Monday, September 30, 2013

SBTB 01.02 - The Lisa Card

I didn't get the name of this episode until the very end. It's a play on the Visa card. The joke is delivered by Zack in an incredibly campy way. In fact, his character has ended up extremely lame in these first two episodes. He isn't the super-suave kid we saw back in "Good Morning, Miss Bliss," he's kind of a doof. Case in point:
What!?! Are you telling me that Zack walks around with a black shirt with a yellow Z on it under his button up shirts all day just in case someone needs a hero-like act? And he has the name Zackman picked out for the moment that he rips open his shirt? And people haven't beat him up for this yet?

When Zack isn't being a doof he's being a pimp. That's right, Zackman's master plan for "saving" Lisa is pimping out her cheeks to nerds for dollars. She feels cheapened. He assures her that it's okay. It's not.

Let's move on to our guest stars. The first is Henry Brown, who played Lisa's father.
His resume is standard bit character stuff. The one that sticks out, though, is the movie Excessive Force II: Force on Force. I love the irony in this title. First, "Excessive Force II." So, there was already an "Excessive Force," but there needed to be more force because the first round of excessive force ("Excessive": More than is necessary) wasn't excessive enough. Okay, the title is redundantly mysterious. But then you add "Force on Force." What? So the second "Excessive Force" isn't already enough to convey that more force is involved, but now we have it literally being excessive. It's excessive force, but the second time around. And it's FORCE ON FORCE!!!!!!!!!! I need to check that movie out.

The other guest star actually has a few appearances in the series.
Carol Lawrence plays Miss Wentworth and she is absolutely hilarious as a teacher tackling the subject of animal reproduction. Despite how raunchy this segment could have been, the jokes are actually fairly non-offensive. Ms. Lawrence has done her fair share of Hollywooding, but her true claim to fame is her portrayal of Maria in the Broadway musical "West Side Story." She is an accomplished stage performer. Here, she brings a bit of class to the subject of, as she calls it, "monkey business in the jungle." As campy as it could have been, she plays it off as her character, it never once feeling like a bit. That's difficult to do when this is one of your jobs onscreen:

Just a few things to wrap up this pretty entertaining episode:
  1. Slater's military bratness has not only moved him around quite a bit domestically, but also to many exotic countries. This episode's: Bolivia.
  2. Mr. Belding went to prom with his sister, had his first girlfriend in Vietnam as a soldier with a Viet Cong girl, and only met his wife because he almost drowned in college.
  3. Geico totally ripped off Slater for one of their commercials. He is the one who came up with vampires in blood banks, not the gecko company who has a Dracula in love with a man who just ate Lebanese food.
  4. Max helps Zack and the gang sabotage his own customers so that Lisa can get some unearned tips. (This scene was just stupid.)
Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

SBTB 01.01 - Dancing to the Max

Okay, now forget that the first season encapsulated in "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" ever happened. We are no longer in Indiana. Mikey and Nikki are gone. We are now in California. The new kids are Jessie, Slater, and Kelly. Yet, somehow Mr. Belding is still the principal...

This episode is crazy. I mean, what new teens show pops out of nowhere and has fourth walls being broken alongside crazy instances of public dancing? Surely, this new high school experience will be fantastic. Check out new guy A.C. Slater.
Try to avoid looking at his crotch. Those sweat pants are way too tight and way too thin for those moves.

This episode also contains another dance from another new cast member. Check out how awkward Jessie gets when a shorter Danny tries to dance with her in the middle of their class.
Sorry about the demo stuff, but you can still see it in all its epicness. Fortunately Elizabeth Berkley's "Dancing with the Stars" partner was a more appropriate fit than Danny Boy. That Danny rejection is awkward.

And, if you can believe it, Mr. Belding does a pretty mean "Twist" in front of Casey Kasem. I'll spare your eyes.

There is much dancing. Too much from Zack, who is terrible. Too much from Slater's nethers. Too much of it all, so let's move on to the music class, which is, as you saw above, amazing in nearly every way.

The music teacher is called Mr. Margolies (from the credits) and he is played by Hamilton Camp. I can't recognize any other actual roles this man has played, but I sure know his voice work. His voiceover credits include work on the Smurfs, The Pirates of Dark Water, Darkwing Duck, Ducktales, and my favorite, The Tick. Listen to his voice. I guarantee you've heard it in a cartoon or video game somewhere along the way. One huge gripe:
How dare you, Mr. Margolies, make Kelly Kapowski look like an idiot playing the cello? (Then again, how dare Kelly Kapowski wear that to school?) Just awkward. There is an extender on the bottom that raises the cello a bit higher so that the bow doesn't bang into the player's knee. Sorry, Kelly. You look dumb.

Finally, Casey Kasem makes an appearance in this episode. I won't do his little bio now; I'll save it for later. But he conducts a dance competition (that just happens to have the main characters as the finalists) and let's this guy in.
Hair? Suit? What? The 90s were awesome.

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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

GMMB 01.13 - The Mentor

This episode fittingly focussed on Nikki Coleman, as played by Heather Hopper. Nikki was a great character and it is too bad she didn't make it into "Saved by the Bell" proper.

