Zack is at the Max, telling us about the big project they have due in photography class. Hey, Zack, the Navajo Indians called--they want their blanket back, and they don't really appreciate you appropriating it as a hideous patterned shirt. Over at the booth, Screech is examining Slater's nose hairs with a telephoto lens. Is this part of his assignment? Because, ew. Zack inquires after Slater's project, and he goes into ecstasies about a butterfly he saw fluttering over the flowers. I would've thought Slater's project would have drawn a little more inspiration from Robert Mapplethorpe, but whatever. Zack, in usual fashion, has not started his project yet, but claims to be searching for "inspiration."
Right on cue, in walks a girl (and I use the term "girl" loosely, because much like the Sketchinator, if she's in college, she must be a 16th-year senior) in a totally inspiring off-the-shoulder cut-off USC sweatshirt. Zack grabs Screech's camera and starts snapping pictures of her. Danielle (for we soon learn that this is the "girl"'s name) seems to find this charming and not at all stalkerish. Zack comments on her fetching sweatshirt and asks if she's a "fellow Trojan." OK, not that I wouldn't buy Zack as a college student (he certainly looks old enough), but how many USC students hang out at the Max? Not many, I think. Apparently I'm right, because Danielle is only there because she's got a flat tire. The pay phone is occupied, but Zack comes to her rescue with his gigantic cell phone (which, according to Dustin Diamond on the DVD audio commentary, was referred to by the cast as "The Brick"). When Danielle finds out that she's going to have to wait an hour to get her tire changed, Zack offers to change it for her. She gets all up in his grill and says seductively, "You are so sweet I could kiss you." Oh, Danielle. Don't you know they won't buy the cow if they can get the milk for free? Surely you've learned that by now, with all those years in college. Anyway, Zack says, just as seductively, that they'll "discuss [his] fee later," and they walk out of the Max hand-in-hand. Uh-huh.
Zack returns to the Max and tells the boys that Danielle invited him out to The Attic on Saturday night. Just as Screech is getting excited about the possibility of seeing bats, Slater exposits that The Attic is an over-18 dance club, which poses a problem for 16-year-old Zack. Not so, says Zack, glancing craftily at the camera and telling them that they'll all be 18 by tomorrow. Apparently Screech's mom is kicking him out of the house at 18 (like, how harsh is that? I could see if she were sending him to college or something, but most people turn 18 before they start college), so he runs off to find a new place to live.
Later, in photography class, Zack and Slater tell Screech to be careful and not let Belding (who is teaching the class, I guess because Mr. Tuttle wasn't available) see them making fake IDs. Here's a suggestion, boys: How about not making them in class? But Zack has bigger fish to fry, because Screech has apparently made Zack's ID to say that he's 54. If I were Zack, I'd be more concerned about how those flimsy paper IDs don't even remotely resemble real driver's licenses, but whatever.
The next night in Zack's room, the guys are in their jammies (and I totally want a pair like the one Screech has on, with little pigs all over it) as Zack goes over the plan for the evening: As soon as his mom says good-night, they scram. You know, I'm not an expert on sneaking out or anything, but it seems to me that you might want to wait until your parents are actually asleep before you leave. Anyway, She of the Bad Perm (aka Zack's mom) enters bearing brownies and milk and looking absolutely ravishing in a turquoise unitard and oversized V-neck sweater. After checking the closet for hidden girls (I guess cardboard cutouts of Kelly don't count), she takes her leave, and the guys blow up their inflatable doppelgangers and strip down to the party clothes they have on under their pjs. You know, judging by Slater's bolo tie and Screech's colorblocked shirt (which unfortunately includes both magenta and chartreuse blocks), I think they might have been better off in the pajamas.
The guys arrive at the supposedly over-18 club--judging by the people in line, however, it looks like it's actually an over-35 club. The mulleted 30-something guy in front of them gets busted for having a fake ID, so I guess his said he was 18 or something. Zack and Slater make it in by using a deep voice and complimenting the bouncer on his scar, respectively, but Screech gets stalled in line because he's...well, acting like Screech. Fortunately, Cyndi Lauper's larger, less attractive cousin Reggie walks up at just that moment and takes a liking to Screech, telling the bouncer to let him inside.
Once inside, Slater and Zack give us a preview of what will eventually become Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan's SNL sketch, bobbing their heads and saying loudly in unison, "Hey, babe!" as a 40-year-old woman in a spandex dress walks by. Instead of responding with scorn and derision, this woman actually smiles at them. Oh, the over-35 set. They can be so desperate. Anyway, Danielle comes in, and we find out that this desperate woman is actually her friend Joan. ("Joan"? Good Lord, maybe she's older than I thought.) After Danielle plants one on Zack (ho), he introduces Slater to the ladies. Joan asks what the "A.C." in his name stands for, and he tells her, "Absolutely charmed." Yeah, nice try, buddy. We know the truth. Anyway, Zack and Danielle run off to dance or fornicate or something, and Joan asks Slater to dance. He immediately starts telling her he has a girlfriend, but she's like, "Hey, I just want to dance, not get married." Uh, if you say so, Joan.
Cut to later that evening, when Slater is showing Joan and her not-quite-as-middle-aged friend pictures of Jessie, including, apparently, her kindergarten dance picture. Why he even has that is beyond me, to say nothing of why he has it in his wallet. Anyway, Joan is sick of Slater (word) and demands that they leave. Zack tells Danielle he'll call her, and they pick up Screech, who seems to have fallen asleep in the bouncer's arms. On their way out the door, however, Slater spots The Sketchinator dancing with a girl who is most definitely not Kelly. When he bends down to kiss this non-Kelly girl, all three guys scream, "Whoa!" in a very Bill-and-Ted manner. I can't imagine Jeff didn't notice this, as the "club" is about the size of my living room, but apparently he didn't. Maybe he was too busy being sketchy.
