Friday, February 28, 2014

SBTB 03.02 - Zack's Birthday

Wha-wha-what? Something doesn't make sense here.

  1. We just went through the tragic break up between Zack and Kelly in the season premier and were told that the story would continue, but then we get this episode next? Saved by the Bell obviously had episode-order issues, but this was the start of the Malibu Sands arc (which comes later) so why did it show here?
  2. Now that I think about it, wasn't Zack and Kelly's magic relationship very, very short lived? If you take away the Season 1 episodes that were sprinkled in with the Season 2's when Zack and Kelly were an item then you have maybe four episodes in which they act like they are a couple. That really takes away from the magnitude of this break up.
We are just going to have to deal with this super odd chronology. Chalk it up to another snafu, like moving the cast from Indianapolis to SoCal.

Now, I'm going to save the Malibu Sands cast for the arc. But, while I've got you here, allow me to take you back to this moment in the episode:
If you will recall, Zack has just reamed Stacey for being a robot. If you listen closely, you hear somebody remark "busted" from the audience. I really hope this voice is canned so that it can show up later. I'm tagging it just in case.

Now, I'm going to watch the next episode so I can finally see what happens with that stupid Jeff.

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

SBTB 03.01 - The Last Dance

Well, Season 3 certainly took no time at all to change the status quo. Kelly cheats on Zack? The gang has been in a band the whole time? Jesse is supposed to be hot?
We get it, Jesse. You are tired of playing second fiddle to Kelly. Those boobs don't overshadow your personality, however, unless that also gets overhauled this season. I guess we'll see as we go.

Patrick Muldoon
Do you remember Patrick Muldoon? Come on, that brooding hot guy from the 90s! (I don't sound like the man that I am...) He was on "Melrose Place," then "Starship Troopers," then "Miracle Dogs Too." (What was that last one?) He also had a lengthy run on "Days of Our Lives." I will only ever know him as the skeevy pre-law student hitting on hot high school junior girls.

It's a given that most actors playing instruments have no clue as to what they are doing. Zack looks terrible playing the guitar but he gets a pass because he's the singer and you don't look at his hands when he's crooning. Screech at least pounds the keys on the keyboard at each sound of the keyboard. I am convinced that Slater actually knows his way around a drum kit. Lisa? What is this?
Bass players on screen are almost never put to scrutiny because it isn't too hard to look like you are playing one note on one string at one time. Here, Lisa is taking a standard rock song and making it look like she's playing some Victor Wooten stuff. As in, instead of playing straight forward with her index and middle finger, Lisa pretends to be playing some slap/funk bass when it is completely uncalled for. Granted, those nails don't suit picking in the conventional way, but I also don't see how they won't rip off by playing slap bass. Sadly, I play the bass and got irritated by this and wrote too much about it. Let's move on.

By far, my favorite delivery of a line comes here:
"You are a weird and strange person."
It has to be the combination of the point blank assertion and Slater's deadpan delivery. No malice, just a matter-of-fact statement. Lovely.

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SBTB 02.17 - The Glee Club

Shut up, Dustin Diamond!
Look at how tight that hug is with pre-lumpy-face Tori Spelling.
Ick.

Now, look carefully at who is not singing along with Zack and Slater:
That guy. And it is pretty obvious. With whom, pray tell, does he sing? The ladies
I can understand that some guys have an alto range. I can also understand that in a high school setting. I can also understand if this uncredited person is actually a 90s version of female comedian Tig Notaro.
Tig Notaro
Feel free to share what stood out to you in the comments below.

Monday, February 24, 2014

SBTB 02.17 - Breaking Up is Hard to Undo

The back-and-forth in this episode of will-they/won't they made for great drama in the halls of Bayside. But I am left with one question now that the dust has settled: Did this episode really need to be so creepy?

Take, for instance, Slater's little dance:
We've seen Ol' A.C. bust some moves in the past, but the bulge is a bit much. The leotard is unsettling.

And then there is Mr. Belding. Always up for an inappropriate scene with his costars, Mr. B goes mental in this episode by giving us two questionable instances of pure creepiness. First:
Mr. Belding has a tiff with Mrs. Belding and he instinctively turns to Screech in an empty Max. Where are the rest of the customers? Screech is incredibly uncomfortable with it all and tries to escape a time or two only to be reeled by in by a very clingy principal.

Then:
Mr. Belding infiltrates the boys' inner sanctum and takes residence on Zack's bed for a scene while making this gesture.

All this creepiness actually makes our troll sighting far more palatable.
Molly dear, you may troll any episode you like in order to keep the creepiness down.