As a bit of incredible irony, Nikki's character in this episode has an identity crisis - she doesn't know if she should play baseball or be more girly. Rightly, she determines that she is fine the way she is. This is incredibly ironic because, not long after this episode, Heather is sent to a psych ward for anorexia. It's tragic. What's good, though, is that she accepted help, as shown in this one-woman show posted online:

Hopefully all is going well with her.

The guest on this show was the great Robert Donner. He played James Lyman, the fun substitute teacher.
This man has had big roles and small roles throughout his career, but he should always be remembered for his characters in old westerns. He shared the screen with John Wayne at least three times, as well as a stint or two with Clint Eastwood. (It is rumored that Clint himself convinced Robert to pursue a career in acting.)

In addition to westerns, he sent "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" into the sunset with a fantastic reading of the Gettysburg Address. I don't care who you are, that speech is amazing and Robert did a great job as Abraham Lincoln. Now, whether this was a good way to end the episode, let alone the series, is questionable. Regardless, it was great.

And that is it for "Good Morning, Miss Bliss." The next post will be in the actual "Saved by the Bell" series. Nice.

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

GMMB 01.12 - Clubs and Cliques

Poor, adorable Zack Morris. You got had by the Rigmas. Typically, fraternity-type clubs/organizations have a name made up from the Greek alphabet. (The Greek letters for A and B are alpha and beta, so we are actually encompassing all 26 English letters into two Greek representatives, alpha-bet.) The Rigmas are not named after a Greek letter. In fact, the only definition you will find is on Urban Dictionary, that site where many of the definitions have poor grammar. Perhaps the club name was picked simply because it sounded Greek. Who knows?

What I do know is we are still keeping that young secretary around.

Now let's take a moment to spotlight Mylo Williams, mostly since he won't be around next season.

Mylo was played by T.K. Carter. Late 70's-early 80's looked promising for the young actor. He had roles in several movies and television shows, but things seemed to slow down for him after that. Bummer. Although, he did give his voice to one of the greatest sports-cartoon hybrids in history: Space Jam. You can envision him as either this guy:
Nerdlucks
This guy:
Monstars
Or this guy:
Muggsy Bogues!
He also got to be in this movie with this lady.
Kiera Knightley in "Domino"
Sadly, that's really all that has happened with one of the better characters from "Good Morning, Miss Bliss." I wish he could have been transplanted to "Saved by the Bell." Oh well.

But what about the guests in this show? Who cares? Trevor and Rick were played by J. Trevor Edmond and Christopher Carter, respectively, and had little else to show for themselves. And I'm tired of posting bios of nobodies. (I'm sure they aren't actually nobodies.)

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

Friday, September 20, 2013

GMMB 01.11 - Stevie

We'll get this out of the way here: The young secretary is still around.
But she better watch out. She could get sacked by next episode for her failure to not acknowledge the talent. Then we'd have to endure more old lady.

You know, I remember this episode from back in the day. But of course I do, look at that guest star!
This is Suzanne Tara. I had quite the young man crush on her after this one episode. She plays the dual, Hannah Montana-ish role of Colleen Morton/Stevie. A rock star by night and college-bound teen by day. Could you blame me? She is lovely. Sadly, Hollywood didn't quite think her looks matched her acting abilities because she is roughly an unknown. She disappeared off the face of the map after a handful of appearances. So, let this blog forever be a testament to a fleeting beauty with, sadly, nothing else to objectively offer. (See below for further on her appearances.)

Suzanne Tara notable achievements:
Colleen Morton
Playing 17 and seducing 14
Capitalizing on that seduction
Stevie
What bad lip synching?
Don't ever let Dustin Diamond (the guy who played Screech) ever complain about how he was treated on and after Saved by the Bell. This. Effing. Happened.

The episode is actually one of the best in these early episodes. The jokes seem a bit more natural. The kids aren't as stiff. It is still completely cheesy, but no one expects less from early teenage kids.

Then again, check this dude out.
I am sure the kids in the crowd were told to go crazy when Stevie takes the stage (for her last performance ever, which consists of one song). Notice that he is the only one that takes it literally.


Atta boy!

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

Edit: It seems that this is my most popular blog post so far. Blogger tells me it's because people want to know about Suzanne Tara (since she is hot). So, allow me to show some more appearances that she makes.

1) Suzanne acted as wife Jaimy in "Deadly Prey," a terrible, terrible 80s movie in which she is credited as Suzzanne Tara. She actually does a pretty terrible job in this film. But she looks good, so there's that. Beware: There are a lot of screenshots here.
Suzanne Tara - Deadly Prey
Here she just called her dad because she saw her husband abducted. Not the police. Her dad. He used to be a cop, so I guess that works.

The infamous "He raped me, daddy!" scene.


She holds a gun but her husband doesn't let her keep it despite abandoning her in a grassy cave...




What a terrible way to die - at the end of a very fake gun. And to think, your hero husband didn't let you keep that gun...

