Belz on BellSaved By The Bell S01E14: ‘The Zack Tapes'Karen Belz

It’s the Sweetheart Dance at the Max, where a guy gives away his heart. Pretty much every dude at school has his name on a heart necklace to give to the girl of his choosing. How does Bayside pay for so many elaborate dances? I guess when you’re in a graduating class of approximately ten, it’s a little easier.

As per usual, Zack and Slater are fighting over who Kelly will go to the dance with. Unfortunately, Zack has an obstacle – he dumped tea bags in the swimming pool. “What – you never heard of the Boston Tea Party?” Zack quips. Zack also erased the blackboards with Mr. Federman’s toupee and has a meeting scheduled with Belding because of it. Kelly tells Zack she’ll wait another day to make her choice. This truly means, “Zack is my first choice but if he can’t go, Slater is a decent runner-up.” Face it, Kapowski. You’re transparent.

All of a sudden, Lisa approaches with a mini-boombox, blasting the new Beau Revere (Who? Will he peddle the gang some dope like the fictional teen actor that’ll make his rounds eventually? Sorry – spoiler alert.)  Breaking Lisa’s jam session is Screech, who claims that Lisa is going to the dance with him. To add to this forceful act, Screech even planted a Screech-illustrated balloon in Lisa’s locker, which Lisa easily pops.

Belding comes by to let the kids know that music isn’t allowed in the hallway, and then makes the mistake of revealing that he’s a big Beach Boys fan. “Zack – I’m not a straw. Don’t suck up! I’m still meeting with my favorite California Girl tomorrow. Your mommy!”

The next day at school, students shower Ms. Wentworth with gifts. “An apple a day might get me an A!” Zack quips. “That will take a whole orchard, Zack.” Ms. Wentworth! What a card.

Ms. Wentworth’s lesson today is about subliminal messages. Turns out that during her lecture yesterday, she taught her students a lesson by placing her own subliminal message in a song she played in class. The message was listed in the voice track. “Bring your favorite teacher Ms. Wentworth apples and candy to eat,” the track sweetly demanded.

Zack decides to hide his own messages via cassette tape in order to trick Belding. The vocal tracks will be over ‘California Girls’ by the Beach Boys and if it works, Belding will totally let Zack off the hook for all of his wrongdoings and school failures. “Zack Morris is a good kid. Zack Morris is a great student. Zack Morris is a fine human being. Zack Morris is the son I never had.”

Back at school, Lisa dresses in her finest cow-print ensemble as she complains to Kelly and Slater about Screech’s insane attempts at getting her to say yes to the dance. Behind her – of course – is Screech, hiding in a garbage can. In his hands is his “Screech” heart, so that he can lasso Lisa.

Two things worth mentioning:

  1. The school actually printed Screech’s personalized heart necklace to say “Screech”? His name is Samuel, school! If my nickname was “Dumbo” and the school acknowledged this as being official, I think I’d be scarred forever.
  2. Does Screech think that by choking Lisa with the necklace that she’s legally obligated to go with him? Bayside has some creepy dance rules, if so.

Belding walks down the stairs, trying to find the Screech-laden trash can when Zack gives him the tainted version of ‘California Girls’. But before Belding can give a listen, Kelly figures it’s time to properly accept Slater’s dance proposal. Bummer, man.

Speaking of Belding and Beach Boys, you guys know that this exists, right?

It’s currently unavailable on Amazon, but maybe if we all send them a request, we can each get our hands on a copy. And never, ever let it go. Anyway!

When Zack walks in for the meeting, Belding has already been brainwashed. Not only does he disregard the fact that Zack’s Mom failed to show but he forgives Zack completely for the teabag incident. “Zack Morris is a fine human being!” Belding screams.

Belding gives Zack ten bucks before telling him to have fun at the dance and Zack realizes that the brainwashing method has the potential to work on girls, too!

Zack decides to test the experiment on the dorks first, since Saved By the Bell loves to shove it in everyone’s brain that dorks and geeks have no feelings.

  • “Test 1” is Edgar, whose laugh sounds like someone’s choking. Edgar has no problem getting his girl to say yes to the dance. “I don’t know, Zack,” Screech says with a panic. “Edgar’s a pretty cool guy.”
  • “Test 2” is Alan, who gets approached by Buffy almost immediately. Buffy demands that Alan go steady with her.
  • “Test 3″ is Wendell, who gives his heart necklace to the waitress, who is completely smitten. The plan totally works!

In order to plan the Zack Tapes, Screech dresses in drag to walk through the girl’s locker room. There, he sees Lisa and Kelly on their way out. Jessie – who I don’t remember seeing all episode – is the only one kind enough to ask femmeScreech if “she’s” a new student. Jessie is going to the dance with Steve, supposedly. Steve who? I hope he doesn’t have issues with her due to her height.

Screech claims that his name is Barbara Bush and Jessie – who I thought was one of the smartest of the girls – believes him. Jessie walks out to get a petite uniform for Barbara, while Barbara hides the tapes in the correct lockers. Screech knows which lockers belong to Kelly and Lisa? Was anything sacred in the locker room?