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

SBTB 02.16. - From Nurse to Worse

Honestly, was any teacher better than Miss Simpson? I think not. Her character was the best.

How about we look to another legend in the Saved by the Bell universe: Nurse Jennifer.
Nancy Valen
Whhaaaaat? This is how you know SBTB wasn't real. I never, never, ever had a nurse look like that. Nor dress like that (which is probably a good thing, considering the nurses I did have). Nancy Valen plays the new school nurse (that we never see again - for shame!) with a middling face but a great wardrobe. Sure, Zack was a total tool in causing friction with Kelly, but come on!
This, er, talent/trait led Nancy to other roles, like a "Baywatch" lifeguard. And a role in "Porky's 3." And the occasional token hot girl in shows like "Friends," "Charles in Charge," and "Spin City." What has she done otherwise? How about many, many infomercials. Seriously, I found her website (nancyvalen.com) and many of her self-picked credits are from infomercials (including one for aroma therapy to stop binge eating) in which she is introduced as a television and film star. Sad. Then again --
-- she can always be Nurse Jennifer.

The other nurse? Well, Nurse Butcher isn't credited, but she should have been.
Justine Lenore
This is far more akin to the school nurses I had. Justine Lenore plays the very appropriately named Nurse Butcher. You won't have seen her anywhere else unless you like opera or the movie "Hamburger: the Movie." And it's a banner day because this nurse also has a website. Check it out (at thenoahfamily.com/justine/) and see how her page compares to Nancy Valen's. Make sure you scroll down to see the languages she is proficient in. I'll tip my hat to that, as well as very honest head shots.

What's worse than school nurses?
Troll sightings!

And here is another case in which our main players break character:
Screech breaks; Kelly breaks; Kelly then does her best to play it off. Why did they use this take? Sadly, it was probably the best one.

And, in case you are kicking yourself for not being able to read the example poem on the board in Miss Simpson's class:
"Clouds can be small
Clouds can be tall
Some clouds are fast
Some clouds are dead last
Some clouds look like a face
Some clouds are in a race
But when I look at a cloud
It really makes me proud."

Yup, high school poetry at its finest.

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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

SBTB 02.15 - The Fabulous Belding Boys

Are you ready? Because at this moment, Jesse comments on Slater's macho fantasies:
I'm not sure I want to know what his macho fantasies are. (And why is he so smooth?)

Now admit it, Rod Belding is totally going for the Fabio look.
Ed Blatchford
You don't know who that is? Nevermind. Rod Belding is played by Ed Blatchford, a man that did some things and then left Hollywood. You may know him from his work on "Malibu, CA" or as Jack Winthrop in "The Last of the Mohicans." Sadly, others use him as a joke gone way too far. Allow me to introduce you to a mockumentary called "Lost Heroes: Rod Belding" (please don't watch it):
You didn't watch, did you? Honestly, the only funny quip - the only time I so much as chuckled - was at the expense of Tori. It. Is. A. Waste.

It gets worse, however, as Ed Blatchford somehow got connected with the comedic hacks and helped craft a sequel. Here it is (again, please don't watch it):

You watched anyway, didn't you? Well, it's nice that Ed and Dennis Haskins were willing to do this, but doesn't it just seem like a cheap way to reenact the episode in an incredibly hackneyed way? Sadly, Ed himself gets to claim production and story credits on this this. AND THAT'S WHY YOU SELL REAL ESTATE NOW! (And that weird looking kid was supposed to play the Zack part? Mark-Paul should be offended.)

I've spent enough time on these stupid Youtube projects, but let me finish with this: it seems that Ed got his wife involved, too. She is the "Anna" that Ed ditches the dorks for. Her name is Alexandra Blatchford. That is all.

We need a palate cleanser before we do the next guest.
Troll! Molly, it's been so long since we've had a sighting. Thank you for showing up. And, let me say, you are continuing to look better than the name I have given you. Sorry?

Because I gave you so much unwanted info on that last guest then I'll take it pretty easy on this one:
Raf Mauro
This is Raf Mauro. He played Mr. Dickerson. His test was hard. He also was in "Seinfeld" as the car washer in "The Smelly Car." Besides other numerous acting credits, he has composed music for a television series. Done.

Lastly: Notice the nerd-girl in the background. (I'm not asking; I'm telling.)

She is requesting mustard. Why is this odd? Because there is already a bottle of mustard on her table. I have outlined the bottles so you can see this better. Nice acting, lady. But I am afraid I can't suspend by disbelief that much.

