bell fades off into the sunset.


And, so, that’s it for Saved by the Bell. It’s hard to believe but this is it for our original series. Don’t worry, though. I’ll have a recap of season four on Wednesday. Also, there’s still three and a half seasons of The New Class left to go so I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. And that’s about it, right?

Oh, yeah. Join me again next Friday as we learn how Zack Morris, Slater, Screech, and Kelly fair in college as we join our gang on The College Years.

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 25: “The Time Capsule”

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We open  our penultimate episode with Mr. Belding completing the all important task of polishing his picture frames. It’s an older Mr. Belding, too, as you can tell because he has a mustache. Mustaches always indicate age.

Yes, it’s the year 2003, despite the fact that Mr. Belding is still in his old office when we know he got a new one in season two of The New Class. This is the clip show episode people have been warning me about since I started this blog. Oh, how bad can it be?

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Bad. Meet our graduating class of 2003, proving that the producers of The New Class never do stop recycling the character templates of the original series. This gang makes even Brian seem like a competently designed character by comparison, though, as they seem to enjoy talking in ways that openly people who haven’t been a teenager for a very long time would think teenagers talk. Also, I lived through 2003. I’m pretty sure their fashion was pretty outdated by then.

They tell Mr. Belding they found this metal case buried outside and Mr. Belding instantly recognizes it as a time capsule buried by the class of 1993. He says this was a special class and he was very close to it. Very close. He opens it and finds a video tape.

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Naturally, since the gang are the only members of this graduating class who matter, they’re the only ones featured on the tape. Yeah, this is how a real time capsule would look. Totally.

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They’re also apparently wizards because they rigged a booby trap for Mr. Belding that he somehow didn’t manage to set off in ten years, even with Screech all over his ass for much of that time. It’s nice to know Mr. Belding never opens that particular drawer in his file cabinet. It’s probably where he keeps his stash to cope with Screech.

The rest of the episode is about as competently produced as one would expect, as each member of the gang share their memories of their four years at Bayside featuring clips from the show where there was obviously never a camera present to record the events the time capsule is depicting. It also shows dream sequences, which means that there are cameras in their brains apparently.

It’s also strange how it’s supposed to be a retrospective of the series but the vast majority of it is clips from season one and two episodes. I don’t think they know what a retrospective is.

Also, Screech wants to pick up girls in the future. Nice to know he was always a creep with pedophile tendencies from the beginning.

In any case, all of the 2003 gang think their 1993 counterparts are super cool and they wish their 1993 counterparts were still around so they could make love to their prototypes.

The 1993 gang each give a message for the 2003 gang. Maybe this episode won’t be a complete waste and we’ll actually get some wisdom out of it? Nah, it’s just old cliches and character traits of our gang, complete with my commentary.

Jessie: Take care of our planet so the kids of 2103 can enjoy it as much as we do. Peace and love. [Jessie, the kids of 2103 will be much more concerned with caffeine pill addiction than environmental issues! Get with the program!]

Slater: Bayside was the first real home I ever had. Be good to it, or I’ll come and get you. [New Screech might actually enjoy the sound of that.]

Lisa: All my fashion secrets are taped to the back of my old locker, number 144. In the meantime, keep on rockin’ Bayside. [Nice to know Lisa’s characterization is shallow as ever.]

Screech: Class of 2003, let me leave you with one wise thought: be kind to geeks, dweebs, and nerds. Ten years from now, they’ll be the ones with all the money! [Except for Screech, who grew up to lose all his money to hookers and drugs, made a bad porno, pissed off his former cast mates by publishing a fake tell all book, and went to jail for assault.]

Kelly: No matter what happens, keep on smiling! And when life hands you a lemon, make some lemonade! [Keep on smiling, even through your loveless marriage to Zack Morris! Geez, I called Lisa’s characterization shallow? I guess this is the essence of Kelly: keep on smiling!]

Zack Morris: High school is the best time of your life! So love it, live it, and enjoy it! And, if you have any time left, do some homework. {And sometimes, in between, dress in drag and go on dates with your nerdy best friend.]

The real lesson here: clip show episodes suck, and having a premise you think is clever such as the gang recording a time capsule video doesn’t make them any better. I’m honestly unsure of which is worse: this or “Best Summer of My Life.”

And, before anyone says it, I know the premise of this episode directly contradicts the finale of The New Class. I’ll have more to say about that next year when I finally reach season seven, but, suffice it to say, both episodes can’t be true.

In any case, our episode ends with the gang smiling on as they prepare to go into the final episode…

Firsts: A look into the future.

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 24: “School Song”

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Our final look at the Tori-verse opens with a triumphant entry to The Max by Zack Morris. Ah, to be Zack Morris this close to graduation! He’s majorly psyched and says no one at Bayside will ever be able to compare to him, no matter how often the producers try to replace him with douche bags and fake Swiss people!

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As the gang are the only seniors in the world who matter, it’s their job to come up with a class gift. Zack Morris ants to kiss every girl in school, which I’m pretty sure he’s already done at some point, but, hey, a second time to be sure couldn’t hurt! Last year’s senior class gave Bayside a VCR so Lisa wants to make sure they give the school something that will last just as long, like a laser disc player!

Slater says that Zack Morris is graduating, therefore that’s a good enough present. Zack Morris doesn’t understand what’s so funny and the gang lets him know in no uncertain terms that he’s the biggest goof off the school has ever had.

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In glee club practice, the gang think their school song sucks ass because it’s an actual school song and stuff. Lisa suggests the senior class gift be to write a new school song .

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Mr. Belding, meeting with the senior class gift committee, thinks it’s a good idea to update their school song and agrees to the project. When Zack Morris comes in late, Mr. Belding makes fun of Zack Morris like everyone else does this episode. The background characters join in and Zack Morris suddenly feels like a jack ass for the first time in five years.

Zack Morris overhears Mr. Belding tell the rest of the gang that Bayside will always be grateful for the composers of their school song, and this naturally gives him an idea to write the song alone that I’m sure won’t backfire at all.

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Since our gang are still the only seniors that matter, the five of them are writing the school song themselves. Also, Slater apparently knows how to play the piano…for some reason. Yeah, that’s been a huge part of Slater’s character over the past four years: piano playing.

Zack Morris puts his plan into action by sowing strife among the gang, telling Slater that Lisa’s changes to the song suck ass after she reveals she knows how to play piano as well, telling Lisa that Slater’s just jealous of her awesome new piano skills, making Tori blow up in a fit of, “I can’t work under these conditions,” and telling Screech the truth: that no one gives a shit what he thinks.  The gang all storm out and Zack Morris thinks he now has the opportunity to write his own song as he sits down and plays the piano. Jesus, does Bayside have  a graduation requirement that every senior must know how to play the piano?

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In the hallway, though, Zack Morris discovers that everyone else stole his idea and have decided to write their own sucky ass school song. And they all decide to sing perform their stupid songs at the same time in the hallway just to piss Mr. Belding the fuck off. Mr. Belding tells them that Bayside can only have one sucky ass school song so they’ll have to have a contest to decide what song will be THE new sucky ass song. Zack Morris suggest they all play over the intercom Friday and let the senior class vote on the winner, which I’m sure will net a favorable result for a Beastie Boys song.

Before the contest, we see that Zack Morris has rigged the piano to play out of tune on one particular note…

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…and Slater and Tori’s song just happens to use that note frequently.  As with most schemes on this show, it’s a good thing for Zack Morris that several factors went off exactly as planned or it couldn’t have worked, as with most Saved by the Bell schemes.  This naturally means that no one likes the song because no one in this school has the ability to distinguish between an instrumental mistake and the essence of the song. Oh, and it must really be a graduation requirement for all seniors to play the piano because now Tori knows how as well. I’m sure if Kelly and Jessie weren’t locked in Zack Morris’s basement, they’d be playing piano along with the others.

It’s also a good thing that no other song in the contest need to use that note or else people might think something was up.

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Next up is Screech playing “Home on the Range” with new lyrics about Bayside. Zack Morris decides he doesn’t need to do anything to beat Screech because Screech sucks ass and couldn’t possibly get people to think anything he does is good, right six seasons of The New Class?

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The final song is a rock ballad by Zack Morris, or at least what Saved by the Bell thinks rock sounds like since I’m pretty sure the opening chords are a direct rip off of Chuck Berry. So, once again, Saved by the Bell is in touch with what was cool forty years before it aired.

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Of course, it’s such a hit it starts a spontaneous dance party in the middle of the hallway and everyone’s going bat shit crazy over it. Well, except for that one guy sitting on the steps who looks like he just wants to collect his check for being an extra and get the fuck out of there. Also, how long is Bayside’s passing period? I’m pretty sure that chaos would result from giving students this much free time in the hallways.

