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Friday, September 10, 2004

How to have your Bavarian chocolate cream cake and eat it, too

We open at the Malibu Sands staff meeting, where Leon "The Poor Man’s Danny DeVito" Corosi is inexplicably absent. Zack decides to take advantage of this opportunity to try out his impression of Big L, which pretty much guarantees that the man himself is going to walk up behind Zack and catch him in the act. So why is Zack so surprised when this happens? Has he never seen a sitcom before? Kelly attempts to smooth things over by explaining that Zack was just trying to get everyone pepped up before the meeting, adding, "A happy staff is a snappy staff!" One summer of lifeguarding next to Slater, and now she’s making up stupid rhymes, too. Anyway, Mr. Corosi announces that he has to be somewhere else for the day, so he’s leaving Stacey in charge. She promises to keep her eye on Zack in particular, and raises her eyebrows to make sure no one misses the double entendre there.

Cut to the lobby, where the gang, including both Kelly and Slater, is playing frisbee. Call me crazy, but shouldn’t at least one of them be keeping an eye on things at the beach? I mean, what if Denise Richards pretends to drown in three feet of water?! After Screech sends an especially violent throw into what we assume is a window (despite the improbability of a frisbee, much less one thrown by Screech, being able to break a window), Stacey busts the gang and puts an end to the fun. And just in time, because here comes Mr. Richter with a picture of his daughter Jenny, whose Sweet Sixteeen party is being held in the dining room that evening. Incidentally, that picture of Jenny appears to have been taken sometime around the turn of the century, so his definition of "sixteen" might be a bit liberal. As Mr. Richter babbles on about how they’ve flown in people from all over the world for this party (really?), Stacey realizes that the dining room has been double-booked for the evening. Hard to believe, isn’t it, considering the technologically advanced paper-on-a-clipboard system they use to make reservations.

Faced with a dilemma, Stacey and Zack head to the dining room to try and persuade the Thornhills, whose anniversary party is the other event booked that evening, to switch their party to the following night. Zack tries to play the elderly tightwad card by offering them a 10-percent discount if they delay the party. Unfortunately for him, the Thornhills have decided that they want to splurge, and refuse to switch nights. Hmm, a party at the Malibu Sands Beach Club isn’t exactly my idea of a splurge, but to each his own.

Meanwhile, Screech is out on the beach with a metal detector, searching for buried treasure. After stumbling over a sunbather who, judging by his solid-gold dollar-sign necklace, appears to be either a pimp or a member of 50 Cent’s entourage, Screech finds a gold coin under Lisa’s beach chair. As he’s digging through the sand, Kelly walks up and yells at him not to dig holes in her beach. OK, first of all, the hole is about 5 inches deep. Are people not allowed to dig in the sand at all? How will they make sandcastles? (Oh, right—out of particle board!) Second, who died and left Kelly the beach in their will? Because last time I checked, it wasn’t technically "hers."

Back inside, Stacey and Zack have come up with a foolproof plan—they’ll just persuade Jenny (who, even though I didn’t check the credits, I swear to God is played by Rachel Dratch) to move her party outside to the beach. All it takes is one suave look from Zack, and Jenny goes all Veruca Salt and demands that her daddy let her have the party on the beach. Seriously? This girl is not sixteen. She’s either three or 102, but definitely not sixteen. Their mission accomplished, Zack and Stacey bask in the glow of their own genius, which, again, is never a good idea. Maybe these two should consider sitting down and watching some sitcoms some time.

Sure enough, up pops a new problem. Slater, translating for the all-Spanish-speaking kitchen staff, explains that if Stacey doesn’t give them the raise her father promised them right now, they’re going to go on strike. (Actually, Slater’s translation has them going bowling, at which point the head chef breaks in in English and yells, "We strike!" Which begs the question of why he needed Slater to translate in the first place. And also of how Slater happened to know Spanish at this particular time when, in one of the College Years episodes, he admits that he doesn’t know any Spanish at all. Perhaps he suffered from amnesia in the interim.)

