This morning’s show opened with none other than Casey Kasem, meaning this was the episode that chronicled the rise and demise of the greatest band in the history of Saturday Morning high school shows--Zack Attack. Or is it THE Zack Attack? Who knows. Zack is getting ready to go onstage, but is kept from it by some adoring fans. As he starts his long walk down a narrow hallway to the stage, he is again assaulted by more fans. As he passes the dressing rooms of his bandmates, they join him. Lisa, Kelly, Slater, and then Screech--dressed as the Pope (to throw off all of his stalkers, of course). After Slater threatens Screech’s life, the pope duds are gone, and the Zack Attack takes the stage singing their smash hit “Friends Forever”.
Casey tells us, it wasn’t always like this--these kids had to struggle before they made it….well, they had to be practicing just was fate was running by. One day, during a practice in Zack’s garage, Brian Fate, major record producer, was jogging by and loved their sound. He was looking for a new act, now that the Beach Buddies “weren’t buddies anymore.” The band wasn’t sure, so they asked if he was truly serious. Brian Fate countered with, “Does Bart Simpson have animated zits?” Zack, Kelly, Lisa, Slater, and Screech’s faces light up as if the answer to that question was yes. Apparently, in Bayside, they watch a different Simpsons than the rest of us because the real answer to that question is no, but nonetheless Zack Attack starts playing gigs and getting number one singles in Billbox magazine.
The band starts doing press conferences, and Zack meets Mindy, their evil publicist. The group goes on to win a Grammy (that name must not have been licensed…) presented by Michael Jackson and Madonna and the ceremony is held on the set of America’s Funniest Home Videos with Bob Saget. At the Grammy after party (where they are the only famous people) at some random house, Slater and Screech try to hit on girls. Everything is going well for Slater, until Screech lures away all of the females by telling them of A.C.’s strange blue foot fungus. Kelly is asked to go sailing with some guy, who can’t believe she accepted his invite, and ends up walking away, much to her dismay. Lisa, for some reason, is not partying with everyone else--she is slaving away, designing costumes for their tour. When she shows these totally cool new designs to Zack and Mindy, she is shot down. Zack liked them, but Mindy told her they were big time now and Bob Mackie was designing their costumes now. Zack ended up siding with Mindy, and this was the beginning of the end for Zack Attack. She tells Zack that he doesn’t need them--the rest of the band is just back up singers. We see newspapers with headlines uncovering the dissent in the group, that the ‘friends forever’ were no longer friends.
Zack hands out a new song he wrote with Mindy at a studio recording session. Kelly, Slater, and Screech have also written a song, which they get to perform part of, but it is really crappy (Hit the beach, teach/we can learn while we burn), so Brian Fate forces them to stop bickering and record the Zack/Mindy song. The band amazingly plays it right and perfectly sings all of the weird harmonies the very first time, and Mindy and Brian think it is groovin’.
Before a concert, Zack angrily confronts the gang, asking who had been spreading the rumors. It turns out Screech told all, lured to spill his guts by free Disney World tickets. This was the straw that broke Zack Attack’s back, and the group split up. All went their separate ways. Slater became a race car driver. Screech went to India to consult with the high geek about finding true happiness. All Screech has to do in order to be truly happy is marry a cheerleader and live on the beach, which seems impossible at first but becomes totally fathomable after Screech is awarded the magic retainer. Next, we see Zack, who has become a HUGE star by dressing in ridiculously shiny clothes and Kid-N-Playing his hair. Mindy says he is phenomenal--the male Madonna--but Zack’s conscience is starting to get to him. It isn’t about his singing--it is about the lasers, the lights, and the smoke, according to Mindy (who was only his publicist, not his manager. Where was Brian Fate in all of this?). Zack gets a phone call telling him Slater is in the hospital, and this is the only motivation he needs to ditch Mindy and his life of fame.
Slater is laid up in a hospital bed with a broken leg, broken arm, and bandaged head. Kelly, dressed as a nun, is there by his side, telling him he looked great. But hey, who wouldn’t look great after missing a stop sign going 275 miles an hour? Lisa comes in, and we see that she has found a new career as a Gladiator. Not an American Gladiator, but a U.S. Gladiator. She is surprised that Kelly became a nun, but we later find out Kelly is only an actress on Santa Barbara. Screech comes in with his cheerleader wife, Linda. Lisa threatens to throw her out the ‘winda’ if she doesn’t stop acting like a cheerleader. Then Zack makes his entrance. After repeating the word friends over and over again, they magically become friends, and the band reunites, embarking on the reunion tour that is being documented by none other than Casey Kasem.
Isn’t it strange that the Bayside gang was able to do all of this in such a short time that they never aged? Didn’t they have any other songs besides “Friends Forever” and “Did We Ever Have a Chance”? Why did those voices not even fit the people whose mouths they were coming out? Where was Jessie? Well, some of these questions were answered when we see that this was all Zack’s dream--he had fallen asleep waiting for band rehearsal. So the real rehearsal finally begins, and Zack Attack works on their signature song for an upcoming bar mitzvah.
Quote of the episode "I know what it is like to be a fan--I once snuck into Paula Abdul’s dressing room." --Zack, to his adoring fans
Grade Bri: B. I liked this episode because I was always a big fan of the original songs. Even the Zack and Mindy song is not that bad. And all of the costumes are great. I wish the days of full sequined get-ups would come back.
Clare: A-. I have to give this episode props for the multitude of late-80s/early-90s references: Paula Abdul, the Michael Jackson and Madonna impersonators (was it just me, or did Michael look more like Boy George), Bob Mackie, and American Gladiators. Plus, "Did We Ever Have a Chance" just sticks in your head. And didn't this episode inspire that other great Saturday-morning TV show, California Dreams?