If you ask a child of the 1960’s where they were when they heard President Kennedy had been assainated, they all have their own unique story that involves either being in the car with their mother or in their grade school classroom.
But, if I asked where were you the day Becky the Duck died, what would you say? You probably wouldn’t have an answer because it happened on a television show meaning it wasn’t “real”.
But to kids at Bayside High School on October 26, 1991, the pain was oh so real.
It was just your normal American high school-cool blond kid talked to a camera, same six students were the only kids that mattered and all they hung out in the prinicpal’s office. Normal high school.
But, the gang at Bayside would never experience a heart wrenching day like the day Cal Star Oil showed up and rocked the very foundation of the home of the Tigers. This was a matter of life and death. Sure, there was that episode where Slater’s lizard died and Zack’s NativeAmerican heritage seeker friend passed away, but this effected the whole gang.
It was a day like any other day. Sun was shining, awful jokes were flying abound, and all the kids outside of the main six were nameless drones who had no stories or lines. Typical Bayside day if I ever saw one.
On this day for some inexplicable reason they all became fans of the animals in the swamp behind the football field. This was also a swamp no one had ever mentioned before, nor would they ever mention again. Our blonde hero, Zack Morris barrels into the science class with a hurt duck that he explained to no ones surprise he “hit the ball over the fence and found the ball next to the duck”. Zack Morris doesn’t sacrifice bunt. Zack Morris hits home runs.
Zack then happily becomes the guardian of an injured duck and all the other students who are important enough to have a name receive a designated swamp animal as well. The other students are left with nothing other than the option to gaze at the animals already handed out.
Later that day while dining at The Max, because all high school kids have an unlimited bank account to eat out at a diner everyday, football hero AC Slater tells everyone they hit an oil pipe near the football field and oil was everywhere! For some reason, no one seemed to care about the pond at this moment. Instead, they daydream together about real oil being found and how Bayside would change for the better.
The dream entails all the students being obscenely rich, but the Principal, Mr.Belding, is a servant to all of them, which doesn’t really make any sense. And head cheerleader, Kelly Kapowski, declares herself “the richest waitress in the world”. Let’s also not forget suddenly Screech is dressed as an Arab Shiek, talks like he’s from India, and wants everyone to go to “the beach in Saudi Arabia”. This would have played out swimmingly by today’s PC standards.
They’re awoken from their California Daydreaming (did you see what I did?) to Screech in multicolored awful patterned clothing (every episode) delivering the news-The Oil Was Real!”
“We struck it rich!” Screech Powers
If my high school were to somehow come into money, the last thing on my mind would be receiving any of it. My first questions would be “Do we have more days off?” and “Can we fire some teachers?”
Anyways, the school holds an assembly with Cal Star Oil vice-president Dan Grayson as their rep. He has a Texas drawl, dons a bolo tie,wears cowboy boots, hate alternative energy sources, and LOVES OIL! He’s basically on the same evil level as Hitler. He pitches an idea that the students love, yet they have no say in because their not taxpayers and just asshole kids, but whatever.
While strolling through the halls with his new duck, Zack is stopped my Mr.Belding who knows the duck by name (weird) as he feeds the animals at the pond “every morning”(more weird). Much like the students, he’s never mentioned the pond before nor would he ever again.
Through this pathetic encounter, Zack learns the duck has a name, Becky. Say her name.
The duck goes home with Zack like its a real pet, which is hard to to believe the bad-ass skirt chasing hero of Bayside High in California has a pet duck. But, I guess it’s been done before in The Wire with Ziggy, but that doesn’t make it right.
The next day, soon to be stripper, Jesse Spannow is pushing her soap box shit on everyone. She was truly a woman before her time. She wants the oil drilling to stop because it can ruin the environment. Naturally, everyone tells her to screw off that is except for Kelly, she’s not really sure yet. Oil drilling noises suddenly ring out as Jesse says,”This is just the beginning!” And after 15 seconds of drilling noises, Kelly is now against the oil.
Oh Kelly. So beautiful, so brainless.
Suddenly, in the hallway Jesse, Kelly, and a nerd are chained to a makeshift oil rig because those are easy to find and bring in a high school hallway. Belding shows up and says, “Hey,Hey,Hey What is going on here?!” He threatens them with suspension, they agree to end the protest (weak), but the nerd ate the key and they can’t move. He then creepily motions towards Kelly and Jesse uttering one of the best lines in the entire history of Saved by the Bell when he says, “Ever try nerd love?” Truly right out of the Lewis Scolnick school of pick up lines.
But, no…NO! The unthinkable has happened. There was an oil spill! The animals! Becky!
Unfortunately, it’s too late. Zack finds Becky in a pool of thick cruel crude oil. Screech and Zack rush her lifeless body into Dr.Phelps’ classroom for some sort of receitstion because he is an expert in reviving animals or something. At first, Zack can’t admit it. He can’t accept this duck he never knew existed before and was around for a whole day was really gone. But, reality sets in.
“Zack, Becky is where the oil can’t hurt her anymore” Screech Powers
Immediately, everyone’s tones change. Their designated animals are dead and now they hate oil. It’s a crusade against oil 4 Life. They plead to Mr. Belding to make the oil pain disappear, but his hands are tied.
So, that weasel Grayson is back with his fancy scmanchy model of a beautiful new Bayside. He’s presenting in the same auditorium he did before, but now there are townspeople and taxayers. I’m throughly confused at this point.
Obviously, Grayson and Cal Star rock the house assuring the public the new Bayside will cost them nothing. The crowd is smitten! Cheers from everyone!
Honestly, it sounds like bullshit, so Zack Morris pimped out in a blazer and jeans (Hank Scorpio invented this) and takes the floor with Grayson. He explains they had to put 22 animals back into the ground because of the oil spill at Bayside, which at this point they have made out to be a bigger spill than the Exxon Valdez mess. Grayson goes into damage control like the heartless oil man he is, but Zack smells blood. He wants to avenge Becky’s death!
He sprays oil all over the beautiful model. Oh, the humanity!
“I’m covered in oil!” Grayson
“Oh, I’m sorry sir. It was an accident!” Zack
“But, at least you’ll be alive when you clean it up!” Kelly
At this point, Belding scraps the whole oil nonsense because he’s heard Zack’s amazing pitch he declares, “I think we’ve heard enough” and declines Cal Star’s deal. The crowd then cheers again. I think someone doing jumping jacks saying nothing would make this crowd cheer.
The gang then delves in for the ultra awkward group high-five. Always gut wrenching.
So, maybe you don’t remember exactly the day Becky died. Maybe you heard about it from friends or learned about her passing years later. But, now at least, you understand it.
RIP Becky and other nameless animals
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