Summer dreams, ripped at the seams

Seriously, Big L, have you been living under a rock? How could you not have known about this?!

Everyone is gathered on the deck of the Malibu Sands Beach Club for a special announcement from Leon “The Poor Man’s Danny DeVito” Carosi. Kelly thinks it might be that they’re getting a raise. Considering that they only have a couple more days at the beach club, I’m sure a raise would really help out in Kelly’s efforts to support her humongous family. However, Mr. Carosi just wants to announce the end-of-the-season luau and sand sculpture contest. He also wants to let them know that they have to give 10 percent of their end-of-season tips to him. That is, until Stacey gets all schmoopy with him and he totally drops that rule. Which is just as well because it’s probably illegal anyway.

Later, in the employee lounge, Stacey storms in and starts yelling at Zack about selling some woman mayonnaise sunscreen so she would get attacked by seagulls. Wouldn’t she realize it was mayonnaise and not sunscreen when she started slathering it on? It doesn’t matter because it didn’t actually happen. Stacey just made it up so the other employees would leave the lounge and she and Zack could make out. (SBTB studio audience: “Wooooooo!”) Unfortunately, Big Leon chooses this moment to storm into the lounge, where he catches Zack and Stacey making out and totally flips. OK, how could he not have known they were together?? I got the impression that their relationship was pretty serious. She even dumped her Ivy League boyfriend Crrrrrraig STRAND! for him. So how is Big L in the dark about this? Whatever. He’s not in the dark now, and he orders Zack to stay away from Stacey.

Meanwhile, at the beach, Kelly and Slater are talking about how bored they are because no one’s drowning. Thank God. If I were drowning, Kelly and Slater are the last two people I would want to rescue me. Besides Zack and Jessie, that is. And Lisa and Screech. And Pam Anderson and David Hasselhoff. OK, so I guess Kelly and Slater are the first two people I would want to rescue me. Anyway, an old woman comes up to the lifeguard stand and asks Slater to flex for her. Kelly makes him do it, reminding him of the end-of-the-year tips. So if Slater is selling his body for money and was going to be forced to give 10 percent to Mr. Carosi, would that have made Mr. Carosi Slater’s pimp? It’s best not to think about it.

As soon as Mrs. Robinson (no, that’s actually her name) leaves, a kid named Billy runs up and yells that there’s a fight at the snack stand. Slater runs to break it up because obviously that’s too tough of a job for whoever is employed by the snack stand. Actually, there is no fight, eleven-year-old Billy just wanted to hit on Kelly. Perhaps he should join Mrs. Robinson at the next meeting of Age-Inappropriate Lifeguard Scopers Anonymous.

Back at the beach club, Jessie shows Zack and Stacey the ingenious idea she’s come up with for the sand sculpture contest: a sand castle. There’s a reason she’s the valedictorian, folks! Stacey then suggests they get all the members to band together and build one huge castle. An even better idea, considering this is supposed to be a contest and if they all join together they’ll have no one to compete with other than time and the elements! Zack and Stacey sit down to discuss this mind-bending project, when who should walk up but Big Leon. He again goes ballistic when he sees them together, prompting Stacey to invite herself to move in to the girls’ beach house so she can continue seeing Zack.

Jessie’s brilliant sand castle plans come to fruition as the entire beach club (meaning the gang and about three extras) rallies to build a not-that-complicated sand castle. Zack and Stacey have claimed that they came up with the idea and have totally taken over the project. Big Leon walks up and totally disses it. I’m with you, Big L. Billy stops by to ask Kelly to his Little League banquet, but she turns him down on the grounds that he’s “just a little kid.” Billy doesn’t do much to prove her wrong when he runs away in tears. Jessie comforts Kelly by saying he’ll get over it…after years of therapy, that is. Yeah, you’re one to talk, Spano.

You know, between this and buttering bread in the beach club kitchen, Zack has taken Stacey on some really lame dates this summer.

