It’s raining men (in drag)

Really? This is their freshman science-class project?

Slater and Jessie are at the Max working on their science project, which is a good ol’ baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano. Man, I love the science projects on this show! They’re either completely implausible or something I did when I was very small and playing in my sandbox. Slater inadvertently pours too much vinegar in the volcano, causing it to erupt a little too much, and Jessie chases him out of the Max, yelling about how hard it is to get lava stains out of clothes. Dude, it’s not real lava. No wonder they’re all taking Incredibly Remedial Science for Four-Year-Olds.

Screech wanders in with an entry in the completely implausible category—a huge pile of wires attached to some old-time photo flashbulbs, which he has given an incredibly long name consisting of about four vaguely scientific suffixes strung together. For our purposes, let’s call it a transmogrifier. But instead of changing the cartoonal Calvin into worms or clones or what have you, Screech’s transmogrifier does something much more useless. (I’m not sure what–you try making sense of completely implausible science projects first thing in the morning.)

Behold, the bolero jacket of Screech’s dreams.

Screech soon forgets the transmogrifier when Lisa walks into the Max. I don’t blame him—she looks quite fetching in a black acid-washed miniskirt, white turtleneck, black bolero jacket and Boy George hat. (The sad thing is, I used to try to dress like that.) They do the whole running-across-the-meadow-to-embrace thing until we see that Lisa’s actually running to embrace some random guy we’ve never seen before who ends up chewing her gum (which is especially strange when you consider we never see them kiss).

Dejected, Screech tells Zack he can no longer concentrate on the transmogrifier because he’s obsessed with the fact that girls (especially Lisa) don’t like him. Apparently forgetting that we already covered this whole plot line during the Miss Bliss season, Zack sets off to find Screech a woman. First target: Man-o Spano. At first, Jessie is receptive to the idea of going out with someone others find repulsive, likening it to Beauty and the Beast. But once she finds out the “Beast” is Screech, she turns Zack down flat. Desperate, Zack has only one place to turn: his giant cell phone.

From the men’s room, Zack calls Screech on the hallway pay phone, pretending to be a Southern lass named Bambi. However, Zack soon learns that the men’s room is not the best place to pretend to be a girl, as Belding happens to be in the stall and mistakenly thinks Bambi is hitting on him. (I should mention that Belding took a newspaper into the stall with him, so I’m a little surprised Zack wasn’t immediately alerted to his presence.) Anyway, Slater walks in in the midst of Belding’s conversation with Bambi and shamelessly eavesdrops. Hilarity ensues, naturally.

I…just can’t. Also, since when does Belding smoke a pipe? Or wear a cardigan?? Is he going all Sigmund Freud on us in this scene?

The next day, Screech is bragging to all of the girls about Bambi—until it dawns on him that he’s never met her face-to-face. He then becomes obsessed with the idea of meeting her, and when Zack tells him it’s impossible, he goes into the hall and handcuffs himself to his locker. OK, 1) Did he just have a set of handcuffs lying around at school? and 2) Geez, Screech, you’ve only talked to the girl once! What are you, a contestant on The Bachelor??

In Belding’s office, Belding is trying to get Screech to un-handcuff himself from the locker. That’s right—Screech is still handcuffed to the locker, and his locker and the adjoining one have been moved into Belding’s office. During his conversation with Screech, it becomes abundantly clear that Screech will not un-handcuff himself until Zack agrees to let him meet Bambi, so Belding keeps paging his mysterious secretary “Jenny” to call maintenance. First of all, who the hell is this “Jenny” character? And second of all, I would think that if Belding and Screech managed to physically remove two lockers from an entire row of lockers and transport them into Belding’s office, they could surely pick the lock on some handcuffs. Finally, Belding calls Zack into his office and threatens his life if Zack doesn’t produce Bambi the next afternoon at the Max.

Zack in drag…or my grandmother? It’s sometimes hard to tell.

So Zack calls for reinforcements, namely Lisa…and Jessie. Lisa makes up some convoluted story about why Jessie’s tagging along that involves a color wheel (why Lisa even has a color wheel, and why she would need one in order to dress Zack as a woman, is beyond me), but we all know the real reason why Jessie’s there—if you’re going to dress in drag, you might as well get the advice of a pro.

Although Jessie has done a fine job turning herself into a woman, her efforts on Zack leave a little to be desired. “Bambi” sort of reminds me of my grandmother. I think it’s the huge tinted glasses. However, Screech seems to think she’s quite a catch—as does Slater, who doesn’t waste any time giving her the once-over. After Bambi admonishes him for being “fresh,” Slater catches on to her true identity and once again gives Zack the once-over, along with a “Nice legs!” Hmm. Screech insists on introducing Bambi to the gang. Jessie and Lisa can barely contain their mirth. Kelly is completely daft and can’t recognize Zack under a teased wig and tinted glasses. Slater cops a feel, and no one seems to notice that but me.

I give you Exhibit A.

Finally, Bambi realizes that things are getting too serious when Screech puckers up for a kiss, so she gives him a bunch of insane Nazi dating rules and gets him to break up with her. As Screech leaves the Max brokenhearted but with the knowledge that at least one woman likes him (even if it is Zack in drag), Jessie commends Zack for his efforts on Screech’s behalf. Slater, on the other hand, tries to get his digits.

Quote of the episode

“I understand. Actors, rock stars, principals…we excite people.” —Mr. Belding, to “Bambi”

Grade: B

I’m not usually a fan of episodes featuring Angry Screech (I much prefer Happy-Go-Lucky-and-Kind-of-Stupid Screech), but this one was worth it just to see Slater get to second base with Zack.

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