Kelly of Arc, junior-prom martyr

I’m as confused as you are, Zack—Kelly should know by now that anyone who wears a white suit with a coral T-shirt and matching pocket square is gay.

Kelly is sitting around in her George-Michael-emblazoned room when Zack and Slater walk in. Zack announces that it’s time for the junior prom, and Kelly must now finally make a decision between the two of them. Well, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. I thought this day would never come. Kelly begins her usual waffling, and Zack and Slater begin their usual bickering. Slater tells Kelly not to settle for a mere boy when she can have a “gladiator.” Um, OK, Russell Crowe. Don’t you mean “Why settle for a mere boy when you can have an incredibly homosexual boy?”

To prove my point, let’s cue the dream sequence. In Kelly’s dream, Screech is wearing a plastic wig (wouldn’t a real wig with gel in it suffice?) and a fake mustache and is going by the name “Geraldo Screech.” Kelly is having a “Hunk-Off” to decide between Zack and Slater. Geraldo Screech asks Jessie and Lisa for their opinions on the whole thing. Lisa thinks it’s great. Jessie thinks it’s “reverse macho piggism.” I think “piggism” isn’t a real word. Also, why are they all talking like Stepford wives? Is this what people do on Geraldo? (I wouldn’t know; we weren’t allowed to watch it. That and Married With Children. And The Simpsons. Basically, I missed out on a good chunk of late-80s/early-90s pop culture.)

Anyway, we’re down to the last round: evening wear. Zack is sporting something navy blue that he picked up at a random yacht club in New England. Slater is wearing a white suit and a coral-colored T-shirt. I wish I were kidding. No one should wear that, unless maybe they’re a flamboyantly gay club owner in South Beach. And even then…no. Kelly must be blind to the complete hideousness of this outfit because she picks Slater as the winner. Fortunately, the non-dream Kelly is a bit more lucid and announces to the entire school the next day that Zack is finally the winner in the ongoing battle for her affections. Zack does a little happy dance.

Who knew Rick Santorum was Kelly’s dad?! It does explain the large family, though…

Back at Chez Kapowski, however, things are a bit less gleeful. Basically, world peace broke out, and Kelly’s dad lost his job. Never mind the fact that when this show aired, the country was at war. We were also in a recession…perhaps you could have blamed the job loss on that, huh, writers? Good one. Kelly’s martyr complex rears its ugly head, and she tells her dad to take back the money he gave her for her prom dress. He protests at first, but she insists, saying she can go to the prom next year. Which is a good point, only she totally doesn’t mean it. She’s brokenhearted about missing her prom. Um, couldn’t she just borrow a dress from someone? Or get one for $10 at the Goodwill? They always seem to have a lovely selection of early-90s prom dresses.

The next day at school, Kelly breaks the news to Lisa and Jessie about the prom. However, Zack is so excited that she can’t work up the courage to tell him. He goes on and on about the limo that he rented with “some of the guys.” Um, what guys? Aren’t the only guys he hangs out with Slater and Screech? Who are these mysterious “guys?” Anyway, Zack tells Kelly that the limo has a CD player and a TV. Ooh, he’s practically P. Diddy.

Nothing brings people together like Zombie Alan Thicke.

Later that night, the entire gang is at the movies on a date with Lisa and Screech. Lisa makes the gang sit between her and Screech as a buffer, but she unwisely puts herself at the end of the line, so all Screech has to do is switch seats. However, when Lisa won’t stop talking (She keeps mistaking the main zombie for Matt Dillon when it’s actually Alan Thicke. Alan Thicke? A zombie?! OK, I can kinda see it.), Screech gets annoyed and dumps her. Meanwhile, when Zack suggests letting Slater and Jessie go in on the whole limo thing, Kelly gets all weird. When Zack asks her what’s wrong, she blurts out, “I can’t go to the prom with you!” and runs out of the theater. Maybe it’s just me, but she totally could have handled that one better.

Once again, Slater wastes no time in putting the moves on Zack once he’s newly single.

The next day, Slater finds Zack in everyone’s favorite moping-about-the-opposite-sex spot: the locker room (which is, coincidentally, also everyone’s favorite dressing-up-like-the-opposite-sex spot). Slater asks Zack what’s wrong and then offers to kiss and make it better. (I am not making that up.) Zack says he’s upset about Kelly dumping him, and she won’t even return his phone calls—she makes her mom tell him she’s washing her hair. Another good move, Kel. Finally, Slater spills the beans about the whole world peace thing and Kelly’s dad getting laid off.

The night of the prom, Kelly, wearing an off-the-shoulder Bayside sweatshirt, is gazing forlornly out her window. Zack walks in and asks her why she didn’t just tell him about her dad. Kelly says she felt bad because he was so excited about the prom. So dumping him without rhyme or reason and making him think you don’t like him anymore is supposed to make him feel better? I don’t get it. Zack asks Kelly to take a walk with him.

Let’s not even discuss Slater’s bolo tie.

Cut to the prom, where Alan (this week’s token chubby extra) is busy licking all the icing off the cake. Eeew. I understand the cake obsession, but dude! Cut yourself a piece. Or five, if you want. Belding walks up, and Alan offers him a finger of icing. Eeew squared. Out on the dance floor, Jessie and Slater are trying to be Patrick Swayze and Cynthia Rhodes and failing miserably. The crowd seems to enjoy it, though. What I’m enjoying is Jessie’s prom dress, which is a turquoise strapless sequined number with a taffeta skirt and a big bow. I know I have seen that dress at the Goodwill. See, Kelly totally could have gotten her dress there!

Pity, party of two, your table is now ready.

Of course, then she wouldn’t have gotten to have her beautiful prom picnic, complete with icing-less cake that Zack has wrestled away from Alan. Once again: Eeew! Fortunately, Zack and Kelly don’t actually eat the cake because they’re too busy gazing in each other’s eyes and having their first kiss and stuff. Wooooo! The moral of the story here, kids, is that sweatshirts are better than sequins and picnics are better than proms. Especially when said proms involve Jessie and Slater trying to “dance.”

Quote of the episode
Zack: “Can we talk?”
Kelly: “Um…I have to go wash my hair.”
Zack: “Because of you, there’s a drought in California.”

Grade: A
This episode is notable for a couple of reasons. First, Kelly finally makes the right decision between Slater and Zack. (How Slater was even an option for that long is beyond me.) And Slater realizes he can never have Zack, so he settles for the next best thing: Jessie, in all her transsexual glory. All that and a zombie movie starring Alan Thicke! What more could you want?

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