Category Archives: The New Class Season 6

The New Class Seasons 6 & 7 Recap

Recapping these two seasons may be one of the most boring things I do for this blog, as these were two of the most boring installments of this franchise I’ve watched. Really, there just wasn’t a lot going on to piss me off like in past seasons other than general incompetence. It just seemed to be the show coasting along for two more years so they could milk every bit of this cash cow they could.

At this point, this show had long outstayed its welcome, and any possibility of laughs and redemption had died a slow, painful death. The six “teenagers” had long since grown up, all of whom were in their late teens and early twenties by this point, and you can tell they’re just absolutely bored by the horribly cliched scripts they’re being forced to deal with. And, by this time, Mr. Belding and Screech just look like they’re trying to do whatever stupid shit they can to remain relevant in a franchise that passed them by ages ago.

I’ve mentioned before my reasoning for recapping these seasons together. They were filmed as one twenty-six episode season and artificially split into two to draw out the show for one more year. I do try to be fair since I don’t know what incompetent baboon’s fault the horrible ordering of episodes is, but it did make these twenty-six episodes very difficult to figure out when they’re supposed to be taking place, and that’s a problem.

I suspect the show would have had a much more dignified ending had they stopped after season five.

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It didn’t help the cast was so weak this season. With the departure of Richard Lee Jackson, the producers had basically two choices: don’t replace him and just strengthen the five remaining cast, or bring in a new guy and hope they can make the audience give a damn about him in just twenty-six episodes. Unfortunately, they chose the latter, and Tony was certainly never going to be strong enough of a character to develop in such a short period of time.

On top of that, it’s obvious that some of the cast had already began to check out. Ashley Lyn Cafagna is barely around this season and Samantha Becker seems bored out of her mind. It’s kind of pathetic to watch. Needless to say, there’s no running thread of senior year as there was on the original series. In fact, there’s no mention that it’s the gang’s senior year or that graduation was coming up until almost at the very end. At one point, it’s even implied they would be around next year! It’s like they were trying to delay the inevitable as long as possible, hoping for a last minute order for a season eight.

Of course, this also confuses the timeline quite a bit. We know season two was right after the cancellation of The College Years in 1994, due to Screech’s arrival. Maria joined the cast in 1995 as a transfer student, implying she’d been at Valley at least one year, and, if this season is to be believed, they were the class of 2000. This means Maria, and Tony (who was supposed to be the same age as her) were in high school for at least six years. This school just wouldn’t let go of their souls.

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One positive thing is that it does feel like more episodes took place at Bayside. Other than the requisite mall episodes we’ve come to expect out of The New Class as well as the three episode police academy arc, every episode takes place in school. I didn’t do an episode count to see if that was actually the case but, after spending half of the last four seasons away from Bayside, it was refreshing to see the gang at high school so often in a show about high school. Mind you, the police academy arc was horrible and one of the mall episodes made me laugh very ironically, but, still, it’s nice we weren’t going to the Antarctic or some shit this year.

But a recap of these seasons wouldn’t be complete without mentioning NBC’s incompetence at airing them. How on Earth can you have a series finale that takes place before the actual final chronological episode? What were they thinking? I suspect, by this point, NBC didn’t give a damn about The New Class. Remember, they were only a year from cancelling the whole of TNBC in favor of that show kids love: Saturday morning news! They didn’t care anymore. Saved by the Bell had long passed its relevance to the world and, judging by what I’ve read, an increasing number of people didn’t even know The New Class was still on the air, if they ever knew it was to begin with.


Okay, let’s talk characters.

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Like Ryan before her, Maria’s turned into a shadow of what she once was. Almost completely gone is the angry character who won’t take shit from anyone, replaced with someone whose entire life seems to center around her relationship with Tony. I mean, really, other than an episode exploring her friendship with Katie and another with her father, Maria’s entire existence this season depended on Tony. Considering how underdeveloped her relationship with Nicky was in season four, this is surprising, and I’m realizing that, like Rachel, Maria’s a character who is at her best when single.

It’s a shame because I like Maria and would have liked to see her have such a stronger season. They could have turned her into the lead character this season, but it feels like Samantha Becker was just counting down the days until cancellation. Even the little thing they gave her at the end, being valedictorian, came the fuck out of nowhere considering she had an episode in season three where she was struggling with a class. I wonder what Maria would have been like in the hands of competent writers.

Samantha Becker is now Samantha Esteban, She continues to act to this day and hasn’t done bad for herself, though her resume certainly isn’t as impressive as others. Among her more recognizable roles, she had recurring roles on the short-lived television shows The System and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series and in the films Training Day and Harsh Times.

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It boggled my mind for a bit why they wouldn’t develop Nicky’s character more this season and turn him into an actual draw for the series. And then I remembered: it’s because Nicky is boring as sin. He’s never had a definable personality other than NEW YORK, and it seems like the writers realized that this season as they awkwardly put him in things he’d never expressed interest in before, like as a football player and aspiring filmmaker.

Still, he wasn’t a bad character; he was just the catch-all for every trait Eric and Tony didn’t exhibit, which is kind of scary considering those characters. Nicky was never going to be as exciting as Zack Morris or Slater, but they at least could have given him some definable characteristics other than standing around with one look on his face all the time.

Ben Gould had a few more miscellaneous small roles after The New Class, but pretty much left acting after 2005, playing bass for a rock band for a while. According to IMDB, he later moved to NEW YORK for real to work in the restaurant business, but I’ve been unable to confirm this for sure. He’s keeping pretty low key nowadays.

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Katie’s all over the place this year, alternatively being the smart girl, the socially conscious girl, and the stupid girl depending on what the script calls for. She’s almost completely defined this season by her relationship with Nicky and whatever whim the writers had for her that week, and it’s hard to tell if any of it was out of character.

Even when the writers wrote something just for her, like her conflict about not getting a scholarship to go to New York with Nicky, it seemed contrived, especially given how obsessed Katie was with doing everything she could over the last four seasons to get scholarships and shit. She had definitely take over the smart girl role by this time.

Lindsey McKeon continues acting to this day and has seen some degree of success. Probably her most recognizable roles post-The New Class are in regular roles on Supernatural and One Tree Hill. She was also twice nominated for Daytime Emmy awards for a role on Guiding Light. She’s also tried her hand at blogging and writing.

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Eric is horribly underdeveloped this season, not even getting one of his usual wacky shenanigans with Screech episodes. He has an episode where he acts like an asshole to the rest of the gang to try and make a music video, and he gives a shit for some reason about the police academy, but that’s about it. There’s not a lot to say about him other than he likes to sing, in case you weren’t clear about that the previous two seasons.

Anthony Harrell tried his hand a bit longer at acting, but eventually gave it up to focus on his music, which continues to be a primary focus to this day. He comes from a family of musicians and even appeared in a reality show with his brothers in 2008, Brothers to Brutha. He and his brothers had a hip hop group together from 2002 to 2011, and Anthony did a bit of solo work. Nowadays, judging by his Instagram, he’s keeping busy raising his beautiful family.

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Liz is barely in these seasons. Sure, she appears in all twenty-six episodes, but she’s frequently reduced to an extra with a few lines. I’m sure some of the blame for this was that she was simultaneously acting in The Bold and the Beautiful during this season. Nevertheless, I’m willing to place some of the blame on the fact the writers never evolved her past a sex doll for Ryan and being obsessed with swimming. With Ryan’s departure, the writers didn’t bother to figure out anything else for her to do and, so, it’s frequently easy to forget she’s even still around.

Ashley Lyn Cafagna is now Ashley Tesoro. She didn’t keep up acting much beyond her 2001 departure from The Bold and the Beautiful. In fact, she went a completely different direction: Christian music, producing gospel and Christian country music with her husband, producer Anthony Tesoro. She’s also busy nowadays raising her two children.

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Where do I even begin with this season’s weakest link? Tony basically has all the worst qualities of Tommy D and none of the charisma of previous blonde leads like Ryan and Scott. To top it off, Tom Wade Huntington can’t act to save his life, and, as a result, Tony’s a character who’s all over the place, annoying the shit out of us and making me beg the question what I ever did to deserve such torture. Still, he’s almost exclusively defined by his relationship with Maria and being on the football team. I can’t help but question how the writers thought they’d make us give a shit about him in just the little time he had on this show.

Still, as you found out in my bonus post yesterday, I don’t quite rank him at the bottom of The New Class characters as at least he’s not Brian. Still, Tony was an entirely unneeded character in what was, no doubt, the weakest seasons of the show since the second. He was a desperation character and he didn’t work.

Tom Wade Huntington may be the biggest mystery post-The New Class since Spankee Rodgers. He had a few minor roles through 2005, and then he kind of dropped off the face of the planet, keeping no social media accounts I can find. To top it off, when I commented on Cookies and Sangria‘s Where Are They Now post for The New Class and pointed out they left off Rodgers and Huntington, an anonymous poster commented that Huntington has been dead since 2008. This sent me in a frenzy to see if I could confirm this rumor, and I have not. Through some persistent searching, though, I think I was able to track down his mother and sister on Facebook, and, judging by their posts, it seems like he moved back to his hometown in Missouri post-acting and is probably leading a relatively normal life.

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Mr. Belding and Screech have little to do during these seasons other than their C-plot of the week, which is usually a pretty terrible excuse for them to act gay and/or completely incompetent for cheap laughs from an audience who doesn’t have any idea how horrifying it is that two administrators would act this way. Both characters have very little interaction with the gang this season, and Mr. Belding especially is a shell of his former character. Dustin Diamond claims, in his memoir, that he and Dennis Haskins were almost relieved when this stupid show was finally cancelled, and that’s one of the few things I can believe coming from his mouth.

I wish Mr. Belding had a more dignified end, but I suppose getting a new job and getting the fuck away from Screech is about as good as we were going to get. Mr. Belding was one of my favorite characters throughout the original. It was so painful to see him reduced to this idiocy for The New Class. I’m glad he’s finally out of his pain.

But fuck Screech. Fuck Screech and his complete incompetence that was constantly being rewarded. Thank god he didn’t end up principal, at least on screen. It’s horrifying to think of him fucking up the young lives of his students. I’m so tired of him I just can’t muster the hate for him any longer.


