Category Archives: The New Class Season 4

The New Class Season 4 Recap

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Ah, another season, another year of The New Class that I’d rather forget ever happened. But yet, try as I might to forget, I really did sit through another twenty-six episodes of pure, unadulterated shit because, yes, that’s what it was. Not a single episode I truly like and at least one hit a new low for me.

And yet, this was even after a bunch of changes, both behind the scenes and in front. Gone are half of our characters from season three, again, replaced with fresh faces that will be with us until the end of the series. I don’t know how to sum up my feelings on these three. They’re not particularly irritating the way R.J. or Tommy D were, and Katie’s just as bland a character, if not more so, than Lindsay. But I have no emotional investment in these people, and I’m sure the people who were watching in 1996 didn’t either. After all, with this series’ track record, we could be replacing the entire cast for season five.

There was also more of an attempt to drop little Easter eggs of continuity. Besides appearances from Slater and Mr. Dewey and Screech recounting scenes from the original series involving the rest of the cast, we had references to teachers not seen in nearly eight years, acknowledgments that Tommy D and Lindsay had moved (no one gave a shit about R.J. anyway), and even a suggestion that Kelly’s little brother is now a football star at Bayside. Season four almost seems like it was trying to apologize for its three predecessors using the Saved by the Bell name by trying to convince you that, yes, it really is Saved by the Bell. Of course, it fails in all but the most superficial sense.

Behind the scenes, gone was Franco E. Bario as show runner, replaced by associate producer Chris Conte. I don’t know a lot about Conte, but, if his IMDB page is any indication, I’m not impressed. The only other scripted series he’s really been head of over the years was Malibu USA, another Saved by the Bell clone. Other than that, he’s been in charge of shows like Access Hollywood and Last Call with Carson Daly. And, while Conte had been affiliated with the franchise since Good Morning, Miss Bliss, there’s a distinct feeling that he’s trying to bring something different to the table while still pleasing fans of the original series.

Unfortunately, those new things aren’t all good. Screech is more irritating than ever, the love triangle between Nicky, Katie, and Maria was extremely unbelievable and resolved way too soon, and the crossover with Hang Time felt forced. Really forced. On the positive side, more of the main plots were going to the gang rather than Screech, but that didn’t say much as he still had annoying subplots, maybe more annoying than ever.

There was as little attention paid to the chronology as usual, although, this year, at least the Space Camp episodes weren’t used in the clip show episodes so they could at least take place after Christmas. (They  take place in the summer, as we’ll see in a few episodes, but Rachel’s departure complicates this, as we’ll also see.) What this season, overall, signaled is that nothing will ever change, as they neatly assured us Bayside and The Max will always be there, no matter what else happens.

Interestingly enough, this season would also be the last for longtime director Don Barnhart. Barnhart directed virtually every episode of the original series and The New Class to this point so his departure is a serious blow to continuity. I have no idea why he left but, like Bario, it apparently was on good terms. His only directing credits since have been a few episodes of California Dreams and ten episodes of the Canadian teen drama Student Bodies. Other than a few documentaries about Saved by the Bell, he’s virtually dropped off the map.


Let’s talk characters, starting with the returning members of the gang.

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Rachel really took a step backwards this season. Think about it: she was at her best when she was single and available for whatever plots were available, hence why I think her best season was three. After all, that was when she was in what is, to date, the only episode of The New Class I have truly liked. Any other time she is defined by the man she is with. In season one, she was an object to be used for Scott’s plot. In season two, she was totally defined by her relationship with Brian. And, in season four, Rachel had no characterization apart from her relationship with Ryan, which came the fuck out of nowhere.

She’s dull as ever this season and, as much as I should be sad that our last connection to the first season other than Mr. Belding is leaving, I can’t help but think the writers never figured out what to do with Rachel. She’s no Kelly because, while Kelly was also underdeveloped, we at least gave a damn what happened to her. Rachel will be replaced by another blonde next season and, sadly, there will probably be very little discernible difference.

I also have no idea how old Rachel was supposed to be. If she was a freshman in season one, that means she should be a senior this year, yet there’s no indication she was any older than our other characters who will graduate in season seven. Had Sarah Lancaster continued, would they have just pretended like all was as it should be? I think we’ll have our answer to that when Maria stays with the series until the end.

As with most of the women on this show, Sarah Lancaster has been considerably more successful post-The New Class than most of her male counterparts. She’s been in a ton of stuff since she left, but, most notably, she had a recurring role on Scrubs and starring roles on Chuck and Everwood. I watched her on Everwood and, I must say, her acting has not improved a bit since she was on The New Class. It was hard to watch her on here and not see the college co-ed who was fucking young Ephraim Brown.

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Ryan’s just a dick this season. While it’s clear the writers are trying their damndest to turn him into a Zack Morris-like character, they have no clue how, and Ryan just comes off at times as being controlling, egotistical, and as an asshole. Take, for instance, his treatment of Nicky in “Oh, Brother.” Nicky did nothing to Ryan, yet Ryan was determined to make the former’s life completely miserable. Couple this with his controlling attitude towards Rachel and the fact that he was the one to cheat on her with a girl from Hang Time, and I really got pissed off at Ryan at times.

I’m really becoming convinced that Ryan has multiple personalities that rarely coexist in the same episode. There is, after all, asshole, controlling manipulative Ryan; conniving Ryan; loyal Ryan; and, of course, random responsible Ryan who gets a job at The Max after insisting he’d never do anything silly like get a job. All are equally underdeveloped and which one is used in a particular episode depends on what is most convenient to the script.

And, yet, he’s still an improvement over Brian. He’s at least a leader and does more than spout about being Swiss and loving Rachel. Ryan’s a constant reminder that it could have been worse, and let’s pray that it won’t be after season five. I’m still unsure what to make of the retcon that turned him into a wrestling star considering he showed no interest in wrestling last season, but it definitely wasn’t the most annoying thing that happened this season.

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Maria started out the season continuing her role as the voice of reason, often intervening in conflicts, but her relationship with Nicky quickly hijacked all of that, and Maria suffered greatly for it. For once, though, she wasn’t completely defined by her relationship with Nicky. In fact, as I’ll mention when I get to Nicky, she was so not defined by her relationship with him that it was easy to forget she was even in a one to begin with.

And, what else can you say: Maria’s still as undeveloped as she was last season. She shows the hints of a real character but can’t seem to get past cliches and contrivances. If putting her with Nicky was supposed to help flesh out her character, it completely and utterly failed as I can’t think of a single bit of character development that’s truly come out of that relationship.

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Nicky is an improvement over Tommy D. They don’t force him to be an idiot and he often serves as the voice of reason among the boys. Unfortunately, his character development is slow–in the first few episodes, all we really knew about him was he had the power of NEW YORK! He slowly gained other characteristics, and most made sense (though I still don’t buy he was obsessed with astronomy). It was clear that, with Nicky, they were seeking a foil to Ryan.

The worst episodes with Nicky involve his relationships. His love for Katie comes the fuck out of nowhere, and he just randomly falls for Maria. Neither relationship is believable–it’s pretty bad when episodes have to remind us that Nicky is in a relationship for us to remember. Both relationships just seems completely forced and have no chemistry. Sad as it is to say, Tommy D and Lindsay are still the gold standard for a believable relationship on this show, and Nicky doesn’t come anywhere close to living up to that.

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We have to remember the line of characters we’ve gone through to get to Eric: Weasel, Bobby, and R.J. None of these has been particularly meaningful and I doubt there has been much weeping about the departures of any of these characters as they were basically there…to be there. The gang needed six characters, and so they added in a half-baked one hoping no one would give a damn.

So, is Eric an improvement? Yes, but a talking toaster would be better. Eric is best when they integrate the fact Anthony Harrell a singer in real life into his character. He’s worst when they try to make him a football star–I believe Eric’s a football star even less than the episode where Weasel was star for a day. The rest of the time, it seems like they’re trying to make him a lovable goofball and failing greatly. Eric’s the least developed character of the season. Also, continuing in the steps of his predecessor, he will never have a relationship longer than an episode or two, so you’ll never even get back door development for him.

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The writers really can’t seem to figure out what to do with Katie. Is she smart? Is she poor? Would she do hair with a French guy named Jean-Paul? Is she Nicky’s girlfriend? Does she swim? Is she a bitch to random guys whose love brims? These are all things they have done with her this season, and the answer is still unclear to any of them as they usually last an episode and are then forgotten. What is Katie’s purpose on the show? Damned if I know and I think the writers are still trying to figure it out, too.

In any case, she’s defined half the season by her relationship with Nicky and the other half by nothing in particular. The second half of the season reminds me of Lindsay after she and Ryan broke up: nothing to do in particular because the only thing of consequence she had going is gone. Since we have three more seasons to develop Katie, I’ll wait and see if she improves. Judging by this season, though, I’m not too optimistic of that happening.

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The biggest positive this season is that they’ve toned down the Screech and Mr. Belding plots. They’re still there but they’re usually more minor Mr. Belding is back to dispensing his usual judgmental lectures and Screech is a fucking moron. But they’re in positions on the show now that are at least tolerable.