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When the results of voting are tallied, though, Zack Morris and Screech each receive 132 votes, meaning we need a run-off to draw this plot out even further.  Turns out the nerds at Bayside only aspire to be as incompetent as Screech and voted for his stupid plagiarism. Mr. Belding says Zack Morris and Screech will each perform their song with the glee club at a school assembly next week.

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Zack Morris decides he has to find a way to get the nerd vote, and the best way is to sexually lead on the nerd princess, Louise. He asks her out on a date and tells her he thinks she’s super great and shit and she buys it all up.

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At The Max, Zack Morris romances Louise, who’s practically drooling and has a massive lady boner over how much attention Zack Morris is giving to her. She says she would have voted for him if she’d known how scheming Zack Morris was, she would have voted for him instead of Screech. She says she’ll get the boy nerds to vote for Zack Morris in exchange for a kiss so Zack Morris, not being one to pass up an opportunity to kiss a girl, even if it’s a background character from The Wonder Years, puckers up and gives Louise the thrill of her life.

Slater, Lisa, and Tori come in The Max to find Zack Morris and Louise in mid-lip lock and it suddenly dawns on them that Zack Morris is a schemer. They jump to the conclusion that he must have sabotaged their songs and decide to get revenge on him. Hey, they may have jumped to the right conclusion but it’s still jumping to a conclusion.

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They put their plan into motion after Louise tells the male nerds to vote for Zack Morris when Slater warns them that Zack Morris is stealing their girls. Slater says that soon, all the other cool guys in school will want to date nerd girls and there won’t be any left for them. This panics them that they may not get to lose their cursed virginity and they rush off to tell their fellow nerds to vote for Screech…because all of that made sense somehow I guess?

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In practice, Slater, Lisa, and Tori tell Screech they’re going to change his sucky ass song to make sure he beats Zack Morris. 

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Finally, before the performance, they feed Zack Morris water tainted with pure lemon extract…

What the hell is that supposed to do?

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Oh, it makes Zack Morris unable to sing, because one of the well known properties of lemon is the numbing of the human voice. None of this makes any sense!

In any case, Zack Morris crashes and burns and there are no second chances even when it’s obvious that something’s very wrong. Backstage, Slater, Lisa, and Tori reveal the conclusion they jumped to: that Zack Morris sabotaged them. He apologizes and says he just wanted to be remembered for something positive, but he fucked up again like usual.

Screech isn’t happy with the changes the other made, but he says it’s okay because they used the same prepositions. Zack Morris asks to sing with them, and they go out to reveal the new school song.

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I’ve recapped these lyrics once before when it was sang in “Goodbye Bayside, Part 2” but, in case you don’t follow those reviews, here is the horrible song that will forever be a part of Bayside until the writers forget it exists.

It seems like only yesterday we started,
But soon we’ll put away our books and pens,
We’ll go on with our lives once we have parted,
But how can we say farewell to our friends?

The double dates, the parties, and the dances,
Cramming for a mid-term until three,
The football games, The Max, and the romances,
Soon Bayside will be just a memory.

Our four years here have all become unraveled,
And so our high school story finally ends,
But years from now, no matter where we’ve traveled,
We’ll all look back and think about our friends.

So many reasons to hate this song and think the writers have never heard a school song before in their lives. And, of course, should The Max ever go out of business after PETA boycotts them for Max’s mistreatment of animals, future students will have to sing a song about an irrelevant business that used to cater to the every whim of Bayside’s students.

vlcsnap-2015-07-31-19h11m10s866In any case, the audience loves it and our episode and our final look into the Tori-verse ends with our gang friends forever more until Tori disappears out of existence. Judging from Ox’s expression, though, I think he’s caught a glimpse of Lisa’s breasts and he’ll have a lot happier memories of this episode than I will.

Firsts: The new school song.

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 23: “Slater’s Friend”

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We’re back to season one for the final out of season episode of the series, and we open in speech class with Coach Rizzo substituting as the speech teacher. It’s not clear why Coach Rizzo is the only one available to do this but I have to assume Bayside’s having one of their many financial shortfalls that come from investing in too many junk stocks.

Zack Morris tells us in monologue that their class assignment this week is titled, “My Best Friend.” I’m sure he’ll talk about his left hand. Also, it’s strange going back to these season one episodes since Zack Morris’s voice hasn’t deepened yet and I have to remind myself he was only a budding sociopath back then.

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First up is Slater, who talks all about a friend who’s been around the world with him, he’s never had to say goodbye to, and will never leave him nor forsake him. While it would be easy to assume that he’s found Jesus and has been attending ex-gay summer camp, he has a different sort of best friend.

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A plastic chameleon he’s named “Artie.” Yes, a fucking plastic chameleon. Slater’s friend, the namesake of this god damned fucking episode, is a plastic chameleon. Oh, they’ll insist it’s real the entire episode but that is plastic I tell you! The audience thinks this is a touching moment, thus proving they’ve always been easily impressed.

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At The Max, everyone’s practically pissing themselves over Slater’s chameleon. Well, except for Lisa, who’s a feminine girl so she’s afraid of icky things and shit. Also, hope you caught Max walking by on the left side of this screen shot because it’s the last time you’ll ever see him. This is his sole apperance in this episode: walking by and gawking that someone else has brought an unsanitary animal into his restaurant. It’s a wonder the health department isn’t all over this place.

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Slater even shows the gang how he can put a plastic chameleon in his hand and make its head touch his nose. They don’t even try to make it look like the thing did it on its own. They even show Slater adjusting it and it nearly falls off Mario Lopez’s hand at one point, but doing another take would cost too much money so fuck that shit! Screech is amazed by this non-trick, though, and wants to know how it’s done. Okay, so Screech was already showing signs of the idiot he’d later become as early as the first season.

Slater says he got Artie when his dad was stationed in the Philipines. Since then, they’ve been through fourteen schools together. FOURTEEN? Geez, that’s more than one school for ever year you’ve been a student, Slater! Your dad’s commanding officers must fucking hate him to transfer him that often!

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Slater decides our episode needs some conflict so he asks Screech if he’ll watch Artie while he’s in San Diego this weekend. We never do find out why he’s going to San Diego but it’s a convenient excuse to push along the plot.

Kelly reminds Jessie that they’re meeting that night so Jessie can help Kelly with her speech but Jessie has to back out because her mother is a quasi-feminist crusader who’s making Jessie chain herself to a gas pump or some shit that night. I’m assuming that this entire family just has more issues than National Geographic. Sensing an opportunity to lose his cursed virginity, Zack Morris invites Kelly over to his house that night instead for some hot “studying,” which is naturally code for “fucking until we’re inevitably interrupted by the plot.”

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In Zack Morris’s room, Zack Morris destracts himself from his boner by showing us the cardboard cutout of Kelly from “King of the Hill” again. Jesus, Zack Morris was one creepy ass motherfucker creating cardboard cutouts of girls without their knowledge.

There’s a knock on his door and Zack Morris assumes it’s Kelly but, instead, Screech walks in and tells Zack Morris he needs to leave Artie there tonight because his animals are hungry for plastic. Kelly comes in as they’re talking and Zack Morris kicks Screech out so he can have happy fun time with Kelly.

Kelly wants to make baby faces at Artie but Zack Morris, sensing his opportunity for fucking is passing him by, suggests she put Artie down so they can practice their “speech.”

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Kelly puts Artie down under a desk lamp but, before Zack Morris can get very far, Jessie comes barging in through Zack Morris’s window and declares she’s Peter Pan! No, actually, she couldn’t make it to the protest so she’s free to help Kelly practice her “speech,” leaving Zack Morris once again to relieve his own frustration.

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I guess two days have suddenly passed because we’re back at Bayside, where Zack Morris can’t get Artie to move. Screech declares that Artie is dead and…good lord, it’s a plastic fucking chameleon! They don’t die! Kellie and Jessie each blame themselves for Artie’s death, Kelly for placing him under a desk lamp and Jessie for leaving the window open so he could get cold. So he either died of heat or cold…or why not both in this crazy, fucked up universe. Also, Jessie says this all happened last night, meaning the gang had a one day weekend and Slater was only gone to San Diego for one day!

Slater comes around to pick up his plastic chameleon and Zack Morris throws it in his locker before Slater can see. He tells Slater he left Artie at home. Slater wants to ditch class so they can go get Artie since Slater hasn’t been able to make love to him the whole one day weekend, but Zack Morris, instead, says he’ll get Artie at lunch and meet Slater at The Max.