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These two seasons will definitely go down as two of the least memorable, even if they’re not technically the worst. I find myself, as I prepare to give my worst list for the season, having already forgotten most of them as they really left that little impact on my memory. Some of you have said in the comments that these episodes never aired in syndication. If that’s true, it wouldn’t surprise me. There’s just nothing here of any interest, and, perhaps it’s fitting that The New Class ended so horribly unspectacular.


My Picks

As usual, here’s my picks for the best and worst of the year. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments below!

One Episode I Loved Ironically:

Season 7, Episode 8: “A Mall Shook Up” Don’t get me wrong: this episode is terrible. But it’s terrible in such a way that I was laughing hysterically the entire time at the sheer ridiculousness of Nicky’s mistreated PTSD after saving Tum Tum, not to mention the fact everyone stuck around the mall after falling debris nearly killed the two of them.

Five Episodes I Hated:

Season 6, Episode 5: “Cigar Wars” We did not need a second anti-smoking episode, especially one centered around Tony. It’s not quite as terrible as Lindsay’s anti-smoking episode from season three, but it’s certainly as preachy, and the reverse peer pressure and Tony smoking on the world’s most open campus are two of the stupidest things of this season.

Season 6, Episode 9: “Mind Games” This is a painful one to watch as the writers are obviously doing their best to try and depict an emotionally abusive relationship, and obviously failing hard at it. I don’t buy for a second Liz would put up with the bullshit in this episode, especially after how quickly she was shown to have the confidence to date again after Ryan’s departure. This episode was complete bullshit.

Season 7, Episode 5: “Liz Burns Eric” All three of the police academy episodes are ridiculously stupid, but this one has a special place in the pits of hell. Liz suddenly acts like an asshole to attract a boy she likes. Is it out of character for her? Does Liz have any character? Who knows. The sudden contrived friendship with Eric and Liz is pretty horrible too, since it comes the fuck out of nowhere.

Season 7, Episode 6: “The X-Friends Files” Another ridiculously over-the-top entry where the writers made a character an asshole for no particular reason other than it was convenient to the plot. How was Nicky the voice of reason for this episode while Katie was the impulsive asshat? I guess we’ll never know, but it made for a horrible episode.

Season 7, Episode 9: “Party Animals” What a terrible, preachy episode. Basically, don’t drink because it’s illegal and you might act like an impulsive asshole. I bet Nicky and Katie’s vow to never drink again lasted about two seconds until they got to their first college party. The fact that most of the consequences of the episode happened off-screen didn’t help either, and Mr. Belding and Screech’s subplot was more moronic than usual.


So that’s it for the recap. I’ll have another bonus post tomorrow. And this Monday I’ll have one final recap of The New Class as a whole, along with some news as to what’s next for this blog.

The New Class Season 6, Episode 13: “Season Greed-ings”

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Ah, yes, one more mall episode for the season, with Liz explaining that she’s convinced every store in the mall to donate ten percent of their holiday sales to some charity for underprivileged kids, or at least that’s what Katie exposits they are since the dialogue on this show sounds like nothing any kid has ever said. Yes, welcome to our final Christmas episode on this show, and boy is it a doozey, making me wish for the good ‘ole days of clip show Christmas episodes. But there’s no time for thinking about that because Liz continues that the employee who makes the most sales wins a $500 mall gift certificate.

Now I was going to point out all the flaws in this plan, like that an employee of Gadgets and Gimmicks is more likely to win than, say, an employee at the movie theater concession stand since Gadgets and Gimmicks sells higher priced items, but Eric does it for me, pointing out that a pet store isn’t the most likely place to win such a fucking rigged contest. Liz, of course, responds by saying, “Sucks to be you!” and encourages everyone who’s not Eric to do their best and totally not become spoiled greedy bastards.

 

As everyone else scurries out to win this contest, Maria recruits Eric to help her win the gift certificate so she can buy a new watch, which I find highly unbelievable because it means this episode is implying Tony knows how to tell time.

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Meanwhile, in our Mr. Belding and Screech subplot, Screech has quite literally fallen in love with a chess computer Gadgets and Gimmicks is selling and, rather than actually work, he brings it to the food court to play. This angers Mr. Belding since this is the one specific thing he asked Screech not to do, leading me, once again, to ask how he has a fucking job! Any of his fucking jobs!

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In the hallway, Katie uses her feminine wiles to lure nerds to join the gym because she learned nothing from unwanted sexual advances a few weeks ago when it happened to her.

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And Nicky and Tony convince Screech to go see Sludge Monster in the theater because I guess that counts as a sell and shit.

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Maria has Eric sing a song about eating snacks at the Teen Machine and, because this mall has the most easily impressed patrons in the world, good singing makes all the patrons instantly run into the Teen Machine as if Eric is the Pied Piper of shitty mall clubs. When Eric suddenly realizes his voice is like capitalist voodoo, he decides it should be used towards getting him the gift certificate.

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At Gadgets and Gimmicks, Screech chases a customer off rather than sell her the chess computer because Screech just sucks at life and, once again, should not have a job. Any job. Mr. Belding misses this termination worthy exchange and sends Screech to the back to find a toaster or some shit, and sells the chess computer while Screech is gone.

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Naturally, this makes Screech freak the fuck out and act over-dramatically as if Mr. Belding just sold Screech’s favorite sex toy. God this show disturbs me sometimes. Seriously every scene with Screech this episode, my jaw just drops to the floor…

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At PetZilla, Eric uses his musical wiles to convince people to buy hella lots of lizards and shit, because Eric singing is enough to convince a random mother that lizards are the best shit ever. We also find out that PetZilla sells rattle snakes, once again, leading me to question whether the writers understand the difference between a pet and a potentially lethal animal.

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Maria’s none too happy about Eric’s decision to use his voodoo for himself, though, and sabotages Eric’s next performance, because his amp apparently has a setting that makes him sound like a brain dead chipmunk. In the meantime, Liz wanders around pontificating about how great it is everyone is doing shit for the charity and tells Eric and Maria that the others are doing shit too, which they can’t have.

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So Eric goes and finds Nicky and Tony giving out random shit to people for seeing a movie, and I’m glad to see Tony’s finally not wearing makeup on set. As soon as they’re gone, Eric makes a small child cry so he won’t want to see the movie, because now I’ll definitely feel sympathetic towards his eventual quest for redemption.

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Meanwhile, Katie continues seducing nerds with sex…

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…but Maria’s ability to use sex in her advantage trumps Katie’s, and she convinces the guy to come and look at her breasts at the Teen Machine.

Now here’s another problem with this entire plan: none of these stores are mutually exclusive, so there’s nothing to stop this nerd from both joining the gym and going to the Teen Machine if he hopes to have a threesome with Maria and Katie, but I bet this will never be addressed. I bet they also won’t have Nicky and Tony address the fact that their girlfriends are using sex to sell shit.

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Back at Gadgets and Gimmicks, the customer who bought the chess computer brings it back and wants it deprogrammed so it no longer talks about the sex acts it wants to complete on Screech. Screech tells him it’s broken beyond repair and tells the guy to leave his address and they’ll send him a refund, which leads me to believe that, in addition to all the other shit the writers of this show don’t seem to understand, we can add refunds at retails stores to the list. Mr. Belding comes out to find the chess computer returned and is shocked the guy returned it since he bought it for a dying father or some shit, leaving Screech feeling constipated judging by the look on his face.

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At the Teen Machine, the head of the charity shows up with two underprivileged kids. We’re going to see other poor kids in this episode and I think they all have something in common: the costume designers went out to a random Goodwill and bought whatever old looking clothes they could find in a desperate attempt to make the kids look what they believe to be poor. Seriously, are these two kids Depression-era farmers or what?

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But, yeah, in front of the woman, Eric comes in and he and Maria start expositing about all the shit they’re doing to each other to win as Eric releases a rat on the floor to scare everyone out of the Teen Machine.

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Then everyone else comes in and starts yelling about Maria and Eric’s sabotage, the charity lady says they’re not going to accept any shit from this mall because of a couple of stupid kids who could just easily be fired if you complained about them, and Liz is left looking exasperated and wondering why she didn’t just go film for The Bold and the Beautiful today.

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In the food court, Maria and Eric bicker some more so that anyone who fell asleep during the episode can pick up on the important plot points. Liz tells them they’re fucking stupid and just ruined things for the Joad kids. Maria and Eric decide it’s time to come up with a plan that will make everything okay and hit the reset button.

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Speaking of stupid resolutions, Screech finally confesses to Mr. Belding what he did and says he’s sorry he wanted his masturbation fantasy device back. He says he’ll deprogram the chess computer and send it to the customer. Rather than being cause for termination, because Screech, once again, learned not to act like an irresponsible moron as a grown ass adult, everything’s okay now, so of course he won’t lose his job.

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At the Teen Machine, we find out Maria’s plan. First she has a bunch more of the Goodwill kids come in and sit on the floor…

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…as Mr. Belding and Screech come in dressed as Santa and a very stupid Rudolph.

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And the clincher of the plan is that Eric uses his musical voodoo on the kids in the form of his rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which instantly enraptures the kids because they apparently like this more than kid oriented Christmas songs the producers couldn’t afford the rights to.

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Eric’s magical musical voodoo works on the president of the charity as well, leading her to declare that, since everyone’s sorry for acting like fucking morons, everything’s okay.

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Eric reveals he’s getting his mom a lizard with a big fake horn on its nose, and I feel for the fact there’s a live lizard that suffered the indignity of being on this show. Not since the snake back in season two has an animal had to suffer so much in this franchise.

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And our episode and our season ends with Mr. Belding giving out presents to all the kids who were almost screwed out of a happy Christmas by a couple of selfish assholes who will, as usual, suffer no consequences for their actions because that would actually require real, thoughtful writing and shit. And we can’t have none of that stupid drivel on this, the best show in the world ever to star Tom Wade Huntington!


So I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I’ve always said I try to be fair to the producers of this show for things that weren’t necessarily within their control, like out of order episodes. And, yes, seasons six and seven are artificially separated seasons, all filmed for airing in 1998, but broken up in half to give us an extra year of excruciatingly horrible television. As such, I won’t be doing a separate recap for season six, but will wait and recap it along with season seven in January, if for no other reason than I don’t really want to have to analyze Tony twice. So tune in next week as we dive into the last god damned season of this awful show!

