We open at the Max, where Screech is perusing the used-car ads for Zack. He finds a Ferrari for a cool $185K, but even after his weekly $10 allowance, Zack will still be in debt to his dad for $11. Kelly comes up with the genius suggestion of asking his dad to raise his allowance, like I'm so sure that a bump up from $10 will be enough to allow Zack to afford a car. (Much more plausible is Screech's suggestion that Zack get himself 20,000 more dads.) Then again, this is the universe in which Slater once bought a car despite having no discernible source of income, so I guess anything's possible.
Before Slater can share his magical car-buying secrets with Zack, however, Jessie flies into the Max, on a tear because Mr. Belding is expecting her, as head of the yearbook committee, to come up with a kick-ass theme for this year's yearbook. Side note: This whole "oh dear, whatever will the yearbook theme be?" is a common plot point on high-school shows, and I've never understood where it comes from. If our yearbook had a theme, it was "These are pictures of people who go to this school." And everyone bought one, because that's what you did. Of course, I went to a tiny school where everyone knew everyone else, so maybe it's different at larger schools--but Bayside, having approximately 20 students, is even smaller than my high school, so I feel it should be the same case.
But it's apparently not, as the focus of the yearbook committee meeting is how to move more yearbooks. So far, the only idea the committee has come up with is Black Gravelly-Voiced Nerd's idea to make each person's picture a hologram. Jessie dismisses this as too expensive. Not to mention impossible to execute. Zack saves the day with his suggestion to do a video yearbook, based on the fact that no one reads any more. But what is there to read in a yearbook, other than people's names? Ah, whatever. Video yearbook it is!
Apparently to film your segment of the video yearbook, you are required to dress in a costume representative of your one-dimensional high-school personality. Slater arrives in his football uniform and totally bombs out. Then Kelly shows up in her cheerleader outfit and, after wowing us with her laundry list of extra-curricular activities, spends the rest of her video message time flirting with Zack. Before she leaves, she mentions that his parents will have to chauffeur them to the movies this weekend. This appears to be the last straw for Zack, although he and Kelly have been dating for what--a year? This can't be the first time their parents have taken them to a movie. But anyway, he sits down to work out how he can turn an $11 debt into enough money for a car, leaving Screech to film Lisa's segment. Lisa is up in arms because the background clashes with her outfit. Considering that her outfit is a gold lame skirt with a Bedazzled tank top, and the background is several squares of pastel-colored sky, there's a pretty good chance nothing will match either of them. Lisa tells the camera that she's the founder of the Fashion Team and the Shopping Squad. Not only did she just make both of those clubs up, but any member of the Fashion Team who wore that outfit would be immediately disbanded. Also, Lisa's hobbies are "dating, guys, and dating guys." Nice to know she's well-rounded.
After Lisa leaves, Screech opines that every guy at Bayside will want to date her after seeing her video, and the hey-this-is-how-I-can-pimp-my-friends-this-week lightbulb goes off over Zack's head. They'll turn the yearbook into a video dating tape! Cut to Zack and Screech asking the girls of Bayside a variety of yearbook-inappropriate questions. Possibly Slutty Airhead says in a breathy voice that she wants a man who will spend all his money on her. Hey, she really knows what guys like to hear! Anti-Establishment Rocker Girl (possibly the same one whose brother was addicted to heroin) says her idea of the perfect date is Jon Bon Jovi lighting her hair on fire. Jon Bon Jovi? Really? That's your example of a bad-ass rocker? He's been married to the same woman for like 20 years. That's not very rock 'n' roll.
Sometime in the near future, Screech and Zack are at Valley, selling the tape. They're standing under a banner that reads, "Girls! Girls! Girls!" Classy. I suppose Zack can add "amateur pornographer" to his resume now. Say, do you think it's possible that Joe Francis got the idea for "Girls Gone Wild" from this episode of Saved by the Bell? Because that would be mildly awesome, even though I think Joe Francis is quite possibly the most vile human being on the planet. Anyway, Zack and Screech are raking in mad cash at Valley, and they still have several more schools to hit, including St. Murray's Reform School.
Before we continue, let's pause for a moment to examine the flaws inherent in Zack's plan. One: Aren't the girls going to wonder why all these random guys have their phone number? I mean, wouldn't at least one of them ask, and then be able to trace the tape back to Zack? And two, what girl is going to go out with some strange guy she's never met or even seen before? Or does that really matter to Zack once he's gotten the money from the tape sales?
