Saturday, December 28, 2013

SBTB 02.07 - Rent-a-Pop

How convenient that an actor begins working at the Max right when Zack needs an actor in his life!
Mark Blankfield
The James character is the only funny thing going on in this episode, as the show mostly deals with a Zack-centric theme. The head butts are delivered without looking too slapstick and his voices are fun without being annoying. Nice work, Mark Blankfield.

But wait, don't I know that guy from somewhere? Of course you do. Aside from spots here and there on television, this guy has been in a Mel Brooks production or two. Here he is as Blinkin:
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Sadly, not everything goes well for James in this episode. He has to work next to that Molly the Troll. Let's look closer at our first picture.
We understand. Molly is the worst.

Being a rather dull episode, we'll look at Zack's dad and call it a day. John Sanderford plays Zack's father Derek Morris, the on-the-phone-all-the-time salesman.
John Sanderford
Mr. Sanderford is yet another Hollywood grunt getting work where he can. His most notable roll seems to be from "Excessive Force II: Force on Force," which seems to be overkill on so many levels - like excessively using "force" in a title and excessive in the fact that the first "Excessive Force" was probably more than enough movie. (He has actually had other far more notable appearances on screen, but I just like riffing on EFII:FonF. Example: he was a lifeguard on "Baywatch." Atta boy.)

This is another situation in which we are supposed to ignore continuity and forget that Zack's dad was already introduced in "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" (and introduced back in this post) and was Mister Rico Suave with Zack's teacher. The former actor was Robert Pine and I liked him far better, but that could just be that the dad in this episode was dealing with a duller situation. Mr. Sanderford does stick around as Zack's dad throughout the series; hopefully during better episodes.

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

SBTB 02.06 - Blind Dates

If you had a strict upbringing then you may recall this episode as the one that your parents saw where, to their dismay, Zack does not get punished for his lying. He gets rewarded. With a kiss. Yes, this is the episode where my parents marked Saved by the Bell as a bad influence and I could not watch it any longer in my own home. I could, however, watch at a friend's house. So that was the real lesson from this episode: Have good friends.

But maybe my parents were on to something. The plot? Mr. Belding pimps out his niece to a delinquent. He allows Zack to skip suspension if the boy goes on a date with Penny Belding. Penny may not have known she was pimped. She was pimped, nonetheless.

Speaking of Penny:
Jodi Peterson
This is Jodi Peterson. I'm glad the producers chose to show us that Mr. Belding's gene pool wasn't completely shallow. Penny seemed like a nice enough girl. Then again, she did get fooled by Screech in a wig. (Way to just go with it, sweetheart.) Jodi appeared in numerous teen shows in the early 90s. She had a small role in "Growing Pains" and single gigs in "Life Goes On," "Step by Step," and "Getting By." She also had three different roles in three years for "Blossom." Sadly, it seems her career died after appearing in a Leslie Nielsen movie. Appropriately, it was "Dracula: Dead and Loving It."

The other blind date guest star was Timothy Williams playing Brett.
Timothy Williams
Don't let that Rob Schneider-like baby face fool you, homeboy was about 23 or so when he shot this episode. Like many other guest spots we've seen, Timothy's career doesn't have a ton of prominent shot-to-fame stuff. He does, however, have Hollywood experience in other areas. Timothy writes and it seems to suit him. Among his projects, readers of this blog may be most interested in his contributions to "Bobby's World" with Howie Mandel. He also wrote and acted in "Brothers." Way to go, little guy. I love seeing actors branching out. (And he isn't so little. He is listed as 5'6", which isn't too bad. It is just jarring seeing him go up against the 5'10" Elizabeth Berkley.)

The last guest star is Mr. Hudson, as played by I.M. Hobson.
What I gather from this guy is that he mostly played men of authority with a slight nod at his weight. But that's all I want to focus on. Because I want to move on. As in, I'd like to watch the next episode now.

