Boozey Bayside: Leaping to Conclusions

good-morning-miss-blissA 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:

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  • 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!

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This AC Slater wannabe has NEVER heard of The Civil War. 

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.

 

Inside The Max

Dear Very Special Readers, I have good news and bad news. The good news is I took a crap ton of photos of “Saved By the Max” for you. The bad news is my camera flash wasn’t on. All night, I couldn’t figure out why the photos sucked. I even blamed The Max for having poor lighting, shame on me! It’s not you, The Max, it’s me.

Since they’ve extended their run through December, I’ll post new photos if I ever visit again. And I do promise to double check that my flash is on if I make it to the Rue La Rue Cafe. But for now, this is all I have to give:

I tried to document everything, but there was one section that I failed to snap a photo of entirely. It was a little random “nook” that was setup to look like Mr. Belding’s office. It wasn’t big enough to be a set in and of itself, so it just seemed kind of random. I would have taken a picture, but I felt like the three people sitting at the table there wouldn’t have appreciated that.

The food was top notch, but our reservation was so late that I mostly just nibbled on a little bit of each of my 3 courses. This was all while shifting around in my seat and snapping pictures. (They ask you not to stand up and take photos until you’re done with your meal.) But the best part was the waitstaff. They were super friendly even though they were probably listening to the same 90 minute loop of early 90’s hits and songs by Zack Attack all night long.

On a more critical note, the aesthetic was a little confusing. The level of detail in Kelly’s locker, for example, was wonderful (anachronisms aside). However, the juke box was so thinly painted that you could see the wood beneath it. I know it’s a set (I remembered that the hard way when I shut the bathroom stall door too hard and the whole stall rattled). However, it would have been easier to dive into the fantasy if everything had been on the same level. Take for example that shiny, inviting vinyl on the booth. It was so comfy to sit in. But then there’s the juke box without even a gloss coat of paint and a bunch of blank song cards. I must admit that I built props in college so I probably care more than the average person, but it was distracting nonetheless.

And ordinarily, I don’t get political over here, but this is a pop up diner in which they literally built the rooms from scratch–yet there was no gender neutral bathroom. There was the girls room with a pink door and a group photo of the female members of the cast on the outside and the corresponding blue/group photo for the boys room. With everything happening in the world and the fact that this was built by design, recently, I couldn’t help but notice that choice.

 

 

 

Saved by the Bell: Home for Christmas

The Bayside Gang have all gotten seasonal jobs at the mall! Slater is a gift-wrapper and Jessie is taking photos at Santa’s Village. Apparently, they let high schoolers do that. Totally saves on the cost of a professional photographer! Kelly’s working retail and it turns out that she’s working with a hot girl named Laura.

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Zack’s got the hots for Laura (like he does for every girl he meets) and starts to tell her about how he gave a homeless man he met in the bathroom some cash for food. Zack says he hopes the guy actually used it for food and isn’t a “wine-o.”

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Yes, Zack is once again proving to us that he is a jackass. Even worse, it turns out that the guy from the bathroom is Laura’s dad and they’re both homeless. So Zack’s blanket-insult also insulted his new love-interest. Just when you think Zack might finally get the brutal rejection he deserves, he apologizes to Laura and says he’s just ignorant. He comes from such an affluent background that he thinks poor people are people who don’t have cable. Ick.

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“Affluenza” patient zero

Kelly and Slater rush to his rescue and tell Laura to give him a chance. For some stupid reason she does. But like also she’s homeless and this dude wants to take her out to dinner, so I’m guessing this is just survival on her part.

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After getting a photo with Santa, Laura and Zack bump into Zack’s mom. She invites her to participate in the mall’s production of A Christmas Carol. Alas, the mall truly was a beacon of social and cultural life in the 90’s. Shortly thereafter, Laura’s dad collapses in the mall. When the gang goes to visit him (following the party that candy striper, Lisa, is throwing for the kids there) they find Laura visiting him and realize that she’s homeless too.

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Zack and his mom learn that most of us are just a few pay checks from financial instability. Laura is currently the sole bread-winner with her mall retail job. Kelly tries to help her buy a sports coat for her father by telling their boss that she’s homeless, so he will give her an advance on her pay.