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Zack Morris and Screech find a pet store that sells chameleons and buy one for Slater. Unfortunately, the girls have the same idea and Slater quickly realizes, with two chameleons, that something’s up. Now either there are a lot of pet shops immediately around Bayside and The Max that sell chameleons or Zack Morris and Screech managed to walk completely around the girls and not even realize it. Either way, something stupid happened here.

In any case, Slater just assumes Zack Morris lost Artie somewhere in his room so he says he’ll come by after wrestling practice and help Zack Morris look for him. Slater leaves and the gang realize Slater’s eventually going to find out everyone’s just patronizing him about his stupid plastic chameleon.

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This naturally leads into a shared dream sequence where Mr. Belding, playing one of the cops from Reno 911, bring the gang in for booking as suspects in the death of Artie.

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His main witness is Slater dressed in a modified Godzilla costume, and this has to be one of the creepiest things we’ve seen Slater do on this show. He randomly flicks his tongue in and out of his mouth trying to imitate what Artie would do if he wasn’t made of plastic but it really looks like he’s auditioning for a porno. He also speaks with a voice that makes him sound like a cross between James Gandolfini and the Cobra Commander. Oh, to be a G.I. Joe right now so I could put an end to this awful scene!

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The gang imagine each of their individual fates for their role in killing Artie, including Screech getting solitary confinement for life dressed as the Monopoly man.

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Jessie gets put on ice in a bathing suit since she made Artie cold.

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And since he died from being both too cold and too hot, Kelly’s put in a frying pan with some eggs. Does that mean she’s the bacon? I wonder if that’s what Zack Morris secretly wanted to do to her all through the first season!

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Lisa just hated Artie so she has to wear polyester or some shit.  Strange but Zack Morris doesn’t get a punishment of any type for his role in this stupid situation; just a strongly worded rebuttal. Yay for Zack Morris getting off yet again…

Unlike most dream sequences, we don’t go back to The Max but, instead, to Zack Morris’s room.

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Slater goes through all of Zack Morris’s belongings looking for Artie and finds the cardboard cutout of Kelly. Okay, now I know Slater’s completely insane. No one could find something like this and not want to use it against a guy they don’t particularly like who he’s soon to find out killed his imaginary lizard. Someone knows about the cardboard cutout and they don’t warn Kelly of stalker-like behavior occurring.

The rest of the gang come in and Zack Morris finally tells Slater the truth about Artie: that he was never alive to begin with. Slater acts like he takes the news of his insanity in stride but the way he says, “stupid chameleon” and the fact seven minutes are left in the episode just let you know he’s not completely over this situation yet.

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Back at Bayside, it’s Kelly’s turn to give her speech about her German Shepherd Freddie. Slater deals with his grief by making random outbursts and sexual harassment during Kelly’s speech. He pisses Coach Rizzo off, who sends him to Mr. Belding’s office so Mr. Belding can actually have a role in this episode besides the minor role in the dream sequence.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Slater won’t tell Mr. Belding what’s wrong and they have a stand-off about Slater’s behavior. Zack Morris  and Screech barge in and tell Mr. Belding about Slater’s fake plastic chameleon.

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This leads to one of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes since “Jessie’s Song” as Mr. Belding and Slater bond over the death of a damn fucking fake plastic chameleon. I swear, it was hard not to laugh as Slater processed his emotions with Mr. Belding. Season one Saved by the Bell was really bad when it came to serious situations. I mean, not “Jessie’s Song” and “Pipe Dreams” bad but still…

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And how else could we end this whole damned episode then with a funeral as suggested by Mr. Belding. Zack Morris naturally acts as the officiant because why the hell not. Lisa and Coach Rizzo give testimonies.

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Jessie and Screech provide musical accompaniment in the form of a stupid song Screech wrote about Artie and it’s quite obvious this isn’t really Elizabeth Berkley singing. It sounds nothing fucking like her, in any fucking world!

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Slater gives a final tribute to his fallen friend and says he’s discovered he has six friends who may just be as good of friends to him a fake fucking chameleon. Oh, and two faculty members at his school with really bad boundary issues.

vlcsnap-2015-07-25-16h19m54s341And our episode ends with Slater feeling better as Mr. Belding reflects that he still has three more years to get it on with Slater.

All of this over a fake plastic fucking chameleon. Fucking hell.

 

Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style

Surprised to see this here this week? Well, don’t be! When I started this blog, I committed to doing everything in the order it aired, or at least in the order that IMDB claims it aired, so here we are with the first of two movies based on the series: Hawaiian Style!

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Our opening credits are basically random scenes from Hawaii to let you, the viewer, know that, yes, the producers really did splurge on travel costs to actually go to Hawaii, well, at least for part of the movie, since Dennis Haskins once admitted much of the filming was in Malibu. Oh well. I guess credit where credit is due: they made at least a little more effort to be authentic, unlike certain episodes of a stupid spin-off of the series.

Oh, and, yes, the original songs from this movie are horrible. I may do another post at some point where I break down the lyrics if there’s demand for it, but, suffice it to say, Mrs. Johnson’s kindergarten class was busy on their writing assignment that week!

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And our episode proper opens with, yes, Screech violating airport safety regulations by riding the baggage carousel. It’s not so bad. Maybe it’ll take him back in the back and they’ll ship him off to some country with a war going on. One of Screech’s random idiocies for the next hour and half is going to be him filming random stuff and just generally annoying the shit out of people. So, basically like most of his appearances in the franchise.

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Zack Morris and Slater get massive boners from all the women at the airport, which makes Jessie jealous since she and Slater are apparently dating. Where this movie fits in with the television series is confusing, and Slater and Jessie dating doesn’t make it any easier to figure out. See, this movie makes the most sense if it takes place in the summer between the gang’s junior and senior year of high school, even though that would make this a really busy summer for them between Malibu Sands, Palm Desert, and now Hawaii. In a minute, Mr. Belding is going to tell them he’ll see them in September, which means it can’t take place in between season four and The College Years. But Slater and Jessie weren’t dating the summer after their junior year, and Slater even went after Denise Richards and a princess from a made up country that summer. So, I’m just going to assume this entire movie is non-canonical, which begs the question, “Is it a complete waste of my time to watch it?” More on that in a bit.

Slater and Jessie start fighting over random shit, and, after complaints from Kelly and Lisa that they’re going too hot and heavy on the fighting too early in the movie, they agree to tone it down and get along for the duration of their two week vacation.

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While Slater and Jessie fight, Zack Morris spots a woman who looks confused as to why she’s in a shitty Saved by the Bell movie.

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Naturally, Zack Morris thinks that this could be his chance to lose his cursed virginity, so he swoops in like a hungry pterodactyl and insists on carrying her bags for her. Her name is Andrea Larson and she decides to let Zack Morris carry her shit for her rather than yell that there’s a sexual predator beating down on her. Andrea’s a native Hawaiian, which Zack Morris thinks is so cool because Hawaii is so much better than anywhere else in the world.

Meanwhile, Lisa bets Slater and Jessie $50 each that they won’t make it the whole trip without fighting. Jessie thinks, for some reason, that she’s going to win, so she readily agrees to the bet, because Slater and Jessie have such a long track record of getting along.

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Outside, a limo pulls up to collect Andrea, and in it is Derek Worthington, Andrea’s boyfriend, whom we’re supposed to think is pompous because he tries to tip Zack Morris, assuming he’s the porter. Yeah, that would be my first thought, too, and not that my girlfriend is being courted by a sexual predator. Andrea thanks Zack Morris and wishes him goodbye as she departs in the limo. In any other world, this would be the last time Andrea and Zack Morris saw each other, but this is the Saved by the Bell universe!

Andrea must be quite a knock out, too, because she distracts Zack Morris so much he never returns to the baggage claim to get his luggage. Seriously, he never gets his luggage. He must have thought he was going to a nudist resort so he wouldn’t need anything more than his hot naked body.

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Zack Morris is soon joined by the rest of the gang, who spot a familiar face nearby. Yes, Mr. Belding just happens to be in Hawaii at the same time as the gang giving a tour to a bunch of California principals. What are the odds! It’s almost like contrivance! He asks the gang what they’re doing there and we find out that Kelly’s grandfather owns a hotel in Hawaii and invited her to bring the gang for two weeks. Well, I guess at least it’s not like The New Class where Mr. Belding would have been invited along with the gang. But, if Kelly’s grandfather owns a hotel, why is her family always so poor? Why doesn’t her grandfather help out in times of need? These are questions that will never be answered because they never even occurred to the writers.

Mr. Belding suggests they keep as much distance from him as possible so that he doesn’t involve himself in whatever hijinks are about to ensue, and the gang agrees, showing a surprising appreciation for boundaries with the Bayside faculty. Mr. Belding leads his group in a nice double-decker bus to the Royal Pacific hotel while a dinky car from the ’60s pulls up to take the gang to the Hawaiian Hideaway, just to emphasize the class differences in where they’ll be staying.