The New Class Season 6, Episode 12: “Bye-bye Tony”

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We open at the mall and at what’s apparently the newly remodeled  Teen Machine, even though absolutely nothing’s changed and the writers seem to have forgotten that was a plot point a few episodes ago. But no time for that! There are exciting things like photo booths happening at the mall and the gang want to go have their cheap ass photos taken before Screech gets the same idea and breaks the camera!

But Tony’s all, “TONY NO LIKE CAMERA! CAMERA STEAL TONY’S SOUL!” The gang go to leave without him, but Maria realizes Tony has no soul and stays behind to find out what her bad acting boyfriend is really upset about. And thus we get our real reason why this episode exists as Maria reminds Tony how much they fought when they weren’t communicating back in the first episode. Yes, it’s a fucking clip show episode about Tony, because, if there’s one member of this cast who deserved a clip episode, it’s the one who’s only been on the show twelve episodes and hasn’t contributed anything of value to the show except for one of the worst performances in the franchise’s history.

But, you may ask, how are they going to pull off a whole episode of Tony clips? Are they going to resort to showing his hamster fear subplot?

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Why, the answer is they’re not because this is one of the worst clip show episodes in the franchise’s history. See, Mr. Belding and Screech come around and, even in this, they have their stupid subplot. Seems Mr. Belding lost an ugly sweater his wife knitted him and he thinks he left it in the theater, so he asks Tony to come unlock the theater for him because the episode forgot it’s now Nicky who’s assistant manager and not Tony. This gives Screech time to ask Maria why she’s suddenly upset with Tony, and Screech tells Maria all about the time he and Mr. Belding were in couple’s counseling, which inspires Maria to nag Tony some more about why he’s really upset.

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Tony and Mr. Belding get back, and Maria is all, “Tony, just fucking tell me what’s going on and get the plot going!” Tony’s all, “FATHER OF TONY WANT TONY TO MOVE TO SAN DIEGO WITH FATHER OF TONY I AM ACTING!”

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But the rest of the gang sans Liz come back with their exciting stupid photos. Where’s Liz you ask? Apparently she’s still in the booth making faces at the camera because suddenly Liz is the most easily impressed person on the planet. I sure hope the real reason Liz keeps randomly disappearing this season isn’t that she got another job on a better show and so the writers had to keep coming up with lame excuses for her to go film.

But enough about Liz because, if the writers don’t give a shit about her, why should I? No, the real story is the rest of the gang’s reactions, and Tony reveals he doesn’t want to leave because it’s the only major role he’ll ever have on television. Of course, their stupid solution is for Tony to tell his father all about Maria because a forced relationship should be enough to convince anyone, and also we need a setup for another clip. Also, Katie randomly remembers about telling Jack to quit trying to sexually molest her, but Tony’s all, “FATHER OF TONY NO LIKE INCEST!” After all, why not just show lots of clips unrelated to Tony in an episode about Tony. He’s at least in the background of that one.

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But never mind that! Mr. Belding’s still looking for his sweater! But he and Screech find out what’s going on and they decide to tell Tony about firing Mr. Klopper because they want to hammer home how unjust the world is that Mr. Klopper no longer has a job and Screech does. Tony decides to tell his father how he feels.

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We finally meet one half of the couple who unfortunately produced Tony, and Tony chickens out on telling his father because we haven’t filled the running time yet, so instead they compare methods of drinking milk out of the carton as they go off to work. No joke.

After a commercial break, Tony comes back to the Teen Machine, reporting in his usual bad acting that he just couldn’t tell his father. Maria reminds Tony that hiding his feelings will only cause problems so the writers can have an excuse to show another clip.

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But there’s more important things going on, like Liz is done filming The Bold and the Beautiful for the day so she comes back to stand in the background for the rest of the episode. Seriously, why’d they even put her in if that’s all they were going to do. And Maria coaches Tony on how to talk to his father.

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In case you gave a shit about the bad sweater subplot, Mr. Belding and Screech find Tony’s father with the sweater, having found it on a bench or some shit, and I think it’s implied Tony’s father used the sweater as a cum rag or something. Tony sits down with his father and is all, “FATHER OF TONY, TONY NO WANT TO MOVE TO SAN DIEGO BECAUSE GIRL MARIA MIGHT GIVE HIM SOME POON TANG ROLL CLIP!” And we proceed to watch all about how Maria helped Tony quit cigar smoking. In case you were worried about the dangling plot thread that Tony’s dad smoked cigars, too, we get a throwaway line about how Tony helped his father quit smoking.

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Tony’s father is impressed how good of a group of friends he has that helped him quit smoking through guilt and shame and says he only wants what’s best for Tony, which I highly doubt since I have a feeling it wouldn’t look too good for a student to be in two high schools during their senior year, but let’s not think of random shit like making sense if the writers don’t give a shit!

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And our episode ends with our assembled characters thinking their lucky stars that they get to have fourteen more episodes with the only character who could possibly give the fake Swiss guy a run for his money in terms of bad acting.

Seriously, this might be the worst clip show of the bunch. There’s one more next season. Unless that one’s really bad, I’m going to call it for this one.

The New Class Season 6, Episode 11: “Loser”

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We’re back to one of the staples of this show, fundraising episodes! Yay, I missed them so much when they were only marginally used in season five. I hope we can see a stupidly themed dance to go along with it that makes me think no one involved has any common sense.

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We open in the hallway with Eric interviewing Liz and Katie for the radio station about how super dee nervous they must be to be competing in such a major competition and shit. And Eric must think he’s working for the television station because he keeps making visual references as if his audience can see what the fuck he’s talking about. This proves, once and for all, the writers of The New Class don’t understand how television works.

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Maria already got knocked out so no one gives a shit about her, but she’s planning the dance for Friday night to raise money for “all of them” to go cheer the swim team in Sacramento. What, is she raising money for the whole school since all the extras cheer, or is it just the gang who get this special treatment as usual? In any case, the boys are fucking sick of selling tickets because it’s not wild and crazy and exciting stuff, because that’s what I would think selling tickets would be. Frankly, if they thought selling tickets and serving on a committee was going to be exciting stuff, they’re even dumber than the writers of this episode.

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Remember Mr. Klopper, our old janitor from season five’s “Secrets and Liz” who’s actually the on-set teacher for the cast? Well, he’s back, and our Mr. Belding and Screech subplot is all about how he’s not doing his fucking job because he’s old and shit so Mr. Belding gives Screech the job of firing him. Oh, the irony of Screech firing anyone.

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At The Max, Liz tells Katie she can go practice and shit because she sucks, but Liz doesn’t need to practice because I guess when you’re awesome, you don’t need to practice.

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Meanwhile, Maria’s entire dance committee sucks and quit after they can’t even agree on the time of the dance because they wear too much make-up. Because women be wearing too much make-up, right guys? This leaves Maria with no choice but to allow the boys to plan the dance because they need something to do this episode.vlcsnap-2016-08-22-18h11m38s202

In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech has a hard time firing Mr. Klopper because he’s old and friendly and shit. Instead, he gives Mr. Klopper an unauthorized raise. I’d suggest they take it out of Screech’s paycheck, but his wages are probably being garnished for every other bat shit crazy thing he’s ever done. I would say he’s just being emotionally manipulative to keep his job because he knows he just sucks ass, but that would conflict with what actually happens in a minute.

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At the swim meet, Katie wins her event, so Liz congratulates her.

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But then Liz loses the race, leaving her in disbelief that she’s now a loser! And here I thought the title was going to refer to our resident dumb ass.

Now let’s analyze this for a minute: last season Liz’s father was concerned that she wasn’t getting enough practice to be an Olympic hopeful, but backed off so she could have a life. In that time, she’s dated Ryan and an emotionally manipulative guy, traveled around the world, and held multiple jobs. In addition, she’s cocky enough that she didn’t practice. I’m going to make the leap that Liz being on this show has destroyed her swimming career. Mind you, this isn’t a leap the writers would make or else the episode would go very differently.

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At Bayside the next day, Liz is still in denial that she suddenly sucks ass. Maria and Katie have to pound into her that she really does suck ass and actually lost. Liz has trouble dealing with being a loser and nearly throws a hissy fit about not winning her third state champion ship.

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In case you wondered what the boys were up to, they’re busy fighting over the theme of the party. Eric wants to recycle the Hawaiian luau theme while Nicky wants to recycle the ’50s sock hop theme and Tony wants to recycle the western theme. I think those might be the only three themes these writers can think of because they’ve all been used in previous episodes.

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When Mr. Belding finds out Screech couldn’t bring himself to fire Mr. Klopper, he goes to do it himself but soon finds he can’t do it either because Mr. Klopper is old and nice and shit. Instead, he appoints him vice-president of maintenance shit because that doesn’t sound at all like a made-up title, even without my sarcasm.

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Liz continues having trouble dealing with being a loser, finding herself having trouble concentrating on her school work. She utterly loses it when a random girl walks in just to tell Katie how awesome she is for winning.

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That night, Liz has a dream where the writers have decided that, instead of going with the pink-framed dream sequences the franchise has used the last ten years, they’re going to fill Bayside’s hallway with a pink fog because it’s close to the end of the series and they just want to do random shit at this point. In the dream, Maria and Katie get Liz a sweatshirt with a big L on it for “loser.”

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And the boys reveal they came together to make the theme of the dance how much Liz suck, which would be a theme I could get behind if you switch Liz with Tony.

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Even Mr. Belding and Screech show up to tell Liz how much she sucks, and you know you’ve fallen far when Screech is telling you how much of a loser you are.

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And we fade away from the dream with everyone pointing at Liz and yelling, “Loser!” because The New Class has just utterly destroyed Liz’s life.

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At Bayside, Screech discovers that Mr. Belding couldn’t fire Mr. Klopper either and has been cleaning for him to cover for him. They decide to just fire him together since Screech’s idiocy and Mr. Belding’s apparent growing senility will be no match for Mr. Klopper’s ability to look as cute as a newborn kitten.

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The boys all try to decorate the gym for the dance theme they’ve chosen. Since this has barely been touched on, they all get mad that they’re all acting like idiots, including Tony, who picks up a coconut and throws it at Nicky’s jukebox, yelling, “TONY LIKE WEAR CHAPS! TONY SMASH OTHER IDEAS!”