The next day, a brainwashed Kelly asks Zack to rescue her from the “muscle-bound monkey”, Slater. Zack accepts Kelly’s dance proposal. Meanwhile, Lisa finds Screech in a locker and asks her “manly mustang” to go with her. Again – the plan totally works!

Back at the MAX, Jessie is jamming along to the new Beau Revere. She’s borrowing Kelly’s copy.

“So I see you’re going to the dance with Steve,” Max inquires. (I’m glad he asked. If I was curious about it, I’m sure many were.)

“Yeah – but I think I’d have a better time with Zack,” Jessie responds. Max looks dumbfounded. Zack and Jessie?! That’s a combo that’s set to be experimented with in one episode, in a way later season!

Lisa and Kelly enter and Lisa rushes to tell Jessie the fabulous news about how she landed Screech. Jessie looks confused, and Lisa immediately defends Screech with rubbish she heard from the tape. When Kelly comes over to the table, she and Jessie repeat the same lines about how Zack is super great. All of a sudden, a lightbulb appears. They’ve all been brainwashed! And Screech was in the girl’s locker room!

The girls immediately flee to Ms. Wentworth, who has the device that’ll let the girls hear the vocal track. “Zack Morris is a blonde Tom Cruise” is soon heard echoing in the classroom. “Zack Morris is a ten!”

Kelly finally realizes that she was a jerk to Slater and Lisa feels immediate remorse. As per usual in a Saved by the Bell episode, the gang decides on a hilarious payback that would probably grant the school some negative media attention. Obviously approaching Zack like an adult about the situation is just no fun!

Back in Ms. Wentworth’s class, Ms. Wentworth is still going over subliminal messages. Jessie asks if subliminal messages ever get political and if they ever backfired. Ms. Wentworth claims that in some cases, the results could be deadly. In one case, a man was sliced like a pizza.

Belding interrupts the class via PA system to invite the school to “take a break from learning.” Everyone cheers! Belding decides to be a hip dude and play the new Beau Revere – thanks to a tape he borrowed from Kelly.

The classroom sways in a horrific motion that might resemble dancing, as Jessie approaches Zack and openly hits on him. All of a sudden, the classroom is surrounding by screaming girls who need Zack Morris NOW. Including Ms. Wentworth! (Illegal!)

Zack runs into the hallway but he’s nowhere near free. Lisa creepily corners him by the lockers while an army of girls strangle him on the stairway with chants and hearts. Thankfully, Slater breaks up the group and comes to Zack’s rescue. OR DOES HE?

“He’s going to the dance with ME!” Slater hollers.

(Best. Line. Ever.)

Zack runs to Belding’s office and begs him to stop the tape. It’s too late – Belding has been brainwashed as well. “Please, stop loving me!” Zack cries. Unfortunately, he was duped. The tape was bought at the Spinning Lizard by Jessie, and no subliminal messages were heard by the school – they just interrupted their education to teach Zack a valuable lesson. Even worse, Belding wants his ten bucks back!

Lessons Learned: Not only is brainwashing a lesson that should be taught in public schools, but it’s totally okay to use – just make sure nobody finds out! Also, cassette tapes once existed.

Image Credits: sharetv.org, snarfdog.com, amazon.com, thesummerofmorris

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  1. The way Jessi swings around onto Zack’s desk…you just know the direction her movie career is headed in.

  2. Another wonderful recap! I just realized that if SBTB was being made these days, Screech would have come out already. That boy loved his drag. It’s no wonder that I have issues as an adult, I idolized the Bayside gang like no other while eating my lucky charms every Saturday morning.

  3. Good grief, Charlie Brown! I totally forgot about the part where Slater claims that Zack is going to the dance with him! Classic Bell moment for sure.

  4. Miss Karen! I love these little tidbits about Saved By The Bell. As a fellow Bayside lover, I would like to share with you a few little videos that some friends of mine put together about the whereabouts of the cooler, hipper Belding, Rod. This “mockumentary” caught some attention and they were invited by the actor to make a short film! It’s worth a look, especially if you loved Rod Belding!

    http://www.funnyordie.com/savetheempire

    • Oh my gosh. I’ve seen that before! And I ADORE it. I was actually going to mention it when the Rod episode aired! That video honestly made many of my days.

  5. There has got to be some gray matter in my brain devoted specifically to “Saved by the Bell” information. It’s crazy how every detail is still there! Great synopsis!

    I’m curious about the situation where subliminal messages ended up in a dude getting sliced like a pizza. You know that’s gotta be a good story.

    Also, how come the gang could NEVER recognize one of the guys in drag!?

    • I know what you mean! When I read these recaps the whole episode comes flooding back to me. No wonder I can’t retain new information! My brain is too crowded with SBTB episodes and NSync dance moves!

    • Seriously! It’s not like the drag is ever truly convincing. It pains me to see the meeting of the girls, trying really hard to figure out if Screech was that “strange little girl” they saw earlier. The audience figured it out in two seconds, you guys!