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Nearby, two cab drivers spot Screech acting like an idiot and, rather than being repulsed by him like most of the world, say only, “He has returned!” which sounds suspiciously like Screech is going to have a really dumb and pointless subplot.

We get another song and a montage of some Hawaiian scenes to remind us, yes, we really are in Hawaii…

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…and the gang arrive at the Hawaiian Hideaway to meet Kelly’s grandfather, Harry Bannister, played by Dean Jones. If you recognize Jones from anything else, it’ll probably be either from The Love Bug or Beethoven. So, other than this movie, he’s known for talking cars and big slobbery dogs. Nice. Also, Harry treats us to yet another song, this time on the ukulele. Also, Harry instantly recognizes Screech by his stupidity.

Kelly asks why it’s so quiet and where the other guests are and that’s when we find out there are no other guests. Over a lunch of fish, we find out the Royal Pacific Hotel wanted to buy the Hideaway’s land so they hired away his staff and even paid others not to work there. With no staff to take care of them, guests stopped coming. Kelly wants to know what can be done but Harry says now is the time to eat, not worry about that, and they’ll talk more in a few scenes when Harry’s lawyer can be present.

Screech nearly chokes on a fish bone, and it suddenly makes me realize how much the easily impressed studio audience is to making Screech’s gags work. He tries to pull off something that wouldn’t be funny in the first place but that the studio audience would have loved, and we’re treated to awkward silence that reminds me of when your racist uncle says something really horrible about black people at Thanksgiving and you have absolutely no idea what to say other than completely go off on him. Some sitcoms have successfully done without a laugh track because their jokes stand on their own: Malcolm in the MiddleArrested DevelopmentThe OfficeThe Middle, just to name a few. Saved by the Bell was obviously never cut out to be one of these. This pattern continues throughout the whole movie so buckle your seat belts.

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We’re next treated to a little montage of the gang playing at the beach to remind us, yes, we are in Hawaii. Did you know you’re in Hawaii by now? Well, you are even if you didn’t realize it. Welcome to Hawaii! We also get another bad song that makes me wish for the awkward silence that accompanies a Screech joke.

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That night, Zack Morris and Screech naturally share a room because they’re hoping to finally consummate their love. Zack Morris tries to have a serious conversation with Screech about love at first sight and Harry losing the hotel, but it’s like talking a sponge so Zack Morris decides to go to bed. When Screech tries to film Zack Morris sleeping, he throws a pillow at Screech, and we get another of those awkward pauses.

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The next day at the beach, Screech films random shit, gets bit by a crab, and threatened by Lisa, the only other person on the beach, to get the fucking camera out of her face before she kills him.

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A group of native Hawaiians come onto the beach and declare that it is him…

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…and promptly swarm and kidnap Screch.

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When Lisa half-halfheartedly protests that they’re taking away the least competent member of the cast, the group kidnaps her as well to eliminate any witnesses to the perfect crime no one will ever want to investigate!

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Back at the hideaway, Kelly meets Harry’s lawyer, Brian Hanson, Harry’s lawyer who’s been working for Harry for free for the past two years. Kelly greets her obvious love interest for the film who I’m sure is not going to totally turn out to be a villain, and Brian says that there’s nothing they can do about Royal Pacific as they’re within their rights to harass a smaller hotel out of business.

Zack Morris comes in with an idea: for the gang to work for Harry at the Hideaway so he can stay afloat.

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Then Slater and Jessie come in with the same idea. I guess the writers of The New Class came in next but decided to store it away for the third season ski lodge episodes instead. Fuck me, The New Class really doesn’t have an original bone in their body.

Brian says that, in order to stay in business, Harry will need to fill the Hideaway to capacity for the next two weeks. Zack Morris says to leave it to them as they have a relationship with a certain plot contrivance down at the Royal Pacific.

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Meanwhile, the native Hawaiians bring Screech and Lisa to some open land.

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Screech decides it’s time to do something he thinks is intimidating but wouldn’t even intimidate a badly written Saved by the Bell extra, so he raises his finger and makes weird sounds. This has the expected reaction of making the Hawaiians bow down in reverence to Screech.

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Yes, Screech is their idol or some shit. Yeah, this is the Pukuku tribe and they say their former chief left to find snow (yeah, in Hawaii) but promised his descendant would return one day and help them reclaim their land from the Royal Pacific Hotel which just happens to be the evil corporation in this episode. They think Screech is their messiah, come to rescue them from the evils of bad subplots!

Gag me. Gag me now. Also, way to create a fake Hawaiian tribe by rhyming syllables that sound like “fu.” God, I hope this isn’t going to be as stupid as it sounds.

Lisa tries to tell them the truth: that their god makes George W. Bush look like Albert Einstein by comparison, but the Pukuku won’t listen to reason, insisting that ignorance is bliss, and decide it’s time for a bit of idol worship in the Saved by the Bell universe.

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Back at the Hideaway, the gang see the Pukuku carrying Screech back as a god to the Hideaway. Harry and Brian say that “Pukuku” is Polynesian for “idiot fringe” and the Puuku rush off to drive their cabs in happiness knowing their god is the biggest idiot in the world.

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At the Royal Pacific, Zack Morris finds out the principals are on the twelfth floor. He sends Kelly and Lisa to deal with some principals on the beach while the rest of the gang rush to the twelfth floor for Plan Be a Dick.

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See, in Plan Be a Dick, Slater dresses up like a hotel employee, eats one of the principal’s breakfasts on the spot…

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…and then delivers it with a slice of bacon and toast, outraging the portly principal, especially when Slater demands a 30% tip and then takes the rest of the breakfast when the principal refuses to comply.

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Jessie pretends to be a maid and chases one elderly female principal out of her room while she’s still in her nightgown.

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Kelly and Lisa instigate a scare of sharks in the water so that people will trample each other to visions of Jaws.

 

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And Zack Morris and Screech do a copyright infringement impersonation of Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World that really should have seen them sued by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. They pretend to fumigate this room with skunk stench to scare out the occupants for the next twelve hours.

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Operation Be a Dick complete, Zack Morris and Screech meet Andrea in the elevator, who just happens, in yet another funny coincidence, to work at the Royal Pacific. Zack Morris asks to meet Andrea after their plan is finished, but Andrea says she doesn’t want to commit statutory rape. Zack Morris says he can’t stop thinking about her and she tells him to go masturbate and feel better

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The gang join Mr. Belding for the breakfast buffet just as the other principals come up and blindly express outrage that Mr. Belding booked them at the Royal Pacific. Mr. Belding doesn’t think anything’s up that the gang just happen to be there when this chaos is taking place.

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Meanwhile, turns out that Derek is the son of the owner of the Royal Pacific and insists on having breakfast with Andrea despite the fact she needs to be at work since his wants and needs automatically trump those of the hotel guests and other employees. Andrea quickly capitulates, but not before saying no to his proposition for a nooner.

Derek sees the chaos with the principals and they all demand to be booked somewhere other than the Royal Pacific. Derek gives up really quickly with, “Who needs these people anyway?”

Mr. Belding wonders where he’ll find another hotel with forty rooms and the gang suggest Mr. Belding book the principals at the Hideaway since that will be a convenient way to get the main plot going. Lucky for him, I guess the Royal Pacific was nice enough to just give him a full refund when he and his group randomly leave, something no hotel would ever do in real life.

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The principals arrive at the Hideaway as Brian starts flirting with Kelly and insinuating he doesn’t share Andrea’s aversion to statutory rape. Also, Screech remembers that some unfortunate Hawaiian tribe is counting on him to save their land. Oh, any other time this would mean that the tribe is going to lose their land for sure.

Mr. Belding finds out the gang are the staff at the Hideaway and has reservations for some reason whether he can actually pull off a decent set of activities for the principals. Zack Morris tells Mr. Belding not to worry despite the fact he has five years of experience with this group of teenagers that tells him he should worry. After all, with a mere hour left in this film, what could possibly go wrong?

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Well, there’s reason to worry right away when a group of the principals let Zack Morris and Screech take them on an ocean expedition.

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Screech, being a confirmed dumb ass, manages to fall off the boat almost right away. Oh, Screech, you’re such a moron.

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Slater tries to teach another group how to throw a net into the ocean…for some reason. I assume he’s supposed to be teaching them how to fish but it’s never really made clear. In any case, he throws a net over and it snags Mr. Belding who just happened to be randomly swimming in that exact same spot! This makes Slater look like an idiot and not Mr. Belding because the plot demands it.