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But their boss is an even bigger jackass than Zack and says he would have never hired Laura had he known she was homeless. When everyone heads off to A Christmas Carol, Kelly puts the sports coat behind the counter because she plans to buy it for Laura.

The gang’s production is horrible. I mean it’s so bad that I’m not even able to make fun of it in a humorous way here. It’s so boring and it’s six minutes of my life I will never get back. Slater plays Tiny Tim. Wtf. He’s the largest person there. But I will say this, there’s something charming about Tiffani Theisan’s cockney accent. Someone hire her for Pygmalion!

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Anyway, the show ends and the store owner freaks out when he finds the coat missing. He calls Laura a thief when he cannot find a sales receipt and she runs away. The gang searches for Laura but no one can find her or her dad. So then Zack’s mom is like well, it’s time to buy a Christmas tree. And Zack is all like, “No, mom. I’m not in the mood.” And she’s like, “It’s time to get on with Christmas.” What??? No. What??? It’s not like “the show much go on” like you’re definitely just choosing to stop looking for these people after a few hours because you really need to get a Fraser Fir in your living room this evening??? I have no words. Like Zack’s mom might be a sociopath.

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You don’t just take a girl to see Santa and then give up on her when she runs away from her mall-home.

Coincidentally, Laura and her dad are living in their car at the Christmas tree lot! How convenient! I guess Zack’s mom actually is okay because she doesn’t want to leave these poor people sleeping in their car on Christmas Eve. So they stay with Zack and his mom instead. And also the retail store owner from the mall realizes he’s been a total dick and hand delivers the wrapped coat to Laura at Zack’s house. They’re going to stay there until Laura’s dad gets a new job, which he’s totally going to be able to do now that he has a sports coat.

smohe-1447348558-552-list_items-xmas_sbtbSo hm. I mean I feel like these people were all just like nice to some homeless people but like didn’t really help them until they fled the freaking mall where they probably lived. I mean Zack and his mom invited them over for dinner ONE TIME after Laura’s dad was in the hospital for collapsing from malnutrition. And then they were like “bye! we’ll see you at the mall sometime later on!” But you know what, this is Saved by the Bell, the people who brought you “Running Zack.” And by that standard, this is really thoughtful and progressive.

Also, OMG Jessie and Zack are next door neighbors? How did I not know this??

Very Special Lesson: All I learned from this is that you can live at the mall and that the Morris Family are a bunch of assholes for not buying that man a full suit and letting that poor desperate girl spend their food-money on that sports coat instead. This is the 90’s. People still wore suits to work at like every corporate job in America! But no. They needed to buy that damn Christmas tree.

I think this calls for an incredulous Tori. sbthb2

Saved by the Bell vs. The Golden Girls

There’s really no way to prepare yourselves for the awesomeness of this, Very Special Readers. Saved by the Bell and The Golden Girls both have EPIC Murder Mystery Weekend episodes and we will now place them in direct competition with each other.

But first thing’s first. The Very Special Winner of last week’s Friday Face-Off is: Salute Your Shorts. By a landslide. Congratulations, Camp Anawanna!

First up, for this week’s matchup is Saved By The Bell: Mystery Weekend. As you know, all the kids from the cool clique in high school liked to spend their free time at bed & breakfasts solving mysteries with middle-aged retirees. So things start off with the teens chilling with a lot of creepy adults in a “haunted mansion.”

So basically someone is “poisoned” and it’s a game of musical chairs to figure out who the drink was originally meant for and who delivered it. Everyone thinks it’s the butler, but when the butler dies too then a cop shows up and also dies. And somehow this helps us figure out the mystery.

When the elderly lady guest’s necklace goes missing (off script) and the party host is almost killed by a falling ax, things get spooky. The host decides to end the game since now it’s a massive liability to have anyone there. He offers Zack some vouchers for another stay in the future, but he vanishes while Zack is in his office. Now Zack is the prime suspect! It turns out that the voucher envelope really contains the prize money, so everyone accuses Zack of being a murderer.

Meanwhile, Lisa, who was packing while Zack retrieved the vouchers, has disappeared from a locked room. This leads Zack, Screech, and Slater to discover a secret passage leading from the bedroom to the host’s office (sketch). This causes Zack to somehow figure out that Lisa was in on the whole thing, the game never stopped, and the host is actually dressed as a woman and the murderer/thief/it doesn’t entirely make sense to me.