2) In 1989, Suzanne starred as Lisa Wax in an episode of "Freddy's Nightmares" called "Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?" It was pretty bad, but she did have the lead role and she did a decent job.

She begins as a nice little babysitter.
Suzanne Tara - Freddy's Nightmare
This role ends with her as a dirty reject killed by her own psycho mother.
Overall, it wasn't a bad performance when one considers the content.

As a bit of trivia, this episode of "Freddy's Nightmares" costars another SBTB alum in Julie St. Claire. (You'll find her write-up here.)

3) In 1990, Suzanne had a small role in the pilot for the "Ferris Bueller" television series. The episode is atrocious and the series only lasted 13 episodes. (The title sequence is one of the worst I have ever seen. YouTube it.) Of note, however, is that it costarred a young and lovely Jennifer Aniston. But that is beside the point. Here is Suzanne's lone appearance as "Surfer Girl."
Suzanne Tara - Ferris Bueller
She doesn't look very "surfer," does she? She does say "rad" in this scene, so I guess that explains her character's name.

4) In 1991, Suzanne appeared in two episodes of "Doogie Houser, M.D." as a candystriper. At least that is what she is credited in her first episode called "Lonesome Doog."
Suzanne Tara - Doogie Houser, M.D.
Her name is actually Dayna and she seems to be a distraction for Doogie from his lady-problem Wanda.
She revisits two episodes later in "Doogstruck" as a date gone bad. (She wants to sing madrigals after dinner? Pass.)
(This episode boasts another SBTB "alum" in the form of Denise Richards, whose write up can be found here.)

5) In 1994, Suzanne played the role of Tammy in an episode of HBO's "Dream On." It was another brief appearance, but her character is golden. She's that type of girl that is always up for doing whatever you'd like to do, just nothing that you've listed.
Suzanne Tara - Dream On
Her last line is by far one of the best from the episode:
"What do you do with all these books?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

GMMB 01.10 - Practical Jokes

As someone who has studied the law, it was cute to see little kids applying principles of the Constitution. The trial, of course, was a travesty. But at least that evidence didn't get in!

And I can't tell if I caught this kid stealing a peek at Lisa or Zack in an off moment.
Busted! It is back to extras acting classes for you. Then again, you can't teach eyes that smolder with burning love for unattainable child stars. That's a gift!

And speaking of failures: Mr. Belding. I know this is a television show aimed at a younger audience and the cheap thrill joke of a bucket of water over a door is good enough for a few snickers, but how did they expect to sell us on this gag?
The door is open. One would normally think that the tension on the rope/string would be enough to pull the trap down. Nope. It's when the door closes and the rope slackens.
Busted!

And speaking of things that don't quite add up:
The hot secretary is back after going halfsies with the old woman in the last episode. The roulette of help Mr. Belding gets is dizzying.

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

GMMB 01.09 - Let's Get Together

First off, I already unwittingly referenced the title of this episode (HERE, bottom photo). So, I feel like a freaking genius.

Hayley Mills, the "star" of this early version of "Saved by the Bell," was also the star of a Disney movie called "The Parent Trap," in which she played both twins. She sang a song in a duet with herself called "Let's Get Together," a ditty for the mother (played by the lovely Maureen O'Hara) and father (played by Brian Keith). Here is the song, which most likely inspired the name and theme for this episode of "Saved by the Bell":
Flawless.

But then Ms. Mills grew up and committed these heinous crimes in entertainment:
Where is Amesica? And which of its inventions are famous? Because you can't make that "S" into an "R." It says "Amesican." No Sideways R Theory will change my mind. And then, hey Miss Bliss, how do you talk in an old-timey telephone?
Not like that! Hopefully she was just playing up her role as a farmer who didn't know how to use a phone.

On to another lady: I think it high time we look at Joan Ryan, the actress who played Tina Paladrino.

Joan has been all over the entertainment spectrum. A peak at her IMDB profile shows roles in both television and movies. Her latest project involves creating loops for studios to use. (Not sound effects, but human vocals that are recorded at a different time from the filming.) She also has an album out and, according to her website, is quite the accomplished singer. She's spends time onstage in all sorts of musical productions. So I guess she isn't just some goofball teacher but a multi-faceted bottle of awesome sauce. Congratulations on being able to capitalize on a bevy of talents!

On to another lady:

Guest star Devon Odessa plays this very, very, very unfortunate girl:
This girl has been all over the television. I don't recall her, but she was in all 19 episodes of "My So Called Life." She was also kissed by Dustin Diamond. She won a Young Artist Award for her work on "Highway to Heaven" in the category "Best Young Actress Guest Starring in a Drama or Comedy Series." Then again, she was somehow in the Sega CD video game "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Make My Video." So, some ups and downs.

Last lady stuff hails from the previous episode's revelation concerning Mr. Belding's secretary. This episode started like this:
Yes, the hot assistant is still there!

And then, in the same episode:
What? Was the younger gal a temp while the old bag had hip surgery? Is it wise to have subplots with extras? I was hoping the days of marking the secretary were over. Looks like we've got one more thing to keep an eye on.

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