Mr. Belding receives no character development this season. However, I have to mention his purchasing of Yukon Yogurt. Mr. Belding keeps insinuating his principal’s salary won’t support a wife and kid, yet he keeps purchasing businesses in the mall which are, presumably, failing, How can he afford this if he is so destitute?

Screech is more annoying than ever this season and has become a caricature of a cartoon character. Seriously, if Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd strolled into Bayside one episode, they would still be more believable than Dustin Diamond’s performance this season. Screech’s incompetence is truly astounding and how he keeps a job, I’ll never know. Even when the writers do a clip show trying to tell us how awesome Screech is, they succeed in little other than showing us how much he sucks at life. At least he doesn’t have to be involved in every little thing the gang does unlike the first three seasons, but his presence is still fucking annoying and not appreciated.


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Given how many genuinely good shows are cancelled before they really have the chance to succeed, it’s truly astounding that this show just kept getting renewed season after shitty season. The burning down of The Max is kind of symbolic of what this season did to the reputation of the Saved by the Bell brand. I mean, by now, most loyal original series fans will say they abandoned ship, and very few have gone into the depths of the last few seasons as I’m about to. I’m convinced at this point that Peter Engel had blackmail on someone at NBC. After all, how else can you account for the fact that this show has now had more episodes than the original, which, though a silly but harmless teen show, is still considered a classic?

God I’m not looking forward to these last few seasons.


My Picks

We’re back this season to five episodes I hated more than the others since there were no episodes I even remotely liked. Please feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments.

Episode 6: “Little Hero”: I don’t buy Eric as a football player for a second, much less as the star of the team. Add in a stupid cameo by Jim Harbaugh and the fact the writers completely fucked up Mr. Dewey’s character, and I just really hate this episode with a passion.

Episode 8: “Fall Formal”:  Last season, I was really hard on episodes involving R.J. This season, it seems I’m hard on Katie-centric episodes. I really don’t get what the big deal was, especially considering the beautiful dress Katie came up with. Add the clueless consumerism of Rachel and Maria and I really hate this episode. Oh, and one can’t help but mention that this is the episode the now-infamous air conditioner repair subplot came from.

Episode 11: “Renaissance Faire”: It was a really bad idea to have the gang put on a renaissance faire anyway, but to do so while making a regular character look like a complete jackass because, out of nowhere, he believes his girlfriend is cheating on him…god, what were they thinking?

Episode 21: “The Fifth Wheel”: Another Katie-centric episode in which she randomly rejects a good looking guy because he knows about science. How horrible of him to actually learn something more than the idiotic ramblings of The New Class! The subplot involving ugly jackets just made me hate this even more. It is, possibly, the worst of the Space Camp episodes.

Episode 26: “Fire at the Max, Part 2”: I normally wouldn’t put a clip show episode on this list, but, considering how badly this one resolved the cliffhanger of the first part, it had to be added. What made the writers think they could burn down a beloved staple of the franchise and then resolve the plot via clips? A mangled cameo by Slater didn’t help it at all and the whole “Ryan’s feeling guilty” thing was barely given mention.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 26: “Fire at the Max, Part 2”

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We open with Mr. Russell and the gang sans Ryan entering the lightly burned remains of The Max. They thank Mr. Russell for giving them one last chance to say goodbye to the shitty restaurant. Mr. Russell says it’s no problem since he has some paperwork to randomly do in a burned out building since burned out, potentially unsafe buildings are the best place to do paperwork. Plus they were randomly going in and out of the building last week so they might as well.

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The gang sit in their old booth, the remains apparently still recognizable after this horrible fire, and recount what happened in the last episode, especially emphasizing how Ryan wants to transfer.

So, after burning down a beloved icon of the franchise in the last episode, how would you expect The New Class to handle the conclusion in part two? If you answered tactfully and respectfully, you obviously haven’t watched enough of this shitty show. No, the correct answer is: another clip show episode! Yes, the producers of this show think so little about your intelligence that they built up some semblance of drama and emotion last episode only to let it implode in the laziest cliche in television.

Get ready to relive events of the past season that have occurred at The Max, because they have a whole episode of them waiting for us! And, since this is a clip show episode, I feel the need to point out that, once again, an entire season of The New Class, including Nicky dating two girls, volunteering at the hospital, and jobs at the mall (except Space Camp, of course, which took place in the summer but makes the chronology of this season even messier as we’ll see in the coming weeks), have all taken place in the space of four months. I know, I know. If you really stretch it, it’s possible. But wouldn’t it have been much easier to make this a whole school year like competent writers would have done?

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And, when Mr. Belding and Screech show up, after recounting their own events of the last season, we even have time enough to show some clips from the original series so Screech can recount his youth and show how he’s never been competent at anything. Also, we see how he’s still obsessed over Lisa after all these years. Considering how Danielle disappeared after Screech’s sole date with her, Lisa needs to go into witness protection now!

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And who shows up in the middle of it but A.C. Slater himself, having been summoned from wherever the hell he’s living nowadays by his Slatey sense so he can do his own grieving over The Max. When I reviewed “Goodbye Bayside,” I said that episode was the final episode for Zack Morris, Slater, and Lisa, and some of you corrected me in the comments. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and I still have no idea why Mario Lopez made this appearance unless he was just that hard up for a paycheck in the mid-1990s. I hate to say it, but I think “Goodbye Bayside” would have been a more dignified curtain call for Slater. At least “Goodbye Bayside” did more with Slater’s character than have him recount clips. No, he got to stand around and say stupid things in that one.

And what do they do with the final cameo by an original series cast member? If you answered something meaningful and classy that would have brought a satisfying conclusion to a beloved character, you’ve really not been watching the same show I have the last four seasons. No, as if to pour salt in the wound for anyone who was expecting this to be a satisfying resolution to the first part, Slater’s appearance is merely an excuse to show more god damned fucking stupid ass clips!

Watching this show is like ingesting seven seasons worth of dog shit while I’m tortured by the vocal renditions of Yoko Ono and William Hung. I swear to fucking god.

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But, in case you were worried, Screech takes advantage of the situation to put his snot on Slater’s shirt, because that makes all this stupid ass shit worthwhile.

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Ryan finally shows back up and reveals that, off screen, he’s dealt with most of his grief over burning down The Max, and his final lingering regret is fixed by a pep talk from Slater. This gives Ryan the opportunity to show his own clip from the past season, and Ryan decides not to transfer after all.

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So, with exactly one minute left, Mr. Russell reveals he’s been listening in this whole time and his icy heart has been melted by their stupid ass clips. He’s decided to rebuild and make it a bigger and better Max to ensure that the status quo of this franchise is never broken, and our episode and season mercifully end with the assembled regulars and guest stars cheering a completely unsatisfying resolution to this whole cluster fuck.

My fucking god this was a squandered opportunity. Not only did they not show Ryan work through his emotions at all, but they also missed the opportunity to make the Teen Machine the new hangout for the gang. I mean, it was perfect: take an existing locale and have this gang make it their own, differentiated from the original series, and actually do something different. Instead, we get a clear sign that, as long as this franchise exists, nothing will change, ever, because the producers and writers for this show are the laziest fucks on the face of the planet.


And that’s it for season four of The New Class. Tune in for a recap this Wednesday. Next Monday, we’ll delve into the fifth season of my self-imposed punishment and try to figure out how this show kept getting renewed.

Also, this is the second anniversary of this blog and, once again, thank you for making it such a success! You guys are why I keep torturing myself with The New Class. I am so grateful for everyone who reads, shares, and comments on my posts. Here’s to two years of watching this franchise!

The New Class Season 4, Episode 25: “Fire at the Max, Part 1”

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Ah, Christmas at The Max! Unfortunately for me, Santa didn’t bring me the cancellation of this awful show. Well, there’s always next Christmas, if I’m so lucky. But it’s nice to see the writers of this show know the climate of Southern California so well they dressed our gang like they’re expecting snowfall any moment. Way to fuck up in the first few seconds there, guys.

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But the plot contrivance fairy did visit because Ryan, the guy who’s been characterized the last two seasons as being lazy and refusing to get a job is now working at The Max, and there’s absolutely no reason for it except that it’s convenient to the plot. I seriously think this is the laziest this show has ever sunk. The only way they could have done worse is have Screech spontaneously combust and cause the titular fire. Oh, wait, that would have been awesome! Best episode ever!

In any case, Ryan has Maria spying to find an awesome present for Rachel, and Rachel does the same with Nicky to find a present for Ryan, and vice versa. God, that’s hurting my head. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to fucking ask them what they wanted for Christmas?

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Also, Mr. Belding and Screech are randomly working at a Christmas tree lot because school administrators have so much free time when school is still in session. Oh, yeah, school is still in session, as evidence by some scenes at Bayside this episode. And, yeah, they provide the Christmas tree for The Max, and there’s some unfunny physical comedy as Screech acts like a dumb ass and makes Mr. Belding carry it all in.

Ryan decides it would be awesome to have a party at The Max and they’ll just put their presents to each other under the tree because none of them have homes of their own any longer.

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At the Teen Machine, the Glee Club practices for their upcoming Christmas concert. Yeah, of all places, we’re practicing at a for-profit club instead of in a classroom at school. Also, Screech continues to be a dumb ass when it comes to directing the Glee Club as he flails his arms around in the air like he’s a drunk guy directing air traffic and holds up random props for “Twelve Days of Christmas.” I guess some things never change except when they’re convenient to the plot, like Screech being competent.

