Saved by the Bell Season 4, Episode 25: “The Time Capsule”

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We open  our penultimate episode with Mr. Belding completing the all important task of polishing his picture frames. It’s an older Mr. Belding, too, as you can tell because he has a mustache. Mustaches always indicate age.

Yes, it’s the year 2003, despite the fact that Mr. Belding is still in his old office when we know he got a new one in season two of The New Class. This is the clip show episode people have been warning me about since I started this blog. Oh, how bad can it be?

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Bad. Meet our graduating class of 2003, proving that the producers of The New Class never do stop recycling the character templates of the original series. This gang makes even Brian seem like a competently designed character by comparison, though, as they seem to enjoy talking in ways that openly people who haven’t been a teenager for a very long time would think teenagers talk. Also, I lived through 2003. I’m pretty sure their fashion was pretty outdated by then.

They tell Mr. Belding they found this metal case buried outside and Mr. Belding instantly recognizes it as a time capsule buried by the class of 1993. He says this was a special class and he was very close to it. Very close. He opens it and finds a video tape.

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Naturally, since the gang are the only members of this graduating class who matter, they’re the only ones featured on the tape. Yeah, this is how a real time capsule would look. Totally.

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They’re also apparently wizards because they rigged a booby trap for Mr. Belding that he somehow didn’t manage to set off in ten years, even with Screech all over his ass for much of that time. It’s nice to know Mr. Belding never opens that particular drawer in his file cabinet. It’s probably where he keeps his stash to cope with Screech.

The rest of the episode is about as competently produced as one would expect, as each member of the gang share their memories of their four years at Bayside featuring clips from the show where there was obviously never a camera present to record the events the time capsule is depicting. It also shows dream sequences, which means that there are cameras in their brains apparently.

It’s also strange how it’s supposed to be a retrospective of the series but the vast majority of it is clips from season one and two episodes. I don’t think they know what a retrospective is.

Also, Screech wants to pick up girls in the future. Nice to know he was always a creep with pedophile tendencies from the beginning.

In any case, all of the 2003 gang think their 1993 counterparts are super cool and they wish their 1993 counterparts were still around so they could make love to their prototypes.

The 1993 gang each give a message for the 2003 gang. Maybe this episode won’t be a complete waste and we’ll actually get some wisdom out of it? Nah, it’s just old cliches and character traits of our gang, complete with my commentary.

Jessie: Take care of our planet so the kids of 2103 can enjoy it as much as we do. Peace and love. [Jessie, the kids of 2103 will be much more concerned with caffeine pill addiction than environmental issues! Get with the program!]

Slater: Bayside was the first real home I ever had. Be good to it, or I’ll come and get you. [New Screech might actually enjoy the sound of that.]

Lisa: All my fashion secrets are taped to the back of my old locker, number 144. In the meantime, keep on rockin’ Bayside. [Nice to know Lisa’s characterization is shallow as ever.]

Screech: Class of 2003, let me leave you with one wise thought: be kind to geeks, dweebs, and nerds. Ten years from now, they’ll be the ones with all the money! [Except for Screech, who grew up to lose all his money to hookers and drugs, made a bad porno, pissed off his former cast mates by publishing a fake tell all book, and went to jail for assault.]

Kelly: No matter what happens, keep on smiling! And when life hands you a lemon, make some lemonade! [Keep on smiling, even through your loveless marriage to Zack Morris! Geez, I called Lisa’s characterization shallow? I guess this is the essence of Kelly: keep on smiling!]

Zack Morris: High school is the best time of your life! So love it, live it, and enjoy it! And, if you have any time left, do some homework. {And sometimes, in between, dress in drag and go on dates with your nerdy best friend.]

The real lesson here: clip show episodes suck, and having a premise you think is clever such as the gang recording a time capsule video doesn’t make them any better. I’m honestly unsure of which is worse: this or “Best Summer of My Life.”

And, before anyone says it, I know the premise of this episode directly contradicts the finale of The New Class. I’ll have more to say about that next year when I finally reach season seven, but, suffice it to say, both episodes can’t be true.

In any case, our episode ends with the gang smiling on as they prepare to go into the final episode…

Firsts: A look into the future.

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