Mona lala: Hawaiian for "that would never actually happen in real life"
Zack is at the Max in a track suit, talking about feats of athletic greatness by referencing a bunch of early-90s sports icons that are all but lost on me. The point of all this is that Zack has just won third place at the all-city cross country meet against Valley. Although you'd never know it because he's carrying a red ribbon. Um, hello, red is second, yellow is third. What universe are you people from? Oh, right, it's Bayside, where nothing works like it actually does in the real world. This slipup is relatively minor compared to what's to come later in the episode.
Anyway, Screech and the girls crowd around to admire Zack's ribbon. Just as he's regaling them with tales of his athletic prowess, Slater comes in clutching a huge wrestling trophy that is actually more representative of the type of awards given out at high-school athletic championships. Immediately, the girls start fawning over Slater. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that Kelly and Lisa are cheerleaders, so why weren't they at the cross country meet and/or wrestling match cheering for Zack and Slater? I mean, come on, they freaking cheered for Screech's chess match!
Later in the hallway, Mr. Belding is putting the trophy in a trophy case that has mysteriously materialized the spot where some lockers and his office door used to be. The other 12 students are crowded around to watch this production. Kelly, in her best sex-kitten voice, asks Slater if he'll teach her how to wrestle. What a whore! Slater then leaves, and a gaggle of girls runs screaming after him as if he's the spawn of Elvis.
Zack and Screech, heading the opposite way from the screaming throng, happen to run into Slater's dad in the hallway. They give him faulty directions to Belding's office so they'll have a chance to stake it out and find out why Slater's dad is at school. How exactly they plan to get into Belding's office without him noticing is beyond me, since I assume that's where he went after the trophy presentation. Unless he was in the shrieking mass following Slater around.
In Belding's office, Major Slater is telling Mr. Belding that the army wants to send him to Hawaii. As he's relating this, Screech's head pops out of the top drawer of the filing cabinet right in Belding's line of vision. Now I'm not always the most perceptive person in the world, but I'd like to think I'd notice if a head was sticking out of my filing cabinet. Not to mention the utter impossibility of Screech being able to fit in the file cabinet in the first place. Whatever.
Slater comes into the office, and Major Dad tells him about the Hawaii assignment. Slater doesn't want to go because of all the good friends he's made at Bayside. Plus, now that his friends killed his chameleon Artie, he doesn't have a pal to take from school to school. Anyway, Major Dad tells Slater that the decision is up to him, but he only has four days to decide because Major Dad has to let his commanding officer know. Whoa. Let's back the cart up for a minute here! Since when does the U.S. Army leave the assignment of its officers up to a high school kid?? I don't think so.
Screech reports the news back to Zack, who comes up with an extremely convoluted plan to get Slater to go to Hawaii by telling everyone that he's dying and the only treatment available is in Hawaii but that Slater is too proud to get the treatment and/or mention the disease to his friends, so they all should pretend like they don't like him so he'll go and get the treatment. OK, there HAD to be an easier way to get Slater to Hawaii than that. You're slipping, Morris!
Anyway, it doesn't matter because they all buy it, and the girls burst into tears whenever Slater says anything. Surprisingly, Slater does not think this strange. Zack even goes so far as to make up symptoms for this mystery disease such as sneezing and itching, which he somehow causes Slater to do by a) putting pepper on his own hand and then putting said hand close to Slater's face and b) pouring ants on the back of Slater's shirt, none of which even make it inside his actual shirt.
Finally, Slater figures out what's going on when Kelly declares that she's going to Hawaii with him. Oh yeah, I'm sure her parents would allow that, seeing as she's her family's only means of financial support. Anyway, once Slater catches on to Zack's scheme, he hatches a revenge plan with Major Dad that involves a large American flag and a small patch of gauze on Major Dad's forehead. Come on guys! If you're going to do it, do it right. At least go for the full bandage wrapped around the head and maybe a patch of fake blood.
Still, Major Dad manages to scare the bejeesus out of Zack by ordering him to do push-ups and screaming that "the Russians are invading Burbank," like wasn't the Cold War already over at this point in time? Also, he pulls the pin and releases the clip on what he claims is a live grenade. First of all, is Major Dad really going to set off a live grenade in his own home? Second of all, is he really just going to stand there holding it after he releases the clip? Zack doesn't take the time to ponder these questions and books it right out of there.
Later, we find Slater at the Max, which has been elaborately decorated in a Hawaiian theme. Kelly, Jessie and Lisa hula for us a little before introducing the "Pineapple Princess," aka Screech in a pineapple bra with a Carmen Miranda headdress. I'd just like to say for the record that if anyone ever throws me a going-away party, I'd like it to include Dustin Diamond in a pineapple bra. Anyway, Slater finally breaks it to the gang that he's not actually leaving. It seems to me a bit rude to let your friends go ahead and go to the trouble of throwing you a party when you know well in advance that you're not actually leaving. Zack shows up, and he and Slater exchange apologies for their respective pranks, and Slater tosses him another "live" grenade. Oh, how I do love grenade humor!!
Quote of the episode "Young man, this is study hall, not Soul Train!" --random study hall teacher, when Slater starts gyrating due to the ants Zack poured on him
Grade Clare: B. Although I enjoy a good Zack Morris come-uppance as much as the next person, I've never been a fan of Slater-centric episodes. And--dare I say it--this episode had one too many implausibilities. I guess you really can have too much of a good thing.