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So everyone goes into the mall to buy presents, but the contents of the presents don’t really matter at all. Seriously, they don’t, except for the fact Eric’s a greedy ass and bought lots of presents for himself. Also, Rachel bought Ryan what are obviously skis and walks around hitting everyone in the mall with them because she wants her last two episodes to be classy.

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Meanwhile, Screech harasses a snooty lady over a salami log for Mr. Belding because he likes to eat. Maybe this is how Dennis Haskins gained so much weight over the years: Screech just kept feeding him incessantly. It’s as good an excuse as any I guess.

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At The Max, no one’s seen a Christmas tree before so they’re all shocked into awe to see that it’s possible to put lights around a dead piece of wood. They all decide to go have a circle jerk or some shit, but Ryan has to stay behind and lock up.

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The pay phone rings and Ryan answers it, not understanding that’s not the business phone. At least I hope it’s not considering how much kids have kept it tied up over the years. I assumed it would be someone breathing heavily and asking Ryan what he’s wearing, but, instead, it’s the store saying they’ve found a sweater in Rachel’s size. So, since the only thing you need to do to lock up a restaurant is turn out the lights, Ryan locks up. Geez, we’re lucky there wasn’t a grease fire that burned everything down. But, if any robbers are in the area, they can stop in as The Max doesn’t seem to have any closing cash procedures either. Oh, wait, it’s because no one ever buys anything.

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But, no, the tree spontaneously combusts. They’ll try to convince us that the lights caught fire because Ryan didn’t shut them off but, unless someone put lights in the middle of the tree, I’m not buying it. It was a miracle of St. Peter Engel.

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At Bayside, Ryan and Nicky are the last ones to hear about what happened at The Max but, yeah, The Max burned down. Also, fire trucks are still there because I guess it was such a bad fire it took ten to twelve hours to put out.

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Screech is devastated that the place where he hung out with the only six people who could stand him in high school has burned down, and Mr. Belding says the fire department magically knows they were the last eight to be in The Max before the fire, so they’re going down to an unsafe building at lunch to talk to the firemen and that maybe they’ll even let Screech turn on the siren to make him feel better.

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Yeah, this is the building that took so long to put out a fire: one where the exterior walls are still standing and the walls and furniture look salvageable. Hell, we can see the fucking Christmas garland still hanging in the background. Have the writers of this show never seen a building after a major fire before or do they just not give a shit? Why am I asking this question? Either way, it sucks!

Also, tragedy upon tragedy, the gang’s booth is no more and their Christmas presents were burned up to the point they’re still recognizable. Oh, the contrivance is strong in this episode!

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And meet Mr. Russell, the first owner of The Max we’ve seen in eight years. Mr. Belding makes small talk about being sorry The Max burned down but Mr. Russell says not to worry because he had insurance. Besides, he bought it for a steal from a shitty magician who liked to stick poultry in his pants.

The fire captain says the start of the fire was Christmas tree magic, and Ryan remembers he didn’t turn off the Christmas tree lights. Thus, the plot for the rest of the episode is that Ryan feels like shit because The Max has shitty closing procedures.

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At the Teen Machine, the gang are depressed that their new hangout is a shitty club that, until a couple episodes ago, wasn’t even open on weekdays. Ryan doesn’t feel guilty enough so everyone talks shit about him saying he’s a worse screw-up than Screech. So, of course, since we’re all about contrivance, Ryan hears every word they say and says they’re absolutely right about his idiocy.

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Screech has a breakdown about The Max and can’t flail his arms like a moron for the Glee Club, too, so practice is cancelled to continue the plot as Ryan runs off to blame himself.

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Back at Bayside, Ryan cashes in savings bonds to buy everyone presents and the same people who just called him a fuck up a few minutes ago now think he’s going too far in the guilt trip.

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Lucky for the plot, the gang aren’t running the school newspaper this episode, so two nerds run up and interview Ryan about what it’s like to be the person who burned down the second most frequently used locale on Saved by the Bell. To make things worse, Mr. Belding reveals that he’s now the confidante of Mr. Russell and has found out that Mr. Russell doesn’t intend to rebuild The Max, seeing an opportunity to split town and move to another show that doesn’t rely on tired cliche and paper thin plots, not to mention a chance to abandon the place where no one ever buys anything and which the school system randomly commandeers at their pleasure.

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After a commercial break, Ryan rushes into Mr. Belding’s office following the rest of the gang make bad jokes about fire and tells Mr. Belding that he wants a transfer, that he’ll always be known as the idiot who burned down The Max if he stays at Bayside. Mr. Belding tells Ryan he needs to suck it up and accept that shit happens, especially given that it’s not his turn to quit the show yet, but Ryan’s all, “I’ve got to go before Screech’s voice becomes even more annoying!”

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The rest of the gang find Ryan sitting in the middle of the lightly charred Max. They try to convince him to suck it up but he’s all depressed and shit.

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At the Teen Machine, we find out Ryan’s so depressed he didn’t show up for the shitty Glee Club concert, and the rest of the gang go on with the assembled extras as Screech suddenly figures out how to direct a choir for real. We get a stirring rendition of “Silent Night” to assembled mall extras who decided to come back just for the concert after being clearly seen in a previous scene because the producers were too cheap to pay for additional extras.

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And our episode ends by fading to black over Ryan still hanging out at the horrible fire scene that’s still safe enough for people to be constantly going in and out of. Oh, The New Class, once again, you fail to understand reality at all.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 24: “Stealing Screech”

Oh! Could this be a Christmas miracle!?!?! Could someone be taking Screech away from this show? If so, I say they can keep them! Oh, hallelujah! This could be the event that’s so miraculous it makes atheists believe in a god!

No, of course that’s not what this episode is about because, as we’ve established many times, the universe hates me. A lot. As such, it likes to see me suffer around this series.

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We open in Mr. Belding’s office, where we learn that Valley beat Bayside in basketball. Well, maybe part of the problem is your spirit banner was tucked away in Mr. Belding’s office so no one knew to give a shit! This upsets Mr. Belding because Valley’s principal, Mr. Huffington, likes to gloat. I guess the producers were too cheap to bring back Mr. Stingwell from the original series even though they’ve brought back more minor characters.

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And Mr. Huffington himself comes in singing and dancing about his victory. I guess principals can just randomly leave school in the middle of the day just to move the plot along. He puts a Valley hat on Mr. Belding because apparently they had a bet that the principal of the losing school would wear the colors of the winning school, which is why we don’t see Mr. Belding wear the hat again during this episode.

Mr. Huffington notices how competent Screech seems to be acting this episode because it’s convenient to the plot and, after Mr. Belding leaves Mr. Huffington says he can tell Mr. Belding would be lost without him, which he would be wrong about. Well, he seemed to be doing pretty good for himself for six years before the sad day when he hired Screech. But this gives Screech a big head and Mr. Huffington offers Screech a raise of $50 a week if he will transfer to Valley, because apparently all that’s needed to transfer within this school district is a principal’s random whim.

He tells Mr. Huffington he’ll think about it and, after Huffington leaves, Screech talks to himself, wondering if he should take the job and…oh, god, no. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! This is all a flimsy excuse for a clip show. I should have known I wasn’t going to get away from this season without one. And, yes, this is the flimsiest excuse they’ve used to date. Screech has to remember how awesome the past season is so he’ll stay at Bayside.

So, yeah, he remembers how awesome the baby simulator episode was and decides that, based on this, he needs to see if he can get Mr. Belding to give him a raise. I’m not sure why that clip was even in there other than to show us that Mr. Belding thinks about the gang and Mr. Belding way too much, but why the hell not.

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So Screech buys Mr. Belding flowers.

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And makes him lunch. This is getting creepy as fuck I have to say. Mr. Belding senses something is up when Screech asks for more money and Screech tells him about Mr. Huffington’s job offer. Mr. Belding reminds Screech how often they have cuts at Bayside because they randomly do things like spend three months on a boat or visit Space Camp, and says he can’t afford to match Mr. Huffington’s offer. But they pause to remember the time they made fools of themselves on the school radio station, and Mr. Belding tells Screech he ought not care about money and just do shit because, for whatever reason, people in this universe respect him despite his complete incompetence.

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In the hallway, it’s finally time for the gang to chime in and they tell Screech how much they want his hot ass body. No, they remind Screech about the time he helped Eric cheat in the science fair and the time he almost broke up Ryan and Rachel over stupid height shit. So you’re trying to make us care about Screeh leaving Bayside by showing us how much of an idiot he can be?

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech continues to think about the situation by looking like a complete dumb ass.

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The girls rush in and tell Screech how much they love him and Katie reminds him about that thrilling air conditioner repair subplot from earlier this season. Thanks for reminding me of that stupid shit just when I had almost forgotten about it.

You know, for an episode that’s supposed to be aiming to show us how indispensable Screech has become to Bayside, all they’re really doing is reminding me how irritating, idiotic, and incompetent Screech is.

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Screech tells the girls to leave before they have to use more clips, and he gets a call from Mr. Huffington, asking for his decision. He tells Mr. Huffington to meet him at The Max that afternoon for his decision.

