Throwback Thursday, 90s Edition: Saved By The Bell

Throwback Thursday, 90s Edition: Saved By The Bell
Humor
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Good lord. I honestly have no idea where to start with this one. Truth is, the idea for this whole ‘let’s review ’90s sitcoms’ thing came from watching this show on MTV2 at noon nearly every weekday for the last month or so.

At first I thought my hesitation write this was due to how predictable it would be to start with The Bell. The more I thought about it, however, I realized I was putting it off because I had no idea where to start, where to finish, where to go. There’s just so damn much.

Without exaggeration, I think I could honestly write a full post on any of the following topics related to this show:

  • How fucking hot was/is Kelly Kapowski? Is it possible that she’s hotter now than she was then? Was there a more masturbated to teen star from 1990 to 1995?
  • This book. How much of it was true? How much of it was made up to stir trouble? Would it be better or worse if it was mostly accurate? (I vote, better, personally)
  • The cool of Zack Morris. Topics of discussion include making the prep look “in”, his slicked blonde locks, the ability to freeze time by saying “Time Out”*, how he macked it with basically every female on the show and none of them ever really seemed to mind, and his amazing, Frank Abagnale-esque ability to con anyone.
  • The incredibly awful overacting job by Screech (and subsequently, the over-reacting to his role on the show by becoming the what he’s become).
  • Why didn’t they actually do a full reunion on Jimmy Fallon?
  • How incredibly old they all looked as the show clearly went on too long.
  • The fact that they even had the nerve to make the New Class. Or, that they made the College Years as awful as they made them.

I could keep going, but I’ll spare you.

Instead, what I decided to do was just go character-by-character and give my random thoughts on each. It’s not the best idea, but it’s better than writing a book about it. Which, best believe, I considered.

First, a few fun facts:

Did you know?… The show was originally called “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” and featured Zack, Lisa and Mr. Belding but was more focused on Miss Bliss. Somehow, the idea of a mediocre sitcom with poor writing centered not on kids but on teachers (despite clearly being geared towards a younger audience) didn’t work.

NBC ditched the show after one season, kept Zack and Lisa and re-branded the show as the Saved by the Bell we know and love… That there were only 5 seasons of The Bell, and there were actually 7 seasons of Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Why that’s beyond belief is so obvious, I’ll leave it at that (Except to say, have you ever even met anyone that’s seen an episode of The New Class? Did it even ever air?)…

Zachary Morris

What can be said that hasn’t been said already? So. Fucking. Cool. I never had blonde hair, never could be confused with a preppy, never had a cellphone the size of a car battery, never dated 5 girls a semester… and yet I (like every male my age) wanted to be Zack Morris with every fiber of my being.

The man always had a scheme, a plan, a way out. Selling out Albert Clifford when it came to Kelly, forcing his pal Samuel to take out the principal’s niece on a date, or leaving his solo career with Zack Attack to visit his friends, he knew what needed to be sacrificed or manipulated to avoid any significant social damage.

While I never was in the audience for an actual taping of the show, I always gave a hoot or holler from home when he’d look into the camera and flash that mega-watt smile. Easily the only character on any of these shows I could see myself attracted to as a man and as a woman.

Kelly Kapowski

In watching the show again recently, I came to realize how little importance Kelly actually had on the show. There were the legions of other brothers in her family (9? To my recollection, we never met any of them). The fact that her father actually took his daughter’s money when he got laid off, however, was one of the most memorable chump-moves in teen sitcom history. She was also a waitress on-and-off at the Max.

In the first few seasons, she wasn’t really in the group. Towards the middle, she and Zack went back and forth, seemingly not-dating as much as they were dating. How they were cool with the other one just fooling around with another guy or girl right in front of them, I could never understand.

Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, by the way, had to be the best/hottest couple with combo first names in the history of names or couples. Lastly, I realize it’s a kids show, but I can’t be the only one hoping that there’s some backroom footage of the two of them just getting down after prom or something like that. Hey, a boy can dream.

Albert Clifford Slater

Another thing I didn’t remember from the show – and realized after I started watching again – how Zack and Albert weren’t friends right away. Albert Clifford moved from another school and initially served as Zack’s rival in the chase for Kelly. In fact, it wasn’t until Albert started dating Jessica that the whole Albert vs. Zachary thing really fully melted away.

I know you could say this about all of the actors by the series’ end, but did you ever see a high school student that jacked? There were episodes where he seemed to be missing sleeves for the entire time. I’m talking 22 minutes, no sleeves. Father was a bit of a douche, but he had a hot sister, J.B. What was it with initialed names in the Slater family? Never did learn what that stood for, but I’d have to guess Jon Benet. Just a guess.

Jessica Spano/Lisa Turtle

I never cared for either of these characters, but I guess I wasn’t supposed to. Jessica was way, way too tall and righteous for my liking. The righteousness I could tolerate, the height really drove me over the edge. Homegirl was a monster, most famous for her actually hysterical freak-out on caffeine pills.