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But they’re interrupted by Liz, who comes to tell the gang she’s decided to leave Bayside because she, too, has realized that The New Class is ruining her life. The others try to tell her she’s not a loser, but they do about as convincing a job as Screech when he’s pretending to be a responsible adult.

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So it’s Mr. Klopper’s birthday and his wife brings in a cake that she later says she’s going to cut. Interestingly enough, the actress, if you want to call her that, playing Mr. Klopper’s wife is the actor’s real life wife. I guess they felt like, at the end of the franchise, they owed her something for the trauma of having to listen to this guy’s stories of Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Dustin Diamond all these years.

Anyways, the cute old age stuff nearly prevents Mr. Belding and Screech from being able to fire Mr. Klopper again, but Screech just does what he does best and yells out random stuff, which happens to sound like, “Mr. Klopper is fired.” Mr. Klopper is all, “Thank god! One more episode on this show and I might have been considered a recurring character!” He gets the fuck out of there, never to be seen, happy that his life isn’t being ruined like Liz’s.

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Speaking of Liz, after the boys apologize for being idiots in their subplot, Maria and Katie reveal that Liz cleaned out her locker. Mr. Belding comes up and finds out what’s been going on while he’s been immersed in the cuteness of little old men.

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Mr. Belding finds Liz by the pool, who tells him she’s quitting swimming. Mr. Belding tells her all about how his dream was to be principal of Bayside, because that’s everyone’s dream, right, and how he didn’t get the job the first time he applied. This convinced Liz that The New Class isn’t screwing up her life and she should give it another try, at least for fifteen more episodes, and she says she’s sure she’ll be great next year! I don’t get it. Are they suddenly implying Liz is younger than the rest of them and not graduating next year even though she’s been taking the same classes as the rest of the gang? My brain hurts!

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Oh, joy! This makes the entire episode: that we got a stupid dance idea: a combination western, luau, and sock hop, because combining three things this franchise has already done several times before makes them new again and shit!

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Liz shows up and apologizes for acting like a cry baby that she believed this show was ruining her life. All is forgiven, the rest button is pressed, and our episode ends with Liz assuring them there will be lots of swim meets in season seven for her to redeem herself and shit.

Was that the most meta episode ever?

The New Class Season 6, Episode 10: “Free for All”

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We open with most of the gang bemoaning their gluttony and Nicky wanting to work out but Katie reminding him he let his membership expire. Maria points out she’s given free shit while Eric wants to give out free rats. Don’t worry: none of this has anything to do with the rest of the plot, but the writers just thought they would throw some preachy shit in for shits and giggles.

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No, the real start of the plot is that Tony’s looking for a job. Yeah. Not even an explanation on how this one’s actually going to work, but I’ll get to that more in a few minutes. Also, apparently Petzilla may or may not sell poisonous snakes because it’s a great idea to sell deadly animals to people as pets. Come on, writers, I know you were going for a cheap laugh, but, if it’s something a five year old could figure out is wrong, maybe you should make your jokes more realistic.

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In our subplot, Liz’s boss puts her in charge of…the mall walkers. Fucking hell, why do mall walkers need a babysitter? Are they from the Alzheimer’s unit of the nursing home or something? I don’t understand this subplot at all, and it won’t become any clearer the longer it goes on.

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In our bumbling idiots subplot, Screech is suddenly shy around women despite the fact that, if anything, he’s always been overconfident and in contradiction to the fact that he’s dated multiple women on this show, starting with his second fucking episode! But, no, we need something stupid for our adults to do, so Mr. Belding decides to set Screech up with yet another pretty girl who is way outside Screech’s league. This one is a customer at Gadgets and Gizmos named Kathleen who seems a bit creeped out by Mr. Belding but sticks around because the plot tells her to. But Screech is unable to ask her out, freezes up, and says the pretty girl made him wet his pants.

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Also, apparently the pretty girl is a shoplifter because Mr. Belding and Screech are standing at the cash registers at this point and she totally doesn’t pay for the shoes Screech was just helping her try on. So far, this episode is feeling even more phoned in than usual.

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At the movie theater, Nicky finds out he’s being promoted to weekend manager…again. The old weekend manager quit, which means Nicky gets to start the job immediately without even being an option of declining the promotion. As his first action, he hires Tony to replace him as an usher because Tony is all, “TONY USHER AS GOOD AS TONY ACTS!”

Now I need someone to explain to me how Tony will juggle his two jobs, school, position as quarterback on the football team, his relationship with Maria, and whatever other shit this show decides to get him involved in before the end of next season. Seriously, I need to know who the dumb asses are who seem to have no concept of the fact there are only twenty-four hours in one day. Maybe the sleep deprivation episode should have been about Tony.

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Meanwhile, the mall walkers think Liz sucks ass so, as soon as her back is turned to them, they run away from her as fast as possible. This means that she has to spend the rest of the episode finding them because I guess grown ass women can’t do shit for themselves. Good thing Maria isn’t doing anything else this episode so she goes to help Liz find where they’ve gone, because they obviously have to still be in the mall and couldn’t have left.

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Screech asks Kathleen to lunch and she says yes so he celebrates this as a win given that he never gets to date pretty women on this show.

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And Katie congratulates Nicky on his promotion while Eric takes advantage of the awkward moment to give Tony some lovin’, because I guess his type is bad actors. Nicky says this means he gets to let all hi friends into the movies for free and, given Katie is taking over the role of mothering nagger, she’s all, “Responsibility and shit,” but he’s all, “I know what I’m doing!”

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At the theater, Nicky and Tony are enjoying their new job so much they let a ton of people in for free. But their boss comes back and discovers there have only been three tickets sold all day, so, since Nicky’s a complete dumb ass and didn’t think that this may be an issue, he has to think of a plan to keep her from discovering everyone in the theater. How is he going to do this, you ask?

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Why, he’s going to make the popcorn machine explode so that, while she’s trying to fix it, he sneaks everyone out the fire exit. After seeing how their popcorn machine works, I’m not sure I want to get any concessions from this theater. Whatever happened to the good old days when one of Mr. Belding’s many failed businesses provided yogurt for the theater?

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Liz’s boss comes looking for the mall walkers and she’s all, “They’re in the bathroom.” He walks away, thus making this subplot, once again, meaningless.

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At Gadgets and Gizmos, Mr. Belding teaches Screech how to do a terrifying puppy dog face to make Kathleen want to give him some poon tang.

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Naturally, this leads Kathleen to the same question I had: whether Screech is about to throw up or not. After he basically high fives Mr. Belding and says he’s getting some tonight right in front of Kathleen, she says she’s sick of being the latest stupid pretty girl who thinks there’s something attractive about Screech and runs off.

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Nicky and Tony relate their close encounter with unemployment to Katie and she gets preachy again for a minute. He’s all, “Nothing could possibly go wrong at the sneak preview tonight because lots of people are going to be there,” so he tells Eric his plan to let him and some extras in for free is a go.

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But it turns out that half of Bayside’s extras want in, including this guy who Nicky doesn’t even know, but the guy tells Nicky that his dad, the director, let him in. No, seriously, this is Miguel Higuera’s son, Ethan. I guess it’s a good thing because his acting sure isn’t getting him a job anytime soon. Even worse than Tony’s.

So, yeah, the sneak preview is sold out, meaning some customers don’t have seats and come out to complain. They rush off to another theater without even demanding a refund, and Nicky tells his boss, “We just wanted to give our friends shit for free! What’s wrong with that?” She tells him he’s an idiot and is fired and to take his little blonde bad acting friend with him.

Yeah, Nicky has to be the stupidest person on the face of the planet at this point to sell every ticket in addition to letting a bunch of people in.

The mall walkers subplot is now in full ridiculous mode as Liz and Maria stayed the entire night in the mall looking for the women because I guess these women have ankle bracelets that won’t let them leave the fucking mall.

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They show up, saying they had a slumber party in some random department store’s bedding department, and I’m guessing this is official proof the writers have no clue how shopping malls, in addition to high schools, work. Liz says she’s sorry for treating three grown ass women like children and says she promises to plan fun activities for them and shit. Um, they’re fucking mall walkers. Here’s an idea: LET’S LET THEM WALK THE FUCKING MALL!

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Katie gets to gloat in her “I told you so,” moment as Nicky laments that he acted almost as big a moron as Screech this episode. Nicky says he has three minutes left in this episode and wants to make it up to the manager who just fired him for being a dumb ass, and gets an idea how to fill up the other theater, which is showing a bad film.

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Mr. Belding apologizes to Screech for giving him bad advice that Screech would inevitably interpret to make even worse, and Screech decides it’s time for Kathleen to meet the real him, which I’m sure is going to make her run far, far away. He passes by Nicky and Tony passing out fliers for the movie, which instantly makes everyone, including Screech, want to see it because we’ve only got two minutes left in this episode and we’ve got to resolve it fast.

At the theater, Screech apologizes to Kathleen for being a complete fuck up and she says she’s glad she’ll never appear on this show again, like most of Screech’s love interests.

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The manager is shocked Nicky and Tony were able to fill up the theater and he tells her how sorry he is that he’s an idiot and he’s learned the very valuable lesson he’s sure that all kids tune in for: that giving away shit for free on the job is wrong. The manager says that, since the writers don’t understand how theft of services work, she’s going to give Nicky his job back, and Nicky gives Tony his job back. And our episode ends the reset button pressed as it hurts my brain how much nobody working for this show understands how anything works! Seriously, have these writers never had any real world experience? Nicky’s lucky she didn’t call the police or press charges against him for loss of ticket sales! But this is the franchise that thinks doing caffeine pills is on par with cocaine so I don’t know why I expect any different.

The New Class Season 6, Episode 9: “Mind Games”

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We open at The Max, where Maria rushes in to declare she’s suddenly on the swim team just like Liz and Katie! This serves absolutely no purpose in the rest of the episode other than to give Maria a reason to be pissed about what follows, but, hey, let’s just put all the girls on one sports team just like we randomly put all the boys on one team!

Also, if Maria just came from tryouts, why wasn’t Liz, the team captain, there? I get that the writers of this show don’t understand how high school works, but they could at least pretend!