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At The Max, Mr. Belding’s depressed, not knowing what Screech’s answer will be, so they have time for one more clip, of the time Screech’s balloon business intersected with a subplot about a dangerous elderly lady hitting Mr. Belding’s car.

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Mr. Huffington comes in, cocky that Screech will accept his offer.

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The gang rush in and tell Screech that, off screen, they completed the other half of the budget deficit plot: fundraising, and they’re working towards raising the extra money Mr. Huffington offered Screech. Screech tells Mr. Huffington that he’s staying at Bayside to give me three more seasons of misery and pain. Mr. Huffington leaves, shocked that his appearance has been reduced to a horrible clip episode.

Well, it turns out the gang only raised $9.11, which seems like lots more than Screech is worth. Hell, he should be paying them for all his incompetence and dumb assery.

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And our episode ends with Screech saying he’s not in it for the money. He loves Bayside. Then he tries to get Mr. Belding to cop a feel, because that’s the image I wanted in my mind this Christmas.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 23: “Balancing Act”

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Does this ever happen to you? You’re walking down the hallway, randomly chuckling at a red file folder, when your idiot assistant comes up behind you and scares the shit out of you?  Well, then, beat the crap out of him and fire his ass! But this is The New Class so Mr. Belding will probably give him an award for his stupidity.

No, Screech is actually trying to give Mr. Belding hints about his birthday coming up but Mr. Belding doesn’t seem to get it because it’s time to rip off another plot from the original series that wasn’t good the first time around.

And I feel I have to talk just a moment about Screech’s characterization in this episode. This season, he’s slowly been slipping into the full-on annoying mode that I’ve known was coming for some time. See, I had the misfortune of watching the Hang Time crossover episode featuring Screech and I still feel the need to pour acid in my ears to cleanse them of that sound. It’s really becoming apparent this episode and I want to stab him in the eye every time he speaks. It’s kind of sad. Dustin Diamond’s never been a good actor, but remember back in Good Morning, Miss Bliss when his performance was at least sincere? By now, it’s like he’s playing a caricature of Steve Urkel and Spongebob Squarepants’s idiot child. And it only gets worse from here…

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Ryan reminds Mr. Belding that Screech is talking about his birthday since Screech has apparently been bugging the students as well, and Mr. Belding says that it’s okay because he hasn’t forgotten but wants to keep Screech from finding out the details of his party since we’re busy recycling plots and cliches.

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Meanwhile, Maria’s convinced her boss to keep the Teen Machine open on weeknights and Maria’s going to be the manager. I’m beginning to believe that Palisades Mall is only open on the weekends since most of the people who work there are only available through the week. And, besides, I thought we established these were supposed to be summer jobs, so why is Maria working through the school year? If last week’s episode of The College Years ate a great big bowl of continuity, The New Class has vomited all of theirs up in the toilet bowl that is the writers’ room.

Nicky’s read the script already so he automatically doubts whether Maria will be able to balance everything if she throws work in there and Maria tells him not to worry since they manage to balance thousands of school activities and clubs already due to the power of plot contrivance. Also, tomorrow is Nicky and Maria’s two month anniversary because we need another convenient point of conflict.

In literature class, the teacher assigns a twenty page double-spaced term paper. For fuck’s sake, Bayside constantly has either too high or too low of standards for its students. If they’re not assigning work suitable for kindergartners, they’re assigning twenty page term papers. I didn’t even write many twenty page papers as an undergrad!

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In any case, Maria’s not been paying attention because she’s designing a poster for the club’s funny hat night since, you know, Nicky’s randomly wearing a stupid hat (I refuse to say it’s funny).

Mr. Belding finds Ryan and Eric and recruits them to plan Screech’s party so Screech won’t find out the details. Since Ryan and Eric are used to Mr. Belding’s random boundary crossing at this point, they agree, saying it will be easy to keep shit from the faculty at this school.

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At the club, Mr. Gomez is back and he’s super happy about how much more money he makes when the club is open seven nights a week verses two. He says that Maria’s the best employee he’s ever had, increasing Maria’s ego by +5. But Maria puts off talking to Ryan and Eric about having the party at the club and doesn’t have time for Nicky.

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The next day, Ryan and Eric are terrified to find Screech hiding in Ryan’s locker with a look on his face that says, “I will molest you.” No, Screech is randomly hiding in his students’ lockers hoping to find information about a party for him, but Ryan insists that he and Eric are planning a party for Mr. Belding on Screech’s birthday because Screech is too naive to realize how much of a cliche this is. They ask Screech to come up with ideas for the party as Screech waddles away with the most unbelievable blocking in the history of acting. Seriously, I think we had better directing in my first grade play.

Maria brags about how awesome the club did but insists she’ll be able to make it to cheerleader practice and work on her term paper. She gets a call from Mr. Gomez on her new cell phone, though, and cancels cheerleader practice and working on her term paper so she can work again. It’s nice to know that Maria’s so important she can just randomly reschedule practice for a school activity to suit her own schedule, especially given we’ll see there are actually two extras who are part of the squad. But, yeah, Maria says she’ll work on her paper during breaks and she’ll practice cheers in the morning. Yeah, that won’t backfire.

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After a commercial break, we’ve skipped a day as evidenced by Screech dressed as the tenth doctor. Geez, I really hope the BBC didn’t pickup fashion tips for David Tennant from this show. Screech has ideas for the party but they all involve inflicting pain on Mr. Belding. The sad thing is, in this context, I really have a hard time telling if Screech really thinks these are good ideas or if he’s mad at Mr. Belding over a surprise party he thinks others are throwing for him. 

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Predictably, Maria finds out that job breaks aren’t really enough time to work on an unreasonable assignment like a twenty page term paper so she had to work on it before school and missed cheerleader practice. She promises that, if Rachel and Katie write down the cheers, she’ll learn them during study hall in time for the prep rally later.

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The pep rally is at The Max this time since we need a scene there for this episode. Apparently there’s a basketball game coming up which only matters peripherally since none of our characters are on the team, but we need a cheer for it. After Screech whines some more about his fucking birthday to the assembled student body, the girls do their cheer, and Maria fucks it up badly. Since that’s part of the plot, Rachel and Katie are pissed off that Maria’s suck a fuck up and she promises the girls they can practice that night. Since we need wacky hijinks, she’s also going to have a date with Nicky at work (promising she won’t be working) and also promises to meet Ryan and Eric to discuss the party appetizers. Why do I get the feeling that it won’t be wacky at all?

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech continues to be pissed off about a party Mr. Belding supposedly doesn’t know about. He puts too much hot sauce on Mr. Belding’s burrito because he’s a trifling asshole and then goes out in the hallway to order a pie in Mr. Belding’s face, because I guess there’s companies for that now.

Meanwhile, Maria runs into the lit teacher and asks her for an extension on her unreasonable term paper, saying that she had to sit with her sick grandmother and didn’t have time for Bayside’s unreasonable demands. The teacher says Maria can have over the weekend and she’s sure this won’t come back and bite Maria in the ass in a minute even though no one should trust Maria to tell the truth given her shit last season with Driver’s Ed.

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Well, at the Teen Machine, shit goes about as you would expect from a tired plot that’s been done a thousand times and often much better. Hell, Robin Williams did this better in Mrs. Doubtfire, a couple years before this episode aired. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s where the writers got the idea for this scene. In any case, Maria finds herself unable to keep the gang from finding out they’re all there for their shit of the episode, and they all walk out, pissed off that Maria’s put them in the middle of this plot. On top of it all, the lit teacher happens to be in the mall and discovers to no one’s shock but her own that Maria lied about the sick grandmother, leaving Maria silent at being caught lying about shit…again.

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Considering how Screech was randomly hiding in Ryan’s locker earlier, I hate to think why he’s actually video taping him and Eric. I would be a bit concerned that they’re going to be a part of Screech’s porn.

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Mr. Belding gives Maria the usual trite lecture on the lesson of the episode, managing your time and priorities. He shows Maria how she’s not prioritizing school and blah blah blah, Maria will never make anything of herself unless she quits her job. Interestingly enough, lying to a teacher is a crime worthy of two weeks of detention here, which may explain why Zack Morris claimed to perpetually have been in detention. I’m pretty sure that merely lying to a teacher wouldn’t get detention but, instead, just the same due date as everyone else.

Also, Rachel and Katie are pissed at Maria and kick her off the cheerleading squad until she gets her act together and Nicky feels like Maria doesn’t have enough time for him anymore because conflict.

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At the club, everyone hides as Screech arrives for his party. I love the way Eric’s just looking at a random structural pole like he’s an ostrich sticking its had in the ground.

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Screech acts like an ass, not believing the party is for him until he sees the big banner that says, “Happy Birthday Screech.” Why does anyone do anything nice for Screech?

Maria tells Mr. Belding she’s quitting her job and only working weekends again so she can get her priorities in line and resolve this plot.

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The girls make-up, saying they believe Maria now since the episode’s almost over.

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And Maria and Nicky makeup to give the audience a chance to wet themselves with excitement.

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And our episode ends with Screech getting a pie in the face since he apparently ordered it for the person of honor at the party. Finally, something in this episode I can get behind.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 22: “The Kiss”

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Aren’t I lucky? We’re back at Space Camp for one more week because our first two outings weren’t torturous enough!

