Craig Strand: No longer Stacey’s bread and margarine

Country Crock: Bringing people together since the early '90s.

Country Crock: Bringing people together since the early ’90s.

This morning’s show opened with that familiar aerial shot of the California coast, signifying that this was a Malibu Sands episode. Zack and Stacey are sneaking into the kitchen of the Malibu Sands dining room. She took Zack to the kitchen because she claimed to know where they kept the really good food. This good food turned out to be buttered bread. Because we all know that rich people love some bread with butter on it. Well, Zack tries to tell Stacey he loves her, but only can manage to say he loves the way she butters bread. The butter turns out to be margarine. Okay, so maybe rich people prefer bread with margarine on it. They kiss, and the SBTB studio audience commences with their obligatory “woo”ing.

The next day, Mr. Carosi drives up to the staff meeting in an ATV to promote the upcoming charity ATV race. Slater is totally psyched about the idea of an ATV race. Jessie automatically accuses Slater of being sexist. Mr. Carosi tells the gang they have to get sponsors, and then proceeds to wreck the ATV. He blames the fact that the ATV was in reverse on a terrorist. Zack wasn’t wearing a shirt, which I feel was unnecessary, and probably against some Malibu Sands rule for a waiter to be running around topless. It is also at this meeting that Zack tells Slater and Screech (much to Screech’s horror) that he has gotten a case of the big ‘L.’

Craig Strand is rocking that blue blazer and khakis like he expects to just roll into a management position at Malibu Sands.

Craig Strand is rocking that blue blazer and khakis like he expects to just roll into a management position at Malibu Sands.

Kelly earns sponsorship for the race by saving some random kid from playing too close to the water. Screech tries the same tactic, but delivers a kid to the wrong parents. The kid kicks Screech in the shin, and then the other shin. Lisa is making fun of Screech’s Mexican Dork Dance, and refuses to sponsor Screech in the race. But, the Turtle family would be proud to sponsor Zack. Sometime during all of this rescuing and sponsorship, we get our first glimpse of Craig Strand!!! Stacey’s hunky boyfriend from Yale has come to visit! Later, Mr. Carosi introduces Craig Strand to the gang minus Zack as Stacey’s ‘steady,’ a sophomore at Yale. Only a sophomore? This guy looks to be at LEAST 25 years old. And who says ‘steady’? But whatever. Ol’ Leon also gives Lisa, Jessie, and Kelly permission to drool over Mr. Strand. Craig Strand tells Mr. Carosi that he wants to give Stacey his fraternity pin, and Mr. Carosi assures him he will plan a wonderful ceremony, but they must keep it a secret.

Jessie and Slater are arguing at the front desk about the ATV racing. Jessie is convinced that she would be just as good as Slater at racing those ATM’s, uh, AT&T’s or whatever they are called. Apparently Jessie is a really crappy driver, and that is why Slater thinks she will suck at the race. In another scene, Craig Strand is taking Stacey to the fine dining establishment that is the Malibu Sands restaurant, presumably to eat some bread with margarine. Stacey resists, but Craig Strand bosses her into it. Screech sees them come in, and tries to prevent Zack from seeing them. This does not work—Zack sees Stacey and Craig Strand, and he gets angry and leaves. Because Screech has shown his competence at waiting tables by serving bread he dropped on the floor, I am sure it will be no problem for Screech to take over all of the table-waiting duties.

The gong seems a bit unnecessary. Actually, this whole ceremony seems a bit unnecessary.

The gong seems a bit unnecessary. Actually, this whole ceremony seems a bit unnecessary.

Zack decides since Stacey has a boyfriend, there is no reason whatsoever for him to stay at Malibu Sands and work, so he is packing to go home. Screech offers his advice, which is to date her in his mind. Lisa (only mildly disgusted that Screech is mind-dating her) convinces Zack to stay, telling him to show Stacey what she is missing. So of course, he stays. Later that night, Kelly, Lisa, and Jessie wake to their doorbell ringing. Jessie has a bat, which is to ward off any burglars. Kelly and Lisa tell her she can just nag him to death, but nobody points out the fact that a burglar would most likely not be ringing the doorbell to gain entry. The late-night visitor turns out to be Zack, and he is up just thinking about Stacey. The girls explain to him in five minutes that Stacey probably likes him more, and this is enough to appease Zack and he leaves.

Now we find everyone at the pinning ceremony, except no one knows what is going on except Mr. Carosi and Craig Strand. Kelly is put in charge of the gong, which she bangs excessively. Craig presents Stacey with his fraternity pin, telling her she will be his forever. Because we all know that the fraternity pin ceremony is legally binding and there is no going back on it. Craig and Stacey forever!! Zack gets majorly PO’d at this, and Stacey doesn’t really look all too excited either.

The instant replay confirms that Craig cheated.

The instant replay confirms that Craig cheated.

At the ATV race, the only racers are Zack, Kelly, Slater, Jessie, and Craig Strand. The race starts off, and everything is going okay. Until Jessie loses control of her ATV and drives straight into the water. I can see why she might have failed her driving test—the concept of steering is pretty essential to automobile operation, and she obviously hasn’t mastered that skill as of yet. Slater, Kelly, Zack, and Craig are racing around a ridiculously small course. Zack is in the lead until right at the end of the last lap, when Craig Strand pushes him off of the course. Craig doesn’t care that he cheated on a charity race, but everyone else does. But so what? It wasn’t against the rules, according to Craig Strand. He pulls Stacey off to the side so they can go and celebrate. He also tells her later on that he asked if she could have the next day off so they could have some private time together. Stacey gets mad at him for doing this, because she really loves her job of bossing everyone around and does not want to miss a day of it for any reason.

Memo to Stacey: That is not a shirt. And memo to Zack: It's summer, so you can probably lay off the JC Penney sweaters for a few months.

Memo to Stacey: That is a bra, not a shirt. And memo to Zack: It’s summer, so you can probably lay off the JC Penney sweaters for a few months.

Eventually, Zack and Stacey end up on the beach, Zack wearing an early nineties patterned sweater from Sears and Stacey wearing a purple sports bra and a super high waisted skirt. Zack finally tells her he loves her, and—gasp—Stacey says she loves him too! At first Zack did not hear her reply over his telling her to go be happy with Craig Strand, but he finally gets the message. She apparently did not like Craig bossing her around, because she is the one who is supposed to do the bossing in her romantic relationships. Craig Strand was on his way back to the East Coast along with his fraternity pin. So despite their differences—Zack being a gnarly California dude and Stacey being a stuck up East Coast snob—they kiss (woooo!!!) and gaze out into the ocean, and live happily ever after.

Quote of the Episode
“I need the money…my cat needs braces!!” —Screech, trying to convince Zack to let him wait his tables

Grade: B
I love the way Mr. Carosi announces Craig Strand’s name in the ATV race. But you would think that someone going to Yale would have a better name. Something like Haydon Southland. Or Brock McVey.

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