Rage before booty

I'll make it easy for you, Kel: Choose the one who <em>isn't</em> wearing pleated, acid-washed jeans.

I’ll make this easy for you, Kel: Choose the one who isn’t wearing pleated, acid-washed jeans.

Zack walks into Bayside wearing Screech’s Arabian Nights costume. But this time they haven’t struck oil; he’s trying to throw girls off his scent until he can determine who Kelly is asking to the “Girls’ Choice” dance. (I guess the name Sadie Hawkins was trademarked or something.) After witnessing Zack and Slater’s veritable pissing contest over her, Kelly seems to enjoy it and therefore decides to put her decision off for a little while longer.

Later in an empty classroom, Zack is plying Lisa with magazines and pumping her for intel. It seems current polling has Zack and Slater tied, with Rodney Carter (“if his face clears up”) as the dark horse. Hmm, if I were Kelly, I think I’d skip the dance altogether rather than have to pick from these less-than-savory choices. Zack attempts to get more info out of Lisa with a bribe of Bon Jovi tickets, but quickly revokes them when that well turns out to be dry.

But all hope is not lost—later at the Max, as Zack and Slater are bragging about how many girls they’ve turned down (so I guess Zack has given up the disguises now?), Lisa waltzes in to let Jessie know that Kelly is in for their slumber party. Slater offers to turn up in his nightie, curlers and pimple cream (of course he does) and is quickly rebuffed, but Zack is not so easily deterred. He tries to get Jessie and Lisa to agree to out Kelly’s secret (i.e., who she’s taking to the dance) post-slumber party, but no dice. He should’ve coughed up the Bon Jovi tickets again—I bet Lisa would’ve gone for it.

Seriously, what is going on here? Is he pretending this thing is Kelly? Doesn't he have cardboard cutouts for that?

Seriously, what is going on here? Is he pretending this thing is Kelly? Doesn’t he have cardboard cutouts for that?

So, onto Plan B: bugging Jessie’s room. Good thing Zack has a 24-hour all-access pass via the tree outside her window. Screech is a bit hesitant about this plan (although it seems to me that the ideal time for hesitation would have been before they snuck into Jessie’s room), but once he’s reminded that he’ll get to hear Lisa’s innermost thoughts, all fears of revoked library cards are immediately quashed. While Zack sits on Jessie’s loveseat stroking a gigantic rag doll (yeah, I don’t know), Screech plants the bug. Unfortunately, Jessie starts up the stairs as he’s putting on the finishing touches, and he gets tossed out the window, while Zack dives under the bed. He acquires a pantyhose hat, but is able to scurry out of the room undetected.

Later that night, Screech and Zack are listening in on the slumber-party conversation, as Lisa and Kelly wax poetic about their love for Michael Jackson and Dennis Quaid, respectively. Dude, seriously? I was like 9 when this came out, so I’m hardly an expert, but there HAD to be hotter guys to choose from in the late ’80s. Anyway, Random Brunette Extra cuts to the chase and asks Kelly who she’s taking to the dance. Kelly muses that “there’s something mysterious about A.C. Slater, but Zack Morris is kind of cute in a playful way.” Why is she using their full names? We all know who she’s talking about. Anyway, Kelly says that if pressed, she’d probably pick Zack. This causes a celebration next door so excessive that the girls are immediately on guard. Zack tries to pass it off as cheering for the Lakers, but Lakers fan extraordinaire Kelly knows there’s not a game that night, and therefore the girls aren’t fooled…especially not when they find the wire for the bug.

Yeah, if Zack heard you just fine when the bug was under the bed, you probably don't all need to put your faces three feet away from it.

Yeah, if Zack heard you just fine when the bug was under the bed, you probably don’t all need to put your faces three feet away from it.

After smothering the microphone under a pillow, Jessie gets up on her soapbox (because apparently we can’t have an episode without Jessie’s soapbox) about privacy violation. Dude, it’s not Big Brother here, it’s Zack freaking Morris. Lisa and Kelly seem to agree—Lisa thinks it’s romantic (I wouldn’t go that far), and Kelly thinks they should get even (that’s more like it). After a quick pow-wow, the girls gather around the microphone and, in the most stagey way possible, reveal their deepest, darkest secrets. After Lisa’s fake tale of shoplifting lipstick is dismissed as boring, Kelly “reveals” that she suffers from attraction-induced rage blackouts. Before she can detail exactly how she dismembers her intended, Jessie cuts the wire, leaving Zack freaking out. He says there’s probably nothing to worry about, but Screech cites Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and gives him a good-bye hug.