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And we find out that the gang’s final project at space camp will be to build and launch model rockets for their graduation ceremony. Naturally, Mr. Belding and Screech will be supervising the two teams since Space Camp apparently doesn’t employ anyone competent enough to supervise groups of teenagers through basic rocket building. Mr. Belding’s team, the red team, will consist of Ryan, Eric, and Katie while Screech’s team, the yellow team, will be Rachel, Nicky, and Maria. Rachel wants to switch teams since she’s now codependent and can’t do anything without Ryan hanging off her but Mr. Belding says the plot demands she not be on Ryan’s team. Of course, the rest of the students don’t get to build model rockets because they don’t matter to the plot.

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Well, maybe I’m wrong about other students not getting to be in groups. Another Space Camp employee comes in and introduces two random girls who decided to go shopping instead of doing their project so they need to join the gang’s groups. Meet Mary Beth Pepperton and Amy Wright. Mary Beth gets to be on the red team while Amy will be on the yellow team. Something seems familiar about these two, though. Why do I get the feeling they’re not so random placements?

 

God damn it. This is a stupid fucking crossover episode with Hang Time, isn’t it? Yeah, no joke, they decided the best way to get better ratings for a cheap Saved by the Bell rip-off was to put two of its characters into an even worse Saved by the Bell rip-off. I don’t know a lot about Hang Time other than it’s where Anthony Anderson got his big break but I know enough to realize that this crossover doesn’t make any sense in light of the final season when Dustin Diamond visits for a midnight screening of Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas. No, that is a real plot. In any case, I know nothing about Mary Beth and Amy other than the former is the manger of the basketball team and the latter is a cheerleader. So, I guess I’m going into it the way most viewers of The New Class did: with no fucking clue who these two were.

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Ryan invites Mary Beth to sit with them and she immediately gives Ryan a lap dance, causing the audience to lose their mind since they don’t know how babies are made. Gee, I wonder what the conflict of the episode will be.

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So we get to see the teams prepping for their rocket building. Mr. Belding gets his team red pencils.

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While Screech decks out the whole team in yellow and even wrote up blueprints for them.  He’s also concerned they dry themselves with yellow towels because I’m sure he’s fitted them with waterproof cameras or such shit.

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Screech then starts doing his usual crazy shit and Amy thinks Screech is the most awesome thing to have ever existed, which must mean that Amy’s the dumb ass of the Hang Time gang. After all, who else would think Screech is intelligent?

Mr. Belding, meanwhile, assigns Ryan and Mary Beth to design their rocket so they have some time together to get their subplot together while Eric and Katie go to find material. Rachel passes them and tells Ryan she’ll see him at dinner as Ryan and Mary Beth wax poetic about how sad they are to have boyfriends and girlfriends and shit.

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The next day, it’s time for the groups to show off their rockets. Red team’s rocket will go up to fifty feet in the air…

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…while Mr. Belding has rocket envy for yellow team’s rocket as it can go five hundred feet in the air. And, thus, we get Mr. Belding and Screech’s subplot: competition over who has a bigger rocket ship. Actually, I’m sure this is what they talk about all the time.

Mr. Belding decides that they need better materials and research so he sends Ryan and Mary Beth to get supplies. Ryan cancels dinner with Rachel and then…borrows Mr. Belding’s car. What is it with authority figures in this franchise just randomly trusting their cars with teenagers?

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And what is it with said authority figures’ cars breaking down randomly? Yeah, Mr. Belding’s radiator hose comes off so Ryan and Mary Beth can wax poetic about how pretty the sky is and shit. vlcsnap-2015-11-10-16h32m41s199

Ryan reads the script and realizes he’s supposed to have a subplot involving him cheating on Rachel so he and Mary Beth kiss so they can move the plot along.vlcsnap-2015-11-10-16h33m20s54

The next day at breakfast, Ryan and Mary Beth do the classic sitcom cliche of trying to pretend nothing happened by acting as weird and anxious as possible. Still, because the plot demands it, no one realizes they have “Cheating Whores” written all over them.

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In our other subplot, Screech talks shit about Mr. Belding’s rocket ship and suggests he launch it with a slingshot.

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Meanwhile, Mr. Belding’s become overly paranoid about a new rocket design. When Nicky comes in, he suggests they move so Nicky can’t copy his stupid design.

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Ryan asks for some time alone with Nicky. Mr. Belding tells him to have fun but don’t let him see their rocket yet until it’s fully ready to blast off. Ryan tells Nicky he kissed Mary Beth and Nicky gives him the predictable advice that Mary Beth will be going back to Indiana so does he want to risk shit with Rachel to go out with her. Never stopped Zack Morris. In any case, Nicky tells Ryan he has to decide what to do about the kiss, leaving Ryan to contemplate his future.

Ryan and Mary Beth talk and decide that it was a one time thing and they still love the people their respective shows tell them they need to be with.

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So Mr. Belding and Screech’s subplot comes to a head with each destroying the other’s rocket ship because they’re being awesome examples for the gang.  This leads to both teams getting fed up and saying they’re not going to participate in this dumb subplot any longer. Mr. Belding and Screech go off to talk.

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Ryan tells Rachel about the kiss and insists he still loves her and hopes she will forgive him. Rachel puts on the best hurt face that Sarah Lancaster can muster and rushes off since the guy who, earlier this season was so paranoid that she would cheat on him, cheated on her.

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And, surprise, she hasn’t forgiven Ryan by the next scene so she takes some flowers he got her and throws them in the garbage, saying she’s almost done with this series so why should she bother with this shit any longer.

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Mr. Belding and Screech tell the teams they’ve been bad leaders and role models and dumb asses, so they decide to have both teams work together and see what they can come up with by tomorrow.

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For an episode about Ryan cheating on Rachel, there hasn’t been a whole lot of Rachel around, so we get this scene for her to get advice from Katie and Maria. Katie tells Rachel to stay with him. Rachel actually brings up Nicky cheating on Katie, something I figured the writers would just forget about, and she says that’s totally different, even though it’s actually the same. Maria agrees with Katie, insisting that staying together is a good opportunity for pain on Ryan’s part.

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Mary Beth comes in to talk to Rachel and tells her she feels awful that their crossover made the Hang Time characters look like a horrible asshole and a dumb ass. She says she hopes Rachel finds it in her heart to forgive him so they can continue their love until the end of the series.

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The next day, the Space Camp people tell Mr. Belding and Screech the combined team rocket is the best they’ve ever seen. Of course it is. When our gang shits, they shit gold, even if it is shit. We get some shit about team work and all and they’ve got an hour before the ceremony.

Rachel tells Ryan she wants to stay with him and Ryan says he wants Rachel to trust him again, promising he won’t cheat on her again until he finds another girl to date next season.

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Screech obsesses over not pressing the rocket launch button. Naturally, since he’s a complete dumb ass, he presses it even as he tells the others not to.

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And the episode ends as we learn the real reason Space Camp California closed: because a dumb ass washed-up child actor blew it up.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 21: “The Fifth Wheel”

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Oh, yippee, aren’t I just lucky that we get another Space Camp episode this week since the first one was so amazing! Why don’t we just move the setting of the show to Space Camp and do everything there! I mean, why the hell not? It’s not like this is a show about high school!

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Well, we open with Ryan and Rachel getting so lovey dovey with each other that even Barney the Dinosaur would want to kick the shit out of them for being more fake sugary than a bowl full of Splenda. Ryan’s got Rachel’s breakfast and that’s the most amazing thing a boyfriend could ever do for his girl. Why do I get the idea the writers of The New Class were never touched by the opposite sex in high school?

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Nicky tries to imitate Ryan’s example but, as with everything in the Nicky and Maria relationship, it comes off as horribly fake and worthy of deaf.

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Naturally, all of this is making Eric and Katie want to lose their lunch, Katie probably because she once dated one of those boys. Katie says she’s glad Eric is as single as she is because those whom the writers have chosen to marginalize without significant others have to stick together.

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Unfortunately for Katie, it seems like more students have arrived since the last Space Camp episode because Eric has yet another one episode crush on a girl named Karen and he’s planning on making her his until the writers forget he exists.

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Well, we need something to break up all this lovey stuff so we get it in the form of Screech being an idiot again, for some reason testing rocket shoes for Commander Connors in the middle of the cafeteria. Leaving aside the fact that Screech is testing something in a completely inappropriate place where it could injure someone, why the hell is Space Camp testing experimental gear anyway? Did the writers put more than five seconds worth of thought into their gags?

Well, in any case, Screech is in charge of getting people to sign up for three days in a space shuttle simulator. Ryan and Nicky don’t want to do it because that means they would miss the dance in three days. Yes, you read that right. Even at Space Camp, we’re having a god damned dance because these characters look for even the flimsiest of excuses to have yet another dance.

Eric initially agrees that the space shuttle simulator idea sucks ass until Karen says it sounds like fun. Seeing the opportunity to get a girl into a small, confined space with him, Eric changes his mind.

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Before boarding the shuttle, Katie begs Eric not to leave her with the saccharine quadruplets but he says this may be the last chance this season for him to get laid and he’s not turning that chance down.

