I’ve been meaning to write about Saved By The Bell for the last couple of years, but I was busy that day. Oh well, better late than never.
Saved By The Bell follows the wacky adventures of Zack, Slater, Tammy-Jo and Billy-Bob-Bob-John as they go round scamming people out of money, shooting up caffeine and generally being dicks. This takes place in a school called Bayside High, which contains ten students and a payphone that at least one of those ten students is using at any one time.
Today I’d like to talk about the episode ‘Screech’s Woman’. The following things happen in this episode, because they happen in every episode:
- Someone wears an outfit that makes me want to stop the universe by punching myself in the face
- There’s a misunderstanding with hilarious consequences
- The audience goes “Wooooo” because Slater got his ankle out
- Mr Belding is the best one
- Not much else
Now the world of Saved By The Bell has been clearly and succinctly established by me, let’s crack on with the episode.
Slater and Wanda-Sue are celebrating having made an admittedly impressive volcano for a science project. Unfortunately, Slater pours too much coke onto the Mentos inside it, and the whole thing goes a bit wrong. This is hilarious. It is so hilarious that Slater and Wanda-Sue leave the diner.
Next, Zack starts bullying Screech about their science project. Screech has built a sort of doomsday device with flashbulbs on it. I think their project is called ‘What’s the most sciencey looking thing the props department can cobble together in an afternoon?’ I swear part of that is just a roll of duct tape.
Here comes Betty-Bob-Jo! Screech is in love with Betty-Bob-Jo, but sadly she’s not in love with him. This leads to the following hilarious misunderstanding:
Screech leaves the diner in a flurry of half-arsed depression and big trousers. He’s still depressed when he gets to Zack’s house three seconds later.
He’s depressed because Betty-Bob-Jo won’t go out with him. Luckily, Zack manages to make Screech instantly forget Betty-Bob-Jo by promising him a date with some girl he just made up. This cheers Screech up, because he is an idiot.
But Zack’s not done helping yet. As well as a made up promise he can’t possibly keep, he also gives Screech some chick-impressing lessons. These mostly involve wazzing about like a Kays Catalogue underpant model then falling into the bin.
This works about as well as you might expect. Now even more depressed due to realising that he’s a loser and no one wants to go out with him, Screech does what anyone would do and hides in his locker.
Since Zack promised Screech a date, he now has to go round asking all the girls in the school whose contracts will allow them to speak. By a massive coincidence, the first person he finds is Wanda-Sue.
Their conversation goes as follows:
“Will you go out with Screech? It’s for the plot.”
“Err, I’m not gonna go out with Screech, he did that weird sex tape.”
“Yeah but you did Showgirls.”
“That’s different, that was art. And anyway I’m not in that for a few years.”
Since all his options are now officially exhausted, Zack has no choice – he must invent a girl and use her to string Screech along like a condom full of custard, that’s on a string.
Luckily Screech is a div, so Zack can get away with telling him that the girl he just invented has already agreed to phone him on the school payphone. It’s so handy that she knows the number of the school payphone, despite obviously not going to Bayside. She obviously doesn’t go to Bayside because a) if she did she’d just come and say hi instead of phoning him, and b) she doesn’t exist.
Are you still with me? Good.
Screech arrives at the payphone to answer the call from the girl who doesn’t exist, but oh shit – Billy-Bob-Bob-John-Slater is already using the phone! Not only that, he’s using it to phone Italy, which must be costing a hell of a lot of 10ps.
Screech calmly informs Billy-Bob-Bob-John that he will headbutt him in the knob if he doesn’t get off the phone right now.
Who could possibly be phoning Screech? It isn’t the girl who doesn’t exist, because she doesn’t exist. And it definitely can’t be Zack, because Screech, having been friends with Zack since kindergarten, would instantly recognise Zack’s voice, even if he does have a crack at doing falsetto.
Oh wait, it is Zack. Of course it fucking is.
Screech asks “What’s your name?”
This flummoxes Zack, who clearly thought Screech would just pant heavily into the phone then hang up. He stalls for time – “My name? Er, er…”
Please, please say J.R. Hartley.
He doesn’t, because he’s stupid and crap. Instead he calls himself “Bambi”.
The conversation with Screech leads to another hilarious misunderstanding. Zack is speaking from the boys’ toilets where, unbeknownst to him, Mr Belding is having a poo. This leads Mr Belding to think that “Bambi” has gone into the boys’ toilets to crack onto him. Since he must know there’s no student called Bambi at Bayside (or anywhere), he must think a woman off the street followed him in there. And no one thinks this is odd.
Mr Belding carrying on the conversation with “Bambi” after Zack leaves, not knowing that Slater is now in the toilet. Oh how we laughed.
Why hasn’t Mr Belding got his own toilet?
Back to the plot. Zack is sick of pretending to be Bambi, so he makes up some bullshit reason why she can’t talk to Screech any more. This leads to Screech taking the only sensible course of action – he handcuffs himself to his locker.
Mr Belding gets wind of this and, in a fit of being the best one on the show, orders Zack to get Screech a date. I’m not sure what grounds he’ll have to do anything if Zack says no, but let’s just go with it.
There’s only one thing for it – Zack must be Bambi for the evening.
I have so many problems with this getup. Why is he cosplaying as a 47 year old? This is not a fun and flirty high-school girl, this is Joan Collins if she’d had a hard life and she lived in Doncaster.
In order to get ready for his date, Zack enlisted the help of Wanda-Sue and Betty-Bob-Jo. Are you seriously telling me this was the best they could come up with? Which one of them just happened to have that suit and a Jon Bon Jovi wig lying around? Couldn’t they have at least tried to make him look younger than 47?
Clearly Screech doesn’t have a problem with older women. You know what they say – “If there’s snow on the roof…” or something.
The date is going a bit too well, so Zack has the choice of coming up with a way to put Screech off, or just giving up and having sex with him. He initially chooses the former. Nothing seems to work until Bambi insists that Screech must dump his friends to go out with her. Apparently this is the one thing that will make Screech refuse to do sex with Bambi. He nobly declines her request, stating that Zack is his best friend and that he couldn’t possibly do that.
I’ll say this again – if Zack was really Screech’s best friend, he’d have realised that he was about to fuck him.
Screech goes home, and Zack/Bambi just sort of hangs out at the diner for a bit with Wanda-Jo and the others. Nothing much is resolved.
I think the moral of the story is that maybe you shouldn’t write four miles of text about an episode of Saved By The Bell. And also that Zack looks better as a woman than I do as a woman.