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For the first time this season, the episode revolves around Liz and how this guy named Travis asks her out because her vagina is feeling lonely since Ryan moved away. She’s insecure, though, because she’s only had one boyfriend even though we’ve clearly seen her with other guys this season, but to hell with continuity, right?

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In our subplot, the boys find a bracelet on the table that looks like it came straight from one of those gaudy dealers at a flea market. I guess Tony’s continuing his theme of not doing his job very well. Tony decides to hold onto the bracelet in case the owner calls.

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And, in our Mr. Belding and Screech subplot, Screech has fucked up and lost Mr. Belding’s speech to the school board because of course he did. What else do you expect when you put Screech in charge of something? He also forgot to tell Mr. Belding that the meeting was moved to two hours ago. Mr. Belding says he’s sick of Screech fucking up even though he passed up a perfectly good opportunity last week to fire him, and says he’s going to make Screech go to a seminar on efficiency instead, as if Screech can be taught anything to do with competence.

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Liz and Travis go to see a movie that’s apparently about a dog running away because it’s in a movie being featured on The New Class. While Maria and Katie listen in on the two like a couple of crazed stalkers, Travis whispers sweet nothings in Liz’s ear as he tells her how awesome her hair would be if it were like the woman in the movie we can’t see or hear. Also, we find out Liz is suddenly shy to give public displays of affection in public even though she did so with Ryan about a thousand times.

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Tony comes in the middle of the movie and starts talking real loud about the bracelet. “LADY CALL TONY! LADY SAY BRACELET BELONG TO HER! LADY SAY SHE GIVE TONY MONEY TO BRING BRACELET BACK!” Surprisingly, no one in the theater seems upset about Tony’s bad acting in the middle of the theater and Nicky says he’ll bring the bracelet by since the woman’s house is near his.

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Back at Bayside, Screech is wearing a suit and walking like John Cleese from Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. Yes, an efficiency seminar is all about dressing in suits and deciding you don’t want to be called by nicknames in the workplace. Well, I’ve been questioning since day one why Screech isn’t Mr. Powers on this show, but the writers want him available to be the seventh member of the gang when convenient to the plot. And he starts his efficiency bullshit by saying Mr. Belding should send a fax instead of attending the basketball tryouts because that makes complete sense.

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Nicky tells Eric and Tony that he delivered the bracelet but declined the reward money because plot. Of course, I’m sure it was going to be like a nice shiny quarter since the bracelet didn’t look like it was worth shit, but let’s pretend they could have actually got some money out of it. But Nicky has a new leather jacket, which immediately leads to speculation that Nicky stole the reward money.

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Liz reveals her new fashion sense is based on Fran Drescher because Travis loves it and shit. Travis does, indeed, love her hair and convinces her to blow off a swim team meeting at lunch to go to the beach with him. The audience sounds like they don’t know how to respond to these events, uttering noises that make me think they want to lose their shit but aren’t sure if it’s appropriate to the intention of the scene.

After a commercial break, we get a nice recap in case we fell asleep over the last ten minutes. Tony finds out Katie bought the jacket for Nicky for his birthday, but Eric says Nicky’s birthday was three months ago so they decide he’s a big phony, a big, fat, phony. Meanwhile, Maria and Katie are pissed at Liz for skipping the swim team meeting, Travis convinces Liz they’re just jealous that she gets to have the hanky panky with him and then manipulates her into kissing him in public.

One thing to note is that every scene between Liz and Travis in this second half is creepy as fuck. He’s beginning to sound like the villain from a slasher film. Even the audience seems to be completely in the dark about how to react as there’s a very distinct lack of emotions coming from them as they watch this, like they can’t figure out whether to like Travis because he’s doing almost identical stuff to what Zack Morris once did or hate him. It’s very awkward.  But we liked Zack Morris because he was Zack Morris so I guess we’re supposed to hate Travis because he’ll never be on the show again.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech won’t let Mr. Belding eat his lunch because it’s not efficient. If I were Mr. Belding, I’d kick Screech in the fucking balls and be done with it, but Mr. Belding just sighs and accepts his fate in life like a good peon who’s not got much time left on this franchise.

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Travis delivers a fake note to Liz to give him a chance to manipulate her more into doing shit he wants to do instead of what she wants to do. An important note: this teacher is Miss Bickle, who is played by an actress that has already portrayed two other teachers, two mall patrons, the voice of a robot, and a voice at mission control, all since season two, and will still play another mall patron before the show is over. This actress gets around. Peter Engel must have had the hots for her. She’ll actually play Miss Bickle in a few episodes over the next two seasons so this is technically her first regular role on the series.

Also, why is Miss Bickle talking about the Jurassic Period if shit about Albert Einstein and relativity is written on the wall behind them? Come on, writers, you need to communicate better with your prop people!

Travis asks Liz to go out again tonight but she says she needs to get some extra sleep so she’s ready for the relay. He’s all, “Do what I want! Do it! Do it! Do it!” and she’s all, “I guess I don’t need to be in the relay since I’m supposed to be manipulated by you even though I’m usually a stronger character than this on the show. I’m so confused by my inconsistent characterization!”

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And Screech has a new plan to eliminate horseplay in the hallway: give the students like ten seconds between classes to get to class, because that wouldn’t actually do the reverse of his plan and throw off efficiency by making students not have time to get shit from lockers or use the restroom or shit…

Mr. Belding realizes what I did five seasons ago: when you put Screech in charge of anything, it’s sure to go wrong because it’s Screech. Now fire him and get it the fuck over with.

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In the gym, Eric and Tony act like fucking idiots around Nicky and, as he’s walking away due to the sheer stupidity of their stuff, he overhears them give some exposition about how they believe he stole their reward money, and walks away pissed that he’s the butt of yet another stupid subplot.

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Liz reveals to Maria and Katie that she’s dropping out of the relay and they say that if Travis cared about her, he would let her do the things they think he should do and not the things he wants her to do. Liz walks away, convinced that Travis was right about their desire for his penis.

After a break, Liz overhears Katie and Maria very loudly thank a random girl for filling in for Liz.  They talk about how they can’t believe Liz is doing shit, leaving Liz looking like she’s constipated and running for the restroom.

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Nicky puts a revenge plan in motion, pretending like he bought a new boombox and that he’s going to treat them to lunch at The Max.

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And Mr. Belding concludes the other subplot by telling Screech that, now that Bayside is so efficient, he’s going to fire Screech and shit. YES! DO IT! Screech freaks out and tells Mr. Belding that he can’t fire someone who’s so lovable.

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Unfortunately, this is Screech’s lovable face, which I’m sure I will soon have nightmares about. Screech learns his lesson that there’s a balance between efficiency and bat shit crazy and we conclude that subplot, unfortunately with Screech continuing on the show.

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Eric and Tony join Nicky at The Max to find out he’s bought lots more shit, and they freak out on him about it. Nicky reveals he went to the trouble of borrowing all of that stuff to get back at them for being stupid enough to believe the bracelet would be worth that much money. Turns out Katie’s poor and shit so it took her three months to save up for the jacket, and this subplot ends with vows to communicate with each other, which I’m sure all three will follow to the end of the series.

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Travis tells Liz he bought tickets for Pearl Jam on Saturday and tries to convince her to skip a swim meet. He tries to tell her she never does what he wants and finally goes off on him, telling him that he’s a disposable one-shot character and needs to get the fuck off this show while her swim career will continue for the rest of the series when it’s convenient to the plot.vlcsnap-2016-08-08-19h41m38s92

Maria and Katie come in and Liz takes advantage of the last thirty seconds to hit the reset button, apologizing for all the out of character shit she did this episode, and our episode ends with Liz begging the girls to help her get her hair out of that stupid style.

Firsts: Miss Bickle.

The New Class Season 6, Episode 8: “Guess Who’s Running the Max”

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We open in the hall at Bayside, with Screech running into Mr. Belding while roller blading and wearing a gay pride shirt. Seriously, when you see where their subplot is going, this shirt is going to seem really ironic! Mr. Belding tells Screech to cut this shit off since he’s constantly doing stupid and idiotic dumb fuckery, and Screech acts offended that Mr. Belding would reprimand him for doing stupid things. How Screech manages to not get killed by random household objects is beyond me.

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In our main plot, the Teen Machine is “closed for remodeling,” whatever the fuck that means, and Maria’s looking for part time work. Tony’s all, “TONY FIND JOB AT MAX FOR MARIA! MARIA AND TONY WORK TOGETHER!” Maria’s unsure at first whether she should work with her idiot boyfriend, but Tony’s all, “TONY AND MARIA HANKY PANKY ON BREAK!” and this is enough to convince her.

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In our other subplot, Eric got a new Walkman as a gift but Nicky’s suspicious that shenanigans are afoot since the card is addressed to “Cornelius.” Eric finally reveals that his real first name is Cornelius, which sends Nicky into a fit of hysterics over what I assume is his amazement that the writers decided this should be a subplot.

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At The Max, Maria already has the job and is impressing her new boss, Mr. Ranaldi, because, yes, The Max has yet another new manager since the casting department didn’t have the foresight to try and keep the old manager under contract for an additional episode. And Tony and Maria enjoy the perks of hankey pankey at work.

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And the wacky hijinks continue as Nicky reveals Eric’s real name to Katie, who also thinks it’s hilarious that the writers would turn this into a subplot.

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Oh, and Mr. Belding catches Screech having lunch with the principal from Central and talking about how much of a better boss he would be. So, we’re just going to forget that an entire episode a couple seasons ago focused on why Screech didn’t want to go to another school? Okay, just checking.

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Back at Bayside, Screech discovers that Mr. Belding is finally sick and tired of doing this same idiotic stuff every week so he’s decided to hire a new administrative assistant. OH HALLELUJAH! YES! MY PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED! Unfortunately, they decide that they need to make it work for the kids, though, and, I kid you not, they’re going to seek counseling for their relationship issues.

Jesus fucking Christ. Could this show make Screech and Mr. Belding out to be gay lovers any more than they already have?

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At The Max, Eric finds out that Nicky told Katie about his real name, who told Liz, who had nothing better to do this episode so she told the whole school. Now everyone knows the subplot of the episode is about Eric’s name and shit. Eric’s pissed off that an entire subplot now revolves around his real name and runs out of the restaurant.

