In the midst of our textchange, I revealed that in my future life story, this episode would take up a whole chapter. It is probably one of the three events in my life that temporarily made me lose all faith in humanity. There is so much wrong with it that it hurts my heart and probably made me afraid to date anyone till my 20s. [Tangent: I know...I know...it seems absurd to be dejected in life by a TNBC series. (and if I did it should have been California Dreams or City Guys.) You would think I would be thrilled to bits that 90s Adonis Zack Morris decided to date a girl in a chair, but bummer- he treats her like a total martian and that dating her is some kind of bizarre Make-a -Wish. Long story short, in 22 minutes,.Peter Engel ruined my childhood and adolescence. Listening to this podcast totally reminded me of it!] Because my friends are as weird as I am, Ryan immediately was like, "WE HAVE TO LIVE BLOG IT!!!"...so we decided to watch it on Netflix and Facebook chat while we watched it. [Tangent: Everything about that prior sentence would have been gobbletygook in the early 90s when the show was in it's hey day.] He wanted to do a co-blog, and I love a new challenge [Tangent:...and any excuse to mention F#@$able Milhouse.] so here are some things that really bugged us during the episode. Ryan's hangups are important like plot line and realism ...mine are mostly wheelchair inaccuracies and just overall fashion related issues. [Tangent: For example, I admire the Bayside gang's attempts to sex up a Hanes sweatsuit, but it is not successful.]
Ryan's conclusion after watching:
"I don't like how the teen line is part of school...or is it after school? And they have no training.... Lisa proves they have no training by making fat jokes to a girl insecure about her weight! So, they create the teen line and get the word out about it in one day! ONE DAY! aragr;ahg;akhg;sagha;gh1! Tommy needs parents or an elementary school and not to follow Screech around all day....and tall girl would have NO problems getting dates because she's a f^#$ing supermodel! Furthermore, paying for 5 extra wheelchairs, ill fitting sweatsuits and a F$%ING DANCE is not a way to keep a few phone lines connected indefinitely"
While his mind was reeling, I was just getting irate. So I know SBTB is not the bastion of realism, but there were many issues I had, which I choose to screenshot and address for you below.
1. Not only was I fuming at Zack for lierally saying, "YOU ARE IN A WHEELCHAIR." when he met Melissa for the first time, I was equally frustrated with Melissa, Zack's Teen Line blind date. Why did she not mention that she was disabled? Sure, in an ideal world, we would see what is on the inside that counts and yadda yadda, but for real that's a hell of a bomb to drop on a love prospect. I guess I can't fault her, she was just
Additionally, the ruse was quite elaborate to pull the wool over Zack's eyes. The Max, which never has table cloths, suddenly has one....which happens to be atop the table where Melissa is sitting. HOW CONVENIENT! [Tangent: Also, the Max is not accessible, so I am assuming there is an additional back entrance or one of the servers helped her navigate that stair. I mean you would really hate to make the Max aesthetically unpleasing by adding a ramp, right? It might draw attention from that lightning bolt door handle.] Also note how she is facing outward and has a sweater to cover her handlebars. Bravo, Melissa. Stand up camouflage job [Tangent: Pun not intended!] How long does she think she can conceal this?
[Tangent: THE GYM IS SO SO SMALL! I mean I know it is television, but just the idea of having that many chairs milling around in high speeds in such a tiny area concerns me. I shared an apartment with two other wheelchair users in college and trust me, that was tight! Even the prospect of this ballyhoo below makes me cringe.] I admire their passion, but even when I was 10, I knew this was a TERRIBLE idea. I am hoping the wheelchairs were donated because those are not hospital issue chairs, they would be pricey to rent and thus cut into the money they are raising.
[Tangent: Not unlike Kristy Barnes the female wrestler or the chubby girl Wendy who bid on Zack at the date auction, we will never hear from Melissa again. Her one episode arc morality play was over. ] I have been Melissa. I have been that girl that is pining over some dude [Tangent: Maybe wearing head to toe denim on denim...maybe not.], and that guy is afraid to come off rude so just opts to lead me on instead. To put it simply, it sucked.
So why has this episode haunted me so? I can honestly recall being embarassed watching it as a child and if this was what dating was like, I dreaded it. Pop culture was my greatest teacher as a kid, and I just assumed for the greater part of my adolescence and teen year this was how love worked. I am glad, since then, I have learned otherwise.