Apparently, the Spanish amnesia is already starting to kick in, because suddenly Jessie’s in the kitchen, firing off really bad Spanish and lecturing Zack about worker’s rights and oppressed peoples. All right, calm down, Che Guevara. Zack rightly points out that Jessie’s not exactly oppressed herself, and Roberto points out that her Spanish sucks harder than Slater’s, but Jessie’s on a roll and won’t stop until she’s made up all kinds of false demands pretty much designed to make life miserable for Stacey. Uh…isn’t she supposed to be on Stacey’s side? Whatever.

Back on the beach, Lisa has discovered that Screech’s gold coin is actually worth something, and together they inspire a digging frenzy among the other beachgoers, most of whom seem to be just digging randomly for the hell of it, since Lisa and Screech are the only ones with the metal detector. Kelly gets wind of the activity and predictably freaks out. OK, I can kind of see her point now, as some of the holes are a few feet deep, but still? Not "her" beach.

Meanwhile, Slater is smoothing things over with the kitchen staff by promising to get rid of "loca Jessie," but his efforts are all in vain, as Stacey barges in and tells them that they can’t boss her around, and they’re not getting a raise. To this they respond, "We strike!" and promptly sit down on the kitchen floor. Hmm, I think they might be confusing "strike" with "sit-in." But with translators like Slater and Jessie, can you blame them? Stacey doesn’t have time to deal with the issue at hand because Kelly runs in to complain that Lisa and Screech are destroying—you guessed it—her beach.

In the time it took Kelly to run into the club, Lisa and Screech have procured an excavator, to which they’ve hooked up the metal detector. Surveying the damage, Zack and Stacey are at a loss as to what to do about Jenny’s beach party now. Hmm, I don’t know—how about filling the holes back in? Seeing as it only took Screech, Lisa and company a few minutes to dig them all, it couldn’t be that hard.

But the gang is otherwise engaged—with the kitchen staff on strike (or sit-in), it’s up to them to prepare all of the food for the parties, including a Bavarian chocolate cream cake. (Side note: Much like Stanford and "I hear ya, blood!", the Bavarian chocolate cream cake was another of my sister’s SBTB obsessions. For a long, long time, every time someone in my family would ask, "What’s for dessert?" my sister would respond, "A Bavarian chocolate cream cake!" Not once was that ever the actual dessert.) Anyway, the gang very poorly attempts to prepare the food while the kitchen staff points and laughs at them. Nice. Finally, when Jessie Guevara’s Bavarian chocolate cream cake falls flat, the kitchen staff takes pity on them and makes the food (although the Bavarian chocolate cream cake is conspicuously missing from the final spread.)

At last, it’s time for the Thornhills’ anniversary party, which is scheduled to start an hour before the Sweet Sixteen bash. To get the old folks out in a hurry, the gang reverts to their stellar serving strategy of not actually letting people eat the food before they take it away. Interestingly, no one at the party seems to find this strange. They must all be regular patrons of The Max. As the Thornhills are dancing, the Richters are arriving, and Zack and Stacey send Jessie out to stall while they attempt to shoo the Thornhills off stage left…into the kitchen. Hey, at least then they could finish their meal! However, they must not be that hungry, because they resist the shooing and are still standing there when the Richters enter.

Finally, Stacey is forced to confess the double-booking error. To smooth things over, Zack brilliantly suggests that Stacey ask Mr. Thornhill to tango. Right, because what every woman wants for her anniversary is some chippie hitting on her husband. (Also, while we’re on the subject, women don’t want to be taken to the Malibu Sands Beach Club for their anniversaries, either. Guys, take note.) However, Mrs. Thornhill is soon distracted by Slater acting like a chicken. Actually, he’s tangoing with her, but he’s doing so remarkably like a chicken. Zack works his charm on Rachel Dratch again, while Kelly hits on her dad. So basically, the entire situation is resolved by letting the guests cozy up to the young, nubile staff members. And when Big L arrives back at the club, he takes credit for everything, which would kind of make him the pimp again, wouldn’t it? Hey, I know where he can get a great necklace…


Grade: B-. Had it not been for Rachel Dratch (or someone who looks remarkably like her) and the memory of my sister’s obsession with the Bavarian chocolate cream cake, this episode would have been entirely forgettable.

1:28 PM

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