Belz on Bell

Saved By the Bell S01E16 – ‘Save That Tiger'

Zack walks into the MAX and announces that this week is the city cheerleading finals. Once again, Bayside and Valley are the favorites and once again, the prank war between the two rivals is so on!

Slater and Screech are sitting down and begin suggesting some ideas. Maybe putting snapping turtles in their pool? Last time they did that, their swim team beat a new record. “Let’s flush all their toilets at once!” Screech announces.  Of course, Zack insults him for this idea. (Plus, how would three guys be able to pull that off?)

In walk two nerds, who are bonded together by toilet paper and wearing a sign that says “Valley Rules”. Looks like Valley struck first.  Zack’s not worried – they struck first, sure, but Zack will strike best. Max cuts the nerds apart with a sword, even though yet again mentioning the obvious – they can’t struggle their way out of toilet paper?  The nerds head out, forgetting to throw the toilet paper away. I’m sure Max regrets taking time out of his day to set them free after viewing this blatant sign of disrespect.

Kelly, Jessie and Lisa enter, in the midst of a conversation about the cheerleading tournament. “You can beat Valley with your pompoms tied behind your backs!” Jessie says with support. “Not if we can’t find a cheerleader who can replace Nancy Zyler,” Kelly sighs. Seems like Nancy came down with a case of the chicken pox. Isn’t that extremely dangerous for someone her age? I bet Nancy’s illness was way more embarrassing – she probably isn’t very good with the art of creating a cover-up story.

Slater suggests Jessie. “Me? A cheerleader? I’m the class President, not some silly schoolgirl,” she hisses. Kelly must feel great right now. Lisa and Kelly call her out and Jessie starts to defend herself with, “I didn’t mean silly in a bad way, but…” Right, Jessie. After Jessie rambles for a bit, she tells Kelly that she’ll help find a new girl for the squad. They decide to have emergency tryouts after school!

Rhonda, the tall lass who seems to obsess over Zack, was sadly one of the 28 girls that just wasn’t fit to be on Team Bayside, which brings Kelly to a state of panic. So far their best audition was a 60-year-old crossing guard. With a bit of snootiness, Jessie announces that she’ll fill the void.

The boys walk in, and announce all of the great pranks they’ve pulled on Valley so far.

  1. They put superglue on the school’s track. “The 100 yard dash has been going on for hours!” Zack announces. This is impossible, right?
  2. They pumped helium in the glee club room.  The three demonstrate and the canned audience just loves it. They sound like chipmunks! And not people!
  3. They stole the school banner. Jessie doesn’t approve of this.

Still celebrating the victory, the boys walk out and see the hallway has been toilet papered. Someone from Valley must have a parent who works in a toilet paper factory since these pranks just seem so similar and unoriginal.

Belding walks in and views the scene. “Don’t tell me it’s the prank war again!” he states. No, Belding. Someone’s Mummy costume just exploded in the hallway. The fact that this prank war has been going on for years has nothing to do with it.

Belding wants it to be over with, and says he’ll be meeting with Valley’s principal – Principal Stingwell. In the meantime, no more pranks. While the three seem to sadly agree, they realized that Valley had one more trick up their sleeve – silly string in the lockers!  Valley is so cool.

We meet Principal Stingwell, who’s lecturing two students over the prank wars. But instead of telling them he’s ashamed of the pranks, he lets them know that their most recent hits were amateurish. Finally, someone agrees with me! I like this Stingwell fellow.

In walks Belding, and Stingwell is quick to “buzz” him with a handshake. What a jokester. I kind of hope that Belding comments on the fact that Stingwell’s office is horrifically similar to his own. Maybe Valley and Bayside hired the same architectural team.

Stingwell then instructs Belding to sit down and Belding senses a prank coming on. “I think I’ll sit over here,” he says cautiously. Unfortunately, Belding’s bum activates a loud horn on the chair and almost gives him a heart attack. “My, my, Richard – noisy panties!” Stingwell laughs. We get it – this dude likes to scare people. Now on with Belding taking control!

“Is this the same Mad Dog Belding who put jumping beans in the chili?” Stingwell says with disbelief. “You started it, pal.” “I didn’t start it – you started it when you planted poison ivy on the football field!” Belding states. On his way out, Stingwell sticks a “Valley Rules” sign on Belding’s back before they conclude that while it was fun while it lasted, all fun things must end.

