By: Dashiell Driscoll
Remember the ‘Saved by the Bell ‘ when Zack Morris committed international kidnapping to fix a chess game?
The episode begins and Zack Morris is calling the chess game. Poorly. And missing no opportunity to disparage smarter students.
Screech, Bayside ‘s champ, prepares for battle with his lucky beret from his girlfriend Violet (Tori Spelling). Screech wins! He ‘s heading to the finals against Valley! Zack sees a green light to leech.
Zack manhandles Screech mid-date to sell tacky overpriced shirts with his unlicensed image.
Two Valley students, who must ‘ve been held back a few years, see if Zack wants to put some action on the chess game. Zack, a degenerate gambler, jumps at any opportunity to lose. Then takes a direct shot at Screech ‘s confidence.
But Valley has a secret weapon. Peter Breschnev, a Russian exchange student related to some of the greatest chess masters in history.
Screech is scared, but Zack gives him a substance-less pep-talk solely motivated by not wanting to lose cash. He says nothing of Screech ‘s abilities and tells him the deciding factor will be his lucky beret.
Screech is training. Zack forcefully intrudes to sell a photo. Then harasses an uninterested woman. She ‘s Alison Fox writing an article for Chess Boy magazine. Zack can ‘t believe she ‘s not there for him.
Zack shadows them to mope. He can ‘t drop it and whines loudly, throwing a horny tantrum. Alison wants to continue her interview over lunch. Except Alison is from Valley. She ‘s here to break up Screech and Violet so he ‘ll be too sad to compete.
Her plan is working as her attention makes Violet uneasy. And because Screech has learned from watching Zack disrespect women for years, he lets Alison wear his hat in front of the woman who gave it to him. Violet is pissed.
Alison ‘s leaving when Zack snatches the hat to loudly declare Screech needs it to win and he should go put it in his locker. Unable to read the massive signs, he hits on her again. Shut down. Again.
Zack reveals Alison is from Valley. And she stole his lucky hat. Because Zack tied Screech ‘s entire sense of self-worth to a piece of red fabric, he ‘s lost.
While his real friends think of ways to help, Zack tries to dig his way out of this hole with ANOTHER beret. He lies and says they found his hat at Valley. Then turns around to sell them for his third parasitic black market enterprise in two days.
Screech tries to patch things up with Violet. Who only gets angrier when she sees he lost her gift and is wearing a cheap knock-off. Screech is once again hopeless at rock bottom. Instead of consoling him, Zack shrugs.
But Zack still feels good about the bet despite the fact that Screech is ready to jump off a bridge. He stops Peter to say it ‘s an American custom to get a pre-match picture. Then shoves him in a closet, to beat him up, steal his clothes, and shave his head.
Zack, having assumed the identity of the foreigner he kidnapped, attempts to throw the game. But can ‘t even do that right and declares surrender. Right as a humiliated Peter emerges from the door Zack did not properly lock. Guess Zack had a Peter wig lying around? That ‘s somehow worse than the head shaving.
Zack explains. He only kidnapped this Russian to cheat at gambling. Belding is less than satisfied with this explanation and wants to shut the whole mess down.
Zack offers to call off the bet if he ‘ll let them compete, shirking his wager as all options to cheat have been exhausted.
But Screech needs his beret. Until Violet takes two seconds to boost his self-esteem, a page missing from Zack ‘s morally bankrupt playbook. Screech wins! Zack sees a new opportunity to sell garbage. And we never see Peter again, he probably fucking killed himself.
Let ‘s review.
Zack Morris exploited his friend to sell shirts. Then, after gambling on high school chess, made Screech believe he owed all his success to a beret. And when Screech was clearly being set up, didn ‘t notice because he was too busy whining. After Zack ‘s loud mouth got the beret stolen, Zack tried to make it all better with lies and bootleg headwear. Then, in a last ditch effort to fix the match, committed international kidnapping, escalating tensions with Russia in the final days of the Cold War. And failed there too. When all he had to do was be a human being for two second. But that ‘s impossible for Zack Morris. Zack Morris is trash. ‘
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