Friday, April 18, 2014

SBTB 03.17 - S.A.T.s

James is back! As before, he plays his character with aplomb. Gusto. Vigor. Yes, Mark Blankfield, you certainly did well. But, I have highlighted you before so I won't do it again. (Though you will show up in this post later.)

Besides James, we had a Mrs. Helen Billingham as a guest on the show.
Susan Osborne
Susan Osborne plays this austere woman, and it is the only role she seems to have ever landed. She did, however, produce some documentaries from inside different factions: the State Department (movie), the Detroit Gang Squad (TV), and polygamy in Bountiful, Utah (TV). Hooray, lady.

But what is she looking at so intently? It must be S.A.T.s, since that is what this episode was about. Check out Kelly's bubble sheet.
The picture is grainy, but you can see by my superimposed graphic that Kelly had only filled in three answers. This makes sense, as her character admits as much. Take note of the page, though. You see all that space up top for personal information? Now check out Lisa's answer sheet from this exact moment in the test:
Uh, that's the back of the sheet. And Lisa already has an entire row filled in. We have a few options here: 1) Lisa is a genius, 2) Lisa is guessing so she can go shopping sooner, 3) Kelly is a dumb, dumb brick. I refuse to believe that sweet Kelly Kapowski could be dumb as a brick, so the answer must be one of the first two options...

Let's turn our attention to hot ladies.
What? Molly the Troll, I didn't mean you!

Christine Taylor
That's better. This is Christine Taylor, the gal who plays Heather Brooks. (I'm bummed that no other still could do her justice.) Do I even need to explain who she is? Alright. She has been in "Dodgeball," "Arrested Development," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and "Seinfeld." She is married to Ben Stiller, which gets a big demerit in my book. Regardless, she is nice to look at.

Let's get back to James. The scene with him in Mr. Belding's office is a huge curiosity. His beard is clearly falling off; why didn't they just redo the scene?
As you can see from the yellow line, his beard was super loose. So much so, that it falls off in front of Zack. This causes Zack to break character.
And Zack breaks hard. He goes from a super serious student to an obviously tickled student, which would have been incredibly out of character in the moment. So why not reshoot the scene? Well, the producers must have looked at this and deemed it far too funny to cut. Despite Zack's breaking, it actually adds to the absurdity of James's beard. I agree with the inclusion, even if it "taints" the "pristine image" of SBTB.

Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SBTB 03.16 - All in the Mall

Two episodes ago we were missing Kelly. This time we "missed" Jesse. Did we though? The cast certainly didn't. They don't even mention purchasing a U2 ticket for her.

The episode is pretty light on content, but I'll give you what I can.

It technically shouldn't count, but it has been so long since I have seen a boom in a shot that I had to include this one, even though it is absolutely supposed to be in the shot. So, boom? Sure.

Now let's look at some character breaks and call it a day.
Once again, Screech is the one breaking. The window was literally just shut in his face, yet he can't help hamming it up before getting a look of shock on his face.

This one is almost understandable. The group has just engaged in a pretty comical fight - but it was still a fight! Slater and Lisa make eye contact and then have to make that stupid teeth-in-chin face to pull themselves together. At least Screech could keep a straight face.

Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

Edit: I just found something else out concerning this episode. Remember the sports store salesman? Remember how terrible his acting was when he recognized that it was time to close? Well, it seems as if this actor - Tony Sabin Prince - got into doing puppeteering. He was Fran Dinosaur.
Not the momma! Yes, Mr. Prince played the momma.

SBTB 03.15 - Date Auction

Wendy, Wendy, Wendy. I am so sorry that Zack was a turd and that you still ended up accepting that he had changed by the last chance/dance of the night. Sweet, sweet Wendy.
Judy Carmen
This girl Wendy Parks, who thought she would have a great time with Zack since he always made her laugh, is played by Judy Carmen. Ms. Carmen does little else with Hollywood. She has one role on "Married...With Children" and gets shot in the head in the movie "Cyber Bandits." Who knows what she is doing with her life now. Hopefully something fulfilling.