Back at the MAX, Zack and Slater are dressed in camouflage. They’re not sure what they’re going to be doing but at least they look nice. Screech dresses like a ninja for some reason instead and upon stating he’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Screech”, an audience member screams with laughter. It’s the funniest thing anyone has said all day! Remember the Ninja Turtles?!

The girls get Screech to try and spy on the cheerleading squad in order to figure out what cheer they were doing. Back at Kelly’s house, the three girls emerge. Jessie has a great new idea for the squad, which include ankle-length skirts. “Give them a chance, they’re very ladylike!” Jessie says. She says that they’ll help the squad win, since the judges wouldn’t be distracted by their bodies – they’ll be listening to their words. Actually, the judges will probably be like, “Why is that team wearing such ugly skirts? Did their school not pass the budget this year?”

But that’s not it: Jessie also composed a terrible, brand new cheer for the group:

We are the ladies of Bayside, the best school around.  Winning’s not important because our minds are sound. Rah.

When that one gets knocked down, Jessie presents a second cheer. The only fallback is that the cheer is “dangerous for the mascot”. But since the mascot is Screech, nobody cares.

At cheerleading practice, Slater announces that while the other team had a good cheer, they’ll soon be losing their pep. In walks Zack, holding Valley’s mascot – a bulldog with a shirt on.

They state that they’ll return the dog after the competition, but plan on taking a picture of the dog with all of the Bayside cheerleaders. In walks Belding, who has no clue what’s going on. He agrees to be in the picture, unaware that the picture will include evidence of dognapping.

It doesn’t take long for Valley boys – dressed in Bayside gear –  to break into the Bayside locker room. Screech enters, fully in tiger-gear, and begins talking up his credentials on the squad. Soon, Screech gets cornered. “Great! You guys stole Valley t-shirts!” he says with enthusiasm. “NO! WE STOLE BAYSIDE JACKETS!” Screech puts two and two together and soon gets kidnapped. This episode is turning really dark.

Zack and Slater break the news to the girls as they hold the remainder of Screech’s uniform – a lone tiger tail. Poor Screech. “No, poor us!” Jessie yells. “We’re doomed.” Really?

Zack asks if they really care about Screech but then says that without his return, they’ll definitely win the prank war. If this episode was filmed in 2011, I’m sure the news of the Screech-napping would have already hit the internet. Zack has yet another hot-pink-bordered fantasy – in this one, they’re awarding medals for the prank war, and Zack has come in dead last. “Jack Norris from Bayside!” Fantasy Stingwell announces, as he hands Zack his prize – a box filled with fake snakes and then a pie in the face. And then water in the face, to clean off the pie.

Back in reality, Jessie states that Zack is being selfish. He only cares about the prank war. What about the cheerleading competition?! Uh. What about Screech’s safety?

The gang approaches Belding for advice. He says he’ll call Stingwell and try to do a dog/Screech exchange. Stingwell says it’s important to take the tiger back and leaves the two Valley lunkheads to interpret that as “You can do whatever with the boy, but the school DEMANDS that tiger costume!”

Jack Lemmon must have felt a lot of pain over this Screech-napping, since he made a movie based on Screech’s experience.

The gang fails to take off the tiger mask when “Screech” is returned and Jessie – announcing they have no time – drags the tiger to the competition. Valley reunites with their t-shirt dog. Bayside assumes the problems are all taken care of, but I have a feeling something hilarious will happen next.

In runs Screech. He’s escaped from Valley, and announces that Clay’s cousin Dan is in the costume, set to ruin the cheer.

Valley’s team starts to cheer and it’s average to poor if you’ve watched Bring It On as much as I have.  Bayside’s up next. Slater and Zack make sure to lace the tiger costume with itching powder that Screech had access to somehow since somehow that will help their team win? Not only is the tiger extremely uncomfortable but the powder forces him to do cartwheels and flips like never before! Bayside wins!

When it’s revealed that Screech wasn’t  in the costume after all, Stingwell seems like he may reprimand a student for the first time all year. The gang celebrates their prank & cheerleading wins with a group high five freeze-frame.

Lessons Learned: Itching powder is the best method for advanced gymnastics. The best way to enter a school that isn’t your own is to obtain a jacket somehow. If you go to Bayside or Valley, you will never go to jail.

Photo Credits: The Summer of Morris,,

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