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Jessie’s on kitchen duty since it’s funny she’s feminist and has to do traditional women’s gender roles and shit. Naturally, she sucks ass at cooking a ham, even with a recipe.

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Kelly and Lisa teach an assembeld group how to hula dance but didn’t find out anything about hula dancing and that one makes a story with their hands while dancing, so they teach the principals how to do “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Classy to Hawaiian culture there, girls. The hulaing principals seem to eat it up, though, since it’s not integral to the plot yet.

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Back at sea, Zack Morris can’t get the boat to turn over. Yeah, turns out Zack Morris, in another instance of never learning from his mistakes, trusted Screech to check the gas, who decided not to do something so simple and common sense. Also, Screech isn’t wet from falling into the ocean because he has Marty McFly’s self-drying clothes from Back to the Future II.

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Lucky for Zack Morris, Andrea just happens to be driving by on her own boat at that very moment and agrees to tow them in since she won’t have much of a plot if Zack Morris dies at sea.

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Back on land, we finally meet our arch-villain of the movie only thirty-five minutes in, Charles Worthington, the owner of the Royal Pacific and the evil industrialist who wants to tear down the Hideaway. The producers must have thought he made a good villain here because he’s the same guy who played Mr. McMillan, the evil Bayside alumn who never got laid so he wanted to get the school shut down in The New Class two-parter “Goodbye Bayside.” He just likes being a dick to people for little justification, doesn’t he?

Mr. Worthington and Derek confer with a construction worker over plans to tear down the Hideaway and you can tell he’s a construction worker because he’s wearing a hard had and holding blueprints and wearing bad thrift store clothes. Mr. Worthington is convinced owning the Hideaway is a done deal since they haven’t had any customers in so long, and that’s when the construction worker spots Andrea towing in the Hideaway’s boat.

Mr. Worthington tells Derek he better get his girlfriend to respect his authority and not be nice to anybody.

On dock, Zack Morris thanks Andrea for saving him, a damsel in distress, and asks if they can have lunch tomorrow. Derek comes up raving like a mad man and Andrea speeds off in the boat so she can have as little contact with Derek as possible. She does, though, agree to have lunch with Zack Morris tomorrow since that’s the only way we’re ever going to advance the plot.

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The principals aren’t happy with how the day’s gone, though, and they say the dinner better be fucking good or else they’re going to create more conflict!

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The gang find that Jessie’s managed to cook a pre-cooked ham for seven hours because she sucks at life and there’s no way they can serve this to their guests.

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Lucky, at that very moment, the Pukuku come in with a stew for their idiot god and his friends which doesn’t taste bad. Harry and the gang decide that this is their only way out so they decide to serve the stew to their guests.

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Lucky, the guests love the stew and there’s no jokes about it being made from pig testicles or anything! Score one for a good ending to a really stupid day at the Hideaway!

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Brian shows up to see how their day’s gone and invites Kelly out to see Honolulu. You know, I think this is the first time we’ve actually been told where in Hawaii they are. Way to wait forty minutes into the film before revealing where in Hawaii this takes place instead of leaving it as “Random Hawaiian Place.” Also, is there an implication in the middle of all this that the Royal Pacific and the Hideaway are the only two hotels in all of Honolulu? I think the producers have about as good a grasp of Honolulu as they had previously on Indianapolis.

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The next day, Slater, Jessie, and Screech lead a group of principals on a trip to a cultural center to see an exhibit on Polynesian history. Lucky for them, Slater doesn’t need a license to drive a bus full of people in this universe! We get some more scenery of Hawaii to remind us that, yes, we are indeed in Hawaii in case you fell asleep and forgot what you were watching. Jessie, acting as navigator, finds what she believes to be a shortcut on the map to the center, and nothing could possibly go wrong with this!

Also, we randomly cut to Lisa shopping…for some reason that’s not explained for a few more minutes.

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On their lunch date, Zack Morris and Andrea have their date, and Zack Morris tells Andrea all about himself: about how he likes to dress in drag randomly and date his idiotic friends and shit like that. He’s ashamed of his Indiana heritage, though, because he leaves out the part where he lived in Indianapolis and moved to LA with his friends and his principal and found new parents. He also claims to have been born in LA.

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Kelly, on her date with a much older man, is quickly wooed by his efforts to seduce her. He decides to bring up an obvious question: what will happen after the gang leaves and Harry can’t keep going. He thinks Harry ought to sell the Hideaway and move back to LA to be close to his family even though Kelly once said that she had an uncle in Hawaii so why wouldn’t Harry just go live with him? Oh, yeah, because the writers can’t keep up with their already established bullshit.

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Jessie’s shortcut leads the bus to a dead end because, once again, Jessie sucks at life. The principals all wonder why they have to work in the same state as these idiots.

Back at Zack Morris’s date, Andrea doesn’t seem to want to talk about herself, saying she needs to get back, but Zack Morris tightens the screws on her and makes her talk about her and Derek. Why would she date a douche like Derek when she could date a dickhead like Zack Morris? He tries to kiss her and she says she really needs to go before she gets caught up in a zany plot not of her making. She says it’s a bad idea for them to get together and, when he asks why, she says to walk her back to the hotel. They proceed to abandon all their picnic stuff for Yogi Bear to find and trot hand in hand back to the Royal Pacific, Andrea seemingly forgetting minute by minute that, yes, we’ve established several times that she’s already dating Derek.

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Slater manages to back into a hole just wide enough to trap the bus (how convenient!) and he and Jessie fight over who’s the more incompetent one in the relationship!

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Derek drops Kelly back off at the Hideaway where they kiss and the audience would lose their shit over illegal love, that is if there was an audience. Kelly says she’s going to talk to Harry about the Hideaway before the guests get back, and our not obvious at all double agent contemplates how he went from doing soap operas to Saved by the Bell films.

In case you forgot we’re in Hawaii, we get yet some more scenes of people doing random beach stuff in Hawaii to remind us that, yes, we are actually in Hawaii in case you just tuned in and thought we were in LA during a movie called Hawaiian Style.

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Andrea introduces Zack Morris to her daughter, Jennifer, and, though he’s initially shocked that people in the Saved by the Bell universe can procreate, he quickly gets over this aversion to the existence of children and introduces himself to Jennifer. Good thing he got over this shock of the possibility of childbirth before he got stuck in an elevator with a birthing Mrs. Belding!

 

In his office, Mr. Worthington chews out an unseen accomplice for allowing there to be guests at the Hideaway and possible complications to his evil, dastardly plans. And are you ready for the big reveal they’ve been building up to for the last minute? You won’t believe it!

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Yes, Brian is working for Mr. Worthington and using Kelly and Harry to ensure Mr. Worthington’s evil plan goes off with no problems! How shocking! I didn’t predict this at all when he was first introduced in the movie! Gee, I need to go take a break and contemplate how well done that plot twist really is! It ranks up there with the ending of The Sixth Sense or Darth Vader being Luke’s father!

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Back on the beach, Zack Morris manhandles Jennifer and builds her sandcastles and shit. Jennifer thinks Zack Morris makes a really good sandcastle building slave and wants to know when she can force Zack Morris to do stuff for her again and he says that’s up to her mom.

Andrea gives Zack Morris the full story: she met Jennifer’s father in high school. They fucked and didn’t want to get married so, four years later, here she is as a single mom hoping to mooch off Derek to give Jennifer a better life. Zack Morris tells Andrea that Derek’s being a huge poopey face to the Hideaway and Andrea refuses to believe that a character as honest and morally upstanding as Derek would do something so sinister, blaming it instead on Mr. Worthington.

Jennifer wants Zack Morris to come to dinner with them that night but she reminds him that they’re having dinner with Mr. Poopey Face himself. Zack Morris invites them to the luau at the Hideaway tomorrow night instead and Andrea says she’ll let him know. Zack Morris leaves to get back to work, secured in the knowledge that his relationship plot is finally coming to fruition nearly two-thirds of the way through the film.

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Back at the Hideaway, Kelly tells Harry that it might be time to sell the Hideaway. Harry’s naturally resistant to sell his business since that would make for a pretty shitty climax to the film, but Harry promises he’ll think about it.

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Slater and Jessie come in fighting and muddy and talk about the day they’ve had. Mr. Belding’s also muddy and says that the principals are so fed up with this incompetence they want to leave the Hideaway. But where will they go with no other options in Honolulu?!?! Zack Morris promises Mr. Belding his group will love the luau. Mr. Belding says they better or else his group will pull out for sure, meaning that Harry will have to sell the Hideaway.

