Zack starts out the episode by welcoming us to the mid-semester blues. You know, it is a testament to my level of obsession with this show that I knew he was going to say that before he even said it. Of course, Bri pointed out that we both used to own this Saved by the Bell behind-the-scenes book, in which they spent a week with the cast during the filming of this episode. According to her, there was a good deal of copy devoted to this opening line in said book. Which doesn’t really make any sense because this show has nothing whatsoever to do with the mid-semester blues.
Anyway, Lisa is all in a tizzy because Johnny Dakota, a Totally Made-Up Famous Movie Star, is strolling through the halls of their school. Apparently Johnny and his director Dean (whose vocabulary seems to be limited to the monosyllabic "Yo") were trolling the freeway looking for a place to shoot an anti-drug spot for NBC, and Bayside happened to be the first school that they saw. Mr. Belding is all impressed with the fact that they're from NBC, which seems kind of strange when you consider that later in the episode, Belding reveals that he is childhood friends with none other than the late great Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC.
The Bayside gang then tries everything in their power to get Johnny to pick their school as the scene for his PSA, including feeding him yummy cafeteria food and spontaneously breaking into a rap about how drugs aren't cool. But it's not until he meets Kelly, looking stunning in an orange unitard, that he agrees to stay at Bayside.
Zack naturally tries to capitalize on Johnny's sudden residence at the school by setting up a stand in the hallway to sell doorknobs once touched by Johnny. When Belding gets wind of the plan, however, he orders Zack to cease and desist, on the grounds that it's wrong to expoit their guest. Belding doesn't seem to care that Zack appears to have dismantled every single door at Bayside.
Their business shut down, Slater, Screech and Zack decide to head for the bathroom, where they find a joint, which they call a "roach." I never heard anyone call it a "roach" before this episode, and I haven't since. Of course, I'm not big into the whole drug scene, but still. Why can't they call it a joint like everyone else? I guess it's so Screech can make jokes about his pet roach, Herbert. Anyway, Johnny then comes in the bathroom and finds them holding the joint. OK, I'm about to give away the ending here, but I trust you've all seen this episode several hundred times. We all know the joint is Johnny's. So why was it there before he even came in the bathroom? Was he stowing it on the bathroom floor for safekeeping and just coming back for it??
The kids then decide it's probably a good idea to actually do some work on their PSA, so Johnny sits down and engages the gang in what can only be described as "rapping." A random extra dressed like Joan Jett tells everyone a sob story about her heroin-addicted brother. Slater and Zack bring up some famous people who died after overdosing on other hard drugs. Then Jessie decides to talk about her caffeine-pill addiction, which is just really funny because a) it reminds me of all the great moments from that episode and b) it seems totally out of place, considering that the rest of them are talking about actual drugs.
Johnny continues to hit on Kelly in an incredibly smarmy way until she finally gives in to going out with him. They go to the Max and share a romantic basket of fries. That is, until Lisa and Jessie crash their date. Lisa wants to interview Johnny for her gossip column with such hard-hitting questions as "Do you kiss on the first date?" and "Do you sleep in pajamas?" Funny how Lisa never had a gossip column until this episode, isn't it? Anyway, Zack, Screech and Slater also end up crashing the date, and Johnny invites them all to a Big Hollywood Party.
Why do all the Big Hollywood Parties on this show look like they take place in generic, low-rent suburban apartment complexes? Never mind. The gang is having a fab time at the BHP. Jessie got to dance with Luke Diamond! Lisa got to dance with Storm Sutherland! I just remembered that this episode came out the first time Keifer Sutherland was cool, and that makes me feel really old! Slater keeps trying to hit on girls, but with no luck. I would guess it's because of the way he bobs his head like a chicken when he says something he thinks is smooth. Screech, meanwhile, lands a babe by claiming he's Johnny's stunt double. However, when he tries to demonstrate a stunt from his latest movie, he throws his back out, and Zack and Slater have to carry him out of the party.
As soon as they leave, Kelly and Johnny promptly start making out, and the audience responds with an appropriate level of "woooooooo"ing. Then someone brings out a joint, and the audience responds with an appropriate level of "ohhhhhhhh"ing. Johnny passes the joint to Kelly, who just sits there looking at it like it might be a Trick Exploding Joint. Then everyone starts making fun of her for not taking a hit, which is just so unrealistic. I mean, in my experience, people who smoke pot are generally pretty mellow and couldn't care less whether you're smoking pot or not. Well, except for the time Krithika chased me around the dorm, trying to get me to smoke up with her. But I think that might have been one of the few times she wasn't high.
After Zack finds out that their anti-drug spokesman is (gasp!) using marijuana, he tells the rest of the gang, and they all bitch at Johnny until he gets fed up and leaves. After they tell Mr. Belding what's going on, he calls in a favor to his good buddy Brandon Tartikoff, who comes to Bayside to shoot the anti-drug PSA ("There's no hope for dope!") with the gang. When they're done, the late great BT muses on the possibility of doing a show about a bunch of high-school kids and their principal...but then says that probably no one would watch it. Wow, it's like meta-Saved by the Bell! Hilarious!
Quote of the episode "I had a problem drugs that were legal." --Jessie
Grade Clare: B+. The entire episode seemed like a PSA, and it would have gotten a lower grade, if not for Jessie's reference to her caffeine-pill addiction and the appearance by the late great Brandon Tartikoff, the man responsible for getting SBTB on the air in the first place.
Bri : B+. I agree that if not for a few saving graces (mainly the almost real but actually fake movie star names) this episode would have gotten a lower grade.