The gang is at the Max, and they meet James, an actor who is currently working as a waiter. They also talk about the upcoming ski trip, and wonder how they can make enough money to pay for it. Zack suggests a carnival, and everyone thinks it's a great idea. Then they took the idea to Mr. Belding, and he agreed that it was a good idea. He keeps Zack behind after the others leave, and tells him that he wants to meet with his father to discuss Zack's very poor grades. Zack wants to bring in his mother, who usually meets with Mr. Belding, but Belding won't hear it, and insists on meeting with his father.
Later, Zack meets with his father to talk to him about what happened at school. Unfortunately, they keep getting interrupted by business calls. Zack asks his father if he would let his son go on the ski trip if, hypothetically, he were failing in school, and his father says absolutely not. Zack really wants to go on this ski trip, so he comes up with another scheme. He gets James to pose as his father for the meeting with Mr. Belding. They manage to pull it off, and Mr. Belding and "Zack's father" agree to let Zack go on the ski trip. Zack thinks he's in the clear until Mr. Belding says that he's sent his father a letter asking him to be a chaperone on the ski trip. So this time, when Zack's father comes to the meeting, James is posing as Mr. Belding. Zack keeps the office empty by making Mr. Belding believe that the chess team has been poisoned, while James convinces his father that he's a great student who's never in trouble. Unfortunately for Zack, his father, a computer salesman, decides to offer "Mr. Belding" a great deal on a new computer. Meanwhile the real Mr. Belding sees through the chess team's ruse, and knows that Zack is up to something, so he rushes back to the office. He gets there just in time to meet up with James, who is acting like Zack's father again.
Everyone has a great time at the carnival. Then, as the highlight of the day, Mr. Belding gets in the dunking booth. To Zack's horror, his father wanders into the carnival. Zack tries to get him out of there, but he decides to try his hand at the dunking booth. Mr. Belding taunts him until he finally manages to hit a bull's eye and dunks him. Zack tries to get Mr. Belding and his father away from each other, but they figure out what's going on, and Zack's ski trip is off.
Later, back in Zack's bedroom, Zack and his father again try to talk, but his father keeps getting interrupted by business calls. Finally, Zack calls him on his cell phone to make the point that this is the only way they can communicate. His father feels bad that he's been putting business before his family, and decides to put it on hold this weekend so they can go fishing…with the provision that Zack bring his books and catch up on his schoolwork.