Mr. Ranaldi tells Maria and Tony that his sister is having a baby so he has to go to San Francisco. He says he wants to leave Maria in charge because of her previous experience as a manager and because she knows payroll and scheduling and shit. Jesus, how long does he think he’s going to be gone to see a fucking baby? This isn’t bereavement leave, buddy. In any case, Tony says he’s okay with it because most reasonable people would be, and Mr. Ranaldi immediately runs out to go to San Francisco as Tony reveals to Nicky that, surprise, surprise, he may not be as okay as he acts.

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After a commercial break, Maria’s doing awful things like asking Tony to do his fucking job, and this guy too old to be hanging out with teenagers gives Tony shit for it.

Nicky tries to apologize to Eric for spilling his secret, and Eric decides the way to make it up is for Nicky to tell Eric a secret about him. Nicky’s like, “That’s fucking bullshit,” and gets the hell out of there.

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And now Mr. Belding and Screech go through relationship counseling, and I couldn’t make up this shit if I tried.

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The counselor gives them foam bats to express each other in a complete rip-off of The Simpsons, and Screech proceeds to beat Mr. Belding with the bat when he says he’s sick of wacky plots every week and Screech not respecting him as his boss. Fucking hell, I’m trying to figure out what Mr. Belding is supposed to have done wrong! He’s working with an insane person who seems determined to be as insane as possible.

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Maria and Tony meet at a redress of the Eiffel Tower set for a date as Tony freaks out over everything Maria says. Tony’s all, “ME NO LIKE GIRLFRIEND BOSSING ME! TONY IS MANLY MAN!”

Eric randomly shows up after Tony goes to get some ice cream and Maria asks Eric if she’s acting different. Eric’s all, “No, Tony’s just forcing super toxic masculine bull shit because he has no other character traits he can fall back on.”

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Back at Bayside, the counselor asks herself what life decisions she made to end up in the second to last season of The New Class. She has them pretend to be each other, and Screech basically portrays his boss as elderly, obese, and incompetent, while Mr. Belding portrays Screech as an insane man who once brought a tiger into Bayside. Seriously, who has the problem: the guy who brings a tiger into a high school or the one who wants his students to be safe?

The counselor gets sick of all this bull shit and gets the hell out of there while she still has a career to salvage.

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At The Max, Eric wears the bad wig he did back in season four to try and get some information on Nicky and Nicky nearly falls for it because recognizing faces is hard. Seriously, how is it no one can tell the difference between a person and the same person in a wig?

Maria tells Tony to get off his break and give a table their check. It’s wrong, so they ask to see the manager and, when Maria comes back, Tony goes off on her for…making him look bad? What the fuck was she supposed to say? “Oh, sorry, no manager for you today! You must deal with bad actor waiter!” Seriously, this plot makes absolutely no sense, and it doesn’t help that Tony decides to break up with Maria over her doing her job.

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After a commercial break, Mr. Ranaldi is back and happy with the job Maria did during the indeterminate amount of time she was manager.

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And Tony’s all, “NOW MAN BOSS BACK AND MARIA AND TONY HAVE HANKEY PANKEY AGAIN!” Maria gets sick of his bullshit, though, and throws a sponge at him, telling him he’s an idiot and bordering on being like one of the guys from the MRA episode. After she walks away, Nicky basically puts Tony in his place and tells him he’s acting like a moron and needs to stop in order for this plot to be resolved.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Screech is packing up random shit that’s he’s keeping there for some reason, including the bad Eiffel Tower hat he bought in Paris, because the way to maintain some continuity was to remind me of those episodes. They start talking about their feelings and shit and though, as usual, Mr. Belding has done absolutely nothing wrong, they decide they both see the other’s point of view and so Screech, to my dismay, can stay on this show a while longer.

And the other subplot is resolved when Eric calls Nicky’s grandmother and then announces on the intercom that Nicky takes baths every night with his Beanie Babies, because if there was a worse possible subplot than one about Eric’s name, that was it.

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Tony finds Maria on the Eiffel Tower park and is all, “TONY SORRY FOR BEING BADLY WRITTEN FUCKHEAD! TONY LOVE MARIA AND WANT HANKY PANKEY BACK! TONY NO ACT LIKE IDIOT ANYMORE THIS EPISODE!” This is apparently enough for Maria to forgive Tony and press the reset button in less than a minute, because breaking up with someone for doing their fucking job isn’t a warning sign of an emotional abuser at all.

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And our episode ends with Tony getting his precious hankey pankey back and, for once, the audience doesn’t have time to lose their shit as we fade into the end credits.

Is it just going to be a running theme this season that every episode is pointless?

Firsts: Eric’s first name (Cornelius).

The New Class Season 6, Episode 7: “Hands Off”

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We’re back at the mall this week with Liz vomiting up some exposition about Katie getting a new boss at the gym, because I guess Liz thinks she’s important to this show now that she has some job as a glorified administrative assistant. Liz asks Katie why she’s not there working to suck up to him and she’s all, “‘Cause I’m hella hungry! Go fucking bug someone else!”

Also, Maria says that Liz is only sixteen in this episode. So that means she won’t be graduating at the end of next season, right? I know: it’s my fault for expecting this show to maintain some sort of continuity.

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But then Katie’s new boss, Jack, comes around and randomly introduces himself because Katie’s in uniform. She suddenly wants to kiss his ass because she wants some extra hours at work so she can pay for college and shit, because a job at a gym can totally pay for college.

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At Petzilla, Eric invites Nicky and Tony in to see the new baby hamsters. But Tony is all, “TONY NO LIKE HAMSTERS! TONY STAY OUTSIDE LEST TONY SMASH HAMSTERS! TONY DESERVE A DAYTIME EMMY!” After Tony leaves, we get our first subplot of the episode: Eric’s going to help Tony get over his fear of hamsters. Nicky asks Eric if he really thinks he can do that, and Eric gives perhaps the most honest reply ever heard in this series: probably not, but he doesn’t have anything better to do. It’s refreshing to see the writers admit they couldn’t think of shit for Eric and Tony to do this episode so they invented a stupid subplot.

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And, in our other subplot, Gadgets and Gizmos is having financial difficulties. Surprise, surprise. A business managed by Mr. Belding having financial problems is almost as cliche as the fundraising plots of this show. This is like the third store Mr. Belding’s managed for his brother-in-law. Maybe the guy should stop leaving his businesses in the hands of the guy who’s kept Screech on the state of California’s payroll for five years.

Screech suggest they air a commercial during the Superbowl, and I’m surprised the writers actually know how expensive it is to air a Superbowl commercial. But that does give Mr. Belding an idea and he decides to air a local commercial in hopes of attracting business.

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At the gym, Jack seems to be really amenable to Katie’s asking for more time. Eric comes running up talking about how he can bench hella lots of weight now and she gives him a hug of friendship. This makes Jack jealous and he says he hopes he can get hella good hugs like that if he can bench, too. This leaves Katie and Eric confused by what he means since sexual innuendo is beyond the grasp of the characters on this show.

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At Gadgets and Gimmicks, Mr. Belding’s commercial sucks and basically consists of him knocking shit over and breaking things. Screech, in a rare moment as the voice of reason, tells Mr. Belding they can’t air that commercial, but Mr. Belding tells him it’s already being aired. They wait for a mass of people to come shop at the store, but even several Photoshop transitions can’t make people want to shop at this store.

But, amusingly enough, if you pay attention to the background, you’ll see that the Sega Saturn is for sale at Gadgets and Gimmicks. Two things come to mind for me about this: that severely dates this show, and I hope Sega asked for their money back for the product placement since no one’s going to buy shit featured on this show.

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Back in the hamster subplot, Eric decides to randomly put on a lab jacket so he can test how severe Tony’s hamster phobia is, because he’s doing something medical related that could severely scar Tony since he’s not an actual medical professional, get it? Eric asks Tony to get his cell phone out of his gym bag, and a stuffed hamster flies out. Tony jumps back and screams, “TONY NO LIKE STUFFED ANIMAL! TONY SMASH!” He runs off, punching random extras who happen to be in his path.

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Back at the gym, Jack decides to cop some feels of Katie. Yeah, after twelve years, the Saved by the Bell franchise has decided to tackle sexual harassment in the most unintentionally hilarious way possible. Yeah, sexual harassment is a real issue, but you can tell this is written by someone who knows nothing about the issue. As a result, Jack is like the most brazen harasser in the history of harassing.

After he leaves, Maria, who was on a treadmill in the background and witnessed the entire thing, asks Katie what the hell was up with that. Katie’s all, “He’s probably just a poorly written caricature of a serious issue. Besides, I can’t tell him to fuck off yet. We’re not even halfway through the episode.”

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After a commercial break, Maria continues hounding Katie about Jack’s advancements into the food court. There, she tells the rest of the gang about it, and Nicky’s ready to go give him a reasonably sliced chunk of his mind. Yeah, Jack would smash Nicky. Katie’s all, “No! I can’t learn a lesson yet! It’s too soon in the episode! But maybe I’ll just politely ask him to be better written and it will solve everything!”

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Back at Gadgets and Gimmicks, the store’s overrun with customers, but Mr. Belding soon discovers it’s because Screech filmed a commercial of his own. This could have been one of the few smart things Screech has done on this show, except he promised way too cheap merchandise he can’t deliver on, like ninety-seven cent camcorders. Mr. Belding begins to lecture Screech on false advertising, but Screech is all, “We already had a false advertising subplot when we worked at Yukon Yogurt. If I didn’t learn my lesson then, do you think I’ll learn my lesson now?” He goes off to sell more shit over Mr. Belding’s objections.

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Back at the gym, Jack tries to…anally probe Katie I guess? Katie tries to tell Jack to stop that shit, and he’s all, “I’m just having fun as a poorly written character! Now I’m going to continue being a blatant caricature by punishing you for speaking up in front of all these extras by giving you horrible and shitty work!”

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At Petzilla, Tony’s ready to get over his fear so Eric tries to give him a hamster. He’s unsure at first, but then a woman obviously too old for Tony comes in who loves hamsters, so they handle a hamster together, leading me to wonder if Tony and Maria are still dating. So Tony’s now okay with holding hamsters…

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…but, when a middle-aged man in a rat costume randomly comes in, Tony screams and faints, because that’s the most realistic looking mouse in this episode I guess.