Subtle boom.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

SBTB 02.05 - House Party

My, my, my. The last blog was a snooze-fest. Let's see if we can make up for that.

Dear Sarah Jessica Parker:
Sarah Jessica Parker
I know what you are going to look like in a few years.
I don't know if this is a slam on SJP's face or a compliment to the lady who played Screech's mom. And do I need to start telling Mark-Paul Gosselaar to shut up?
Probably not.

But who is this very, very quirky lady anyway?
Ruth Buzzi
She is Ruth Buzzi and she is quite the character. She began her career in New England and established herself as a great character actor appearing on variety shows (like "The Entertainers" with Carol Burnett) and making her way into television and movies. One of her best-known characters is a bench sitting lady named Gladys Ormphby. You can see her in this great, great, great music video by Weird Al for the song "Gump."
There she was!
You can see her (and hear her voiceover work) in plenty of well-loved shows. She made a fine addition to the Saved by the Bell family as Screech's mom.

Now, before I introduce the next guest star, could someone please tell that kid "playing" the video game in the background to make it at least look like she is playing a video game?

Now, for the despicable nerd who doesn't know how to treat a delicate flower like Violet.
Jeff Asch
This is Jeff Asch as Maxwell Nerdstrom. He seemed to have a promising career, appearing in very popular shows like "The Drew Carey Show," "Scrubs," and "Third Rock from the Sun." His only recurring role was with Saved by the Bell, however. Bummer, man.

We need something to bring us back up from the downer that was Jeff Asch's career.

Molly the Troll! I know pointing out the same extra every episode is stupid, but that is the problem with naming things. I am attached to her. I think she served double duty in this episode.
The Netflix version is grainy so I can't tell if that is actually her, but it sure does look like it. Hooray for Molly the Troll. She is employable.

Another employable girl is Tori Spelling. What does she have to do with Saved by the Bell? How about being Violet?
Tori Spelling
I had no idea this was her. She is marginally attractive here, nerdiness aside. I only knew her from her "Beverly Hills: 90210" days and after - after her face got all lumpy.
She just gets weird-face from here.
This was seriously the best picture of her that I could find. She is best known for appearing in her dad's shows. Her dad is Aaron Spelling. If you haven't heard of him then you don't know your 80s and 90s television shows. If he had a show then she was probably prowling around it and trying to act in it. And then lump-face:
Yikes! Moving on.
YIKES!!! Moving on!
Oh, shut up, Dustin Diamond!

Well, I think this is about all I can stand. What a sad, crazy episode for curiosities.

I will leave you with one more. Notice how everyone gets into the anniversary party at the end (except for Mr. Powers, who seems to take forever parking a car)? Well, check out Kelly. She seems ready to be done with the scene as it fades to the credits.
Every party needs a pooper - that's why we invited Kelly. And Molly the Troll. Bah! I have got to get her out of my head!

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

SBTB 02.04 - Driver's Education

I don't know if she was an integral part of the extras cast before (like the twins you always saw in the first two seasons) but I am seeing Molly the Troll everywhere. It's freaking me out.

Sadly, aside from the paper-thin plot, there wasn't much going on here. Mr. Tuttle has already been introduced. No other guest stars are credited (though I would have loved some backstory on that wavy haired guy). All I have left is --
Hopefully the next episode gives us more to talk about.

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

Friday, December 6, 2013

SBTB 02.03 - Save the Max

Bah! I trumpeted the fact that Max hasn't been in this season for the first two episodes and then there he is for the third. I jinxed it. Well, at least it was a depressed, non-magical Max. That was nice. Here is a picture of Max sleeping behind Jesse, who supposedly sleeps with a creepy grin on her face.

Now, I give Dustin Diamond gentle ribbings now and again, but this episode is one of my favorites of his. The dude shines. His afro-splosion, fetal position in the Max, and callous eating of Max's dog (yeah, it's implied) is great and all, but his characters are phenomenal. This scene especially takes the cake.
He relates a tale and does all the sound effects in a fantastic fashion. It's one of the first times I have thought his character has been used to its full potential. This scene alone makes this episode worth the watch.

