How to lose a job in two days

That's a whole lotta neon first thing in the morning.

We open with various shots of people in full early-’90s beachwear frolicking in the sand. You know, if I didn’t know any better, I would swear this is that season of 90210 where Brandon works at the beach club and Brenda and Donna go off to Paris, where Brenda pretends to be French to impress Dean Cain and Donna eats brains and is a really heinous fashion model, and Kelly and Dylan totally hook up in her mom’s cabana. My absolute favorite 90210 episode of all time is from that season–the one where Kelly and Dylan hook up for the first time, and where Andrea finally tells Brandon off for stringing her along, which makes him kiss her. Oh, Andrea and Brandon. They were one of my favorite 90210 love stories. Well, except for that time she offered to have sex with him at The Peach Pit. That was just uncomfortable for all parties involved, and I don’t just mean Andrea and Brandon…

Oops. Wrong early-’90s show. Where was I again? Oh, yeah. A Zack Voice Over reminds us that we’re not on the beach season of 90210, but rather the beach season of Saved by the Bell. Now with 50 percent fewer production values! Anyway, Zack daydreams that his summer working at the Malibu Sands beach club will mean “fun in the sun, gorgeous girls and cash in [his] pocket.” However, Leon “The Poor Man’s Danny DeVito” Carosi has other ideas, namely that Zack’s summer won’t involve any of these things. Even the cash in the pocket part? What are these, like unpaid internships? God, I hope not.

Anyway, Zack cracks wise, as per usual, causing Big L to single him out of the group. Zack introduces himself as “your new head waiter.” Uh, based on what qualifications? I guess it doesn’t matter, because Big L again has other plans for Zack. He switches him over to the job of “social director,” which involves responding to the members’ every whim. Not to get all Brandon Walsh here again, but it sounds to me like that job title should be more like “cabana boy.” But I’m not running the beach club here, so whatever. Big L moves on to Kelly, the one person who is actually qualified to be part of the wait staff, but is instead a lifeguard, ostensibly because she’s the girl who looks best in a bathing suit. (I feel that anyone who’s seen Showgirls might beg to differ.) Anyway, when Big L expresses concern that Kelly is too small (presumably in the chest area) to be a Baywatch Babe, Jessie, to the surprise of exactly no one, starts yapping about discrimination. Big L notes her inability to shut up and says she’ll make a fine receptionist. What the hell is going on here, exactly? Why are they being told their jobs on the first day of work? Didn’t they apply and interview for specific positions? And furthermore, why are they just now meeting Big L? Wouldn’t he have been the one to interview them? My head hurts.

Said headache not helped at all by the blinding neon bathing suits of the two beach bunnies that Zack is slathering with sunscreen. Elsewhere, Screech is being a bit too much of a perfectionist in his new job as a waiter, the fact that he appears to be waiting tables on the beach notwithstanding. Up at the club, Big L is giving Jessie some pointers on how to properly answer the phone until he discovers an ass that needs kissing. He scurries off, giving the gang a chance to congregate around the desk and plan Zack’s surprise party. They’ll be having it at Lisa’s parents’ beach house, where Kelly and Jessie are also staying, presumably parent-free, for the summer. Like, how the hell did they get away with that? Are we sure this isn’t 90210? Because that seems like the only show where the parents (save the Walshes, of course) are checked out enough to let that happen.

Stacey = awesome.

The birthday planning comes to an end when Zack walks up to the desk to bitch about his job. Dude, you haven’t even finished the first day, and all we’ve seen you do up to this point is slather sunscreen on some neon-clad girls, so I’m not sure what the problem is here. Zack’s mood lifts, however, when an as-yet-unidentified Stacey Carosi walks past the desk. She’s wearing a ruffly skirt and an oversized blazer, which I guess must be the New York version of the Hot Girl Uniform. Anyway, she tells Zack that she’s looking for someone, to which he spouts out some drivel about how we’re all looking for someone. Stacey responds drily, “How profound.” Oh, Stacey. I love you. Anyway, she tells Zack she’s looking for Big L, and he asks why she wants to see that jerk. Which is probably not the best thing to say to a complete stranger whose relationship to the person in question is unfamiliar to you. Don’t believe me? Witness Exhibit A: “That jerk’s my father,” says Stacey, not a little smugly. Zack tries to cover his ass, but it’s way too late. Did I mention that I love Stacey?

The next day, Big L gathers the staff for another meeting and introduces them to Stacey, who will be their boss. I would ask what qualifications Stacey, who is presumably the same age as the rest of the gang, has to be in charge of them, but we’ve already established that qualifications are totally arbitrary here at the Malibu Sands Beach Club. She goes all drill sergeant on them, particularly on Zack, who cannot seem to make it through a staff meeting without indulging in a wisecrack. Not a great strategy, that, for someone who wants to keep his job.

And who wouldn’t want to keep this job, the entire purpose of which seems to be to frolic with girls in neon bathing suits? This time he’s playing volleyball with them, and putting some very Patrick Swayze-esque moves on the one in the most neon suit. Seriously, maybe it’s just the reception on my TV, but this girl’s bathing suit is so bright that it’s actually creating a ring of light around her posterior. Short of pulling a J.Lo and taking out a million-dollar insurance policy on it, that seems like a pretty good way to call attention to your ass. Stacey happens to walk up in the middle of Zack’s seduction, and we find out that, in fact, frolicking with the neon-clad beach bunnies is not part of his job description. Well, I could see how he could get confused if they insist on calling him “social director.” Cabana boy, I tell you! Cabana boy!

