This episode reminds me when they did the teen line back in Season 2. This episode made up for it since it became a whole different plot. The gang dealing with having a cripple as a friend, Zack was the one to deal, I like how she stepped up & finally said what a jerk Zack was being. I love how Tori said, "Maybe she wants to be you friend more than you cause." And when they danced at the end, that was so sweet. The subplot was just okay, Screech having a little brother! Didn't interest me, still a lesson is learned in this episode.
Zack meets up with a female from the new Teen Line the gangs running but discovers shes handicapped and confined to a wheelchair to his shock. Over the course of the episode Zack gets obsessed with her handicap which leads to him playing out himself.
The episode begins with the gang meeting in Beldings office to discuss some options as to what the annual community service project will be. Every Senior class of the past has done it so now its their turn. After a couple stupid ideas get suggested, Tori comes up with a Teen Line and Rap Room idea. They all agree and set it up. For those who dont know...
A Teen Line is where anonomyous callers call in asking for advice on problems ranging from being overweight to self-esteem issues to drug problems, etc. The gang are obviously the advice givers since its their project. There are however strict rules to follow and they are:
- No asking callers for their last name
- Never ask for home numbers
- Never ask to meet them
A Rap Room is basically a face to face meeting about problems instead of using the phone.
Now that its all explained, onto the episode...
Zacks first Teen Line call is from a girl named Melissa whos parents are ultra tight about her 10 o'clock curfew so Zack gives her a little bit of that Zack magic advice about turning the clocks back two hours. During the call though Zack breaks all the rules (Big Shocker There...LOL) and asks her out on a date. He sets up the date for them at The Max the following night. When Zack informs the rest of the gang about his date they all get pissed at him and tell him that hes asking for trouble by breaking the rules. Fast foward to the date at The Max with Melissa. Zack aska Melissa to join him at the jukebox to see what songs they have and the look of shock (which is really an understatement) on his face when he sees shes in a wheelchair is crazy. He calms himself down for a moment but from that point on until the end of the episode his obsessiveness about her being handicapped gets worse and worse and more embarassing. A couple examples of this would be...
- Him asking her every 5 minutes if shes ok
- Before the gang was even introduced to Melissa Zack went on a rant on some "shes handicapped so lets get it out of the way, forget about it, and not talk about it again."
- The worst example though is the movie theater scene. He gets the theater manager because someone illegally parked in a handicap spot prompting the guy to call the cops about it. Then he also hassles the manager about not having wheelchair ramps. The topper though is that he actually had the nerve to ask the dude for a refund on the ticket because she doesnt actually use the theater seats (she obviously uses her wheelchair). By the way, while all this commotion is going on, the look on Melissas face was a mix of both being upset and embarassed and i really felt bad for her.
So the next day Belding gets some bad news about them closing down the Teen Line because of budget cuts unless they can raise a thousand dollars in a few days. They decide to hold a charity wheelchair basketball game which turns out to be a success and in the end raise enough money to save the teen line. After the game Tori announces to the crowd that with their help and support the teen line is now saved. Stupid Zack then takes the microphone from Tori and in a truly idiotic move says that the real person to thank for all of this is Melissa since shes the only one who really has to be in a wheelchair all the time. That comment obviously pissed off Melissa and she basically tells him off about why he always has to feel the need to tell the world that shes handcapped. She rolls away with Zack looking flustered.
The episode ends with the whole school gathered in the gym for a sort of "after charity event dance." While there Zack spots Melissa and walks up to her. He apologizes for getting her upset and admits that he really thought he was meaning well when it turn he did the exact oppositte. Melissa tells him to get to know the real her and not just the handcapped her. The final scene is Zack and Melissa dancing on the dancefloor and assumingly all is forgiven.
Two quick side notes before i go. The Rap Room was only used once by a brother who couldnt stand his younger brother so Screech took the younger brother in for a few days. All he did was get harassed and tortuned by the young kid. When the day came to switch put the brothers back together they share a hug, say the missed each other, and other cheezy crap. Screech however is overjoyed that the little brat is gone. I really didnt care for that storyline at all which is why its got this little ole paragraph about it at the very end of my review.
Lastly the reson why i put "Out of Character" for the episode classification is because IMO Zack acted completely out of character in this episode. Hes usually the calm, cool, collected guy that pulls some cool schemes every now and then. The obsessivness and annoyingness he portrayed in this episode wasnt the Zack i had known to love so if anyone was wondering, thats the reason why i put "Out of Character."
A serious episode in the series and not played up to be funny. The Tori scenario produced a couple of quality episodes. Zack under the advice of Tori decides to participates in a teen line for school. He breaks the rules though when Zack decides to date the person who has called in. He's not the only one though as Screech finds what he thinks is a cool brother but that ends up being a nightmare.
Zack meets his date Melissa Donohue and sees that she is in a wheelchair. Zack lets his mouth run away with him leading to a lot of poltically correct things for him to say. When the two are at movie he tells one "would you mind slouching, my date is in a wheelchair", and during a basketball game Zack comes up with a nasty message about Melissa being the only one in a wheelchair.
Melissa then tells Zack that Zack should just treat her as he would a normal girl. This is a great episode that shows the type of stuff that disable go through and the kind of
overprotection that really annoys them.
I thought the actress playing Melissa was great and this episode is another character building episode for Zach who finally learns his lesson at the end.
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