Later, Screech busts out an Al Bundy impression. For those of you younguns who don't know "Married...With Children," allow me to introduce you to Al Bundy:
Married... With Children
Yes, that is Ed O'Neill from "Modern Family." And yes, that is the show that helped every person in the world see that Christina Applegate had it going on. Screech's impression is decent, but it is sadly marred by a boom operator who couldn't let little Screech have his radio glory.

Now, let's have a little lesson in television magic. First off is the newspaper. Notice the back of the current newspaper running the review of the KKTY:
Now notice the back of the paper that Jesse finds from the 60s:
Yes, they are the same. But they can do that to save on costs. Why should the producers think we should know any different? They shouldn't have to print two different papers for two such incredibly key plot moments, right?

For more television magic, check out Slater's right hand:
This is Slater handing Zack $125. Unless the money was tightly folded and had been taped to his pants (because his hand doesn't go in his pocket) then I submit to you that there was no money in that hand. His donation is worthless. Nobody may notice, however, since they were all asleep.

This trick is handy here since his motion is from the arm away from the camera and blocked by his body and it passes such a small visible space before being hidden by the DJ station. The movement is so fast that you would hardly realize that nothing was actually happening outside of Slater moving his arm - except for now thanks to the internet and screen capturing existing. Sorry, producers. Next time, just give him some light green paper to pretend as money.

Wait, that money couldn't have been taped to his pants. We saw his pants as he entered. Curiouser and curiouser.

Well, that's all for this go-round.

Feel free to share -- Gah!
It's that Molly troll from last episode! It's a wonder Jesse could sleep at all with that thing creeping around the Max.

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

SBTB 02.02 - Zack's War

Let it be known: Max is out of the credits! The first two episodes are Max-free zones and I couldn't be happier.

Who else is happy? How about Dylan Tucker, the guy that plays Butch?
Dylan Tucker
Why is he so happy? The word on the street is that he was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. He's still around so I am guessing he beat it. He's getting back in the acting game and sets to appear in a movie called "Helicopter Mom" as a tough guy. Well, we all have to start from scratch from time to time.

In this episode, Butch is tasked with vying for the love of Molly between himself and Screech. Please take note, however, that Molly looks like a freaking troll:
I'm sure she's a sweet girl and all, but my "Shut up, Dustin Diamond" segment gets a little derailed this time around.

As to other guest stars (Molly doesn't get a credit?), let's look to the character of Louise, played by Lara Lyon.
Lara Lyon
Ms. Lyon has the unfortunate task of playing a nerd. Then again, like all nerds in the early episodes, she has a recurring role. And, like all nerds, this seems to be the only recurring role she has in her career. She one-ups those other nerds, however, by having served as a producer for a film called "Charlotte Sometimes." I have never heard of it but I am impressed that she tried a little something new.

As for Lieutenant Chet Adams, well, he just has the greatest name in television: Cylk Cozart.
Cylk Cozart
His appearance on Saved by the Bell happens early in his career (which started with modeling). He goes on to amass plenty of screen time, the best probably being "Slam Dunk Ernest." Probably not, but I was a pretty big Ernest fan and I didn't even know this existed. One thing of note: Cylk has the longest IMDB bio I have ever seen for a D-list actor. He may have written it himself, though I'm sure "anonymous" would never tell.

Yes, boom mic, the Lieutenant totally sees you.

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

SBTB 02.01 - The Prom

Welcome to a new season! And what do we see first? Kelly's terribly decorated room. This is a huge change of pace, as we normally get a Zack-centric beginning. The episode sets a great tone in focussing more on the group instead of Zack's exploits.

So what are these exploits? Well, the dream sequence is alive and well.
As Geraldo Rivera
Here is Screech acting like Geraldo Rivera. The reason I bring this up is because younger viewers may not realize that Geraldo was not always a lame news reporter (if that is what he still does). Many of us cut our teeth on the Geraldo name via his trashy daytime talk show. That mustache. It haunts me.