Just real quick, let's talk about those new cheerleader uniforms. The school needs $600? Where have we heard that figure before, besides the very last episode? As you'll recall, Slater and Zack needed $600 to fix Mr. Belding's car and they very quickly raised the money by doing a raffle. In this episode, the school suddenly needs another $600 and a quick way to earn it. Raffle, anyone? Nope. Let's pimp out the boys of Bayside.

What is the beef here? Well, the old uniforms certainly needed to be updated.
And the new uniforms look great.
But I'm sure the reveal would have been more effective had we not already seen the new uniforms in the episode "Check Your Mate."
But why gripe? I mean, this is pretty par for the course. We've seen Season 1 episodes air in Season 2, and Season 3 has been a nightmare with school episodes intermixed with summer episodes. Clearly "Date Auction" should have aired before "Check Your Mate," but the producers probably didn't want the current episode to air so closely to Zack and Kelly's "big" break up. So, we are stuck with an odd continuity error.

Speaking of errors, how about that tool Brian Watkins?
Patrick J. Dancy
Seriously, what a tool! Brian is played admirably by Patrick J. Dancy. How do I know the role is admirably played? Because I've seen his other job. Just prior to this appearance, Ol' Patrick was a part of another NBC show that aired on Saturdays. You may have heard of it: "Guys Next Door." What? You are like me and have never heard of this show? Well, here's a video:
This is the intro to the show, which consisted of skits and videos, much like this one:
As you can see, Patrick has played a prancing boy band member. This is how I know that he acted admirably in our SBTB episode. Sure, he had other acting credits, but really, what is going to compare to "Guys Next Door?" Nothing. We move on.

Gah! Troll! I guess we'll take solace in the fact that this isn't another sighting in the Max. We move on.

What!?! Hey! You shut up, Dustin Diamond! We can't move on. This episode just had too much stuff going on.

Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SBTB 03.14 - The Wicked Stepbrother, Part 2

I'm sorry, but what is this episode? No Kelly? How can any teenage boy enjoy this episode with no Kelly? By Jesse accentuating her cleavage? I guess that works. (It really doesn't.)

Let's forget that Kelly was missing and turn to more important things: Eric getting punched. I have heard chatter that people are upset that Jesse seems to punch Eric in the left eye, yet it is his right eye that turns black.
I find this to be a very dumb thing to focus on. The scene goes so fast that she really could have punched his right eye instead of the "naturally closer" left. Haters gon' hate, I guess. (Honestly, had she punched him in the right eye with her right fist then he would have still fallen that way, nerds.)

Let's take a look at our guest star for this episode. This is Mr. Sonski, the auto shop teacher.
Monty Hoffman
Mr. Sonski is played by comedian Monty Hoffman. (No relation to Joshua Hoffman, the kid playing Eric.) He had been around the comedy scene for a long time doing standup. ("Had" because he died in 2013.) He was respected enough to be invited by Judd Apatow to sit in on the scene in "Funny People" where Adam Sandler's character is talking comedy shop with other comedians. This relationship with Sandler is probably how Monty ended up in the Sandler-produced "Bucky Larson." Sad. He seems like he was a decent enough guy, though I will have to go Youtube some of his routines.

Now let's enter the Troll Zone.

It seems like Molly has taken up permanent employ at the Max. My guess is that the Troll segment will often be littered with that red shirt. It's too bad, it was fun trying to find her around school (though that still happens from time to time).

Now that we are in the Troll Zone, allow me to troll on the algebra teacher.
What in the world is that problem?

  • Since when does 1,969/1,372 = 8,496? 
    • It equals 1.4351311.
  • What is that second equation? A = 84,961,372/1969? 
    • That would make A = 43,149.503, not the 59,472 written on the board.
  • Maybe the equation supposed to be A * (1,969/1,372) = 8,496 and the lower equation uses basic high school algebra, in which both sides are multiplied by 1,372 and then divided by 1,969 to isolate A on the left. 
    • The problem should then read A = (8,496 * 1,372)/1,969, which would equal 5,920.016.
If you didn't follow any of that - I don't blame you - just note that I have given this math teacher as much benefit as possible yet could not figure out how any of what is written on the board as being math. It is all wrong.