The Golden Girls: The Case of the Libertine Bell
Immediately upon arriving at the Mystery Weekend opening dinner, Dorothy instructs the girls to start determining which guests are actors and which are actually guests. She already has a much better game plan than the SBTB kids.

Todd Susman plays the private detective who was supposed to protect an 88 year-old man from being shot. He failed and the 88 year old guy’s twenty-something wife is also “dead.” Todd Susman finds an exotic dagger near the woman’s body and a gun in the old man’s spinster daughter’s purse (you follow?). He then tells the group of guests that they should be able to solve the murders just from this information.

Dorothy solves it all lickety-split with a brief summation of the psychological and physical evidence. Then they can all just hang out hand have a great weekend, right? Wrong! Blanche’s man friend is murdered (for real!) in a locked room (with Blanche!). The police are about to cart Blanche off to jail when Dorothy rushes to her aide.

Basically, there’s a rival with Blanche named “Posey McGlenn” They’re both trying to sleep with their boss and get a promotion. Dorothy determines that Ms. McGlenn must have killed Blanche’s male friend because she was jealous (and new exactly where Blanche had left her dress whilst showering pre-romantic rendezvous). Then Posey almost shoots Dorothy, but the cops intervene in time. And surprise, surprise, the dead guy walks down the stairs because it was all part of the game.

Everyone but Blanche and the girls knew…well Rose knew too. She was pissed at Blanche for stealing her earrings, so helping Blanche’s coworkers think she was accused of murder felt like an even trade.

Saved by the Bell: Driver’s Education

This is an episode that feels particularly close to home for me because I haven’t had to do much driving living in New York. Today the Bayside kids start Driver’s Ed.

This episode starts off with Zack giving Kelly a ring and Kelly telling Zack that she isn’t ready to go steady. Now, I was a little young for dating when Saved by the Bell was on, but this doesn’t feel very 90’s to me. Did teenagers talk about going steady in the early 90’s?

Anyway, let’s get back to driving. A.C. Slater is the only kid who knows how to drive safely. Everyone else thinks it’s appropriate to dry your nails out of the window (Lisa) or put one arm around Kelly (Zack), but Slater knows that the proper way to hold the wheel is the 10 & 2 position. Slater is also the only one who is financially responsible enough to save for and purchase a car. Basically, Slater is a 25 year-old amongst 15 year-olds in this situation. And yes, I’m saying this mostly because of his fashion choices.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.29.13 AMAnyway, Zack gets super jealous because he’s worried that Kelly will be more interested in Slater than she is in Zack. She says she isn’t ready to go stead and she considers the ring to be a friendship ring, so the next logically thought is that she is totally shallow and only interested in boys with cars, duh. Thus, he begins to concoct a plan to get the Driver’s Ed. teacher to fail Slater. Solid friendship, guys!

Now, I don’t know about you, but my Driver’s Ed car was a clunky old sedan. The kids of Bayside get this lovely compact convertible. Some might even call it a golf cart. Obviously, their driver’s training was a lot more cutting edge and unconventional than mine.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.36.49 AMBut Zack’s attempts to turn the teacher against Slater don’t counter-act that fact that Slater is an incredibly good golf cart driver. And maybe he does have cause to worry about the Kelly/Slater connection because Kelly seems pretty turned on by how well Slater did in the in-classroom cone obstacle course. I’m beginning to wonder if Zack is a masochist because then he has a fantasy about Slater taking Kelly to the drive-in while he and Screech sit next to them on a bike.

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Zack is such a douche in this episode. Basically, he’s not great at driving so he asks Slater for help. Slater totally agrees to help him out and Zack is still trying to ruin his life. So basically, Zack takes the car out of the classroom and into the hallway and bribes Slater to teach him how to drive out of bounds. But Kelly walks up and wants to ride with Slater. (Zack has suspiciously asked to observe Slater’s teaching techniques from outside the vehicle). As it turns out, Zack has setup Belding to find Slater driving the car alone outside of the classroom. But Zack can’t get Kelly away from the car and basically shocks Slater into crashing. A golf cart. In a hallway. So maybe he isn’t that great of a driver.

