You know it’s bad when the cast look just as unenthused about this final season as I am. It’s like they’re saying, “Let’s just coast along for a few more episodes and collect our checks until this show and our careers end.”
Tony comes in and breaks up the monotony with more monotony. His shtick this week is he’s in charge of some stupid senior awards something or other, so he wants the others to kiss his ass in order to be considered for an award. Of course, because everyone in the band is so easily manipulated, they all instantly start bowing at Tony’s feet, except for Jake, whose shtick this episode will be not giving a shit.
Sly and Mark arrive from a Winkle family reunion, which I’m imaging would either make me want to kill everyone present or bore me with its blandness, depending on which side of the Winkle family is dominant there. Sly says their cousin is UCLA’s towel boy but has the flu, so he’s gotten his cousin to give the whole team the flu so they suck when they play tonight and he can bet against them because Sly is just such a sympathetic character. Jake has access to a bookie so the entire band joins in because why the hell not.
After Sly leaves, Mark reveals that Sly’s bummed because his father didn’t show up to the reunion. You mean that out of the blue lesson a couple episodes ago was actually foreshadowing, or the Engel-verse’s clumsy attempt at it? That’s like unheard on these shows! In any case, the rest of the band start judging Sly’s dad without ever actually showing him to us before because that’s just what these shows do!
At school the next day, everyone won after Sly’s bet, and everyone proceeds to clumsily talk about how sorry they are that Sly’s dad didn’t show up to the family reunion, and he’s all, “It’s no big deal because the script isn’t ready for me to have a redemption over it yet!” He says they’re going to a basketball game tonight, and he wants Jake to bet money on it for him. Jake says he’s out, though, as it was a one time thing and it’s time for everyone to go into their best judgmental modes for the rest of the episode.
Tony shows up and reveals that Sly won an award for fundraising or some shit. Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense given all we know about Sly, and it really won’t even play into the plot that much. It’s just kind of there and shit.
Everyone else, except Jake of course, wants to know who the other awards are going to. Well, none of them are going to the band so names won’t be named, leading the rest of the band to be pissed off that they kissed Tony’s ass for nothing. Of course, there’s still the final award for the “most unique senior,” the Johnny Himalaya Award. I swear, the writers are really pulling out the obscure references from previous seasons this year since they have nothing else to go on. Tony says the identity of that particular award winner won’t be revealed until the awards banquet because he knows how to keep a secret and shit.
Of course, that means the plot point is Tony doesn’t know shit about keeping secrets and first tells Sam and then, at Sharkey’s, Tiffani, because it’s opposite day I guess. Tony says it’s Jake getting the award since you can’t get much more cliched than the guy who doesn’t give a shit winning it.
Mark reveals Sly’s father cancelled on him again, but he comes in and says he doesn’t give a shit about his dad and scalped his ticket and won another bet. If it weren’t for the audience giving us a heartfelt “aww,” one could believe that Sly was being genuine, but, no, we need more conflict than that!
Back at school, Tony tells Lorena and Mark that Jake’s winning the award so we can round out this dumb subplot.
Sly comes in and reveals he lost a bet for $500, and says he knows he can count on the band, so they all give him money to get him through the week. Because they are naive about the world, they all give him money even though I’m not sure they even like Sly most days.
And, at the loft, Sly shows why you shouldn’t trust him as he comes in and tells the band he used their money to bet on a long shot and won. He gives the band their money back, but they’re all pissed he used their money to gamble. He doesn’t understand why they’re mad but says he’s going to invite his father to the awards banquet.
So we meet yet another Winkle, and he’s a stereotypical stockbroker who thinks only of money apparently. He doesn’t have time to come to the awards banquet as he’s flying to Zurich because it’s a city some people who don’t understand the financial world might associate with money, and Sly looks bummed that he gave his hopes up and shit.
At Sharkey’s, the band play a gig and everyone gives Jake googley eyes all through the song. If this were any other show, I’d think they all want to fuck Jake after the gig and shit.
Sly comes in with a couple of stereotypical goons, and says he lost another bet. Turns out he doesn’t have the money to pay off this one, so he bet the band’s equipment as collateral. Jake points out it’s their stuff, not Sly’s, but the goons say that, if they can’t collect the equipment, they’ll beat the shit out of Sly. Though this sounds acceptable to me, they have to pretend to like him so they all give up their equipment.
At the loft, though, this doesn’t prevent Jake from wanting to beat the shit out of Sly as Jake does an impression of Yosemite Sam. They all kick Sly out, and everyone’s ready to fire Sly as their manager, as I’ve been saying they should do for five seasons. Tiffani jumps in, though, and is all, “Rainbows and unicorns and pixie dust!” She feels sorry for Sly, pointing out the obvious that his gambling was somehow connected to his father’s neglect because shut up. I assume they’re trying to make it out that Sly wants to impress his father, but that motivation really makes no sense to me. We’re going with it, though, because.
Of course, that’s not before Jake calls Sly’s father and tells him his son is in trouble.
At Sharkey’s, the band lie to Jake that Tony is winning the award to get him to stay at the awards banquet because awards banquets are stupid and shit. Of course, if I hadn’t been reviewing Peter Engel shows for so long, I’d be asking why they’e having an awards banquet at a restaurant and not at school, but I’ve long since stopped expecting this universe to make sense. It’s a wonder the band’s not playing a gig while Sharkey runs out and pulls chickens out of his pants.
Sly comes in and says he sold his car to get the band their equipment back. His father proceeds to come in and finds out everything, and Sly’s pissed that he’s there.
They go outside, and, for a split second, I thought this show was going to do something interesting, like not have Sly’s father be redeemed in the end. Of course, they instantly make up and love each other and bond over money because everything works itself out in the end in the Engel-verse!
Sly and his father return to Shakey’s and our episode ends with Tony finding out he’s the real winner of the award, the committee having lied to him that it was Jake because they knew he was incapable of keeping a secret. My, what a twist ending. I’m so shocked at this turn in a subplot I didn’t care about to begin with that I’m sarcastically shocked this show never won an award. I guess they were all going to Baywatch and The New Class that year.
Jake, Mark, Tony, Tiffani, and Sam singing
You know, there used to be a time when I could watch this show and be guaranteed an original song almost every week. Sure, I might not like the songs sometimes, but at least it was clear the producers were putting effort into the show and really trying. They might use an old song on occasion, but that would be the exception and not the rule. This was the Peter Engel series that was really trying to be different and stand above the fray.
Boy, are we long past those days now. Third and final time we’ll hear this song.