Let's move on to something a bit lighter: Guest stars.
John Mansfield
Say hello to Frank Kapowski (played by John Mansfield), a character so pathetic that he can't even keep a job after appearing on screen. Mr. Mansfield was a television mainstay throughout the 90s and only made one jump the big screen in the movie "Space Marines." Oddly enough, he played the role of both Doctor Reston and Doctor Ballard in the same season of "Santa Barbara," playing one, then the other, then back to the other. Good job?

The other notable guest star is Dion Zamora, who plays Alan Fairbanks.
Dion Zamora
You have absolutely seen this guy before in previous episodes and you will likely see him again in future episodes. Sadly, you won't see him in much else outside this fine program. Strike that. Reverse it. He was the bully in "Beethoven's 2nd." Again: Good job?

But, what is this? More guest stars? Why not.
Meet Nardino and Mankuso. Because Smith and Jones weren't believable enough fictional names?

And here is Robert:
He is uncredited. It is most likely because his line about taking marshmallows to the fire in the lab was so bad. Way to be a waste of space, pal.

Then again, he was asked to help fill out the crowd in the movie theater. So he is the exact opposite of a waste of space. Robert is a filler of space. Huh.

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

SBTB 01.16 - Save That Tiger

Season finale and we had another Rhonda Robistelli sighting. You don't care? You should, because that tomboy now looks like this:
Never underestimate the sporty tomboys. (I say this as if she was really Rhonda as a teenager. Sad.)

Principal Elliot Stingwell is played by Ronnie Schell. This guy has been in a little bit of everywhere. For me, however, his best work is in voice overs. Peruse his work on IMDB and see the voice work he's done. Recess. Rugrats. Scooby Doo. Smurfs. Not bad, man. Not bad.

As to the other prominent guest stars, the Clegg Cousins Dan and Stan are played by C.W. Hemingway and Mark Clayman, respectively. C.W. struck out after only four appearances in Hollywood. It is interesting to note, however, that his gig right before his jock on Saved by the Bell was as a nerd in "Head of the Class." Mark has a much better acting portfolio, in that he returns to Saved by the Bell as Moose, as well as acting in other productions. He later branches out and works on the production crew for "Just Shoot Me."

And, once again: Shut up, Dustin Diamond!

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SBTB 01.15 - King of the Hill

It should be fairly obvious that this episode is incredibly out of order. This was supposed to be the first episode of "Saved by the Bell" ever. Yet here it lies, fifteen episodes into the first season. We get introduced to A.C. Slater... fifteen episodes in. We meet heartthrob Kelly... fifteen episodes in. We find out Jessie is Zack's best friend... even though fifteen episodes haven't really proven this yet. We also meet Mr. Dewey and Mrs. Simpson... again. But, you know what? Things happen and snafus like this are some of them. To get your mind off this chronal anomaly:

In the course of this blog I have discovered that I need a segment devoted to the instances in which I can yell at Dustin Diamond to shut up about his experience on Saved by the Bell. Once again, he has a magical moment with a lady.
So, here it goes: "Hey, Dustin Diamond. Shut up!" That feels good.

Another segment could appropriately be called "Mr. Belding's Very Inappropriate Moments" because it seems he has one every episode. Here, he tells Zack "You haven't seen 'Dirty Dancing' until you've seen [Mrs. Belding and I] underwater." What?

And did you see this guy in the background try to keep a straight face? He fails.

Finally, some people get bent out of shape calling the double-straw in Kelly's Coke a production goof. Sure, Zack walks over with one straw in the cup but then there are conveniently two, allowing him to take a sip from Kelly's cup. I see this as further evidence of Max's stupid magic. He had already performed two or three stupid tricks before handing the cup to Zack. Why not a stupid trick straw that doubles for pretty ladies? It's plausible and perfectly in line with the character. I'll let it pass. Max is stupid.

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