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After Eric boards the shuttle, we meet part of Katie’s plot for this episode, Gordon, a guy who likes her a lot but I guess we’re supposed to think is really icky because he likes sci-fi and is really intelligent. Seriously, if this guy is supposed to scream the Screech or Weasel vibe, the writers failed miserably. He’s reasonably attractive, well spoken, and will probably be making a lot of money in a few years. But we’re supposed to hate him because intelligent people sucks ass unless they’re in the opening credits. This annoyed me about shows in the nineties: they depicted their geeks as being incredibly hot to the point one couldn’t figure out why they were ostracized. Think about it: 90210 had Brian Austin Green, SeaQuest DSV had Jonathan Brandis, and Boy Meets World had Lee Norris, all very attractive men who were repulsive to women, for some reason.

I’m really trying to figure out why I’m supposed to find Gordon repulsive. Is it because he wears a tie? Is it because he looks like he was a runner-up for the role of Nicky? God only knows.

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Katie gets excited because Karen’s sick and thinks that means Eric won’t get to go on the mission after all.

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Unlucky for her, she forgot Mr. Belding and Screech don’t have subplots yet. Yeah, after all that talk two weeks ago about how Space Camp is for the kids, Mr. Belding and Screech have decided that Space Camp is for them as well. Yeah, let’s leave the horny teenagers alone for three days without chaperons. That makes a whole lot of sense. Unless the Space Camp staff is keeping an eye on the gang, in which case, why the hell are Mr. Belding and Screech there in the first place?

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Though Eric’s initially horrified to find he’s on the mission with Mr. Belding and Screech, he soon falls into playing card with Screech.  I do have a question about this space shuttle simulator: is it really simulating the conditions of a space shuttle mission as advertised if you can walk around freely in it because of gravity? I get there’s some things you can’t get around, but if this is their idea of simulating space, I can see why Space Camp California went out of business.

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On to the suplot for our love birds: Ryan buys Rachel a really stupid jacket to help her remember how much Space Camp sucks. Yeah, really, this is basically their subplot for the episode: Ryan buys a stupid jacket for Rachel and she hates it but doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.

Conveniently, there’s a meteor shower that night so Nicky suggests they pack a picnic for it. Katie realizes that the couples will probably be fucking under the meteors and doesn’t want to be alone so she asks Gordon out despite the fact he’s supposed to somehow be repulsive to her.

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After a commercial break, surprise, surprise, Nicky gets in on the bad jacket subplot by buying one for Maria.  This is such a riveting subplot.

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Back in the shuttle simulator, Mr. Belding’s unable to sleep in the bag strapped to the wall. He soon discovers that Screech and Eric ate his food. So he’s hungry and cranky and I’m sure this won’t play into his subplot at all in a few minutes. He wants to leave the shuttle but Screech tells him he can’t because it will end the mission.

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At the meteor shower, everyone’s having fun except Katie. The couples decide to give her and Gordon some privacy to get to know each other better, but Katie freaks out and calls them back when Gordon dares to try and touch her. Katie serves desert as the boys get the bad jackets back out because that’s such an amazing subplot.

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Maria proceeds to spray whipped cream all over her jacket, claiming clumsiness, and, despite the fact that I’ve never seen whipped cream stain anything, claims she’ll now have to have her jacket cleaned and won’t be able to wear it to the dance.

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Rachel gets in on the “spraying whipped cream on yourself” action, and I’m beginning to think this is really a fetish thing and has nothing to do with the stupid jackets. She just wants an excuse for Ryan to lick her. Eeew.

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Back on the shuttle simulator, it’s day two and Mr. Belding has officially gone insane. I think it’s from knowing Screech for nine years but they claim it’s because he can’t handle the pressure of the simulator that doesn’t really simulate. Despite just a couple minutes ago saying they couldn’t end the simulation early, Screech calls mission control and ends the simulation, literally throwing Mr. Belding off the shuttle.

Funny enough, the voice of mission control is the same voice of Eric’s stupid robot from last week’s episode. I guess Screech found a use for it after all: to be a slave to the whims of The New Class writers.

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Back at the cafeteria, Gordon’s being a horrible person buying Katie flowers and telling her how much he likes her and shit. What a monster! He asks her to the dance and, since she’s suddenly codependent this episode despite being single and fierce back in the hospital episodes, she says yes.

Also, the boys had the stupid jackets cleaned so the girls can wear them to the dance. When will this subplot end?!?!

Mr. Belding, Screech, and Eric come in and Mr. Belding reveals that he was the reason they had to end the mission early: he just couldn’t handle the pressure and he suddenly knows what it means to be Screech.

Eric asks Katie to the dance and she says yes. She only realizes she now has two dates when Rachel points it out, and we cut to commercial with the non-committal music of The New Class playing.

Back at the shuttle simulator, Screech tricks Mr. Belding back in under pretense of looking for his watch because he really wants to kill Mr. Belding and take over Bayside. No, the real reason is he reasons that the best way to make Mr. Beldig feel better is to give him a full on panic attack so he pretends they’re accidentally locked in the simulator.

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Katie decides to try to make Gordon not want to go to the dance with her by having him agree to a pre-dance agreement that he won’t do anything remotely charming. This disappoints her as he signs the agreement and says going with her will be enough. What a monster!

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Katie tells Eric she can’t go with him and loudly proclaims that Gordon’s such a horrible person she’s guaranteed not to have a good time because Gordon sucks ass despite seeming to be an attractive, intelligent, all-around great guy. Gordon naturally hears and says that Katie doesn’t have to go with him if she doesn’t want to and that this whole show is stupid and how did he get roped into being in it.

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Back in their dorm, the girls wear their stupid jackets. Katie sulks in and can’t believe Gordon’s feelings are hurt just because she was a bitch to him the whole episode. The surprises you learn on this show.

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In the simulator, Screech pretends to be having a nervous breakdown. Isn’t it a funny thing that Dustin Diamond is worst at looking like a spaz when the script calls on him to act like a spaz. A janitor comes in, telling the duo he needs to clean up and Mr. Belding realizes that, once again, he’s been fooled by the world’s biggest dumb ass.

At the dance, Eric makes fun of the stupid jackets. The girls finally come clean that they hate the jackets and the boys ask why this was even a subplot since they’re men and don’t give a shit about clothes. And thus ends the dumb jackets subplot.

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Screech apologizes to Mr. Belding for trying to fool him, saying he hoped a panic attack would do him good. Mr. Belding says he’s grateful that Screech tries to cause him pain and says that he’s accepted the fact he won’t be the first principal on the moon, despite the fact that would be more preferable than being in three more seasons of this show.

Katie finds Gordon and apologizes for being a jack ass. She says she should have told him how she felt all along and not use him as an outlet for her codependency and possible future sex addiction. She asks him to dance.

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And the episode ends with Katie dancing with the most attractive geek in the franchise’s history. Well, unless you count Tori Spelling out of make-up. If we count her, all bets are off as I think she’d easily sway Katie to the dark side of bisexuality.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 20: “Science Fair”

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We went nine years in this franchise without a science fair so why the hell not because science fairs are exciting and shit, right? Oh, god, why do I review this show? Oh, yeah, because there’s people on the internet who enjoy reading my pain.

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And we’re off to a good start as Screech annoys Mr. Belding with his senior year science project: an automatic nose blower. Yeah, seriously, this is what almost caused Bayside to win the science fair one year because in the Saved by the Bell universe, science fairs are multi-school competitions since the writers of this show have no idea how high school actually works. What’s worse is it’s this incompetent project that’s supposed to be Screech’s crowning achievement despite the fact it never works and not the fact Screech invented artificial life. God, I hate this show.

Mr. Belding despairs over the fact Bayside has never won the science fair as it’s never been featured in an episode before. Fortunately for him, he’s placed the most incompetent person in the opening credits in charge of the fair, Screech, so they’re naturally going to win this year!

Screech gives the gang a pep talk about how they’re the six in the opening credits right now so they’re Bayside’s only hope. For some reason, Eric and Maria are super excited about building random things despite the fact that they’ve never shown any predilection towards this before. But, hey, this is characterization on the fly so why the hell not!

Ryan and Nicky think science fairs suck ass so Rachel and Katie decide the dynamic duo have time to get them tickets to see “Hamlet” starring Keanu Reeves. Yeah, you might notice the issue here: everyone knows Keaunu Reeves is a hack who could never do Shakespearean theater. Yeah, and this episode may be horribly out of order since it appears that Nicky and Katie are suddenly together again. Oh, The New Class, always confusing your viewers horribly.

Well, Ryan and Nicky don’t want to go but they realize it might get their dicks wet so they decide they’ll go anyway.

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Oh, The Max, home to whatever our gang needs it to be, including building science fair projects apparently. Eric’s project is turning a vacuum cleaner into a robot, which would be a good idea except, um, need I remind these idiot writers this is coming the hell out of nowhere?!? Where was he during the baby simulator episode when he could have just reprogrammed his doll to stop crying!

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Oh, and Maria is doing something involving sorting recycling, which means she’s invented the art of sorting!

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In the other plot, we see Ryan and Nicky playing video games instead of buying tickets. Oh, the predictable setup for horrible conflict.