So, if you’ve thought this episode was ridiculous so far, you’re about to see it crank up its ridiculous powers to the max.

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Liz confronts Mr. Belding and Screech, saying she’s had complaints about their store. Treating her security guards like police officers, she drags them away as if mall cops have some sort of authority to do shit.

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Back at the gym, Katie can’t make it to the movies with the others because she’s busy working and shit. She lies to Nicky and tells him the talk with her boss went okay. As soon as Nicky’s gone, her boss comes out and tells her she needs to get used to blatant sexual harassment and let him touch her and shit. Katie decides she’s going to get with the program and let him feel her up at will.

At Petzilla, Eric tells Tony they have too many hamsters so the store is selling some of them to a laboratory for research before PETA comes in to protest. Tony suddenly wants to adopt all the hamsters.

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And when a man comes in who Tony assumes to be a scientist because he has glasses and shit, Tony flips out and yells, “TONY SMASH EVIL ANIMAL TORTURER PERSON!” After the man runs away in fear of Tony’s bad acting, Eric lets him know that wasn’t a person from the lab, but at least this bad subplot is over.

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In the food court, Maria brings in a crucial character from the past to convince Katie to stand up to her boss: Maria’s mother. Yes, the character who had one minor appearance previously because I guess she’s a lawyer and shit. It’s Mrs. Lopez’s job to give the audience some nice exposition about how sexual harassment is illegal and the boss can’t retaliate. It’s your standard lecture The New Class has to give during its many very special episodes because the writers aren’t talented enough to write these points into the episode without ham-fisted exposition.

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And now, yeah, the mall apparently keeps an interrogation room in its basement where Liz interrogates Mr. Belding and Screech over the false advertising. Yeah, it’s about as ridiculous as it sounds. It’s supposed to be funny, but I just wish we’d get back to the sexual harassment subplot so we can get this episode over with. Mr. Belding says they’re going to give the money back they earned from false advertising, which I’m not sure how they’re going to do that, but, whatever. He also laments that Gadgets and Gizmos is broke again. But then, one of the guards  says his feet are tired, and this gives Screech an idea.

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Yes, the solution to this subplot was in selling foot massagers to mall cops, because that, by itself, will earn the store enough money to stay in business I’m sure.

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Back at the gym, Jack tries to kiss Katie and she goes off on him with witnesses around, and I’m surprised the audience didn’t think they should lose their shit considering how easily impressed they are by kisses. It’s about as expected: she says she’s going to report him and he threatens to fire her. But then the clincher is that Maria walks up and says he better worry about keeping his job, and this zinger from a random customer he’s had no interactions with the entire episode is enough to put him in his place and send him away.

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Katie apologizes to Nicky for lying about her talk with Jack, and our episode ends with the gang sans Liz gathered around looking smug about teaching the kids another valuable life lesson in twenty minutes. I’m sure Liz is absent because she’s busy interrogating Jack about sexual harassment in her special dungeon down below.

The New Class Season 6, Episode 6: “Win, Lose, or Cheat”

This one’s a doozey folks, so try to keep up. I apologize for how stupid this all sounds, but, I swear, it’s this whole stupid episode…

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We open in the movie theater, where Tony and Maria confirm through exposition that they are, indeed, dating now, in case you’re like me and confused as to their status after their single major interaction at the dance two weeks ago. Glad to know they’re such a loving couple in love now.

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But, just as they’re getting ready to go hot and heavy with each other, the rest of the gang shows up. This really serves no purpose other than to delay Tony’s attempt to finger bang Maria and so Nicky and Katie can give some exposition about a teen dating show called Two of Hearts coming to Bayside. Naturally, Nicky and Katie plan on trying out because they’re suddenly The New Class‘s answer to Zack Morris and Kelly. Also, Liz wants to be a producer all of the sudden because she suddenly has time for all that shit with her swimming and all.

Tony and Maria tell the other’s to fuck off…

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…and Tony is all, “YOU…ARE…BEAUTIFUL…LET…US…KISS…AS…I…GROPE…YOUR…EAR…FOR…I…AM…ACTING!!!” It’s their first kiss and, yeah, I actually went back and check from two weeks ago. The New Class actually restrained themselves from having Maria and Tony get to first base sooner so the audience could lose their shit.

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At Bayside, Screech suddenly has a thing for biker magazines that look like they were printed in the ’70s. Yeah, our subplot involving him and Mr. Belding this week is that they suddenly both want a motorcycle, so they decide to buy one, because Mr. Belding is having a midlife crisis I guess and Screech thinks women will finally want to touch him if he has one.

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The producer of the show, Del Stevens, and the host, Kitty Katz….I cannot believe I just had to type that pun. Seriously, Kitty Katz. I can’t even…

In any case, they show up and it turns out they’re literally having the game show at Bayside because why the hell not! Who needs television studios when you can just film your show at random high schools? I wonder if this was the solution to one of Bayside’s many budget crises after Mr. Belding took the gang on way too many field trips…

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Liz asks Del for a job as a student producer and he’s instantly like, “Sure! Why not!” If jobs in television are that easy to get, I should head on down to the local station and get one of my own!

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And Eric gets a job doing a commercial during the show, because it makes no sense to just, I don’t know, tape advertisements for your show’s sponsors when you can just have a random student possibly fuck it up live on the air! They were looking for someone who can act, but they’re on The New Class so they’ll have to take what they can get.

Nicky and Katie ask Maria and Tony if they’ll be trying out and they say they don’t know. Turns out Tony doesn’t know shit about Maria but, when they find out the prize is two new cars, they decide to go for it.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Mr. Belding and Screech now co-own a motorcycle which is, for some reason, in Mr. Belding’s office, the same office that held a tiger and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the last few weeks. I don’t know why Mr. Belding doesn’t learn from the past never to do shit with Screech, but he’s done it anyway and now Screech is going to take the bike out for a spin. Let’s hope he doesn’t wear a helmet.

It’s time for auditions, but not before we find out Liz’s all-important job is getting Del coffee and stuff! Aren’t you glad Liz is doing important things like that on this show now!

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Nicky and Katie are first up and keep completing each other’s sentences as if they’re some cliche-ridden characters. The only other auditions are for a couple who hate each other until Maria and Tony come along. They haven’t been dating for long, but Del and Kitty see potential in them, telling them they’re going to be the winners.

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And, how they are going to achieve this is by Del and Kitty giving Maria and Tony the answers ahead of time so they can memorize their answers. Kitty tells them the audience wants to see cool kids win so this is how they do it. Unfortunately, Tony is nowhere in the vicinity of cool, but the writers want us to believe he is since he’s theoretically following in the footsteps of Zack Morris.

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Meanwhile, surprise, surprise, Screech managed to crash the motorcycle while racing his new motorcycle friends. I see there’s a poster in the background for a sailing club. Can’t Mr. Belding just make Screech the faculty adviser so he can sail to a desert island and get stuck?

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Eric uses his gig on the commercial to get lots of dates because, you know, he didn’t learn anything from trying to be a playa on Nicky’s cousin a few weeks ago.

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And Liz continues doing important tasks like getting Del’s food. Eric and Liz might as well not even be in this episode if the writers are just going to invent stupid mini-subplots for them that jar us from the main plot and make no sense!

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Maria and Tony debate the ethics of cheating, especially since it would mean Nicky and Katie can’t win, but then Nicky and Katie come in and talk smack about their superior relationship, so Maria and Tony suddenly decide they want to win.

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Back in Mr. Belding’s office, Screech lost the motorcycle in a bet with his new motorcycle friends. Naturally, this pisses off Mr. Belding because he hasn’t had eleven years of experience to know that Screech screws up every thing he touches.

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And it’s time for Two of Hearts!

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Basically, it’s a rip-off of The Newlywed Game except they aren’t married so I’m not sure the point. The questions start out easy, but then switch to things like what video-game character would you be. Yeah, Nicky wants to be Yoshi because he likes putting things in his mouth I guess and is lonely since Ryan moved away.

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And, yeah, after round one, Maria and Tony are up by fifteen points.

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In the all important Liz subplot, Liz gets tired of doing chores for Del so he promotes her to executive student producer and she runs off to do more of his chores because she’s an idiot this week.

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Nicky and Katie suspect Maria and Tony are somehow cheating because how could any relationship be better than their superior one? , and this starts to make Katie think she and Nicky don’t really belong together and Maria starts to feel guilty for the stress on their relationship. Don’t worry, Maria, they haven’t asked the question when Nicky first cheated on Katie yet. That’ll really stress it.

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Eric does his little commercial and it’s for Zit-Off cream, because a guy dancing and singing in a pimple cream tube costume make me want to run out and buy that particular product. Or it could just be bad writing and a chance to put someone in a stupid costume.

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At The Max, Screech’s plan to get the motorcycle back is to have Mr. Belding dress in the same rebel biker get-up he wore last season and act bad ass to Screech’s friend, with Screech insisting his friend will back down. But his friend is ready to be the shit out of Mr. Belding until they realize the guy was once a student of Mr. Belding’s. The biker apologizes and gives Mr. Belding the motorcycle back, thus ending that subplot. I bet it’s also the last we ever hear of the motorcycle!

Back on the game show, Maria and Tony win and advance to the final round, leaving Nicky and Katie fighting over whether they’re actually soul mates. The final question is where they first kissed…

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…and they give false answers that are likely discarded away-from-Bayside episode locations for this season. Maria jumps out and tells the world the game show is rigged as Kitty Katz runs for her litter box. It seems as if it’s impossible to cut off a camera when a character is monologuing about the moral of the week.

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Liz answers the phone and it’s Del’s boss firing him mere seconds after Maria’s monologue, which is a sure way for a wrongful termination suit without bothering to investigate if the accusations are true or not, but this is the same universe where it’s possible to build a house in two weeks.vlcsnap-2016-07-18-19h50m14s1

Maria and Tony apologize to Nicky and Katie for cheating and our episode ends with the couples hugging each other, going deeper and deeper into that self-obsession hole.

So what was the moral of this bloody episode? “If you’re on a game show being hosted out of your high school, don’t cheat if you’re offered the answers by a producer?” Or perhaps it’s, “Don’t fucking do anything with Screech because he’s an idiot.”

Most likely, the moral is, “Don’t watch six seasons of The New Class since it will rot your brain.

