Is that an oil derrick in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
The gang is studying something in science class that requires them to go to a pond, capture some hapless wild creatures and then trap them in an aquarium in their science class. Why they couldn't just study these animals in their natural habitat is beyond me, since apparently the pond is located quite close to Bayside High. Why they are even doing such a sixth-grade science-class exercise in 11th grade is even more beyond me. But whatever.
Each member of the gang gets their very own animal. None of the random extras get their own animals, of course. Lisa gets a turtle. How clever. Screech and Jessie get frogs. Slater gets a salamander, but strangely, this does not trigger any painful memories of the sad time when his chameleon, Artie, passed away. Kelly gets a crawfish because apparently we're going for alliteration now. Zack gets a duck, who we later learn is named Becky and happens to be intimately acquainted with Mr. Belding. Hmmm. Wonder if Mrs. Belding knows about this.
The gang is hanging out with Becky at the Max (Whoa! Health-code violation!) when Slater comes in covered in oil because they hit a pipeline when drilling for a new goal post at the football field. The gang starts to imagine what it would be like if they struck oil and were suddenly rich. Lisa would get the mall to come to her, which means when she rings a bell, a couple of random girls wearing ugly early-90s dresses will come in and Slater will flirt with them. Kelly would be "the richest waitress in the world" because she is apparently too stupid to realize that once you become rich, you no longer have to be a waitress. Jessie would actually be effective in her attempts to save the world. For some inexplicable reason, Screech would suddenly become Arabian.
Screech jolts them out of their fantasy by announcing that they really did strike oil. As usual, Jessie is the only one who cares about what impact this has on the environment. In what could conceivably be viewed as a predictor for Elizabeth Berkley's future career moves, she decides to chain herself to an oil derrick in protest. She convinces Kelly and a semi-random nerd (Franklin) to join her. Franklin reveals that he just wanted to be chained to the student body president and head cheerleader. I'm not sure what Kelly's motivations were. Perhaps Jessie threatened to force-feed her caffiene pills. At any rate, Belding and the other kids refuse to heed their protest.
Of course, everything changes when there is an oil spill and the animals at the pond are threatened! Zack valiantly tries to save Becky by wiping her off with his standard-issue Bayside sweatshirt, but this is surprisingly ineffective. Enraged, Zack and the others confront Mr. Belding, who seems to have forgotten all about his torrid affair with Becky and tells them there's little he can do.
Later, there is an assembly with the school board so that a man wearing a string tie who looks a little like Chris Noth (It's not him; I checked) can tell them all about their pretty new school. Zack interrupts him to give an impassioned presentation about why they don't want the new school. He complains that the new school will take away the oak trees where they used to have class when it was hot, and it is at this point I have to wonder just what the heck he is talking about. Oak trees? I mean, they never even go outside, due to the low-budget nature of SBTB set design! So are they really going to miss these "oak trees" that much? Zack then pulls several miniature oil derricks out of his pocket and begins setting them up on the model as the audience gasps. I assume this is because, like me, they are amazed that Zack just happens to be carrying around miniature oil derricks in his pocket. Seriously, where are these kids getting these fake oil derricks in various shapes and sizes? Is there some sort of store? Anyway, Zack squirts some oil on Chris Noth (I can only assume he also got his oil can at the Oil Derrick Store) and wraps up his speech to the sound of thunderous applause, which is kind of strange considering there are like 12 people in the room. Good acoustics, I guess. Belding steps in to give a tear-inducing speech about how they already had a better Bayside and just didn't know it, and then tells Chris Noth to take a hike.
Quote of the episode "Why go to the hounds when the foxes are right here? Tally-HO!" --Slater
Grade Clare: C+. The whole Beverly-Hillbillies-meets-Exxon-Valdez thing just doesn't work for me. But the fantasy sequence did give us a line that has been much-quoted by members of the SBTBP/AS (see above).
Bri: C. This is one of my least favorite episodes. I just am not a sucker for impassioned Zack Morris speeches about real life issues. Well, I am not unless it is an impassioned speech on the dangers of No Doz addiction!!