The morning is a time for me to relax, have some cereal, check Facebook/Twitter/email/Smurfs Village, and watch about twenty minutes of TV before I start my day. I usually watch some old cartoon on Boomerang because old cartoons seem to be better in the morning and don’t require me to really think. But I recently discovered that Saved By the Bell was just added to Netflix streaming. So I thought, “Hey, I haven’t seen this show in forever! I think I’ll watch an episode.”
So I watched the first episode of the first season…you know, the one with the different cast and the British chic from The Parent Trap? Yes, it’s easy to get confused. The kids were only in eighth grade then, so I guess we’re to assume that between eighth and ninth grade some new kids came to school – Kelly, Slater, Jessie – and some kids left – Mikey and Nikki. Apparently “Season One” of the show was actually a different show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss and aired on The Disney Channel before NBC eventually picked it up and made them cast new, equally as attractive for the early 90s, teens.
So anyway, I start to watch the show, giggling at the clothes and the hair styes, which I suppose were kind of cool in 1988, and then I slowly start to realize something. I find myself knowing what the characters are going to say next. I know what kind of looks the characters will have on their faces thirty seconds from now. I know that right after Jessie spins, she’s going to do a high kick! Have I become some sort of Saved By the Bell psychic?? How did I gain this magical knowledge??
And then it hits me.
I’VE SEEN SAVED BY THE BELL WAY TOO MANY DAMN TIMES.
Saved By the Bell was never one of those shows that I sought out to watch, like Full House or Clarissa Explains It All. It was just ALWAYS ON. Seriously, I think there was one point in time when SBTB was on at the same time on three different channels. I would just have to watch the first five seconds to know which one I preferred to watch.
Oh, come on…you KNOW you never skipped this one.
Saved By the Bell was not by any means a very good show. It was cheesy, predictable, and, well, kinda ridiculous. But as I’ve spent every morning for the past two weeks watching it, I’m starting to think that it’s probably one of the best shows ever made. Think about it for a second: these kids got to do every single thing you WISHED you could do in high school. They got to have dance contests, make music videos, form a band (um, still waiting for a Zack Attack album), and go to, like, a kajillion school dances without all the 90210 drama. No one ever got killed or raped or started on fire or hooked on drugs – well, um…maybe Jesse partook in slight substance abuse, but that’s only because she had to make a Pointer Sisters video and wanted to get into Stanford).
We all tried to hate Kelly Kapowski, but you know you didn’t because it’s totally impossible to hate someone you want to BE. Admit it – you totally wanted to have her mini-shirts and Keds shoes and winged hair, even though she was totally poor and couldn’t afford to go to the Prom. But duh…like Zack was going to be a jerk and leave her at home with her 56 siblings.
But seriously, what’s up with Slater? Was he cute back then? Did girls find his jheri curl attractive? And why was he such an ass to Jessie? Clearly the girl was stressed out to the Max – no pun intended, for those who get it – and yet he still tells her to “Be a woman and get in the kitchen and cook”. And studio audiences screamed every time he flexed his muscles. It must have been the spandex.
And then there’s Screech. I mean, clearly in real life this guy would have never been friends with Zack and Slater, and Kelly, Jessie, and especially Lisa would have never even looked once at him. But here’s why this show rocked: no one gave a s*** about high school social ranking. Kelly was way poor but the most popular girl in school. Jessie was a freakish giant who only cared about school, yet she was besties with Kelly AND kind of dating Captain Spandex Pants when she wasn’t taking drugs. And Lisa, being the only African American on the show, well, she really didn’t have much of a choice. And she’s been hanging out with Zack since they were on a different show in eighth grade, so she was kind of stuck.
The great thing about Saved By the Bell, though, is the fact that when it was on, it was the only one of its kind. It started a trend of cheesy Saturday morning teen sitcoms, but it’s the only one that has been engrained in people’s minds. People like me, who apparently can recite an entire episode without even having to turn one on. It’s even going strong today, thanks to people of my generation who are keeping it alive.
Hopefully now that the show is on Netflix it’ll attract a whole new audience who will appreciate its cheese and corn, and hopefully it will stick around for another one hundred years. Because no matter how fast they run, they will never be able to escape their past.