More trolling. Mr. Belding is super excited to listen to some CDs on his newly installed car stereo. One album he admits to Zack and Slater: Bo Jackson Sings the Blues. Why is this funny? Because Bo knows everything.
Bo Jackson Knows Everything
But what about the other CD in Mr. Belding's hand?
That, ladies and gentlemen, looks like the Indigo Girls album "Rites of Passage." 
I know that it isn't (it wouldn't be released until the next year) but trolling doesn't have to make sense. I'd like to think that Mr. Belding would be excited to listen to the Indigo Girls.

I guess that's enough for now. Trolling is over.

Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

SBTB 03.13 - The Wicked Stepbrother, Part 1

Say hello to the fasted trolling ever in SBTB history:
She didn't even wait to make us look for her. Opening credits - Molly the Troll. Well, now that that's out of the way I guess we can proceed.

Have you seen this guy before?
Joshua Hoffman
I ask because I swear that I've seen him before. This is Joshua Hoffman and he plays the terrible Eric Tramer. I have scoured the interwebs for any information on him outside of his scant early-90s appearances but I cannot find anything that would make me go: "Bingo! That's how I know him!" Nothing. I'm beginning to think that I only know Joshua Hoffman from this story in this one show. Maybe. But doesn't he seem like an underbitten, sleazy Mark Ruffalo?

Totally, if underbitten and sleazy.

The other guest star in this episode is Bernie Hiller who plays teacher Mr. Sachs.
Bernie Hiller
This guy is another in-and-out of Hollywood jobber and I am not going to go into detail about how dull his career has been. I will note, however, that he seems to be a legitimate Jewish man, as he has taught Yiddish to actors on sets of movies. Cool.

Speaking of the Jews, how exploitative is Zack in this episode? He uses a sacred Jewish holiday to skip school and selfishly attend a baseball game. He also hawks a special symbol of that noble people and uses it as a joke, substituting the Menorah for the "idea lightbulb."
For being a minority - remember, Zack is part Native American - he sure is insensitive.

Finally: Hey Dustin Diamond! Shut up!
Look at Screech playing it off like it ain't no thang. It should totally be a thang.

Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

SBTB 03.12 - The Last Weekend

I'm going to start out with our Shut Up, Dustin Diamond feature this time around because it is not the typical type. Normally I like to highlight when Screech gets some preferential onscreen treatment from the ladies. So, while this looks like it fits the mold -
- it isn't why the feature is showing up. No no no, the reason Dustin Diamond needs to shut up is because he has kissed, been kissed, or rubbed up on so many good looking ladies by this point in the series that what happens to Slater is downright unjust.
For all the hate Screech feels like he gets from his SBTB cohorts, he definitely schmoozed more quality ladies than the rest of the cast. So hey! Shut up, Dustin Diamond.

I'm not sure about everyone else, but I was enjoying the Malibu Sands episodes. The previous five were a nice, fresh take on the crew and their relationships (which actually seemed to hardly exist). That all changed within the first few minutes of this episode. I don't know why, but the magic of this location is dead to me. I'm glad this little arc is over.

Maybe it is the gimmicks. Gimmicks like - "Oh, the Carosis are mad at each other and we'll trick them into showing up for a picture and then making really lame excuses to leave the stage so that it's just the two of them left so they make up."
Gimmicks like - "We made a sand castle, just try not to notice it bouncing around behind Screech because it is absolutely fake."
And if the perfect form of the castle didn't alert to its fakeness, maybe the lowered door made out of magic sand proved it.
Alright, enough belittling the episode. Let's move on.