The next day at school, Screech has come dressed like Michael Jackson, breathy voice and all. (Opening line: “I’m not like other boys.” Seriously, why is Michael Jackson still Lisa’s dream man? I could maybe see it during the Thriller years, but we were veering into pedophile territory by this point.) Anyway, Lisa tells Screech to get lost, but as he moonwalks away, he’s nabbed by Mr. Belding, who cites him for a dress-code violation. So I guess the Bayside dress code has a no-sequins clause?

I refuse to believe that Zack didn't notice this supremely obvious smirk (to say nothing of all of Jessie's thumbs-ups).

I refuse to believe that Zack didn’t notice this supremely obvious smirk (to say nothing of all of Jessie’s thumbs-ups).

Jessie appears in the hall and, after giving Random Redhead Extra a surreptitious thumbs-up for no discernible reason (since Random Redhead Extra doesn’t appear to be involved in this scheme at all), she intercepts Zack and spins some yarn about how she had to spend the whole weekend taking care of Kelly after the fallout of her latest rage incident. Jessie takes her leave (giving another thumbs-up on the way out to Random Brunette Extra, who also appears to have no role in the scheme, so maybe Jessie just likes to play it fast and loose with the thumbs-ups), and Slater wheels up in a wheelchair, his entire leg in a cast. If I were Zack, I might be suspicious that the cast appears to have been applied over Slater’s pants, but I guess he’s too freaked out at this point to notice. Slater lets it slip that Kelly beat him up, then tells Zack to be careful, because Kelly likes him even more. Slater doesn’t even wait until he’s out of sight to start smirking, but again, Zack’s too freaked out to notice.

Cut to Belding’s office, where Zack is digging through his files to find dirt on Kelly. I’m surprised Belding leaves his door unlocked when he knows Zack Morris is afoot. Anyway, it seems Kelly’s file contains a diploma from the Riverside Home for the Criminally Insane. Ruh-roh! Belding walks in, and instead of sending Zack straight to detention for being in his office unattended, he listens (albeit while laughing hysterically) as Zack begs him to save him from Kelly “The Killer” Kapowski. “It’s like Fatal Attraction—she loves me, and she wants to kill me,” Zack pleads. I think that’s oversimplifying the plot of Fatal Attraction, but whatever. Belding assures Zack that there’s probably nothing to worry about—unless, of course, she’s been institutionalized. Dun, dun, dun. Wait, so is Belding in on this, too?

There are many frightening things about this picture.

There are many frightening things about this picture.

Later, in health class, Zack is distracted from today’s lesson of “The Colon: Your Friend for Life” by a note from Kelly, telling him that he can run but he can’t hide. (Zack also doesn’t seem to notice Lisa openly smirking at him from the next seat, like seriously, could the gang be any less subtle about this? Geez.) As the bell rings, Lisa distracts him by shoving his books and papers off the desk, and soon, the only ones in the room are Zack, his wad of pink notebook paper (really?), Kelly and a Louisville slugger. Zack nervously backs away from Kelly, although I can’t tell if he’s more scared of the bat or her high-waisted plaid Hammer pants and raging split ends. She chases Zack around the room with the bat, declaring her love for him, but he manages to evade her. As soon as she gets one of her telltale headaches, he begs out of the dance and books it out of the room.

At the dance, we see that upon rebuffing Kelly, Zack has accepted a date with Rhonda, the shot-put record-holder who’s been stalking him for most of the episode. By the way she’s whipping him around the dance floor, it seems to me that Rhonda could do a lot more damage than Kelly “The Killer,” but I guess Zack’s willing to take his chances. Kelly arrives with Slater, whose cast is now over a different pair of pants, which I’d think would be an immediate tip-off, but it’s not until Kelly pulls out the bug and comes clean that Zack realizes he’s been had. Speaking of being had, it seems Rhonda’s not quite done with him yet—she grabs him and plants a forceful good-night kiss on him. Hmm, I sense she has a future with the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

Quote of the episode
Zack: “Mr. Belding, my life is being threatened by one of your students.”
Belding: “Just one? You’re losing your touch.”

Grade: A-
Not that I don’t enjoy it when the tables are turned on Zack, but the gang has a few things to learn about running a proper scam. How Zack didn’t pick up on their open smirking and needless “secret” signals is beyond me.

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