Jessie, meanwhile, is up at the desk, trying to order Zack’s birthday cake. Nothing like using the company phone to make personal calls on your second day of work. She’s interrupted first by Big L and then by Zack, who’s coming to the desk to (surprise, surprise) bitch about his job again. When he sees Screech walking past with a fat wad of cash he’s made in the dining room, however, Zack begins to cook up one of his grand moneymaking schemes. Oh, this should be good.

This is just wrong on so many levels.

And indeed it is: Cut to Screech on the beach, wearing a hot dog costume and touting wieners at half the price of the Sand Cafe. Sadly, there is no cute girl dressed as a giant Pepsi for him to fall in love with; there is only Zack, peddling hot dogs on the beach while still wearing his Malibu Sands uniform, I might add, which is so many levels of inappropriate that I just don’t know where to start. Big L walks up and quite rightly asks Zack just what the hell he thinks he’s doing. Zack points out that the Malibu Sands property line ends approximately two inches from where he’s parked his cart, so he’s well within his rights to sell hot dogs. Yeah, except that he shouldn’t be doing it in his uniform. And furthermore, I’d imagine that, even though it is a public beach, he has to have some sort of permit or license to have that cart, which I doubt he’s been able to procure, although I am rather impressed with his ability to find a stocked hot dog cart and hot dog costume on such short notice. Anyway, instead of firing him on the spot and getting the zoning commission (or whomever is in charge that sort of thing) to regulate on his impertinent, hot-dog-selling ass, Big L lets Zack blackmail him into giving him his old job as a waiter back. Blackmailing your boss: another good thing to do on your second day of work.

Happily ensconced in the dining room, Zack immediately sets to work flirting with all the female customers. However, his charms are lost on Stacey, who tells him to quit being such a playa and tuck in his shirt. Which is a shame, because I am actually finding him really attractive with the untucked shirt. I think I need to get out more. Anyway, Zack reminds Stacey that employees are not allowed to eat in the dining room, and she pulls the nepotism card, bratting that “That rule doesn’t apply to the boss’s daughter.” And this is where I begin to fall a little out of love with Stacey, because she really didn’t have to go there. She could have just as easily said, “That rule doesn’t apply to managers.” And on top of that, she continues to be unnecessarily rude to Zack, who actually doesn’t deserve it this time. (Then again, maybe I am just mesmerized by his hotness in the untucked shirt.) Eventually, Zack’s had enough and tells Stacey to find another waiter, flinging his order pad at her as he stomps off. Again, this is not a good thing to do on your second day of work (or at all, really, if you’re a waiter and want to keep your job), but I can kind of see his point this time.

Kelly, Slater and Lisa are hanging out in the employee lounge (hey, why does Lisa get to hang out in the employee lounge? She’s not an employee) when Zack fumes in, fresh from his confrontation with Stacey. She walks in moments later and orders the others to leave. Although, sadly, this time it’s not so they can make out. It’s so they can yell at each other again, some more, because apparently they haven’t done that enough. Zack takes the opportunity to get his digs in, calling her on the nepotism (word) and saying she’s too busy being an East Coast snob to get to know any of them. He concludes by saying that she doesn’t belong in the employee lounge, since it’s for real employees. (So again, what the hell was Lisa doing in there?) The SBTB studio audience gets in some nice “Oooh”s, and you can actually hear this one guy say very clearly, “Busted!” Every time I have seen this episode, I’ve always thought how cool it would be to be the guy in the SBTB studio audience who said “Busted!” Like, do you think he went home and watched this episode with his friends and then was like, “That’s me! I’m the one who said ‘Busted!'” Because that’s totally what I would have done.

Elsewhere, in the land where Zack and Stacey aren’t fighting and some other people are trying to plan a surprise party for Zack, Lisa has apparently forgotten to OK the use of the beach house for Zack’s party with her parents, and they’re planning on throwing a party of their own on the same night. So Slater comes up with the brilliant idea of sneaking into the club after hours and holding it there, which is (you guessed it!) yet another thing you don’t want to do on your second day of work. Seriously, why couldn’t they just have it on the beach? Whatever.

Busted!

Slater lures Zack and Screech (who, being unable to keep a secret, has not been informed about the party, either) to the club under the pretense of meeting some hot babes. But when they get there, the big surprise party is unveiled, and everyone commences with some really goofy dancing (particularly Slater, although that should come as no surprise). Just as Zack is blowing out the candles on his cake (which reads “Happy Wrong Number by the Sea,” thanks to Jessie the uber-receptionist), Big L marches in and puts a stop to the festivities. Busted! (That’s not really the same, is it?) He tells them they’re all fired, like seriously, it’s about damn time! But oh no, here comes Stacey to save all their asses by telling her dad she’d given them permission to use the dining room but just had forgotten to mention it to him. If I were Big L, I would’ve let the firing stand, given what completely sucky employees they all are, but he just says good-night and heads back to bed. After telling them they’d better have the place spotless again by morning (a request which causes Lisa to look incredibly put upon, like what is her deal? It’s not like she even works there, although sometimes I’m not sure she remembers that), Stacey also takes her leave. Zack stops her, but instead of inviting her to stay like any normal, non-rude person would do, he simply suggests that she buy him a surfboard as a birthday present. Instead of saying something along the lines of, “Dream on, loser!”, which is totally what the Stacey Carosi of 10 minutes ago would have said, she just smiles coyly at him. Oh, Stacey’s spine. We hardly knew ye.

Quote of the episode
“Zack, you’ve got to help me get out of this suit! There’s a herd of fat kids trying to barbecue me!” –Screech, as a hot dog

Grade: B-
Although it’s infuriating, it really doesn’t surprise me how hard the gang (particularly Zack) sucks at anything involving the least bit of responsibility. At least Stacey is entertaining for a while, until she becomes a total bitch and then a total pushover.

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