Guests last. It seems that while I didn't like this episode it still packed in some star power. First off, Jordan Christopher Michael.
Jordan Christopher Michael - Welcome to puberty!
Do you know this kid? This is Billy. He hits on chicks and gets them to touch his knee. He is eleven. He also had a role on "Full House." (Remember Rusty? That precocious little prankster and Stephanie-kisser?) Hollywood was done with him at an early age. No worries, he now does freelance photography around L.A. and his stuff looks really cool. You can check out his Instagram handle @someonesleeping. Very worthwhile.

The other star showing up for the Malibu Sands finale:
Denise Richards
This is Denise Richards, who has the looks to be asked to stage the worst drowning ever. She did it marvelously as the character Cynthia, who is supposedly going to attend Bayside. That never happens. (Maybe this Hollywood slight is the reason she made the 'best' decision of her life and marry Charlie Sheen...) There isn't much to know about Denise Richards outside of "Wild Things" (guys will know what that means), "Undercover Brother" (white guys who think they understand black culture enough to laugh at a movie about why white guys should not laugh at black culture will know what this means), and "Seinfeld," where her cleavage prevents Jerry and George's show to get picked up by NBC.

All that paragraph and Denise Richards wasn't even credited. Nice.

Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SBTB 03.11 - Pipe Dreams

I wasn't sure when I saw this scene:
Is that our troll to the right? The facial structure looks correct. The bangs. I'm almost positive -
Boo yah! Molly the Troll. Two on-campus episodes in a row. This makes me very happy.

Moving on, let's meet the man who plays Mr. Phelps.
Hiram Kasten
Do you recognize this man? Maybe not, but he is a regular showman. This is Hiram Kasten. He's been around. Not only has he been on some of the funniest shows on television (do I need to say more beyond "Seinfeld?"), but he has also had Vegas shows, most notably the "The Rat Pack is Back." His comedy act has opened for Jerry Seinfeld. He also tutors on showmanship. Nice.

How about the other guest star? Can he live up to the hype of Mr. Kasten? Maybe.
Gary Lahti
This is Gary Lahti, the man who played Dan Grayson, the oil man. His resume seems less impressive, but only because it is pretty short. Mr. Lahti made some uncredited appearances on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" in the early days, which gave him exposure to then-writer Louis C.K. This exposure earned Mr. Lahti a spot in Louis C.K.'s indie movie "Tomorrow Night."

Speaking of comedians, did anyone get a 90s movie ping when they heard Screech claim to be an H2O Distribution Engineer? Yeah, Adam Sandler claimed this title as a team's waterboy in "The Waterboy" (though I think he just claimed to be a Water Distribution Engineer). Ah, SBTB continues to influence pop culture.

One thing I do want to note/applaud is the stronger - albeit cheesier - writing of this episode. Normally we get a pretty straight forward problem and Zack-genius solution. For this episode, however, things are strung out a bit. First, Zack makes a connection with a duck when he takes it home for the weekend. Then, the school finds oil. Then it all comes back to the duck getting hurt by something Zack was totally supporting. It's not until then that Zack is able to hatch a plan and save the school/ducks. Kudos, writers. But let's not be so sober next time. I don't watch SBTB for morality lessons!

To end, let's examine the final scene's high five. You have seen this numerous times in the show's opening. The one thing that has always stood out to me is the person who misses. For the life of me, I could never tell if the hand was Kelly's (perish the thought!) or Screech (serves him right?). Having finally reached this episode, I thought we could take a moment to analyze the high five and come to a determination as to who missed. Here is the scene:
Let's take a look at the pre-five:
Note that Screech is wearing something on his wrist while Kelly's is bare. Now the high five in action:
Is it just me, or does the goofy hand have something on its wrist? Furthermore, if it were Kelly's hand that shot too low then why is she looking up as if her hand were sky high? I think it is safe to say that Screech is the one that misses the high five. This almost makes me feel bad for picking on him in all my other blogs. But not really. If it is any consolation to Screech, it seems that Kelly's hand has also missed, as it isn't actually fiving anything but just sticking out the back. Her's just made it close enough for us not to make a big deal out of it.

Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.