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Lisa comes in with forty TV dinners. Yes, she was apparently supposed to be on kitchen duty that day but went shopping instead. Gee, I wish they’d explained that to us, the viewer, earlier before they randomly inserted footage of her shopping. Also, she’s overjoyed to find out that she’s won $100 since Slater and Jessie are now fighting. And thus ends the “Slater and Jessie try not to fight” subplot.

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I guess everything must have went smoothly throughout the entire night and next day because it’s already time for the luau, folks! Zack Morris, Slater, and random Native Hawaiian blow through shells…

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While Screech dressed in an insultingly bad getup that I guess is supposed to make him look like a chief to the Pukuku but really makes him look even stupider than usual. Unfortunately, Zack Morris, still not learning from past mistakes, trusted Screech to bury the pig. The Pukuku start digging up the pig but, when they can’t find it, he realizes he forgot where he buried it. Zack Morris fights the urge to kill Screech and instead tells the principals they’re going to start the stage show while Screech figures out what he did with the pig.

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We get a montage of a stage show involving fire and stuff. Good thing playing the drums seems to be one of the gang’s many skills.

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And, look, Andrea and Jennifer made it to the luau after all! The little girl gets to be scarred by the gang after all!

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Back stage, Zack Morris and Slater dress for the next act and Slater tries to talk some sense into Zack Morris about dating an older woman with a child in a state hundreds of miles away from his home who he’s only known for a few days, one of the only times we ever get someone who doesn’t think statutory rape is awesome on this show. Zack Morris is all, “I don’t need reason and shit! I’m more in love with Andrea than even Kelly,” thus invalidating all the stupid shit he said about Kelly a few weeks ago in “Senior Prom.” I always wonder if the producers of this show realized at the time just how much of an ass they made Zack Morris out to be.

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The girls have a similar conversation since Kelly’s not sure she should date yet another older man who this time is even old enough that he’s graduated law school already! Lisa and Jessie convince Kelly that it’s awesome older men like her and she should just put out before they steal Brian from him. She sees their logic and decides that she might as well do it!

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Screech, realizing that he can’t keep living on his fucking insanity forever, brings in a random dog he must have stolen from someone on the street and gets the dog to sniff out where the ham is. Better hope it’s a ham and not a dead body or a bomb that’s going to get you wrapped up in an episode of Baywatch Hawaii!

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We go into our final thirty minutes with some sexual arousal for everyone! Well, except for the asexuals that is. You’ll just have to do with this gripping plot line with an obvious ending. The girls do a hula dance in costumes that were still lying around from “Aloha Slater” while Zack Morris and Slater have taken their shirts off. Lucky for us, Screech is occupied with digging up the pig so he’s not around to strip as well, for once. Electric guitar randomly starts playing during the dance despite there not being an electric guitar anywhere in the vicinity and our principals join in dancing the night away.

Screech comes out and announces he’s found the pig so they can now  finally eat instead of suffering because of his idiocy.

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Harry’s beyond happy at how great things are going and says it’s just like old times. Brian’s face betrays that he’s not happy at how well Zack Morris’s plan is working but, then again, he’s probably not watched enough Saved by the Bell to realize that nothing Zack Morris does can ever go wrong. Unfortunately, I have.

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Zack Morris asks Jennifer what her favorite part of the show was, and she says when Screech fell on the pig. Yeah, I don’t blame you kid. Any opportunity to see physical pain inflicted on Screech is always great for me as well. Andrea says they had a great time but now she needs to get Lindsay to bed. Zack Morris walks Andrea to the car, carrying Jennifer in his arms, obviously still hoping she’ll fall asleep so he can get a little something something from her mother.

Mr. Belding tells Harry that he has nothing to worry about now because the luau was such a success the principals have magically forgotten about the rest of the incompetence displayed over the last hour. Harry tells Kelly that he thought about what she said but knows that, after seeing all these happy faces, knows that he wants to be here and isn’t ready to give up. She says she understands as Brian comes up spouting more bullshit about Kelly’s beauty.

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Slater and Jessie pay up to Lisa, who rushes off to spend her newly earned money at the mall, which she says is open for another hour. Geez, how late do malls stay open in Honolulu? Does Hawaii have twenty-four hour malls I’ve just never heard about? In any case, Slater and Jessie argue some more about whose fault it is they lost a bunch of money to Lisa in the most predictable way possible. I’d say the writers of this film. They’re probably the most to blame.

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After placing a now-sleeping Jennifer in the car, Zack Morris kisses Andrea, meaning he’s now at least to third base with her in this universe. Zack Morris asks when he can see Andrea again, and she says anytime. If she knew Zack Morris better, she’d realize that could possibly mean 4:00 am while she’s showering the dirty things she’s done that night off her body.

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Kelly walks Brian to his car, having told him of Harry’s decision off screen. Brian says he respects Harry’s decision and will do everything in his power to help Harry until the end. They kiss, and Kelly’s barely off screen before Brian calls Mr. Worthington and telling him of these developments, assuring his evil master that he has a backup plan to put the Hideaway out of business involving a showdown on the loan extension. Unfortunately for Brian, Lisa got lost on the way to the mall and somehow ended up behind his car but outside his line of vision.

The next day, it’s been too long since we had a montage of scenes from Hawaii to remind us that, yes, indeed, we really are in Hawaii, guys, we promise! Highlights include Zack Morris surfing, the gang playing football, Zack Morris and Andrea harassing Jennifer, and the gang playing tug-o-war, pulling Mr. Belding and Screech into some water in the process.

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The real highlights come from Screech’s incompetence to deal with life, like riding his bicycle with no hands…

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or  ruining a game of volleyball by idiotically falling on the net….

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…or floating in the middle of the ocean on a floatie and having to be pulled in by a random guy. Yeah, I’m pretty sure if there’s anything I ever learned from Baywatch, it’s that pool toys are not allowed in the ocean, for very good reason. Maybe the lifeguards allowed it because they were hoping Screech would be pulled out to sea.

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At the bank, Harry pays the bank manager the money he currently owes on the loan. He says he owes the rest of the money on the loan, though. Brian tells the manager that they filed for an extension on the loan, which the manager says he never received. Brian was supposed to have sent in the papers but blames it on Harry, saying he was supposed to do it.

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Mr. Worthington and Derek, also customers at this same bank, rush into a private meeting which I’m sure isn’t a conflict of interest at all. The manager tells Mr. Worthington that Harry is on the brink of foreclosure because nothing says above board like telling your customer’s private information to a competitor directly in front of him. Mr. Worthington tries to get Harry to sell again.

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At the Hideaway, Harry calls an emergency meeting of all the principal characters minus our villains to discuss the situation. Andrea offers to talk to Derek and his father, but Harry says that he’s already agreed to the sell to avoid losing everything. Mr. Belding says that, having such a minor role in the film, he just can’t understand how the Worthingtons maneuvered Harry into a place where he’d have to sell. Lisa suddenly thinks that the nefarious plan she heard Brian talking about may be worth mentioning. Kelly’s first reaction is, naturally, to get pissed off that Lisa was watching them smooch. Yeah, priorities there, Kelly. Harry realizes that Lisa’s on to something and, when he finds out it was Brian’s idea for Kelly to convince him to sell the Hideaway, our assembled main characters realize what I did seventy minutes ago: Brian’s not a good guy.

Kelly suddenly comes around to priorities and wants to cut his dick off and stick it in his mouth. Zack Morris encourages her to wait, though, as he wants to do what he does best: manipulate people to get what he wants. Since Brian doesn’t know yet that they realize he’s in on the plot, Zack Morris believes he could be the perfect center of a Zack Morris plan to keep Harry from having to give up the Hideaway. Screech mentions the Pukuku and their land deed, and Zack Morris realizes the way to go is to convince Brian and the Worthingtons that the Pukuku have a deed that prevents them from building on the land.

After a commercial break, Kelly and Brian drive to a random university for a meeting with a professor who’s an expert on Polynesian culture and supposedly has a parchment with a land deed on it that the Pukuku discovered.

Who’s the professor you ask?

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Why, Mr. Belding in a bad wig and bow tie of course! After all, since Mr. Belding hasn’t had that much of a role in this film, the writers wanted to give him one more scene so he can act ridiculously and, I have to give it to Dennis Haskins, it’s probably one of the better scenes in this movie. Mr. Belding convinces Brian that the parchment is real and that the Royal Pacific built their hotel on land belonging to the Pukuku, meaning the tribe now has the right to sue the Worthingtons for damages. He allows Brian to take the Pukuku’s parchment under the ruse that he’s going to have it tested by another expert to be sure, and Mr. Belding expresses relief after Brian and Kelly leave that he’s not in much more of this film.