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Back at Bayside, Fuzzy shows how smart he is by inventing the pencil because Bayside’s best and brightest are all apparently complete morons. In fact, Screech doesn’t think any of the inventions have any merit so he pressures them to come up with better ideas so he can live out his dream of winning the science fair that he’s way too invested in well into his twenties.

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The bell rings, signaling the end of…science fair class? Jesus Christ, I’m beginning to think everything’s a class and there are no extracurricular activities at this school. Anyway, Ryan invites Rachel to lunch and she says it’s a good thing he and Nicky bought the tickets because everyone wants Keanu Reeves’s bone and the play sold out.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech continues to annoy Mr. Belding with his stupid contraption that doesn’t work.

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Eric comes in with his new and improved robot, which is super great now because it has a hat and arms. Screech thinks Eric’s robot is suddenly super great and could win, so Screech sends Eric to class while he plays with Eric’s robot and demonstrates his lack of ethics.

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Back at The Max, Maria invents the conveyor belt to help her sort trash. Brilliant, Maria, just brilliant thinking there. Screech comes to get Eric so he can see his new and improved science project.

Ryan can’t get tickets to the play and finds the only ones available are from scalpers for $100 a piece. Rachel and Katie come in and Ryan’s about to tell them the truth when they reveal they’re going to pay for dinner for the four before the play. Ryan seems to love food because this is enough for him to not give a shit about telling the truth anymore because they might get laid. Ryan and Nicky decide they have to find a way to get money and buy the tickets from the scalper.

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Back at Baysde, Screech reveals he’s invented Kevin’s mentally challenged brother, Dustin Diamond. Eric’s skeptical that the new robot is very different from his but Screech insists that this robot could win the science fair. Ryan walks in as Screech demonstrates his stupid artificial intelligence and he gets a plan on how to make money.

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This is by having Stupid Face the Robot put stuff in his locker…

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…and then sell the robot to do the random extras’ chores. Mr. Belding shows up and is impressed that Eric’s suddenly become a genius in robotics against type.

In Mr. Belding’s office, the robot cleans Mr. Belding’s office but he becomes suspicious when the robot starts talking like a fucking moron, much like a certain administrative assistant he knows. Screech confesses that he helped Eric cheat and, rather than firing Screech for yet another display of gross incompetence, convinces him to make things right.

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So Eric comes in and Screech tells him that he’s decided he was wrong to do his work for him. Having created life a second time, Screech is going to kill his new life form. Eric’s understandably upset since he didn’t ask for Dumb Ass’s help in the first place and now he has to start all over again. He marches out of the office, all the while wondering why he has to be the only character in Screech’s former role to last more than a season.

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In a classroom, Eric rebuilds his robot as Maria comes in to take her garbage. Maria gives Eric some bull shit about how awesome he is and how he’ll probably get a job at NASA someday.

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This leads to a dream sequence where Ryan’s an astronaut in trouble who has no idea what to do because he cheated on his high school science project and because his time at Space Camp apparently meant nothing.

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Unfortunately for Eric, his only hope is Screech in a rain jacket doing a bad impression of Obi Wan Kenobi. He says he can’t help Eric avoid death because that would be cheating. Yeah, that’s the real reason you can’t help Eric and not because you’re a dumb ass.

This last five minutes the writers work hard to try and convince us that the moral of this episode is that we learn things when we do our own work and not that Screech is the biggest fucking moron in this franchise’s history.

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Well, it’s science fair day and, in case you want to know Screech’s running gag in this scene that’s rammed down your throat, it’s that Screech can’t tell that the judge is a woman because he’s never really felt the touch of a woman; Violet and Alison were hallucinations, which explains why he never mentions them now. Also, Rachel and Katie have invented a Swiss Army make-up kit because they’re girly girls unlike that stupid butch Maria.

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Speaking of which, the judges are impressed that Maria’s managed to invent both the conveyor belt and the magnet for her trash sorter. Also, Ryan and Nicky show Rachel and Katie the tickets, which makes no sense as they already said they bought them so why are their guilty consciences trying to prove they really did?

But, oh no! It looks like Eric might not show up!

Of course, this is The New Class‘s attempt to inject tension into this scene, which fails miserably as it’s crystal clear Eric will show up before the end. And he does, of course.

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And his robot now shines Mr. Belding, impressing the judge but distressing Ryan and Nicky as they’ve rented the other robot out to half the school and Screech murdered it.

The judge decides that Eric and Maria’s projects suck less than Valley and Westwood’s so she awards a tie for first place to the two.

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Screech overreacts that Bayside won the competition for the first time.

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Eric pretends like he learned a valuable lesson.

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And our episode ends with Ryan and Nicky learning nothing as the people they sold Eric’s robot to demand a refund and Ryan decides they’ll just have to do all the chores for them since they couldn’t possibly just tell Rachel and Katie the truth.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 19: “The Wrong Stuff”

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You know what this third-rate rip off needed? Why, a trip to Space Camp of course, because if there’s something this show was missing it was seeing Screech act like an astronaut. Welcome, folks, to the subplot trying to rival the Semester at Sea arc from last season for the stupidest idea for a The New Class story!

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And we start off wonderfully with Nicky being amazed by an Apollo 13 astronaut suit in the lobby and Eric wondering if someone is still inside. Yes, Eric, the Grim Reaper is waiting inside to finally kill this show. God, if only…

The gang exposit about how wonderful it is to spend two weeks at Space Camp to make up for the away from Bayside episodes this season only being lame trips to the mall and the hospital. They somehow get high school credit for two weeks at Space Camp, but apparently only for them because the producers could only afford one guest star this episode. Yeah, notice how by now they’re not even trying to pretend that the gang are receiving preferential treatment?

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Mr. Belding says they have Screech to thank for that and our resident idiot comes out dressed in a stupid looking helmet. He says he attended Space Camp five years ago so he arranged for our gang to get to have the experience as well. Well, five years ago he would have been a senior at Bayside so maybe he fit it in between Hawaii, Malibu Sands, and Palm Desert. Or maybe Bayside has always just been really loose about the requirement that students actually attend school.

In any case, you know what the problem with this whole scenario is? Space Camp California didn’t open until 1996, the year this episode aired. Yeah, the idiot producers didn’t even bother to research the business they’re doing a giant promotional arc for. Welcome to the pain that is my life on Mondays.

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We’re introduced to Commander Skip Connors, Space Camp director who was also in charge when Screech was there. Nicky represents him as “the guy who trained all the astronauts” because the writers have decided Nicky needs a love of space as a complementary characteristic to being from New York. I’m betting it’s never mentioned again after this episode.

Commander Connors tells the gang to check into their dorms and meet back at 14:00, which Rachel somehow mistakes as being two months from now because we have stupid Rachel this episode.

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Lucky for us, 14:00 is the next scene or else we’d have to suffer through a subplot. Commander Connors introduces the gang to the MMU, Man Maneuvering Unit, which Ryan has somehow missed seeing on the many television series it’s been featured on so Nicky takes the opportunity to say it will simulate being in space.

Screech, Rachel, Ryan, and Eric suck ass at the MMU. Of course, Nicky is the only one that gets it and he gets some praise from Commander Connors.

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Maria gives Nicky a congratulations kiss to remind the audience that, yes, despite there being episodes where they act like they barely know each other, they really are a couple this episode.

Commander Connors dismisses everyone to eat and reminds them they need to seelect a Moon Mission Commander by tonight. Nicky starts plotting, sure that they will select him since he’s the only one competent with regards to space travel.

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In the cafeteria, we finally get our subplot, Mr. Belding getting jealous over Screech’s attention to Commander Connors. Also, we find out Mr. Belding saw the soccer coach’s ass. No, really, he actually says he did. I’m disturbed that he brought this up in conversation…

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We need some conflict for the episode so, of course, Ryan wants to be Moon Mission Commander in addition to Nicky because why not since Ryan doesn’t know shit. The gang take a vote and Ryan wins because it’s the best way to piss Nicky off and get the plot rolling. Seriously, this is so contrived. Why wouldn’t you vote for the guy who actually knows what the hell he’s talking about.

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After a commercial break, Nicky and Maria eat again because the cafeteria must be the most interesting place at Space Camp. Nicky thinks Ryan’s acting like a jackass as commander and Maria gives him the great advice to “chill out.”

The rest of the gang join them and says his first act as commander is to choose a crew. He has to leave two people at Mission Control, which no one wants to do because it’s more boring than the cafeteria, and Ryan says they’ll choose based on performance on the simulators today.

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Meanwhile, Screech gets Commander Connors breakfast and calls him “chief,” making Mr. Belding jealous. How exciting. Mr. Belding also apparently isn’t capable of getting his own breakfast so he goes hungry due to Screech’s negligence of him.

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Maria and Katie compete trying to collect flags. Maria gets all of hers while Katie sucks ass.

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Next is endurance, which Eric sucks at. Ryan goes just over a minute while Nicky lasts over three minutes. A close up of Ryan while Nicky’s on the simulator seems to suggest he’s either jealous or constipated. I think I’d actually rather see the constipation plot and that’s something I never thought I’d say.

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Ryan’s ready to pick his crew. Katie volunteers to work mission control while Ryan chooses Nicky to stay behind as the other mission control person because he’s a petty jackass. Ryan claims that it’s because Nicky was “showing off” on the simulators which apparently means doing the best since there was no indication that he was doing anything but his best.