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

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SBTB 02.14 - The Babysitters

Let's get the guest stars out of the way first. Madame Oeuf (which, oddly, translated to "egg") is played by the fun-yet-very-lunch-lady-looking Mary Pat Gleason.
Mary Pat Gleason
She has made the rounds and you will have no doubt seen her somewhere, as she has been everywhere. Think with Hilary Duff in "A Cinderella Story" or with Scarlett Johansson in "The Island" or with Adam Sandler in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" or with Jennifer Garner in "13 Going on 30." She has graced television with the likes of "Chuck," "Desperate Housewives," "Getting By," and "1600 Penn." You have to have seen her somewhere. Somewhere.

And on the topic of our French teacher: I could not help but laugh when the she says that crying like a baby is not a French sound. My Amuricah-iz-th-best upbringing has taught me that all the French do is cry. This is only sort of ironic.

Our Home Ec teacher Mrs. Hatcher is played by another one of these acting everywhere ladies:
Patrika Darbo
This is Patrika Darbo. Yes, you have seen her around. Her most notable appearances come from a rather lengthy stint with "Days of Our Lives." I won't list her other things because she has some other curiosities to steal our attention. First, she was voted as one of TV Guide's Sexiest in 1999 for her sultry depictions on her soap. Next, she has penned a book about being a plus-sized actress in Hollywood called "365 Glorious Nights of Love and Romance." She talks about her struggles growing up and then talks about feeling sexy with who you are. Sounds nice. I haven't read it. Moving on.

Now, one thing I couldn't help but notice was that Ed Alonzo (curses) was in this episode and the quality of the production was incredibly grainy. So, we dealt with another first season holdover. I think the thing that stood out the most from this little chronal anomaly was how easily the kids broke character in two parts.
While searching for the baby, Screech just busts into this huge, goofy grin. Do you see Lisa's face, Mr. Powers? This is serious business - looking for babies in lockers.

Next:
Remember this? Where Zack and Jesse both start chuckling for no apparent reason? My going theory is that Zack's arm gets stuck - which is plain to see he is struggling - on Jesse's boob and they both get nervous and break character. It is awkward.


Now, speaking of this baby: Who in the world let their kid pass between six teenagers in one scene? And let Slater yell in their baby's face. And not only that, but we get a peak at the kid's undercarriage. Twice.
What an odd, odd choice in using this kid. Another odd choice: Not giving the kid a credit. Instead, the credit - and voice, mind you - goes to Tom Williams. Mr. Williams is a man with more baby voice-over credits than I thought ever possible. It seems like it's all he does. (It's not. He does other voice-over work, too. Like a dog. He is seriously the barking dog Farfle on "Seinfeld.")

One last curiosity: Slater says a river should be named after Mr. Belding. None actually exist, but a river does run through Belding, MI. Close enough?

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

SBTB 02.13 - Running Zack

This episode is kind of uncomfortable to watch. Did you notice how they bandied about with the term "Indian?" Or how Screech was an incredible mockery of the Native American? Yikes. Then again, we are now watching this episode through the lens of people that have gone through extensive training in societal political correctness. When this aired, no one really gave much thought to these types of sensitivities. Now? As much as I try to push back on political correctness, the thoughts I had as I watched this episode still took me by surprise.

Even more offensive? They really expect us to believe that apple wasn't already cut?
Riiiiiiight.

But let's stick with our Native American theme and talk about our guest star. Chief Henry is played by Dehl Berti.
Dehl Berti
Sadly, this episode of Saved by the Bell was one of the last projects Mr. Berti worked on (aside from his regular appearance on "Guns of Paradise). He died a year later. Looking back at his credits, it is clear that he played "the Indian" in plenty of productions. Let's have a little game: Native Americans are often portrayed as having names with animals in them, like Running Wolf. Which of these three names was he credited with most: Elk, Bear, or Eagle?

He was Standing Elk, White Elk, and Black Elk.

He was Brave Bear, Bear Paw, George Running Bear, and Gray Bear.

He was Sidney Eagle, John Eagle, and Sun Eagle.

Bear wins it!

Sadly, this headband does not win.
You see that hanging part of beads? They couldn't at least try to make the headband look legitimate? It's falling apart in Kelly's hands! Pathetic.

Speaking of pathetic:
Yikes, man. Mr. Belding does some creepy stuff in this series.

As a last note, I couldn't find any information on a Native American named Whispering Wind that could have been the inspiration for Zack's family history. I did find, however, a poem called "Whispering Wind" that was an ode to Chief Joseph. So, some connection does exist with the name. (The poem looks like it was written in the mid-2000s so I like to think that this episode inspired it.)

