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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hawaii lame-o

We begin with an unusually long establishing shot of a skeleton in biology class. Pay attention, kids—you know what they say about the skeleton introduced in the first act. Anyway, Lisa comes into class, all aflutter because local DJ "Rappin' Ken Kelly" is at the Max, and he's giving away two tickets to Hawaii to the tenth caller. Fortunately, Zack is armed with his giant cell phone (which is sitting out on the desk, presumably because it's too large to be stashed away anywhere), and he plans to warm it up by securing a date to Hawaii. Because what parent of a high-school-age girl wouldn't jump at the chance to send her halfway across the globe with a member of the opposite sex?

While Zack's chatting up "Gretchen," Belding walks in and announces he'll be substitute teaching today. Those budget cuts are rough, eh, Richie? Belding explains that the regular bio teacher is having emergency surgery, just as Zack is laughing hysterically at something his lady-friend has said. Belding is somehow unable to see the giant cell phone attached to Zack's ear and expresses shock at Zack's response. Zack helpfully clarifies that he was talking to the person on the phone, earning himself a terse reminder of the no-cell-phones-on-school-property rule. Zack doesn't care, though, because he's got a plan to win the trip to Hawaii.

Cut to the Max, where Zack and Screech are wearing hard hats and fake mustaches, pretending to be phone-company employees. Despite the less-than-professional phone logo adorning their yellow jumpsuits, Rappin' Ken Kelly assumes they are legit and gives them free rein to tinker with the phone lines. Of course, we're talking about a guy who talks in a DJ voice even when he's not actively DJing, so perhaps it's not surprising that he so easily fell prey to a Zack Morris scam.

Despite nearly shocking himself, Screech manages to get the phone lines intercepted so that they ring directly to him...crouched underneath a booth. Yeah, because that's not obvious. Also, I always assumed that there was a wall on the other side of the Max booths, but now we find out that's not the case. Is the Max actually much bigger than we ever imagined? I feel misled.

Anyway, Screech starts intercepting callers, dismissing everyone (including Lisa and Tori, and I assume Slater, since we saw him standing by a pay phone earlier) until Zack gets through. So I guess we're to assume that Ken & Co. have already taken calls one through nine, then? Yeah, that long pause before caller ten isn't suspicious at all. To his credit, Rappin' Ken Kelly does start to express some disbelief, but before he can check out the phone lines and uncover Screech's not-so-secret hiding place, Zack is patched through. He's caller number ten, but he's still got one more hoop to jump through—he's got to be at the Max at 4 to answer some trivia questions. Which could be a problem, since ol' Richie busts Zack talking on his cell phone on school property (why didn't he just take it across the street, since clearly no one is expected to be in class at this time?) and escorts him to detention.

In detention, Belding is going all Mr. Myagi on a bonsai tree while Zack watches. Zack excuses himself to go to the bathroom, but instead heads to the locker room, where he offers Slater a free trip to Hawaii in exchange for a favor. One would assume Zack is not giving up his own ticket to Hawaii, and therefore Slater will be joining him on this romantic vacation (presumably while wearing a mini grass skirt, if his enthusiastic reaction when Zack mentions them is any indication). All he has to do is pretend to be injured so that Zack can pretend to take him to the hospital and get out of detention. Unfortunately, Ox comes along and ruins the whole thing, outing Slater as a faker, which means he can say good-bye to his romantic trip with Zack and hello to detention.

Time for plan B: Zack sees Tori and Lisa walking by and, via paper airplane, makes them the same offer he made Slater. Wait, I thought there were only two tickets to Hawaii in this deal. How can Tori and Lisa both go? It doesn't really matter, because they are even worse scammers than Slater (next time you call the principal pretending to be someone's mom, Tori, I'd suggest not using the phone five feet away from him) and are also given detention for their trouble.

Fortunately, Zack remembers Belding's notoriously weak stomach and begins taunting him with the cow brains and frog intestines trapped in jars of formaldehyde at the back of the room, sending Belding racing for the bathroom. Zack retrieves his phone and calls Screech, giving him a "crash course on Hawaii" (how long was Belding in the bathroom, anyway?) so that Screech can pretend to be Zack for the trivia contest. You know what that means—break out the blond wig! Screech saunters into the Max, and we see that he has not gotten much more successful at being Zack Morris since his last attempt. Ken somehow ignores all the stares of disbelief from the random extras and asks Screech/Zack what's the first thing he'll do when he gets to Hawaii. This is enough to stump Screech, and he runs off to get the answer from the real Zack, who is listening incredulously on his Walkman.

In detention, Belding won't let Screech talk to Zack, so he calls Belding a doofus to earn the right to stay in the room. Zack is not amused, and points out to Screech the fallacy of his plan. Having exhausted his entire supply of friends, Zack turns to the only person left for help—his buddy Skeletor. While Screech distracts Belding with bonsai-trimming advice, the gang dresses up the skeleton in Zack's hoodie and Screech's blond wig. Meanwhile, the real Zack makes a break for the Max, where he proceeds to annoyingly answer Ken Kelly's trivia questions with way more information than necessary.

Back in detention, Screech has pruned the bonsai of all of its leaves, and Belding finally notices "Zack" dozing away in the back of the class. Despite the gang's pathetic attempts to dissuade him, Belding goes to wake "Zack" up and ends up dislodging Skeletor's head from his body, which causes Belding to scream like a girl. OK, that was pretty funny.

Back at the Max, it's time for Zack's final trivia question, which is convolutedly about bonsai trees. Because Zack spent most of his time in detention figuring out how to get out of it, he can't come up with the name of the trees, so Ken Kelly decides to award the trip to the next person who walks through the door and can answer the question...which of course is Belding. He's thrilled to have a replacement anniversary gift for Mrs. B (and I'm sure Mrs. B is thrilled to be getting a trip to Hawaii instead of some stupid miniature tree). Zack is less than thrilled that the only trip he ended up with is another all-expenses-paid vacation to detention.


Quote of the episode

"What are you doing—landscaping for the Barbie mansion?" –Zack, to Belding

Clare: C+. This episode was basically a retread of Cut Day, and not a very entertaining one at that. (Who thought I'd actually miss Grahamdhi and his burnt-sienna pants?) It does get a plus, however, for the pure entertainment value of Belding's girly scream when he thought he'd beheaded Zack.

10:32 AM

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