Monday, May 27, 2013

A Look Back at The Fight: Zack vs. Slater

Possibly the greatest, most shocking thing that happen on network television in the 90's had nothing to do with politics or a championship game but a fight.  Not even the OJ Simpson/White Bronco police chase can measure,  not Bill Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman", not even Magic Johnson announcing his retirement due to HIV.  It was on September 12th, 1992.  Zack Morris and A.C. Slater land fists upon each other.  The episode was simply titled, The Fight.

Editor's Note: I'm writing most of this off of memory.  When it comes to TV episodes I love, my memory is really really good.  It was also a bitch just to find a working link until I found one the other morning of this being posted.
Let's get the B side story out of the way first.  Lisa is attracted to a guy, turns out he's a freshman which is so faux paus.  A senior going out with a freshman will have everyone talking about it because in the 90's you can't date anyone younger than you.  Lisa ends up going to dance with him, some life lesson and he's never seen again.  And something about Mr. Belding trying to look younger so he wears a mullet wig.

Now let's carve into this meat of an A story.  A new girl whose name I choose not to look up let's call her, Victoria Justice.  I learned a long time ago sometimes the females from the 90's don't age well, here's exhibit A, your honour.  Anyways, Victoria Justice is minding her own business at her locker when unbeknownst to her, the kang of dirty mackin' is already on the prowl: Zack Morris.

You can go back to any episode of SBTB when Zack wasn't smanging Kelly and see some of the dirty macking tactics Zack would show.  Taking different girls TO THE SAME MOVIE just so he can handpick one to make Kelly jealous, dating a homeless girl from the mall because he was sympathetic to the poor, using subliminal messages to brainwash girls and there's loads more.  Zack makes an impression and puts her on his smang list, meanwhile when he's "late" for class, Slater meets Justice and they hit it off.

Slater, the realest G in all of Bayside, had his priorities straight from the beginning: he wrestled, he liked girls and occasionally showed off his dance moves.  He kept the forever irritating Jessie in line too, simply by referring to her as "mama."  This scene from season one demonstrates what A.C. Slater is all about.  Throughout his tenure at Bayside, he delivered lines like a pro, in this episode Slater says: Hey babe sorry, there's so much Slater to go around.  There's so much purple swag in that line and let's not even start with the shirt.

Now Slater may have been the realest in the halls of Bayside but he was the biggest cockblocker too.  In that first season, he took ever chance he got to break up Zack and that hoe Kelly.  She bust it wide up for Jeff, her manager at the Max and the college professor in college, she was hoeing and you ain't even know it. Slater's cockblocking tactics returned in this episode when those two great minds realized the chick they're both talking about laying down pipe work on is the same girl.  Usher and R.Kelly had a similar dilemma a decade later.

So when Preppy and Jheri Curl both plan to sit by Justice, the revelation that it's the same girl.  In class,  their teacher gives them extra homework because that happens in schools on television.  Never once in my life I heard a teacher giving extra homework to one student or more students, ever.  Zack offers to help her study at his house because of his red beanbag chair and holiday sweaters in September.  Slater offers going to the movies the next day.  Damn Slater.  That dumb jock stereotype is real with you.  Victoria Justice accepts both offers.  While at Zack's house studying, Slater's cockblocking instincts chime in by paying his debt to Zack from a "bet" by vacuuming his room.  Ya see, they can't study with all that noise from the vacuum.  Slater and his Lanny Poffo genius intellect.  Oh and he used a leaf blower.  But A.C. can't out due a dirty mack.  Dirty mack knows all the tricks, left, right, inside and out.  During Slater's movie date, Zack pays some actress to play Slater's mom and gets Screech to play an usher in the movie theatre to play along.  Ya see, Slater's c-blocking (I feel like I've typed the word cock too much already) was free like his cut off hoodie, Zack's cost money to scheme.  That's grade A c-blocking.

Now, the climax.  I'll just let this dialogue speak for itself, I'll chime in here and there.  Slater enters the scene by coming down the stairs like a raging bull.  Zack is at his locker.

Slater: Hey Zack, last night at the movies you went to far.

Zack: Just helped a mother get together with her son what's so wrong about that?

Slater: Wrecking my date with Joanna wasn't funny. (Still prefer Victoria Justice)

Zack: (closes locker) Oh, like it was funny wrecking my study date the night before?

Slater: Hey, you started it by making me look like a jerk at The Max.

Zack: Well that's what you are. (crowd woos) (Crowd wooing in the 90's television was a big thing)

Slater: What did you say?

Zack: You heard me, now get out of my face. (Zack had his hands on his hips then dropped them once he told Slater the business)

Slater: And what if I don't, PUNK? (Slater said punk with an intent of fisticuffs)

Zack: Well I just have to make you, PUNK. (Zack pushes Slater with one hand)

Now, it's an obvious advantage from the start.  Slater is on the wrestling team.  He gave Valley's Marvin Nedick a perfect German suplex, kicked down doors in just a towel in that earthquake episode and he was the quarterback for the football team so the man knows how to take a hit.  Zack now, besides being a runner and being on the basketball team he hasn't done much else that shows athleticism plus he has fragile knees.  Now I'm not gonna give a good ol' JR type commentary but I'll give you my best e-fed commentary I can, it's been awhile.

After a double shove push by Slater, Zack gives Slater a right.  Unfazed, Slater quickly grapples Zack tossing him to the floor as the student body looks on.  As Zack recovers to get off the floor, Slater delivers a right hook that sends Zack back down.  As they wrestle, the crowd grows and the bellows of their female peers to stop the fight reigns.  The fight is broken up by Principal Belding.

This was groundbreaking.  Like this was the first time two of America's favourite TV teenagers have ever gone toe to toe.  After some awful storytelling by Belding, he makes them shake hands or else they'll be suspended.  Timeout, you really think he'd suspend these two teens when he's constantly getting involved in their daily lives?  FOH.  You would think both of these young gawds would go back to their corners and dwell upon the consequences they both went through.  Nope.  They went right back to the mission, Justice.  She's spooked by the season regular warriors, so she denies both of their advances.

At the senior kickoff party (a what?), Zack comes in with a swollen lip denouncing any thought of his foe (Kelly: Zack I'm glad you're here, is Slater coming too?  Zack: Slater who?).  Slater comes in later (I hate that I wrote that) with a black eye wanting to be no where near the blond gawd of dirty macking.  When the young gawds are thirsty, they must drink.  The blond gawd of Cali meets the Mullet from Hawaii at the punch bowl.  I have no idea why I'm speaking like I'm writing for Spartacus there.  They meet at the punch bowl, fight over the punch bowl ladel and Slater just delivers a line that is still epic to this day.

Slater: Let go SON before I make you wear it.

Bruh!  Slater was saying "son" how son is used today, son.  But the ending is goofy and 90's, they pour Kool-Aid over each other, Belding's wig gets in the bowl and Slater and Zack speak like six year olds (Look Preppy you're all wet!) and dap it up forgiving each other.  This was a quite revolutionary event that happened 21 years ago and it made me realize that a girl can really get in the way of the two bestest of friends.  This is when the lyrics of a young poet came to life to me, Girls In The World Ain't Nothin' But Trouble.  The freshest of all princes was correct.

A link to relive this episode:


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