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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SBTB 02.12 - Close Encounters of the Nerd Kine

The first thing to note about this episode is that Zack gets some basic movie-making lingo wrong. The scene the students are filming requires Jessie to stand up from her desk and begin a lecture; at that point the creature should be "cued" to enter the room. On the first take, however, he cues the creature before Jessie stands. This does set up the Belding foil so I will definitely let this slide.

Actually, the first thing to have noted was that Ed Alonzo is credited and makes a substantial appearance in the episode with his stupid magic tricks.
These facts should clue the astute watcher into knowing that this episode was shot to air as part of the first season but got bumped to the second. You should have figured this out already, however, by how young the cast is compared to the just-prior shows.

And, is if the Max character isn't campy enough, meet Lt. Thompson:
Sean Masterson
The previously-thought bungling reporter ends up being a bungling Air Force Lieutenant. He is cheesy. He is, however, that kind of guy. Many of his roles involve comedies. Even some of his more serious jobs have included odd characters. (He plays Yuppie Man in "Melrose Place.") His penchant for comedies makes sense, as he seems to appear on variety shows and improv skits. He's that kind of actor. The kind Drew Carey likes. (Mid-90s me would have thought this a compliment. Now-me does not.)

And now I am going to be perfectly candid with you right now: I had a great Shut Up, Dustin Diamond moment queued, but I just can't pull the trigger. You see, poor little Screech is dressed (and passed) as an alien. To get out of the outlandish predicament, the student body dons Screech masks.
Seriously, I don't know how Dustin Diamond couldn't be any more offended at these masks. They not only don't look anything like him, but they are incredibly, undeniably creepy.

Then again -
Shut up, Dustin Diamond! You bedded every teenage girl's dream man! (I couldn't help it after all. He's such a stain in real life.)

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

SBTB 02.11 - 1-900-CRUSHED

I think it is safe to say that this episode boasts one of the worst raps ever. It is shudder-worthy. Zack has no flow whatsoever.

Even worse: Zack's math. Here is the arithmetic:
  • $2 per call x 5 hours per day x 7 days per week = Huh? That's technically $35. We need another piece of data in order to call this a way to get rich.
    • How many calls are you expecting to take in one hour? Some calls could run longer than others. Maybe you don't get many calls in an hour. Come on, high school business kid! Fill out those numbers.
Let's pretend that the missed step of calculating calls per hour didn't get skipped. Here is the math with each call taking 5 minutes AND calls filling each hour:
  • 60 minutes per hour/5 minutes per call = 12 calls per hour
  • $2 per call x 12 calls per hour x 5 hours per day x 7 days per week = $840 per week.
Yes boys. Now you are talking.

Split between two boys: $420 per week. I'd take that. (This is assuming, of course, that Zack doesn't play Screech for a fool and stiff him some cash.) When Lisa gets figured in, she takes half for herself and the boys split the other half: Lisa takes $420 and the boys each get $210. Not bad at all for high school kids on a weekly basis. I think my paper route paid me less on a monthly basis.

This, however, is by no means rich. And, of course, this is the best case scenario. You know Zack goes through dry spells in taking calls. Then again, he also needs multiple phones at some times. Also, how are the students paying for these calls? And how is Zack collecting without his parents' help? Also, why are you still reading this stupid paragraph that doesn't really matter because this is a teen show that gets its kicks on camp and fun and good-looking people?

So, weak rapping, frail business plan - what did this episode have going for it? Boom mics.
Boom!
That boom mic is a little difficult to see. Allow me to present to you the power of further yellow markings:
Yellow Boom!
Better.

Here is the other:
Overboard Boom!
With that out of the way, let's take a look at our guest stars. Michael McManus plays Mr. Manfredi.
Michael McManus
What is going on here? This guy had a recurring role on "Baywatch?" He looks like art barfed on weird. He was the classic television actor and had parts in numerous popular shows. He branched out, however, and was a writer/producer for the mid-90s hit "Mafia" with Jay Mohr (when that guy was relevant). I tip my hat there; I loved that movie and its incredibly inappropriate funeral scene.

Let's move on. Quickly.

Kelly's cute little sister Nicki is played by Laura Mooney.
Laura Mooney
She was cute enough to garner spots in shows like "Mister Belvedere" (in which she plays two different characters in different years) and "The Wonder Years" (in which she plays three different characters in different years), as well as the fantastic movie "Suburban Commando."
Laura also lent her voice to many popular things, like "Animaniacs" and some "Winnie the Pooh" productions. Sadly, I can't find any current information on what she is doing now. I did find, however, that a Polish television site ranks her work as an 8 out of 10 (based on three votes). Way to go.

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