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As Brian leaves, telling Kelly that he needs to take care of some business, Andrea signals Lisa who calls Brian as Mr. Worthington’s secretary, saying that he needs to meet with Brian in a half hour. Lisa then calls Mr. Worthington as Brian’s secretary, saying that Brian needs to meet with Mr. Worthington in a half hour. It’s a good thing neither Mr. Worthington nor Brian has ever met the other’s secretary to know what they actually sound like.

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Meanwhile, Slater and Screech enter Mr. Worthington’s office as the Mario Brothers electrician service and tell him he needs to vacate his office for an electrical emergency and so that they can put their end of the plan in motion. Once out of the room, they set up Screech’s video camera in a fake plant. It’s a good thing that all the annoying shit Screech did with his camera actually had a purpose.

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It’s also a good that Screech has access to sophisticated broadcasting equipment because, in another room, he’s able to pick up the video camera on the television and see what’s going on. The rest of the gang and Andrea join them to see Brian show Mr. Worthington the deed. Mr. Worthington burns the deed, saying that, without it, the Pukuku won’t be able to prove that the deed ever existed.

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After another commercial break, the Pukuku protest in front of the Hideaway to save their land, and multiple reporters just happen to be present as Mr. Worthington is there to announce that the extension of the Royal Pacific will open by Easter.

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The gang show Brian the tape, who’s so shocked that they caught all this on camera that he doesn’t even think he could just run off with the evidence.

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Brian interrupts Mr. Worthington during the press conference to show him the tape. Zack Morris tells Mr. Worthington they have the original tape, that the one he’s watching is a copy which…is actually thinking a lot further ahead than most Saved by the Bell plots do. Mr. Worthington says that they can’t prove the land deed was real. Zack Morris counters that he’s right, but that a judge would find it interesting that Mr. Worthington thought enough of the deed to burn it. Zack Morris tells him that he’s to call off the groundbreaking and sell the Hideaway back to Harry at the same price he bought it for. He’s also to leave the Hideaway alone. Mr. Worthington agrees to the terms but says he’ll get his revenge by changing his name and waiting for a much more inferior cast of characters to come along in a couple years so he can have Bayside shut down on their incompetent watch and Zack Morris will have an excuse to come back with a Dawson’s Creek haircut and cry about it.

The only thing left is for comeuppance. Andrea tells Derek to get bent…

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…while Kelly straight up punches Brian! The lesson here is two-fold: don’t mess with Kelly Kapowski and don’t be a creepy guy in his late-twenties stalking girls from California. Brian also gets fired by Mr. Worthington and told he’ll never work on this island again. No mention of Harry, oh, I don’t know, filing fraud charges against Brian, the Worthingtons, and the bank manager for basically swindling him but everything worked out okay because Kelly got to punch Derek.

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A celebration dinner is held that night featuring Screech dancing like a moron.

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Slater and Jessie decide they really love each other so they’re not going to fight anymore for the rest of the trip. Lisa bets them $200 they won’t make it back to the plane before they fight again, and we all know that Lisa won that bet since that’s the only thing they can do.

Screech reveals the Pukuku’s are Harry’s new staff because we needed a happy ending for them despite the fact Screech did jack shit for them besides use them for a bunch of the gang’s plans.

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Harry insisted they would have to hire a manager from outside the tribe. He says he’s hiring Andrea, but only on the condition he gets to pay her five times what she made at the Royal Pacific. She also has to take college classes towards a degree. Andrea wonders how that’s even fucking possible considering she does have a daughter and stuff and Harry tells her not to worry because it won’t matter since they don’t have to figure out how to show it on screen.

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Zack Morris and Andrea go for a walk and Zack Morris says he doesn’t want to say goodbye. Since he’s turning eighteen soon, he wants to quit school and move to Hawaii. Andrea tells her that he has to stay with the franchise two more years so he can end up marrying another girl. He promises, though, that, if all that shit doesn’t work out, he’ll come right back to Hawaii and find her.

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The next day, it’s time to say goodbye, and the Pukuku thank Screech for doing jack shit to help them this entire episode. They will never forget him and will sing the praises forever of the idiot who came to Hawaii and acted a huge jackass.

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Harry and Kelly say a tearful goodbye and they hug goodbye forever since Harry won’t even be at Kelly’s wedding in a couple years.

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Zack Morris and Andrea kiss goodbye quite literally with Jennifer in the middle. Between this and seeing Screech for the last two weeks, poor kid’s going to be scared for life. The gang load into the Hideaway’s car to one more bad original song and a voice over from, of all people, Screech, who bids the audience, “Aloha.”

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And our film ends with the gang driving away and waving goodbye as Peter Engel takes credit for the mixed mess you’ve just witnessed.

Overall impressions: I was pretty bored with the whole thing overall. It feels like an extended episode with no studio audience and lots and lots of unneeded padding. The Slater and Jessie subplot wasn’t needed at all, Lisa is background decoration, and Screech is just around to act with his usual jackassery. It had its moments and, I have to admit, the plan to get Mr. Worthington to sell the Hideaway back to Harry was pretty ingenious, though it would have fallen apart had Mr. Worthington not burned the fake deed, but these moments were few and far between in the film and I found myself getting so bored just having to sit through much of this crap. I get why they were trying to do a feature length film; I just wish they had gotten someone competent to produce it.

Also, I’m not kidding, this film can’t possibly be canonical unless the gang just had unlimited energy that summer. I wonder if the writers realize that it paints Zack Morris a sociopathic asswipe who got over Stacey in just a few weeks and later lied and said he had never loved anyone more than Kelly. Yeah, I’m going to assume they didn’t think through how they were characterizing their protagonist, like usual.

Thanks for suffering through this review with me! Next week, we’re back for the final stretch of season four of Saved by the Bell!

Firsts: Film, leaving the continental United States.

Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 22: “Best Summer of My Life”

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We open in Zack Morris’s room, where he’s apparently playing guitar with a tennis racket. He tells us that his mom felt like he exhausted himself working so much over the summer so she insisted he take a day off from school because apparently he came back and went directly to school from Palm Desert.

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The rest of the episode is basically Zack Morris remembering how awesome the Malibu Sands and Palm Desert episodes were, and that’s really about it. Screech, Slater, and Lisa are each sent by Mr. Belding to see how Zack Morris is and each one remembers more stuff about the summer arc. It’s going to be a short review, maybe the shortest I’ve done to date, and, for that, I apologize, but what more can I do? If you want to remember whether the Malibu Sands and Palm Desert episodes were awesome or not, I recommend you go back to season three and watch them (or read my reviews) and don’t watch this stupid excuse for an episode that has about as much thought behind it as Kirk Cameron’s insane ramblings about creationism.

This may be the strangest clip episode to date as it focuses on these specific episodes and doesn’t even recap them very well. There’s no mention about the conflict surrounding Zack Morris and Stacey getting together, nothing about the gang’s conflict with Mr. Carosi, and, strange enough, nothing about Jessie’s father’s wedding. They even falsely imply Zack Morris and Kelly got back together and didn’t just have a subplot filling fling to give everyone’s hopes up. The ending isn’t even original; it’s just the same ending scene from the Malibu Sands episodes of the gang walking arm in arm along the beach after Stacey leaves! No original footage! Also, no Hawaii, but we’ll talk more about that later. I’m not even sure what the purpose of this episode is. Were they releasing the summer episodes on VHS and they needed an excuse to promote them and remind people how amazingly terrific they were? My god, if they loved the Malibu Sands episodes so much, why didn’t they just marry them?

In any case, I will make one remark about continuity. This episode is supposed to take place on the first day of school. Of course, this is horse shit since “The Fight” took place on the first day of school. I’m just going to assume that this episode is a hallucination on the part of Zack Morris the night before the first day of school and that the producers weren’t dumb enough to have made this episode just to pad the season out to twenty-six episodes.

And our episode ends with your reviewer having sat through a half-hour cheer leading episode on how awesome everyone’s summer was but his own as he goes to get a beer and drown his sorrow.

If you were disappointed by a short review this week, I promise you that I more than make up for it next week…

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Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 21: “Earthquake”

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We’re taking a couple weeks off from our out of season episode marathon to delve back into the Tori-verse! And what better way to jump back in than with Mr. Belding trying his hardest to huff and puff and blow Zack Morris’s house down! No, actually he’s practicing his breathing exercises. See, he managed to go the entire season without mentioning that Mrs. Belding is pregnant and he’s practicing breathing exercises for when she goes into labor. I would say that the fact we haven’t heard, twenty-one episodes into the season, that Mrs. Belding is pregnant is an example of professionalism on the part of Mr. Belding but, with his history of boundary crossing with his students, it’s more likely just another case of writers not feeling the need to foreshadow anything.