Apparently, the answers are: no; no; plenty of them, as it seems Bayside girls are kinda slutty; and no. In fact, Zack's practically making an appointment to test drive a Corvette (wow, how much are they charging for these tapes?) until he finds out that Screech put the spoken-for Kelly and Jessie on the tapes. (In all fairness to Screech, his only instruction from Zack was to include "the pretty girls," and Kelly and Jessie are considered pretty in some circles. Well, Kelly is.) Anyway, why this is a big deal, I'm not sure, since it's not like Kelly and Jessie are going to go out with any of these guys, but as we well know, trusting his girlfriend is not Zack's strong suit. He drags Screech back to the yearbook room by his ear and demands to see the tape of Kelly.
Before we can find out how exactly that will make things better, the gang rushes into the room, demanding a sneak preview of the yearbook. Somehow, in taking the tape out of the VCR, Zack knocks both the dating tape and the yearbook tape (neither of which had been labeled; good one, Ace) onto the floor. With barely a cursory glance at the tapes, and without even attempting to stall the gang until he can figure out which tape is which, Zack hands one off to Jessie and escorts Screech out of the room. In the hallway, they run into Belding, also anxious to see the yearbook, so Zack directs him to the room where he knows the gang is possibly viewing the dating tape. Zack! These are rookie mistakes! I'm disappointed in you. And I'm sure Joe Francis would be, too.
Sure enough, back in the yearbook room, we're being treated to Jessie "Legs" Spano's video dating message. While most of the gang and Mr. Belding react to the video by getting mad, Kelly has been dating Zack for too long, and therefore suggests they get even instead. And so it begins.
Getting Back at Zack, Part the First: Screech and Zack are strategizing in the locker room when Slater comes in, threatening to pluck the nose hairs of whomever gave out Jessie's phone number. No, that's really his threat. Why doesn't he tweeze their eyebrows, too? Maybe throw in a bikini wax. Talk about inflicting pain! We then cut to Getting Zack Back, Part the Second: Jessie and Lisa are looking all forlorn in the hallway. Lisa's upset because her dad took away her phone because she was getting so many calls, and Jessie's bummed because Slater dumped her. Oh, and also because the guys are no longer calling her, either because they've heard about her penis, or because Slater's pretty much beating up every guy we see. We're supposed to believe it's the latter, I guess, because right on cue, the bell rings, and the men of Bayside come stumbling out into the hall, groaning like extras in an Alan Thicke zombie movie, with black eyes and cast-bound limbs. So wait, now the whole school is in on the joke? I'm so sure.
Before Zack can realized how incredibly fake all the "injuries" are, he's paged to Belding's office for Getting Back at Zack, Part the Third. Just as Zack is marveling over the black eye Slater has ostensibly given Belding, Kelly walks in with some leather-clad dude, hair teased out to the edge of oblivion and wearing a leather jacket and matching leather bra that she embossed with metal studs using Lisa's Bedazzler. She immediately starts mouthing off to Belding and making out with her new guy (Vince Montana--hey, I wonder if he's Johnny Dakota's cousin?) and giving Zack the boot with little more than a shrug. Zack, getting more gullible by the second, seems to buy that her unwitting Girls Gone Wild moment has turned Kelly into a hardcore slut, and so he uses his amazing time-stopping powers to buy him a few minutes to figure out how to get out of this jam.
And his solution is? Dress up like a really ugly and possibly pregnant woman! All right, so that's not the actual solution. What he's really done is use the money he made from the dating tapes to buy everyone copies of the yearbook. He's also given Kelly back the friendship ring she gave him (only, um, he was the one who gave her the friendship ring, but whatever) and enrolled himself in military school. In keeping with this episode's video-obsessed theme, Zack has recorded all of this on a video--and yet, as he addresses each person, he turns his head to look at them. Wow, how did he know when filming the video exactly where in the room each person would be standing and/or sitting? Is there no end to Zack's miraculous abilities?
Apparently, yes. As we all know, they end with his ability to dress in drag. And so Zack strolls into the yearbook room, looking like the homeliest possibly-knocked-up woman this side of the pregnancy test aisle at Wal-Mart. Unsurprisingly, his cover is immediately blown, as the gang begins to whisper and point at him. Somewhat surprisingly, Zack doesn't appear to notice this obvious display, possibly because he's too busy contemplating who the father of his unborn child might be. (My money's on Slater.) As Video Zack bids his final farewell, the gang spontaneously enacts Getting Back at Zack, Part the Fourth by cheering at the news. Disgusted, Drag Zack rips off his disguise, and now, it seems, the balance of power has once again shifted into the correct hands--the gang, hopelessly inept plotters that they are, can leave the scheming to Zack, and Zack can leave the skeevy filming of unsuspecting young girls to Joe Francis.
Quote of the episode Zack: You are the stupidest person ever to walk the Earth. Screech: Well, you hired me; what does that make you?
Grade Clare: B-. Look, I realize he was desperate for a car and all, but Zack really screwed the pooch on this scheme. And yet he still managed to turn in a more respectable effort than Mr. Belding and the gang. Plus, video yearbooks are stupid. So there.