It’s pretty concerning that these school locker’s cannot withstand the force of a slow-moving golf cart. But they must not be very heavy lockers because Kelly is actually okay and non-concussed. However, Screech tells Kelly, Slater, Jesse, and Lisa the truth about Zack’s actions, so Jesse encourages Kelly to fake massive-brain-injury in order to guilt Zack into confessing. It almost works, but then Kelly accidentally calls Zack by his name and shows herself to be a lot more lucid than she appeared. Also, someone should have been getting this girl serious medical attention if she really mistook Zack for Tom Cruise.

Then Zack concocts a new plan to keep everyone quiet so that no one gets punished. But since no one has come forward, Belding decides that the best course of action is to cancel Driver’s Ed. Apparently, the school board and parents are totally cool with that. Kelly is so sweet that she offers to take the blame for everyone. Then Slater offers to take the blame instead of Kelly. Why are they protecting Zack?? He was so awful! Agh!

Luckily, Zack proves that he really can be the hero of our show and finally confesses. He’s automatically flunked out of the class and Slater gets two weeks detention. And Kelly is so impressed with his honesty that she agrees to go steady! So good week overall for Zack?

Very Special Lesson: If you ever become jealous of your friends and want to ruin their lives, they will cover for you in the event of a horrible disaster totally and completely by your doing.

Very Special Halloween Costumes

You guys are all planning super in advance for Halloween, right? Well, just in case you are…I have some suggestions. I made a Polyvore account for this. I made some pretty weird looking things, so I think it’s safe to say that I have probably scared off the average Polyvore user from following me. Anyway, check it out!  And yeah, I got tired so I only made 7 looks which means this chart layout for 9 is pretty sad looking. Whoops.

Growing Pains vs. Saved by the Bell

In the first round of the VSE: Hawaiian Style competition we have Growing Pains vs. Saved by the Bell. Let’s start with a brief summary of both episodes shall we? In Growing PaiGrowing Pains Hawaiins, the Seavers head to Malibu for a vacation that nobody but Jason, the father, and youngest son Ben are interested in. Maggie and the two oldest children are way too busy with their lives in Long Island to be interested in Hawaii. The entire episode is basically about how they can’t deal with interacting as a family, and also Mike ends up dating a woman with a two year old child even though he’s like seventeen. They make a point of saying that she “got married early” and Jason counsels Mike on taking more responsibility in his life, which he does by babysitting her kid while she works as a hula dancer.

There’s a lot going on in Saved by the Bell. I’ll try to make this as succinct as possible. The gang has to save Kelly’s grandfather’s hotel from a corrupt competitor, Zack also falls head over heels for a Hawaiian with a child (tsaved by the bell hawaiian stylehis one is 6 though and he’s only 10 years older than the kid so woah like wtf Saved by the Bell), and Screech is kidnapped by a local tribe and appointed their chief. If you did not find “Running Zack” to be offensive enough to indigenous people then perhaps this is the episode for you. Also, the corrupt competitor’s lawyer flirts with Kelly and tricks her into getting her grandfather to almost sell the land, so that’s also sketch on multiple levels. Lisa, Slater, and Jessie have a boring bet about whether or not Jessie and Slater can keep from fighting for the duration of the trip, which of course they cannot.

Each episode features a special song. Growing Pains uses Christopher Cross’s “Swept Away” for at least three montages and it begins to outlive its usefulness as a plot tool. Here’s the end montage from the episode:

Saved by the Bell definitely wins on the featured song front because it uses “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince in place of the usual opening credits.

While Saved by the Bell wins on the music front, I’m a sucker for the Seavers and I have to say that the Growing Pains episode warms my heart way more. Plus, Saved by the Bell is really not performing up to par here. Yes, I have high standards for a Saturday morning TV show, and yes, I will hold that show to those high standards in my role as Judge Supreme in the competition for this entirely fabricated yet very important award. Plus, I like the family togetherness. And even though Maggie stupidly quits her job in order to return to the vacation, I do like the idea that she’s making an effort to get her priorities straight. Luckily, Jason is a psychiatrist who makes tons of money on writing prescriptions for twenty minute visits with clients, so I think they can handle her being unemployed for a little bit.

