To the Max! A Revisit to Saved by the Bell.
Netflix is a glorious thing.
As soon as Saved by the Bell popped up as “Recently Added,” I couldn’t help but sit back, relax, and enjoy the pure cheesiness. This is almost as good as Boy Meets World.
Welcome to Bayside High, home of the hip, cool freshmen in high school who love chilling at their favorite hang-out called The Max.
Now, to give you a quick overview, I decided to start with the second season of Saved by the Bell. Why? Well, Saved by the Bell started out as Good Morning, Miss Bliss, set in Indianapolis and revolving around a teacher named Miss Bliss, rather than the familiar cast of teenagers. Zach Morris, Lisa Turtle, and Screech existed in this pre-show, but it was definitely not the same without Kelly Kapowski, Jessie, and A.C. Slater. Now onward:
The show doesn’t offer a solid intro for all the characters; in this “pilot,” you deduce who these characters are just from lines, rather than receiving any backstory.
In the opening, Zach and the rest of his cohorts are hanging out at The Max, when the owner interrupts a snazzy dance party to announce that the television show Dance Party (real original, right?) has chosen the restaurant for a dance contest. Awesome!
Well, of course, the gang has to enter, and Zach and Slater immediately vie for Kelly’s attention. After grabbing her away from Slater – because Kelly is more of an object than a girl to them – she says she would love to go with both of them but that’s just *pout* impossible. Who ever will she choose for a partner?
Slater proceeds to dance – and oh baby, it’s worth watching this episode just for his jiving – and Zach challenges him to a dance off. I’d personally like to know what happened to dance-offs. Can one happen in the Commons soon?
And now for your viewing pleasure, I’ve included the clip of Slater dancing. Because he’s worth it. (Oh and ignore the Jesus tagline at the end. Unless you’re religious and wanna get into it. That’s all on you, readers.)
In the meantime, Screech – the annoying, tag-along friend who I would like to grab by his scruffy hair and shove in a locker – chases after superficial and rich Lisa Turtle, and Jessie Spano avoids the dance contest because she feels she is too tall for all the boys in school.
Strangely, throughout the episode, she rarely calls herself, “too tall.” Instead, she says, “I’m too big for you,” when she has a signature Saved by the Bell fantasy moment later on in the episode. Guess that shows how word meanings have changed since 1990.
Later, we see some of Jessie’s dancing skills when, in music class, the gang and others speed up the music to make it more fun whenever the teacher walks out of the room. It’s a ridiculous, fluffy scene and certainly doesn’t move the plot forward. But hey, it made kids laugh. And we weren’t addressing real teen issues in the show just yet.
Jessie, surprisingly, doesn’t shake her moneymaker like a pro, which is rather surprising, since she later pole danced in life (I’m referring to Showgirls if you haven’t seen or heard of that travesty of a film.)
The audience can infer that Zach has been long-time friends with Jessie, when he barges into her bedroom to ask for dance lessons to win against Slater. She also makes a pointed allusion to the fact that he usually crawls through the window rather than using the front door. How Shawn Hunter of him.
Throughout the rest of the episode, Jessie instructs Zach how to dance, and she eventually confides in Zach that she is insecure about her height. He, like the other girls, assure her that height shouldn’t matter: She is pretty, intelligent, and sensitive.
When it comes down to the dance-off, Zach tells Kelly to do herself a favor and go with Slater, then tells them all that he would rather go with Jessie. Kelly acts disappointed that Zach wouldn’t “fight” for her and slightly offended that he chose her best friend. Uh-oh, Kelly, big-haired blondie may have something over you. But she reluctantly retreats to practice with Slater.
Although I watched this show throughout childhood, I couldn’t help but notice that Kelly came off, to be frank, dumb, and entirely happy with being the toy between Slater and Zach. Good role model, kiddos. She also has the hair-flip down pat.
Jessie and Zach share a moment, a look you could say, and you think, “Ah, perhaps this was all a set-up for Jessie and Zach – best friends – to be brought together as more.” But alas, anyone who knows the show realizes that Kelly wins out and Jessie ends up with Slater.
Kasey Karem, a rather famous radio host in that day and the original voice of Scooby-Doo, makes an appearance as the host of Dance Off and of course, the final three couples are: Slater and Kelly, Jessie and Zach, and Lisa and Screech. The latter probably sounds surprising, but Lisa ended up spraining her ankle when she kicked in the T.V. set. She became a little ticked off when she found out Revlon discontinued her nail polish (see what I mean by superficial?), and since her friends feel bad for her, the episode ends with Lisa and Screech doing “The Sprain,” their own invented dance.
It was definitely one of the odder pilots I’ve watched, with far less character development than most. It was framed like a continuation, even though the previous season only half the characters even appeared. I can’t say I’m going to watch every season on Netflix, but I was highly amused during the whole of the episode.