A few weeks ago, very special reader Shani requested an episode of Good Morning, Miss Bliss. The show originally aired on the Disney Channel in the late 80’s and is basically a very sad version of Saved by the Bell. (Sorry, Shani not even Zack Morris could save this one.) GMMB stars Haley Mills as the titular character.
I have a lot of love for Haley Mills. Her version of The Parent Trap is far and away better than the Lindsay Lohan version IMHO and the original That Darn Cat is one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time. But Miss Bliss does her no service and the whole “teacher guides class of middle schoolers through life” seems like such a snooze-fest that I would hate the whole premise if Boy Meets World hadn’t done it successfully a few years later. You’ll recognize Zack, Screech, and Lisa from Saved by the Bell. But the rest of the crew is made up of Nikki (who is kind of like a young Jesse Spano) and Mikey (who is kind of like a young AC Slater).
But we’re very “ask and ye shall receive” over here at The VSB, so my compromise is to drink while covering “Leaping to Conclusions” a.k.a. the frog dissection episode. It’s the end of summer, so I figured why not make the middle-aged mom’s drink of choice: Red Wine Spritzer (the cheap kind). Feel free to follow along and make one of your own:
- 1/3 can of San Pellegrino (I used blood orange)
- 2/3 red wine (no, not the whole bottle, just fill the rest of your glass)
- strawberry to garnish
Today in Miss Bliss’s class, the kids are learning about The Civil War. But they’re teenagers so they don’t give a crap. Wait, hold on. They don’t care about The Civil War? What kind of monster children is Miss Bliss teaching? But we don’t linger on that. Apparently, their callous feelings toward racial equality in the US was nothing but a cold open. The real issue here is that Mr. Belding won’t let the teachers buy supplies!
Following a very heated discussion over a slide projector, Mr. Belding receives a piece of mail addressed to Miss Bliss. It’s from another school in the area and one can only presume that Miss Bliss thinks the supply situation will be better if she seeks employment there. Miss Bliss, why are you using your employer as your job-hunting address? Have you no home? These pressing questions and others, as we continue.
Meanwhile in science class, the kids of Miss Bliss’s class learn that they have to cut open frogs. This was one of the darkest days of my sixth grade experience, so I can relate. However, my issue was more due to an intense hatred of the smell of formaldehyde than any particular fuzzy feelings for amphibians, but apparently Nikki is a young frog-activist. To be fair, they’re straight up killing live frogs and then dissecting them in this class, which is pretty depressing. This could be interesting but we NEVER see anything. All we get to do is hear about how Nikki loves frogs. Why didn’t they just rip off E.T. and make it more interesting???
Nikki frees all of the frogs on the school’s football field, which of course happens off screen. Zack’s pissed off because he was actually looking forward to dissecting the frogs. He taunts Nikki and tell her to free all of the vegetables from the cafeteria because vegetables are living things too.
Luckily, Miss Bliss finds an alternative to frog dissection and suggests a computer program that simulates dissection. Obviously, this never took off because I was dissecting frogs years after this episode aired. Anyway, Nikki learns her lesson and spells it out PAINFULLY for everyone.
Also, I know you were all really concerned about the school supply issue from earlier: After Mr. Belding found that letter, he started showering Miss Bliss with tons of supplies. But it turns out that she had NO idea she would receive mail on another school’s letterhead. She’s not looking to leave at all! It was probably an old colleague writing to say hi! This causes Mr. Belding to offer her supplies to the science teacher. Then Miss Bliss threatens to fight him for them. Roll Credits.
Very Special Lesson: Ugh. See above screenshots, I guess. I will say though, I personally learned no more from frog dissection that I did from an anatomy text book. I was shocked and disgusted the whole time and therefore retained absolutely NONE of the information we were supposed to learn. Furthermore, I’m really really sad for everyone involved in this production. Even as a kids’ show, it’s boring AF. On the plus side, it makes Saved by the Bell look like cutting edge drama, so that must have felt like a major step up for any of the cast members who made it onto the new show.