Even though I love the Growing Pains plot, I am not digging their matching Hawaiian shirts and thus, unsurprisingly, Saved by the Bell gets the point for fashion. However, Saved by the Bell has once again succeeded in achieving a culturally insensitive plot line with the whole Screech-is-chief thing. Almost by default, I have to give Growing Pains the point for successful integration of the Hawaiian setting. After all, that luau looked pretty nice and actual Hawaiians were performing instead of Jessie, Kelly, and Lisa.

Point Break Down:

Saved by the Bell:  Music (1 pt) + Vacation Attire (1 pt) = 2 pts 


Growing Pains: Overall Plot (2 pts) + Integration of Hawaiian Setting (1 pt) = 3 pts

Very Special WinnerGrowing Pains

Sorry, Saved by the Bell, you were uncharacteristically creepy and I think we can all tell form this set of episodes that Tiffani Theissen and Elizabeth Berkley were about to ditch you.

Bracket Update 1

3 Reasons Why I Will Never Post About Jesse Spano

We’ve been together for several weeks now on The Very Special Blog, during which time you have probably noticed that I love Saved by the Bell. Perhaps, you have picked up on the fact that I scour all of the episode listings in order to find any episode that even kind of fits my interpretation of the “very special episode” so that I can share my love of said episode with you on the internet. I find that watching Saved by the Bell is my sitcom equivalent of going to Walt Disney World and thus I will find any excuse to make it happen as frequently as possible without ruining the magic that is this blissful nostalgia bond.

That being said, I’d like to go ahead and address the elephant in the room. I know you’ve probably all be wondering when I will post about the infamous “Jesse’s Song” a.k.a I’m So Excited: The Caffeine Pill Addiction. Well, the truth is I won’t be posting about it. And here are some reasons why:

  1. I think we all need to give Jesse a break.
    Sure we all know that as far as addictions go, caffeine pills are the most tame by far. But of all the Saved by the Bell characters, Jesse was totally the most likely to become an addict. I think she was the only character that ever felt any kind of actual pressure in life. I mean sure they all went through “rough times” but Jesse was trying really hard to make good grade, do 700 extracurricular activities, and overcome the patriarchy. That’s a lot of work for any seventeen year old, especially one with a type-A personality. As far as I’m concerned, we should all be grateful that Jesse got her hands on some caffeine pills and not amphetamines like Liv Tyler in Empire Records.
    Liv was having a hard time in that movie.
  2. I too am a caffeine addict.
    I don’t think I’m in any kind of position to judge Jesse Spano. There have been multiple occasions where I’ve thought to myself, “Maybe I should give caffeine pills a try.” Look, I see that  Jesse Spano clearly used them to excess, but I work long hours and I don’t get a ton of breaks, so I have to wonder if the occasional pill might be a little convenient for when I can’t get my hands immediately on a cup off coffee. Personally, I’m still waiting for the day where they invent an IV drip for caffeine, but I understand that is not really a priority in the medical profession. But long story short, I love coffee. I love the taste, I love the smell, and I love the eye popping affect it has when I’m falling asleep at my desk. I simply cannot judge her for hammering back the caffeine.
    On all of those Buzzfeed quizzes where they tell you to pick your favorite drug and all of the options are like smoking weed, drinking alcohol, or doing coke… I seriously consider picking the cocaine option because it is the most chemically similar to coffee. And then I think to myself, “My God, what is wrong with me?!” Luckily, they usually tuck a steaming latte picture somewhere in the bottom corner of the quiz options, so I’m always able to save my dignity at the last minute. (Kids, it’s NOT really that similar. Little changes in chemical properties make a big difference in the real world and no one should become a cocaine addict because they’re sleepy.)
A damn fine cup of coffee!
  1. There’s nothing left to say.
    I don’t feel that I have anything interesting to add to the I’m so excited discussion. In the years since the episode aired it has become one of the most talked about and most parodied very special episodes of all time. My personal favorites are Bayside! The Musical! and that time Elizabeth Berkley herself recreated the scene on Dancing with the Stars.
    The ladies of Bayside! The Musical!

If you were not wondering why I haven’t posted about Jesse’s caffeine pill addiction and subsequently are wondering why I am writing this post about not writing a different post, then I hope you enjoyed the list either way.