I think it’s safe to assume, somewhere it’s 7am, and therefore somewhere, Saved by the Bell is on. I don’t remember when exactly I started watching Saved by the Bell, but I do know that since then it felt like there was ALWAYS an episode on. It seemed like TV comfort food to me. “Oh, great, I can turn on the TV and at least know I can watch Saved by the Bell.” Even last year when I was going to the gym before work, I LOVED watching episodes while working out (and boy, was I mad when TBS replaced it with episodes Home Improvement – not that I don’t love JTT).
I loved everything about their fluorescent early-’90s existence. I wanted to wear everyone’s clothes and be friends with them. Weirdly, the layout of Bayside High was much more similar to East Coast Schools I grew up in than anything that seems to exist in California, so I always appreciated that, though I’ve talked to friends who grew up on the West Coast and apparently they felt the same way about full-length lockers and multiple-storey schools that I felt about West Beverly High’s outdoor lockers and sprawling campus.
Some episodes I’m obsessed with are the murder mystery episode, the one where they graduate with Tori and are in Glee Club, the one where they’re in the mall all night and Zach falls for a homeless girl. I mean, those are some solid episodes of television right there.
But just because we had the same lockers doesn’t mean my life was like Bayside High. Here are my five ways Saved by the Bell ruined my life:
1. Zach Morris Ruined All Other Blonde Guys For Me
So, aside from this one boy, Andy, who I had a crush on from first to third grade, I’ve never been into blonde guys. I’m a Pacey girl, I’ve just never found the appeal of blonde guys. The brown-haired guys are always sarcastic and funny and “get” me.
But Zach Morris was different.
Zach Morris was the epitome of everything I wanted when I was a kid. He was hilarious, he loved a brunette girl and he was cute in a total non-threatening kind of way. Swoon.
Obviously Screech wasn’t an option for crushes, though I’m totally a fan of his relationship with Violet. I’ve never met someone who had a crush on Slater, but I’m sure those people exist. He just doesn’t do it for me, but, again, total fan of his relationship with Ms. Spano.
No blonde guy could ever live up to the awesomeness of Zach Morris and therefore, he remains only one of two blonde guys I’ve ever had a crush on. And only one of them was not a fictional character.
2. Never Had a Cool Hang Out Spot
I mean, who didn’t want to hang out at The Max? You got magic (for a little bit), great burgers, Casey Kasem hosting a dance competition, student fashion shows, telethons to save your high school radio station AND if you’re Kelly, you get to dump Zach for the hot older manager there while you’re a waitress. Awesome.
I mean, there was no spot like this when I was in high school. The closest I had to a hangout spot was the Fine Arts wing of my high school and I don’t think I have to tell you, that wasn’t exactly a hip spot to hang. I mean, definitely fun, just not as cool as The Max. I guess there was a pizza place everyone would go if you had permission to go off campus for lunch or the 18+ “club” that I had to use my friend’s ID to get into since I was 17 my entire senior year of high school. But those don’t really count. (BTW, going to that 18+ club was almost exactly like the episode where Zach is trying to date the college girl and they go to The Attic.)
3. Always Wanted Awesome Gadgets (And a Best Friend That Could Make Them For Me)
I think we can all agree Saved by the Bell was ahead of its time – I mean, pill addictions. Duh.
But I was always impressed with the technology they showed throughout the series. Obviously Zach has the best cell phone ever. But also, when they have to try to make some money back for Lisa, he sets up this crazy locker display system that is remote-controlled so he can close it when Mr. Belding comes by! (Now, I don’t know how Zach was able to pull off all of these zany plans while barely passing his classes, but I guess it all fits in with his getting a 1600 on his SATs so it’s fine).
And how come Screech makes that insane robot and is supposed to be the smartest kid around but then his big money-making plan is his pasta sauce!? Duh Screech, sell your robot!
They also apparently had access to all the best A/V technology that the early ’90s had to offer. When they want to sell buddy bands, they make sweet videos! When they girls are going to be a singing group suddenly, they make THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO OF ALL TIME. I mean, please, let me live inside Bayside High and Saved by the Bell just for a little while.
4. Wanted to Be a Kelly, Was Obviously More of a Jessie
Obviously we can see that I was in love with Zach. Therefore, I deluded myself into thinking I was Kelly Kapowski.
Clearly, I was more likely to drive myself crazy trying to do it all and break down yelling “I’M SO EXCITED. I’M SO SCARED” than be asked to go model in Paris, but I couldn’t tell that as a child.
I figured I have brown hair, she has brown hair, I’m going to marry Zach Morris… I am Kelly Kapowski. How wrong I was.
I don’t think I even realized I wasn’t Kelly until like, a really awkward amount of time had gone by. I was probably in college when I finally looked around and said, “Wait a minute, I didn’t end up sharing a dorm room with my high school boyfriend. WTF!”
Ah well, I guess I’m destined to be Zach’s best friend who has to kiss him in a play and then we think we might be in love and then we kiss for real and decide we aren’t in love.
5. No Summer Job Will Ever Be As Cool As Working At the Malibu Sands Resort
Firstly, those episodes when they’re working at the resort are amazing. I love the little uniforms they wear. I love that Lisa is just a member of the resort so doesn’t have to work, but still gets to hang out with her friends, and I ADORE Leah Remini. She’s awesome.
But they have the best time! They keep getting into hilarious adventures while working together over the summer (especially since the actual “work” they did was pretty minimal). My summer job was working at a local hot dog restaurant, or, in college, working at a local Italian bakery and stuffing my face with delicious bread. Fun, sure. But not Hanging Out With All My Best Friends While At Work kind of fun.
I can’t even bring up Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style (which my first boyfriend bought for me on VHS as, I believe, an I’m-Leaving-For-College-But-You’re-Still-In-High-School present) or Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas. That deserves its own time and attention. Oh! And Saved by the Bell: The College Years (I LOVE that theme song). Just not Saved by the Bell: The New Class - nobody cared about those guys.
(All photos from my DVDs, because, yes, I own all five seasons, be jealous)