All we are saying is give chocolate-covered grasshoppers a chance

Grahamdhi, you look awfully self-righteous for someone wearing those pants.

The gang, except Kelly and Slater for some reason (possibly because they’re not relevant to the plot yet), is gathered for a student-council meeting, at the start of which Zack appears to be trying to shove some random nerd out of the door. We soon find out that this is because of his disdain for the nerds’ (actually, four nerds, two dorks, and a dweeb) petition for a day of mourning on account of the cancellation of Gilligan’s Island.

When the nerds’ motion fails to pass, heretofore-unseen extra Graham (or, as I shall call him from now on, Grahamdhi), jumps up and starts yelling about plastic foam cups. Let me just say at the outset that I don’t find Graham entirely unattractive. But he’d be a lot easier to take if he didn’t seem so pretentious. And if he didn’t yell every single thing he says in an attempt to convey “passion.” And if he weren’t wearing pants in that particular shade of burnt sienna.

Anyway, no one wants to talk about plastic foam. They want to talk about Cut Day, which is, according to Zack, the only reason he goes to school. Word. Unfortunately for Zack, he’s already taken nine personal Cut Days this year, and, as Belding kindly points out, if he has one more unexcused absence, he’ll get suspended. I would say that was harsh, but at my high school, if you had, like, two absences (even if they were excused), they practically kicked you out of school. Anyway, this threat from Belding doesn’t stop Zack from making a $100 bet with Slater that he’ll be able to cut anyway. Kind of like the fact that Zack is a heterosexual doesn’t stop Slater from caressing Zack’s face with his hand.

Now that’s true love.

The next day in class, the only students there are Jessie and Grahamdhi, who are there for the big plastic-foam protest, and Zack, who is there to escape Belding’s wrath. Once Belding has verified Zack’s precise geocoordinates inside the hallowed halls of Bayside, and once Grahamdhi has yelled a little about female world leaders (nearly causing Jessie to jump him right there in class), Franklin—otherwise known as the “dweeb” on the Gilligan’s Island Mourning Day Petition—comes in with some bogus story about how Zack owes $86 in overdue library books and must report to the library immediately. Right. Are we really supposed to believe that uber-slacker Zack Morris has ever been in the library, let alone enough times to rack up such a hefty fine? I certainly don’t, but Random Teacher We’ve Never Seen Before and Will Never See Again apparently does. As does Jessie, which…isn’t she supposed to be smart? Whatever.

Over at the Max, the usual booths have been removed and replaced with one of those games where the animals pop out and you whack them with a foam mallet (foam! Where’s Grahamdhi when you need him?), as well as a bumper pool table. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like a lot of trouble to go to just for Cut Day. And especially when you consider that the only purpose of it (well, the pool table, at least) is so Slater can put the moves on Kelly. Hmmm. I suspect he’s only using her to get to Zack. And it works—here’s Zack now, ready to collect on his bet before he rushes back to class! Slater puts the brakes on this plan, however, when he says that Zack can only get the money if he shows up everywhere they go. Since when does Slater get to make up all the rules of the bet? That hardly seems fair.

Yellow paint for yellow posterboard—good call, genius.

Zack hurries back to Bayside just in time to escape the Wrath of Belding. Jessie still has not caught on to the whole library scheme, so Zack fills her in. Yet another random teacher (seriously, where were Mr. Dewey and Mr. Tuttle?) says that since no one’s in class, they can have a free period. So what was the point of Zack coming to school, then, since he’s obviously not going to learn anything? Whatever. Jessie and Grahamdhi decide to use their free time to make posters for the plastic-foam protest. I would like to point out that Graham’s poster-making supplies include a yellow can of paint to go on his yellow posterboard. Good one, Einstein. Jessie is excited about her super-catchy protest slogan: “Plastic foam: The choice of idiots.” Yeah, that might be the worst protest slogan I’ve ever heard. That’s not catchy at all. Talk about idiots. These two are supposed to be the intellectuals of Bayside? Lord help us all.

However, even though Zack has stolen their can of red paint to paint Mr. Belding’s car into a fire zone, they manage to still make signs with red letters on them, so maybe I should give them credit (for being able to perform magic, if nothing else). Plus, they now have much catchier slogans, like “Go home, plastic foam,” which still isn’t great (does plastic foam have a home?), but it’s better than the one Jessie suggested. Meanwhile, Zack tracks the rest of the gang to the theater, where Kelly and Slater are getting cuddly to a zombie flick (which may or may not star Alan Thicke), and Screech is offering Lisa some of his chocolate-covered grasshoppers imported from Afghanistan. Afghanistan? I certainly hope Screech isn’t supporting international terrorism with these chocolate-covered bugs.