Based on what Mr. Belding tells Zack Morris, the baby is due on the 15th, which is two weeks away, despite the fact that it’s only a week away if you pay attention to the boxes Zack Morris checks off on his calendar.

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Naturally, Zack Morris being a sociopath, he’s found a way to profit off Mr. Belding’s impending fatherhood: by holding a baby pool! Of course, he checks off the 15th and both days around it for himself, and quickly starts ripping off the other students. Screech gets upset because he wasn’t given first choice, but, because he’s an idiot, Zack Morris is able to placate him by giving him today, tomorrow, and last week for half price. This is the man the parents of The New Class trust to take their children to ski lodges and for three months on boats.

Slater and Lisa remind Zack Morris he has a physics midterm in two minutes. He’s panicked because, in the hysteria of, yet again, tying up Jessie and Kelly and putting them in his basement this week, he forgot to study.

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Our physics teacher, Mr. Heimlich (yeah, like the anti-choking method…clever guys) is basically a Looney Tunes-like parody of Germans complete with the random breaking into German. The only problem is this person couldn’t convince anyone he’s German as he sounds like an American trying to do an approximation, which is exactly what he is. He’s also another one of those teachers who delights in making his tests incredibly hard because I guess he gets off on it? He’s quite literally the worst part of this episode and he’s only in this scene, though, so let’s not get too side-tracked.

Just as Mr. Heimlich is about to hand out the exams, an earthquake goes off. Lucky Tori’s never heard such an alarm before so Slater can actually explain what’s going on: an earthquake drill!

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Zack Morris wastes no time in getting two girls under the desk with him for some hanky panky! Guess he’s not dating Tori or Kelly anymore. Oh, Zack Morris, your love interests are so hard to keep up with! Zack Morris then reminds Mr. Heimlich that he needs to lead them outside to safety, which I’m pretty sure is the absolute worst thing you can do following an earthquake considering the risk of aftershock. He does it anyway, though, much to Zack Morris’s delight, which gives him an extra day to study for the mid-term.

In the hallway, Mr. Belding finds all the students wandering around. Yeah, he apparently somehow didn’t know there was going to be an earthquake drill today, which I’m pretty sure wouldn’t happen, and passed out doing his breathing exercises so he missed both the drill and the end of the day. Oh, Mr. Belding.

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Meanwhile, Lisa’s getting put off by Tori’s constant questions about earthquakes. Seems she’s never heard of these magical phenomenon and now she’s suddenly paranoid about them. Gee, I hope this doesn’t play into the episode in just a few minutes! vlcsnap-2015-07-09-14h29m30s98

At The Max, Tori’s reluctant to remove her motorcycle helmet, suddenly paranoid about the possibility of an earthquake. She even checks the structural integrity of several of The Max’s beams. It’s a good thing she didn’t tug too hard; I’m pretty sure one of those beams looks like it was ready to just fall down.

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Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Belding come in. Zack Morris and Slater automatically assume Mr. Belding’s there because Zack Morris is in trouble despite the fact we see Mr. Belding in The Max all the time. Of course, he’s there because Mrs. Belding had pregnancy cravings. Screech, being the moron he is, can’t help but start fat shaming Mrs. Belding, leading even Zack Morris to slap him upside the head for being an insensitive ass.

Lisa asks Mrs. Belding if she’s had a baby shower yet and she remarks that almost everyone she knows has given her a shower. This makes a light bulb go off in Zack Morris’s head by saying the gang were planning a baby shower for her during seventh period. Naturally, this is to get out of the midterm since Zack Morris is a sociopath and doesn’t do anything just to be nice to people. Zack Morris tells Mr. Belding they’re too afraid to ask Mr. Heimlich to get out of class but Mr. Belding tells them that he sees absolutely nothing odd about a spontaneous baby shower the next day and he’ll make sure they’re excused from class.

Mrs. Belding suddenly starts feelings pains in her stomach.

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Mr. Belding, assuming it’s the baby’s coming, shows exactly how good of a father he’s going to be to this new baby by grabbing Lisa and running to the car to go to the hospital. Oh, Mr. Belding. It’s a good thing that baby has two parents or it would die! Good thing it was just an upset stomach from bad Max food or else she’d be giving birth in a cheesy restaurant best known for once being owned by a guy that kept chickens in his pants.

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The next day at the baby shower, it looks like the gang actually got the baby a bunch of nice presents. Slater hands Mrs. Belding a present and it’s a Bayside football jersey the baby won’t be able to wear until its old enough to go to Bayside. Um…thoughtful? Screech fails at life and doesn’t understand what baby showers are so he gets the baby a shower cap, shampoo, and soap on a rope. Tori gets Mr. Belding a coach baseball cap. As usual, Tori’s probably the most thoughtful of the group in these episodes because she doesn’t have five years of Zack Morris stained on her soul. We also get what at first seems like a throwaway line about Tori helping her sister birth a baby last year.

The bell rings signalling the end of school. Mr. Belding says that Mr. Heimlich will give the gang their make-up test on Monday, which is two days away according to Screech despite the fact that we clearly saw Zack Morris marking off Tuesday as today when he was assigning the day to Screech for the baby pool. Consistency shouldn’t be this hard people! Slater and Lisa run off to swim practice…since I guess Slater’s on the swim team now? Screech helps Mr. Belding take the presents down to his car but they have to stop off at his office first to get the keys. Zack Morris and Tori say they’ll help Mrs. Belding down the never-before mentioned faculty elevator that Zack Morris has acquired keys for because he’s Zack Morris. Tori sees that the jersey’s been left behind so she randomly picks it up, which I’m sure won’t have any bearing on the plot in a minute.

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Zack Morris, Tori, and Mrs. Belding make it to the faculty elevator and get in. Quite literally, just as the doors close, the unthinkable happens in an episode titled, “Earthquake”…an earthquake occurs! I know! I didn’t see it coming either but there it is!

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In the hallway, chaos erupts as people scream and do their best impression of 1960s Star Trek special effects while Lisa keeps calm and gets people into a doorway.

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Luckily for the audience Slater was in the locker room changing when his shirt was trapped under falling lockers! If not, he wouldn’t be able to run around barechested the rest of the episode and give them something to scream about every few minutes.

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Mr. Belding’s in his office with Screech.

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And Zack Morris, Tori, and Mrs. Belding are stuck in the elevator. Just as fate and contrivance would have it, Mrs. Belding goes into labor right at that very moment! Also, Tori has a meltdown over the earthquake to the point I’m wondering if we’re about to see a repeat of Charlie Sheen’s “Winning” video.

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Mr. Belding discovers that the lock is jammed on his office door so he can’t get out to see if Mrs. Belding is alright. Showing that Mr. Belding’s been completely oblivious to Screech’s idiocy from the start, he trusts Screech to try and get them out of there…

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…but all Screech can do is play with a hippopotamus puppet and do weird voices. Mr. Belding starts screaming for help and thinking to himself that he needs to remember never to hire Screech as his administrative assistant.

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In the hallway, Lisa gives Slater her jacket to wear so the audience won’t hyperventilate over the tingly feelings they’re getting in their downstairs regions. They hear Mr. Belding and Screech yelling for help. Slater, showing how he could possibly beat Chuck Norris in a cage match, kicks open Mr. Belding’s door, and they rush to the elevator to check on Mrs. Belding. So Slater’s powerful enough to kick open a door but not to life a locker and get his shirt?

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Meanwhile, Tori’s still having her meltdown. Zack Morris tells Tori to snap the fuck out of her fit of crazy and help Mrs. Belding. She instantly snaps into action (so much for her actually working through her fear) and tells Zack Morris to give Mrs. Belding something to focus on. He pulls out a picture for her to look at while Tori gets her started on breathing.

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Everyone arrives at the elevator and finds out that Mrs. Belding is in labor. Mr. Belding sends Pete to find a working phone to call 9-1-1 so that everyone whose name is in the opening credits can stay behind to stare at the elevator doors.

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Mrs. Belding starts pushing and breathing alternating. Zack Morris says he sees the head coming and, from outside the elevator, we start to hear crying.

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It’s a good thing that, at that very moment, the power randomly came back on. LA must have the most efficient power crews post-earthquake ever! The elevator doors open and Mr. Belding is introduced to his new son, wrapped in the jersey Slater gave them. It’s weird, though. We know from his three appearances on The New Class that Mr. Belding named his son Little Zack after Zack Morris. I would have thought they would have mentioned this since it would have been a touching moment for Mr. Belding to show his gratitude to Zack Morris for helping his son come into the world.

In any case, despite how much crap I gave this episode, it’s actually not bad and may be one of the best of the season. For how much of a bad reputation the Tori episodes have, I’m thoroughly impressed.

Firsts: Mrs. Becky Belding, Little Zack Belding.