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And if there’s any question what they’re going for here, it’s resolved in the next scene where Rachel and Maria fight over who has a bigger jackass for a boyfriend. Seriously, every time they try to make Nicky out to be an asshole, they don’t do a very good job at it. Oh, boy, Nicky’s confident and possibly mildly arrogant about his own abilities. How horrible!

They decide they’re not speaking to each other and Maria drags Katie into it by telling her she better not be a skank and steal away the boy that Maria stole away from Katie. Damn this show and their completely cluelessness about real teenagers.

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The predictable result is that everyone fights during their practice mission and the rocket simulates exploding on the launch pad because everyone except Eric is acting like a moron. 

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In the cafeteria, Mr. Belding lectures the gang on acting like mature representatives of Bayside and shit, and says that, unless they turn it around before the big mission tomorrow, they’re going to go home early and everyone will receive a F. After Mr. Belding and Screech leaves, the girls make up but Nicky says Ryan’s still a complete idiot and says he’s leaving.

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In the dorm, Eric packs Ryan’s clothes and says he and the girls voted that Ryan and Nicky are both idiots and are going home so they can stay. Ryan and Nicky instantly realize the lesson of the episode and make-up, promising to work well together.

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No, this is not a repeat cap. They seriously do almost exactly the same scene over again. Commander Connor say they’ll barely have enough fuel for the trip so there will be no room for error. Mr. Belding gives them a motivational speech and they prepare for take-off. They take-off and arrive on the moon without any problems (boy, those are words I never thought I’d say on this blog).

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Rachel and Maria collect the moon samples and need to get back before the shuttle runs out of fuel. The hatch won’t open, though, and Nicky helps them in rewiring the hatch because he apparently knows everything about the electric configuration of the simulator. This helps them get back in and take off with just enough time to get back. What’s never addressed is whether this was an actual part of their simulation or whether the simulator was just in such a state of disrepair that the hatch jammed. Way to leave questions about the state of repair of the business you’re trying to promote, The New Class.

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Commander Connors says Mr. Belding is awesome and motivated the gang through his threats to take them home and spank them. He says he sees now why Screech is constantly up Mr. Belding’s ass despite the fact that Commander Connors acted earlier like he hadn’t seen Screech in years and…why am I even trying to logically understand this. This is The New Class, where I’m lucky if they maintain continuity within the same scene, much less in the same episode.

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In any case, our episode ends with our shuttle crew celebrating their victory and Ryan thanking Nicky for helping them even though Ryan was a complete douche bag to his stepbrother this entire episode.

Firsts: Space Camp.

The New Class Season 4, Episode 18: “Campaign Fever”

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We open to discover Mr. Belding doesn’t have anything better to do so he’s  suddenly become the guidance counselor and is personally advising Rachel on how to make herself more marketable to colleges. See, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. Colleges want more. Just ask George W. Bush.

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Meanwhile, Screech has become a pirate. His explanation is that he had a band mishap since Screech is apparently the band teacher now because why the hell not. He interrupts the advising session since he has no sense of boundaries to use the oft-forgotten intercom to announce student council elections in the most annoying way possible: using patriotic music. Yep, after last week’s very special episode about the 1996 Presidential Election, this week we get another election. Why do I get the idea this was a badly conceived theme Saturday? There are clues along the way that this episode takes place much earlier in the season, especially the fact that Nicky seems to be closer to Katie than he should be following his whoring ways, not to mention the fact that several scenes from this season’s opening credits come from this episode. I think they paired up these two on purpose.

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It turns out that, yes, Screech remembering the intercom exists has a narrative purpose since it gives Rachel the idea to run for Student Council President. Ryan, naturally, wants to run her campaign since he’s the one with the least integrity

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Meanwhile, Maria suddenly works for the school television station again and is on the beat looking for comment on the upcoming election.

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Nicky, Katie, and Eric are all, “We weren’t in the scene where the election was announced so we don’t know about it, but come to our production of Bye, Bye, Birdie, because we need a subplot to motivate us!”

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Yeah, for some reason, Bayside no longer has a drama teacher because the rap version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sucked so much. As such, Katie’s director of the school drama program because…plot. And, yeah, they suck as much as you’d imagine they would. But this isn’t truly important to Katie’s story arc so let’s cut it off here.

Yes, Mr. Belding comes in and announces that, yet again, Bayside is facing its millionth budget crisis and has to cut all funding for the drama club in the middle of a production. Well, Mr. Belding, maybe if you weren’t busy personally advising students and actually hired staff, you could have, I don’t know, DONE YOUR FUCKING JOB AND MANAGED THE FINANCES SO THERE ISN’T A BUDGET CRISIS EVERY FEW EPISODES! Fucking hell.

Katie’s outraged by this latest round of incompetence from Bayside’s faculty and thinks the students ought to have a say in how the school’s money is spent. Lucky for her, our resident butt pirate picks that very moment to come up and personally recruit people to run for student council. Eric nominates Katie, saying people will listen when she talks and he just really wants to be in Bye, Bye, Birdie because nothing jump starts an acting career like being in the high school production of a musical.

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Rachel and her campaign entourage come along, and they find they’re running against each other. They wish each other luck, hoping that this doesn’t lead to a mediocrely executed conflict.

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At The Max, Maria tries to interview Katie about her campaign but Eric decides to hog the camera and make everything about himself. Maria gets bored with talk of issues and shit.

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So, when Rachel’s entourage comes in, she rushes over to cover a real candidate. See, last week Rachel learned that propaganda and empty slogans are more important than talking issues so she’s decided to run on the platform of, “I Love Everyone, Even Butt Pirates!”

Nicky steps in to act as Katie’s campaign manager so Katie won’t lose and convinces her she needs to change to a less sustenance-based campaign.

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Jesus, did Rachel go to a baby photographer to get that photo taken? I’m surprised she isn’t naked lying on a rug with a teddy bear in hand. Actually, that may have made this episode more interesting.

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And her campaign strategy is helping to make it easy for her classmates to masturbate over her. Yeah…this is the equivalent of Alex P. Keaton having a photo of Ronald Reagan on his nightstand on Family Ties. Creepy. No wonder Marty McFly wanted to change the future.

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But, hold on! Katie has a bad rap to back her up so everyone suddenly loves her because a bad rap is the most important factor to being electable. Katie starts talking about issues, though, so Nicky tells her to shut the fuck up and let the rap do its magic.

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Oh, yeah, the world’s worst pirate has a subplot about doing stupid polls and making idiotic electronic shit. I wish one of them would blow up in his face so we can have a very special episode about Screech being in a coma.

At The Max, Ryan volunteers Rachel to buy everyone there’s soda to counter Katie’s new superficial campaign. No question about where the money for this is coming from. It’s just happening. Also, Screech and Maria come in for the sole purpose of announcing that Katie’s catching up in the polls, as one would expect from this plot, and Maria invites Rachel and Katie to debate each other.

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Where are they going to debate each other? Why, on…Maria’s…talk…show…

Oh, god, Maria now thinks she’s Ricki Lake.

So Ryan’s strategy is to make Katie look like she only cares about the drama club and wants to see the other clubs die a horrible death. Nicky won’t let Katie give in, though, and, instead, shows a superficial campaign video about how awesome Katie is. It’s about as bad as one would expect.

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Of note, though, is a rare exterior shot of Bayside that looks like it was shot by Norman Lear in the ’60s. I’d be interested to know if this is actually the same building from Wedding in Las Vegas. Actually, if you look closely, aren’t those the Verdugo Hills in the background?

Eric and the drama club decide suddenly that Katie’s campaign doesn’t really care about them because we need a catalyst for Katie to suddenly change again before the fourth act.

Seriously, this is The New Class‘s idea of conflict. Ryan mildly suggests Katie doesn’t care about other clubs, Nicky and Katie act like superficial politicians, Eric pretends to be outraged over Katie’s predictable behavior, and Rachel sits there looking pretty. Serious, can the writers of this show please take some remedial fiction writing classes? The least they could do is throw me a predictable plot about Rachel and Katie slinging mud at each other.

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Eric tells Katie she totally sucks now because she’s become a real politician. Katie decides that the scorn of a friend is enough to totally change her perspective and fires Nicky as her campaign manager. She says she wants to make changes at Bayside so it’s time to bore her fellow students with issues and shit.

At The Max, Katie reveals her new strategy of talking about shit and Rachel thinks it’s totally cool Katie’s acting on her principles. Eric rejoins the campaign to help her and they start pushing their agenda on the student body.

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In the gym, it’s time for the polls to open as the candidates give their final thoughts. Katie’s all, “Vote for me because I care and I’ll form a council to make sure the faculty can’t abuse their positions and shit!” Rachel’s all, “I need a sudden, flat resolution to this non-conflict where there wasn’t true mud slung, so I’m dropping out of the election and throwing my support behind Katie!” Mr. Belding calls for an instant verbal vote of affirmation from the extras assembled since they’re the only students who really count.

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Katie and Rachel celebrate the resolution of their non-conflict as Rachel secures a place as one of Katie’s new advisers.

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And this very special episode of The New Class that doesn’t understand how conflict works ends with Screech’s vote counting machine blowing up in his face as, once again, Screech places Bayside in danger of burning to the ground.