And as far as Lisa was concerned, I hated her fling with Zack. That made no sense to me. They never had any chemistry and how does Lisa not have enough self-respect to say no after Zack had stuck his dick in half of Bayside by that point? Final point, and stay with me: I think, despite one being a cartoon and the other a fictional sitcom character, that Lisa Turtle from The Bell and Bebe Bluff from Doug are the same character. Think about it. Or, don’t.

Samuel Powers

Easily my least favorite of the regularly involved characters. He was such a goober, such a dork, such a doofus. I not only couldn’t stand the way he walked, talked, dressed (that shit was awful, even back then), but also the way people reacted around him.

If I had to hear one more “Why don’t you go back to dork mountain?”-type remark from Lisa, I’d smash my television. And his mom being a weird fan of Elvis? The only saving grace… he owned a bassett hound. That’s all he had to redeem him.

Richard Belding

Besides being a total buffoon and hiring a legion of buffoons (Mr. Tuttle, the no-necked Driver’s Ed teacher, the leader of those buffoons), Richie Belding had one good thing going for him: the fact that he was brothers with Rod Belding.

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Rod Belding after his mysterious disappearing act before the school white water rafting trip (By the way, if my school took us to Taco Bell for Spanish class, that was adventurous, but I digress…), then please (I beg of you) watch this video. A tad long, but incredibly worth it. And, if I may say so, incredibly humorous.

As if you couldn’t tell, I love(d) this show. I could wax poetic on it, paste in more classic photos, erase everything on my DVR to fit more episodes on it… It never ends. Next time I go out, I’m pouring a little out for the Bell. Richie Belding would make the kids do the same for me.

I have to say, that was one of the least used features of the show that deserved far more play. It seemed like every so often, the writers would remember, “Oh yeah, that’s right, Zack can stop time whenever he wants to explain shit. Let’s get that in here this episode.”

Scott Spinelli | Elite.

Follow Scott Spinelli on twitter. His new novel congratulations? is available now on his website and Amazon.

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Serge Efap

Serge Efap, the former fratstar turned self-proclaimed Renaissance Man hails from New York City. Growing up quickly, he learned that if you want something, you have to go get it for yourself. When he's not reminiscing about the glory days, you can find him searching for the next big thing.

More In Humor

Humor Connor Toole

What Drake’s Facebook Page Probably Looks Like On His Birthday (Photo)

Today, everybody’s favorite sensitive Jewish rapper from Ontario is turning 28 years old, which I assume he’s going to celebrate by doing something awkward or embarrassing in a public place. In reality, Drake will probably spend his Friday night at a club somewhere surrounded by all the women and alcohol a person could actually want, […]

Humor Connor Toole

Guys Act Out The Best Convo Between Middle-Aged Sisters Yet (Video)

I assume that since you clicked on this, you’re familiar with past installments of the Sisters series, in which two guys lip sync conversations between two 60-year-old women. If you weren’t familiar, now you are. Welcome. In the past, the videos have been pretty straightforward: The Kloons set up a microphone for a little while, […]

Humor Connor Toole

16 Of The Most Elaborate Pick-Up Lines Ever Used On Tinder (Photos)

I’ve talked a lot about the importance of coming up with an intriguing opening line after getting a match on Tinder, and people have developed a number of strategies and approaches that can be employed to boost your conversion rate. Some people ask a question that’s just interesting enough to warrant a response — something […]

Also On Elite

Entertainment

Bad Intentions: Meet 19-Year-Old YouTube Sensation Niykee Heaton

“Who is Niykee Heaton?” I ask. I wanted to get to the bottom of who this new songstress was that I’d been hearing so much about from my friends and coworkers. “I mean… to be completely honest, if you go through my Instagram and you read my tweets, that’s who I am,” Heaton explains. She […]

World

The First Ebola Case In America Has Been Confirmed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of Ebola in the US. While doctors have previously treated the devastating disease, patients up until now had been transported in from West Africa to American hospitals. The man, currently in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, arrived at the hospital on Monday with […]

World

WTF: Russia Is Actually Holding Anti-Semitic ‘Miss Hitler’ Pageant

Just when you thought there was nothing left on the Internet that would make you shake your head in disgust, a Nazi beauty pageant happens. VKontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook, is reportedly uniting both Russian and Ukrainian anti-Semitics in a disturbing attempt to find the best-looking and most devout Hitler fangirl. The beauty competition, called Miss […]

World

Woman Miraculously Survives Being Hit By Two Trucks (Video)

Jasmien Claeys’ car crumpled like paper after it was smashed by two trucks in a row. But, the 25-year-old Kalken, Belgium, resident miraculously survived. Claeys was in a coma for a bit, but suffered only two broken vertebrae and a smashed hand in the accident that totaled her car. In a dash camera video shot […]