Later, on that very same beach, Zack and Stacey are parked in Stacey’s Jeep. Is it just me, or are you not supposed to drive on the beach? I guess you can when your father owns the beach club. Anyway, Zack tries to woo Stacey by slow-dancing with her to some cheesy SBTB Muzak. However, Stacey’s mind is with Big Leon. Zack then realizes he’s going to have to get Big L and Stace back together stat if he wants to get some action before the summer is over.

Cut to that fine dining establishment, the Malibu Sands Restaurant, where Zack is executing his latest scheme. Screech is keeping Big L occupied in the kitchen (where he’s inspecting some meat and potatoes, the purpose of which is unclear since Zack seems to have cleared out all the actual dining patrons so he can work his magic). Anyway, Big L and Stacey both get up on some risers Zack has set up for a staff picture. Zack then rearranges everyone in a way that is totally not obvious so that Stacey and Big L are standing next to each other. Then, in a way that is even more not obvious, the staff vacates the picture, leaving just Stacey and Big Leon standing there. Somehow, this gets them to make up, even though the last few times they were standing within two feet of each other, all they did was fight.

Time for the sand castle contest! Oh, except it’s not a contest. And the castle doesn’t really appear to be made out of sand; rather, it looks like sand-covered particle board. Anyway, just as the guests are oohing and aahing over all of the features of the particle-board castle, someone screams from the ocean. Oh, no, a girl is drowing 10 feet from the shore! Actually, it’s not just a girl, it’s Denise Richards. Only Denise Richards would be dumb enough to drown 10 feet from the shore. OK, so she’s not really drowning. She cooked up this whole drowning thing as an excuse to talk to Slater. Hey forget that Billy kid—she’s the next Zack Morris! Slater agrees to finish rescuing her, even though they’ve just spent five minutes standing around talking in knee-deep water and everyone probably knows by now that she wasn’t really drowning. Then again, they could have been too mesmerized by the particle-board castle to notice.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future Mrs. Charlie Sheen.

Everyone’s partying down at the end-of-season luau. Slater introduces Denise to everyone and tells them she’ll be going to Bayside next year. That’s interesting, considering we never see her again. Kelly spies Billy sitting in the sand and goes over to give him the can-we-just-be-friends line. He asks if he can call her when he’s 17, to which she replies, “You’d better.” Right, because then she’d be 23 and that would be totally OK, except for the fact that it’s illegal in most states.

Elsewhere, Big Leon and Zack make their peace with one another, as Big L gives Zack a wad of cash (“for all those breakfasts I stiffed you on”—why does he even have to pay for breakfast in his own club??) and Zack gives Big L a big ol’ bear hug. Now it’s time for Zack to say good-bye to Stacey (sniffle, sniffle). They promise to visit each other on holidays and write every day. As Stacey walks off, Zack looks into the distance and contemplates the lies he just told her, because he knows full well that this will be the last time Stacey Carosi will ever be mentioned on this show, save the clip show they do to kick off the next season because the writers don’t know how to handle the fact that Elizabeth Berkley and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen have left SBTB.

Who needs Stacey Carosi and Denise Richards when they’ve got each other? (Also, why does Zack look like he went on a bender after the luau?)

The next day, Zack is sitting on the beach, still in his denim shirt, blue jeans, yellow tie and glaringly white Air Jordans. His friends come and scrape his sorry ass off the sand, and they walk down the beach, Slater with his arm around Zack. Ah, how quickly one forgets Denise Richards.

Quote of the episode
“Whoa, it’s a chick! Kelly, I’ve got this one.” —Slater, on the drowning victim

Grade: B-
With the schmoopy scenes between Zack and Stacey, Stacey and Mr. Carosi, and Mr. Carosi and Zack, this episode is just a little, well, schmoopy for me. But the pre-Wild Things (not to mention pre-eyebrow-maintenance) Denise Richards guest spot redeems the schmoop factor somewhat.

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