Lamest. Protest. Ever.

Zack arrives back at Bayside just as Jessie and Grahamdhi are gearing up to protest the big plastic foam delivery. When he runs smack into Belding in the hallway, he pretends to be part of the plastic-foam protest, yelling along with Jessie and Grahamdhi at the delivery man, who is carrying what is quite possibly the smallest box of plastic foam cups I have ever seen. Seriously, there can’t be more than like 100 cups in there, so even if the protest had been successful, it’s not like it would have made that much of an impact. Not that that matters, because Belding shuts down the protest in about two seconds, telling them that they’ll all get detention if they don’t move aside. Apparently Jessie and Grahamdhi have never heard of civil disobedience, because they quickly acquiesce. They are the worst protesters EVER.

Meanwhile, over at the fakest beach ever, Kelly and Slater are getting down in the sand. Ew, not like that. They’re dancing, because that’s what people do at a beach. They dance. Yeah. As Slater continues to hit on Kelly by rubbing suntan lotion on her back, Zack shows up in a blue jumpsuit, explaining that Ernie the custodian is wearing a blond wig and taking his French test. I’m not sure I’d trust my French grade to the school janitor, but it’s Zack, so it’s not like his grades can get any worse. Anyway, Slater goes to get some sodas, and Kelly confesses to Zack that she kinda has the hots for Slater. OK, I assume that this episode occurs after Zack and Kelly have broken up (since Zack didn’t fly into one of his trademark jealous rages upon seeing her with Slater), but still, isn’t it a bit odd for him to be giving her advice about her love life? Especially when said love life involves his best friend/homosexual love interest?

Back at Bayside, Zack’s last task of the day is sneaking out of Mrs. Culpepper’s class, which doesn’t seem to present much of a challenge, as Mrs. Culpepper appears to be blind, even with her Coke-bottle glasses. Of course, things get a bit trickier when Mr. Belding comes in and announces that he’s just received a telegram that Mrs. Culpepper has won $2 million in the lottery, and Mrs. Culpepper is all like, “Screw this lousy job!” and runs out of the room. Uh, since when are lottery winners notified via telegram? Furthermore, who even sends telegrams anymore, other than the characters on Saved by the Bell? At any rate, Belding says he’ll be taking over the class and dismisses everyone but Zack.

When a weary Belding reveals that he hasn’t eaten lunch, Zack offers him one of Screech’s chocolate-covered grasshoppers. Once Belding is safely ensconced in one of the men’s room stalls, puking his guts out, Zack makes for the exit. However, he runs into Jessie and Grahamdhi, who are headed for the Max. When Zack points out that they’re supposed to be saving the world, Jessie’s all, “Yeah, well we tried, and now we’re taking the rest of the day off.” See? Worst protesters ever. As Zack is trying to prevent Jessie and Grahamdhi from colliding with Kelly and Slater, Belding emerges from the bathroom. Zack explains that he was just concerned about Belding’s welfare and offers him a caramel caterpillar. OK, where did he get those? Is Zack part of this terrorist-supporting candy ring, too?

Caught in the act…of laughing.

Somehow, Zack manages to make it to the Max before Jessie and Grahamdhi (perhaps they stopped along the way to weakly protest something), but not in time to keep Slater from seeing them…laughing together. This doesn’t exactly look incriminating to me, but apparently it’s enough for Slater to initiate The Talk about how they need to see other people. After a vague freak-out from Jessie about Slater’s equally chaste interaction with Kelly, they announce to the gang that they’ve decided to see other people. One would assume that this would mean they would start dating the people who caused their break-up, but no, Grahamdhi and his burnt-sienna pants are on their way to the SBTB Bermuda Triangle. And as for Kelly? I told you Slater was just using her to get to Zack.

Quote of the episode:
Belding: “Good morning, Zack.”
Zack: “That’s easy for you to say, sir; they pay you to be here.”

Grade: A-
A classic episode, yes, but I have to deduct a few points for the fashion violation that is Grahamdhi’s burnt-sienna pants. (Didn’t he know neon colors were in during the early ’90s?) To say nothing of the points that are automatically deducted anytime Slater tries to hit on someone (other than Zack).

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