The next day in photography class, Jessie asks Slater if they had fun last night at their little sleepover. Wait, so their parents let them sleep over on a school night? I find that about as improbable as the fact that they didn't get caught when they snuck out before Zack's parents were asleep. Anyway, the guys catch up on their beauty sleep as Mr. Belding bores everyone with slides from his trip to Sea World, and then sleep some more in the hallway. When Jessie and Lisa ask what's up, Screech lets it slip that they went to The Attic. Jessie is pissed that Slater went dancing without her and is also outraged to hear that they got in using fake IDs. And she's not too happy either when Screech lets the "Jeff's cheating on Kelly" cat out of the bag, too. Everyone agrees that someone needs to tell Kelly how sketchy Jeff is (which I personally would have done about three episodes ago), and they all seem to think Zack is the right one for the job. Yeah, because the best person to tell a girl that her boyfriend's cheating on her is the guy she dumped for him. Zack agrees with me and raises a protest, but the others talk him into it.
And now we see why this is a bad idea: Kelly (at work, which is a totally inappropriate setting for this conversation, like way to go, Zack) calls Zack a "maggot-mouthed liar" (which is almost as random an insult as "squid") and accuses him of being jealous. As Zack storms out of the restaurant, Jeff comes up and asks what's going on. Instead of confronting him about the cheating like any normal person would do, Kelly brushes it off and asks about their date Saturday night. Jeff gets all squirrely and cancels on her, saying he has to work. Which is not a very good lie, seeing as they work at the same place. As he leaves, Kelly seems to have caught on, at least partially, to his true sketchiness. Maybe there's hope for her yet.
The gang, meanwhile, wants to make sure, so they're setting up a sting operation that involves a very ancient-looking electric-blue instamatic camera. When everyone leaves Screech to make more fake IDs (about which he comments, "They'll be sorry when I'm gone," like was that a suicide threat or something?), Kelly comes in and starts grilling him about what he did or didn't see at The Attic. Screech cracks under the pressure of trying to keep Jeff's infidelity a secret, which I don't really understand because didn't they agree to tell her? And for that matter, didn't Zack already tell her? Whatever. Maybe they didn't want to mess up the big instamatic-camera sting.
The Attic. Operation Prove Jeff's Sketchiness Once and For All is in full swing. Lisa's trying to pick up some boys, but Zack, freaking out about the absence of Danielle, is totally salting her game, as the kids say. (Or as the kids on The O.C. say, at least. I have no idea what the kids are actually saying these days.) Screech, meanwhile, appears to have stolen the beard off of some poor Hasidic Jew in an attempt to disguise himself from Reggie. It is to no avail, however, as she spots him and drags him onto the dance floor.
Meanwhile, over at Casa Morris, She of the Bad Perm walks into Zack's room humming "Puff the Magic Dragon" to deposit Zack's souvenir from the Peter, Paul & Mary concert she went to. "He'll like this," she muses, laying the poster out on the bed. Oh, yeah, I'm sure it'll go great with his UB40 poster. Ha! Just as she's about to leave, "The Brick" starts ringing, so she goes to answer it. Hey, look, I think we finally found something bigger than Zack's cell phone--his mom's hair! Anyway, it's Danielle on the other end, and she unwittingly fills Mrs. M. in on all of Zack's late-night escapades.
Back to said escapades, which still involve the salting by Zack of Lisa's game. She attempts to lose him and almost bumps into The Sketchinator and his lady friend. She hustles the gang together, but just as they're getting ready to make good use of the instamatic camera, Kelly walks in. I would ask how she got in without having a fake ID of her own, but in this scene, she looks about 35, so I think I know. Anyway, the gang attempts to keep Kelly from seeing Jeff (but didn't they want...ah, screw it), but due to the aforementioned smallness of the club, this is virtually impossible. Kelly somehow acquires a heretofore unseen spine (perhaps she borrowed Jessie's or Lisa's) and tells Jeff off, stopping short of slapping him or throwing a drink in his face, which is a shame, because that would've been awesome.
Lisa and Jessie hustle her off to the ladies' room (which is no locker room, but I guess it'll have to do), while Zack mopes about his lack of date. His mom walks up and tells him not to worry, that Danielle will be there at 11. The guys jump up and try to cover their asses, but the jig is up. She confiscates their fake IDs and starts to herd them out of the club. (So I guess Kelly, Jessie and Lisa get to stay? That doesn't seem fair.) On their way out, they run into Danielle, who paws all over Zack and tells Mrs. Morris (whom Zack claims is his sister) how hot her "brother" is. Yeah, even if you really think she's his sister, that's still not appropriate. Danielle needs to get laid and shut up, although not necessarily in that order. Anyway, after Zack manages to pry himself out of Danielle's desperate grasp, She of the Bad Perm looks around approvingly and says the club is pretty cool. (Well, of course--it's for people her age!) She suggests the boys come back...when they're 18. Or, you know, 35.
Quote of the episode Belding: And here's a picture of Mrs. B. at Sea World. Kelly: Why is she eating raw fish? Belding: That is not Mrs. B., that is Shamu.
Grade Clare: B+. The plus is only because this episode finally managed to rid us of The Sketchinator. Otherwise, I just found Desperate Danielle and her thirtysomething friends incredibly tiresome.