Firsts: Maria and Tony date.

The New Class Season 6, Episode 5: “Cigar Wars”

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We open at The Max with Tony distracted looking at something. Eric throws a paper wad at him to snap him out of whatever trance he’s in, and we soon learn that Tony’s looking at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue at a picture of Cindy Crawford in a bikini. Also, why do chefs at The Max suddenly dress like Chef Boyardee? Is that how the producers really think short order cooks dress?

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And soon all three of our male cast are doing the same. Judging by the looks on their faces, I’d say this is the closest they’ve ever come to seeing a naked lady. Don’t worry: this has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode except that Tony reveals he likes to smoke cigars and cigar-shaped objects.

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Soon the girls come in and Tony lets them know he’s having a party at his house after the game. Since these are women, they’re expected to bring food, CDs, and clean up afterwards because we needed a sexist joke in there for some reason.

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Back at Bayside, meet Mrs. Gore, who committed the incredible sin of being the then-Vice President’s mother. Also, she parked in Mr. Belding’s parking space, which means she gets a stern lecture on parking etiquette as Mr. Belding lets her know he had her car towed. This kind of dickishness is so out of character for Mr. Belding that it’s transparent this scene only exists to set up tension between the two of them. After all, on this show, if a character needs a trait to move the plot along, just graft it onto him even if ten previous years in the franchise completely contradict it.

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In his office, Mr. Belding finds out he’s the center of this week’s subplot. See, Screech was randomly looking through Mr. Belding’s permanent record and discovered that he was missing a credit to graduate. The principal at the time waived the credit because Mr. Belding was such a good student and Screech starts pulling a guilt trip against Mr. Belding for supposed special treatment. Um, that’s not automatically special treatment. Most school districts have procedures for waving credits under special circumstances. But Screech is on board with the bad writing and won’t let up so Mr. Belding agrees to take a class to make up the credit. Gee, I wonder whose class he’ll be in.

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At Tony’s party, the boys have a cigar to celebrate their victory over Unnamed Team. And so it begins. We didn’t ask for season three’s anti-smoking episode and we certainly didn’t ask for this one.

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Yes, Katie and Liz come out to sternly judge the boys for smoking cigars because, in this universe, being a friend means being a judgmental prick. Maria, being the only one of the gang who was around for the last anti-smoking episode, decides she’s sick of seeing this again so she grabs a cigar and starts smoking.

And we proceed to get a PSA about the health and social effects of cigar smoking as Nicky, who didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to inhale a cigar, runs to throw up. Well, I’m looking forward to a waste of the next fifteen minutes of my life.

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At Bayside, Screech tells Mr. Belding there was only one class that wasn’t full, which I find extremely unlikely, and that’s Mrs. Gore’s drama class because of course it is. They prepare for some wacky hijinks as the audience loses their shit because I guess they think Mrs. Gore abusing her power as revenge against Mr. Belding means they’re going to fuck.

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Meanwhile, Tony received a note in his locker from Rick Mancuso, the quarterback of Westwood’s team and one of Tony’s rivals when he was a student at Valley. I guess, once again, those rules about who is and isn’t allowed in Bayside don’t matter when it’s convenient to the plot. In any cast, Rick Mancuso talks smack to Tony about the upcoming Bayside vs. Westwood game.

And from that, we go to Katie approaching the gang to continue lecturing them on the dangers of cigar smoking. She’s come complete with brochures and everything because that’s what friends who are trying to be nosy assholes about an activity that doesn’t affect them in any way act.

Since this isn’t the last anti-smoking episode, most of the gang doesn’t need an exploding dress or a dream sequence to stop smoking cigars as they read to the camera from Katie’s brochure about how evil we all are if we smoke cigars. Now I remember why I used to turn the TV over to cartoons: I didn’t like waking up on Saturday mornings to lectures, and that seems to be all The New Class is anymore.

Of course, we need someone who doesn’t buy Katie’s propaganda or else the plot can’t move forward, so Tony is all, “TONY LIKE CIGAR! TONY SMOKE CIGAR! TONY IS ACTING!” as he pulls a cigar out of his shirt pocket. The others are incredulous, reminding him that, as with most public schools, tobacco use is strictly prohibited, and Katie breaks open Tony’s cigar to lecture him on the chemicals in cigars and…Jesus fucking Christ, how long is this fucking thing going to go on! How many times can they tell us in one scene that cigars suck ass?

Well, Tony finally tells them all to do what they want but he’s going to continue smoking cigars, which should be a reasonable choice since he’s not affecting them in any way. Of course, they’re not going to accept that as an answer…

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…and, as Tony walks away, we get the rest of the gang putting on their best judgmental faces as we cut to commercial break. Fucking hell, I don’t want to be friends with any of these assholes!

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At The Max, the cigar shaming continues as the rest of the gang try to have an intervention because they think Tony’s addicted to nicotine. Tony finally gets sick of this fucking bullshit and agrees that, if they will stop this shaming, he won’t smoke anymore cigars until after the Westwood game, which seems to shut them the hell up for the time being.

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And, as if this entire episode wasn’t idiotic enough for you, the king of idiocy picks that moment to walk in The Max and stress Tony out with an article comparing him to Rick Mancusso, because that was really necessary for a staff member to track down a student to tell them a newspaper is talking smack about them. Judging by the photos in the article, though, I’m guessing Rick Mancuso is the better quarterback given that Tony has his best “I need to poop!” face on, another tally mark for his great ACTING!

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Speaking of acting, back at Bayside, Mr. Belding practices a scene with Liz and he seems to be bad at acting himself. Liz tries to express sympathy for Mr. Belding but reminds him that it’s fucking stupid her grade depends on Mr. Belding getting this right so he better shape up, because your grade in drama courses is always dependent on other people’s acting ability, right?

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So in walks Screech, come to tutor them. Liz utters perhaps the most self-deprecating line of the franchise as she asks Screech if he knows anything about acting. No, Liz. The answer is no. He’s been with this franchise for eleven years and his idea of humor is doing contortions in his face. You should run out of this scene now while you still can.

But, of course, neither she nor Mr. Belding run out of the scene, we get lots of stupid shit from Screech trying to pass as comedy as he tries to convince Mr. Belding to act like a bumble bee. Mrs. Gore mercifully comes in to interrupt the idiocy and Mr. Belding decides he just wants to drop the course. Mrs. Gore tells him that Screech revealed the missing credit to her and, if Mr. Belding drops out, she’ll go to the school board and get them to count his credits and, since that’s the line this episode is going with, Mr. Belding stays in the course.

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In the hallway, Tony gets mad that everyone’s wishing him good luck against Westwood tonight and Maria comes to check on him. He says he wants a cigar to take the pressure off and he decides he needs to get his head together for the game.

Screech won’t leave Mr. Belding the fuck alone with his bumble bee routine so he hides in a hallway near a janitor’s closet to practice his lines. He hears a bucket overturn in the janitor’s closet, opens it…

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…and finds Tony inside about to smoke a cigar, because, on an open campus like Bayside obviously has since everyone’s constantly leaving school to go to The Max, the place I would go to smoke during the day would obviously be inside a fucking janitor’s closet.

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In Mr. Belding’s office, Mr. Belding tells Tony he has to suspend him for the tobacco possession and shit, meaning he’ll miss the Westwood game. Tony tries to pull a Zack Morris and walk out with some manipulation that Mr. Belding has forgiven him, but it comes off as worse than if Brian had done it, which is pretty fucking awful. Tony begs Mr. Belding to let him play in the game, but Mr. Belding is like, “Hell no!”

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In the hallway, Katie approaches Tony and starts bugging him about cigars again. He, and I think very rightfully so, bites her head off for being a fucking asshole. And that’s when the writers pull out what may be the biggest fucking contrivance in this show’s history. See, Katie has a reason she’s being a giant asshole about cigars. Her favorite uncle, who she loved so much he didn’t even have a name, died of throat cancer last summer because of cigar smoking, and now she’s just incredibly judgmental about cigar smoking and shit. Of course, this uncle has never been mentioned before and will likely never be mentioned again, but it’s the writers’ way of trying to manipulate you into not thinking Katie’s preaching is fucking annoying. Frankly, I’m a little bit pissed off they pulled this out of their asses three quarters of the way through the episode, but it’s here and now let’s just see if we can finish this bullshit.

And I just realized: this timeline means that Katie was off at Space Camp, never mentioning her dying uncle and having a good time dating a loser so she wouldn’t feel lonely while Nicky was doing the hanky panky with Maria.

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In drama class, Nicky and Eric have a scene about, I assume, out gay soldiers on the enemy line. Mrs. Gore gives them both As and says that was outstanding acting, which I assume explains why she’s about to pass what follows. It really says something when actors can’t convince me they’re acting in a fake acting class.

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Of course, Mr. Belding follows them, and Screech tells him Liz is home sick today so he’s filling in for the scene dressed as Little Bo Peep. What follows must be one of the more horrifying scenes in the history of this franchise. I kid you not: Screech chases Mr. Belding around the room, demanding a kiss and making canon the idea that Screech is only on this show because he wants Mr. Belding’s hot body, hence explaining why he’s constantly obsessing over Mr. Belding’s eating habits.

Mrs. Gore tells Mr. Belding that she now has a new sympathy for having to put up with that for ten of the eleven years he’s been a part of this franchise, and she’s passing him just so she never has to see that scene again. And that means Mr. Belding passes the class because, in the Saved by the Bell universe, taking a class for one week and completing a single assignment is enough to pass an entire class.

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At Tony’s house, Tony is depressed to hear that Bayside is losing the game without him. Maria shows up and Tony tells her, “SHAMING AND MANIPULATIVE PLOT CONTRIVANCES CONVINCE TONY THAT CIGAR SMOKING BAD! TONY STOP SMOKING BECAUSE MARIA BELIEVE IN ME! TONY SMASH!” With that, Tony smashes his last cigar. And our episode ends with the reset button pressed as a second anti-smoking episode has now convinced anyone who had any doubts that smoking must be awesome if The New Class hates it.

In my review of season three’s “No Smoking” that maybe I should take up smoking so I wouldn’t have to review anymore of this series. You know, if I start chain smoking now, I might not have to finish this series. I swear, if I have mental issues at the end of this project, it’s because of this fucking series.