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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Iowa: the land of farmers' daughters...and Slater.

The Max – a place of forgotten hobbies. Screech and Zack are standing at the booth messing with some audio equipment while Kelly, Jessie and Lisa are in the background going over some cheers. Slater walks in and the crowd goes wild. Ish. Wild-ish. Apparently he just won the city wrestling championship and Zack’s getting the exclusive interview for KKTY – the radio station reserved for bankruptcies and female wrestlers. Zack asks Slater stupid questions and after every answer, he looks at the girls, which prompts them to do an inane cheer. After the interview, they all head to the booth and Screech tells Jessie that she looks good in her miniskirt. Jessie replies with the greatest line she’s ever uttered – which I’ll save for later. Then she explains that she’s only cheerleading because it looks good on her college application. Makes sense that she started doing it after she mailed in her applications. Lisa asks if she’s heard anything and Jessie tells her that colleges don’t usually let you know until next week. What is this? Mid-October? Colleges don’t let you know until January/February. Get it straight. Screech says that he already got into four schools and conveniently pulls out the letters. He rattles off the names, one of which is Emerson. I got into Emerson! That makes me happy. Jessie interrupts, saying she applied to Ivy League schools, which are more careful about their selection process. Shut it, Spano. Emerson’s quality. Screech bursts her bubble by telling her that he got into Princeton. She freaks out and steals food from the waitress. Kelly tells some sob story about going to community college and Lisa tells her that pigging out will make her…well, a pig. Jessie tells Lisa not to give her attitude just because she already got into the fashion institute. It’s not attitude. It’s basic health. There’s a lull in the conversation in which everyone looks at the door to see some guy with a sports jacket covering up a too tight polo walk in. Slater informs everyone that the man is the wrestling coach from Iowa. He speculates that he might be there about his applications. It’s just that simple in their world, huh? Jessie tells him that colleges never accept people in person. And that is why Lisa was accepted to the fashion institute in person a week ago. Of course, the guy comes up and offers Slater a full wrestling scholarship. Just like that. “Hey, Slater, why don’t you come to Iowa.” “Sure.” Whatever. Slater can’t wait to tell his dad about the good news. His dad, however, has different plans. Later, at Slater’s house, his dad tells he and Zack that he’s set up an interview for Slater with a representative from West Point. Slater makes a face, turns around to Zack and says, “West Point? Ugh.” And his dad didn’t catch any of this as he tells Slater he knew he’d be thrilled. His dad leaves and Zack tells Slater that he can’t join the army because he’ll looks stupid with a crew cut. Oh, the logic of this show. Zack then promises Slater that he’ll get him out of it.

The next day at school, Jessie announces that she’s eating potato chips in the morning because Yale rejected her. Screech then rubs in her face that he was accepted into three more schools, including the Barbazon School for Modeling. When Lisa chortles about him being a fashion model, he exclaims that he thought it was a school where you put together model airplanes. I mean, did he not read the application?

Later, Belding and the West Point rep – who is a congressman – exchange pleasantries until the congressman tells Belding that he won’t hold being Belding’s “protégée” against Slater. To which Belding asserts his democratic power and tells his to watch it because he’s up for reelection next month. I told you. Mid-October. The crowd “oohs” as if the threat of wielding the power of the democratic process will actually do damage. Wait 12 years, my friends. Wait 12 years. Belding leaves and two seconds later Zack – dressed in full camouflage and wearing a black feathered mullet wig – saunters in and introduces himself as Slater. Zack immediately makes the mistake of not recognizing Slater’s dad’s name, but counters when he offers the suggestion of attacking Canada. Nice. He rolls around the office throwing around chairs and jumping on top of desks to illustrate the glory of his plan. After which he’s asked to leave.

In the hall, Jessie reveals that she got rejected from Harvard by opening her locker and letting the entire snack aisle of the 7-11 come cascading out. Slater and Zack join them and Zack tells Slater that he failed his interview. Kelly and Lisa admonish both Zack and Slater for their actions. I mean, do they not know these guys at all? I’m just trying to figure out why Slater couldn’t screw that up himself. I’m sure he could have acted just as much of an ass as Zack did. They all disperse and as Slater walks past Belding’s office door, they say hello. The congressman is surprised that the school has more than one A.C. and Belding figures out that Zack was the guy in the interview and vows revenge. I don’t really see where it’s his business, but whatever. Belding and the congressman storm in to random nerd teacher of the episode’s classroom and ID Slater and Zack to two MPs who take them away. You’d think that Slater, being an army brat and all, would know that this is not how this should go. Then again, this is the same Slater who couldn’t think to bomb his own interview.

Zack and Slater mull over their imminent jail time while handcuffed to each other in Belding’s office. Slater doesn’t seem to mind until Belding reminds him that his father will have to know. After some embarrassing groveling from the jailbirds, it’s finally revealed that it’s all a ruse. Zack tells Belding that Slater wanted him to fake the interview and after slamming the door in Zack’s face, Belding has a heart to heart with Slater and convinces him that he needs to talk with his father about the situation. Later Slater tells his dad that he wants to go to Iowa with his wrestling scholarship. His dad puts on the hurt parent face and tells Slater that he’s shipping out on Slater’s state championship wrestling day. Nice. Punish your son because you were too dense to think that your wrestler child might want to go to a school with a good wrestling program.

A few days later at the Max, Zack and Lisa are standing by the door waiting for Kelly, Jessie and Slater to complete the pep rally. Jessie and Kelly breeze in with Jessie’s last college response letter. Lisa rips it open to announce – with a bit of surprise in her voice I might add – that she was accepted to Columbia. Jessie bounces around like a total jerk to this news. Must be back on those caffeine pills. She then asks Zack if he’s made his choice and I’m distracted by his shirt. It has both the pattern and thickness of a Persian rug. I get my concentration back in time to hear that Zack is going to Yale due to his 1500 SAT score. Riiight. In a land far, far away. Slater shuffles in dejectedly, unable to get excited for the pep rally because his father hates him. Aww.

Before the big match, Slater’s in the locker room stretching in his singlet that’s just way too inappropriate for a TV-G rating. After another inane pep talk from Richie, Zack has apparently made Major Slater see his psyche-damaging ways and convinces him to see Slater. As Zack backs out to let them have their moment, Slater throws a towel at him. It bounces off of his head and I’ve never seen hair snap back like that. How much mouse did they put in that kid’s hair? Slater’s dad tells him that he realizes that he’s confused about who he really is and he thought the army was a good way to go, but after the thought about it, he figured that Slater had the right idea with wrestling. Or something like that.


Quote of the episode:
Screech: Looking good in the mini-skirt, mama.
Jessie: Why don't you go bite a stray dog.

Grade: B-. It was nice to see Jessie get cut down a few times. And Zack's feathered mullet wig will go down forever in history. I enjoyed the effort to give Slater a bit more dimension.

4:57 PM

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