Like a lot of you, I grew up on “Saved by the Bell” and the often-criminal (BUT IN A FUN WAY, RIGHT?) antics of Zack Morris and his friends. Television shows were different back in the ’90s. There was no internet to fact check them and point out all their ridiculousness, so they pretty much did whatever they wanted. “Saved by the Bell” was certainly no exception. Here are 20 of the strangest things you probably never noticed on “Saved by the Bell.”
1. The show was originally set in Indianapolis, Indiana, at John F. Kennedy Junior High School. Then the next season it was suddenly in Los Angeles, California. That would be fine if it didn’t include multiple students and the principal all moving across the country to the same place with no mention of it whatsoever.
2. This makes for a very weird moment in the infamous “Jesse’s Song” episode where Jesse seems to be somehow overdosing on caffeine pills. He reminds her of the time when they were kids and they sneaked out of their house to go watch “E.T.” He said that on the way home she was so scared. Uh yeah. That’s probably because he lived in Indiana and she lived in California. Riding a bike across the country would probably be frightening to a child.
3. In the episode “Pipe Dreams” oil is discovered underneath the football field at Bayside. The students start fantasizing about how wealthy they’ll be and how the oil will change their lives. The only problem is that they wouldn’t get a penny of it. Why on earth would students be entitled to the money? They don’t own the school. Nice try, Preppie.
4. Speaking of the “Pipe Dreams” episode, the most ridiculous moment of the story comes at the end when a Texas oilman comes into town and starts pumping out that sweet, sweet oil. Zack and the gang have decided they no longer like oil because a spill killed his pet duck that he’s loved for a whole three days. Zack interrupts his meeting and starts spraying oil all over the model of the new school. He sprays some on the oilman and tells him to hit the road. And that’s it! They just stop drilling. No meeting or voting was required. If a student dabs some oil on the speaker, then that’s that!
5. In “The Zack Tapes,” the gang learns about subliminal advertising, because that’s certainly a thing worth teaching 14-year-olds. Zack starts using it to get dates, like a true sociopath, but when his plan is discovered everyone plans payback. Their plan is to have LITERALLY EVERYONE IN THE SCHOOL pretend to be in love with him. That’s right, teachers, students, the principal; everyone took the day off to teach Zack a lesson. Did anyone go home that day and explain to their parents what happened at school? I wouldn’t leave my kid in that horrific school for one more day.
6. Remember “The Prom” episode where Kelly’s father loses his job, which means she can’t afford to go to prom? Uh, why couldn’t she still go to prom? I get that she can’t afford a new dress, but you aren’t legally required to wear a new dress to prom. Were the fashion police at the door turning away students that didn’t look stylish enough?
7. Hey, how exactly did Zack program every locker in the school to open with the press of a button? Lockers aren’t electronic so this would’ve required some serious time and effort that certainly wasn’t done during school hours.
8. Maybe the strangest episode of “Saved by the Bell” is “Blind Dates” where Mr. Belding, who might I remind you is the principal, forces Zack, who might I remind you is an underage student, to take his niece on a date or face academic consequences. What sort of “Game of Thrones,” abuse of power insanity is that? Anyone would just call their parents and say, “Hey, my principal is trying to make me hook up with his niece. Yeah, he’s a sick freak and he’s probably gonna record it. Oh you’re calling the administrative board and the police? Great. Thanks!”
9. Why did a high school have a beauty pageant that was hosted by the principal and included a swimsuit segment?
10. If a beauty pageant wasn’t bad enough, they even went so far as to have A GUY win it! It’s about time the guys catch a break. Bayside is a cesspool.
11. Why did every big conversation take place in the hallways right after the bell rang? That’s a tardy, and according to my rough estimates, everyone in the school had approximately 85,000 tardies.
12. Anyone else troubled by the fact that Screech just casually created artificial intelligence so advanced that it feels emotions? “Saved by the Bell” might be the low-key prequel to “Terminator.”
13. Oh, and also, Screech got struck by lightning, and instead of killing him instantly, it gave him the ability to see the future. Why on earth did we just freely and willingly accept this as kids? “Uh yeah, today Screech uh gets, I don’t know, struck by lightning and, hmm becomes a dark prophet? Is that an episode?”
14. “The Fabulous Belding Boys” was a big episode. It’s the one where we find out Mr. Belding has a brother who looks like Michael Bolton and loves hooking up with hot babes. His name is Rod Belding. Mr. Belding’s name is Richard, but they’re always calling him Dick Belding. That means their names are Dick and Rod Belding.
15. “The Fabulous Belding Boys” episode also featured something that I’m fairly certain isn’t allowed by most schools. Even though Rod Belding is the principal’s brother, I don’t think substitute teachers are allowed to take students on field trips. Especially ones that involve leaving the city, maybe even the state, and have absolutely nothing to do with education whatsoever.
16. The amount of fat jokes in “Saved by the Bell” is astonishing. Maybe the worst came in the “Model Students” episode where Kelly gets the opportunity to go to Paris to model for a month, but starts to realize how many obligations she’d be giving up by going. They mention that she would miss the big swim meet and someone suggests a girl named Harriet could fill in. Noted feminist Jessie Spano chimes in and says, “Harriet weighs 200 pounds. She can’t swim anchor. She IS an anchor.” Good lord, Jessie. I’m sure all the kids that weren’t a size two sitting at home, watching their favorite show felt really great in that moment.
17. There are so many examples of Zack being a sociopath, but the “Model Students” episode often goes overlooked. His girlfriend gets this amazing modeling opportunity, but he makes it about himself and assumes she’s going to forget about him while she’s away. It’s a month. So instead of being supportive or being a better boyfriend, he starts trying to sabotage her and guilt her into staying. It’s so great they ended up getting married after years of manipulation and dishonesty!
18. In the “Fake IDs” episode, why did they only make themselves two years older to get into an 18+ club? Also, why would you even want into an 18+ club? There’s no alcohol or anything you can’t get on your own. That was maybe the most boring use for a fake ID that anyone has ever done.
19. Remember Max? He was that cool guy that would come around and give advice to the gang while also wowing them with magic tricks? Yeah, he was a middle-aged magician working as a waiter at a high school restaurant. That’s not as cool as you remembered, is it?
20. In the “Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind” episode, Zack has Screech pretend to be an alien to trick a magazine into giving them reward money. Screech dresses up as a subpar alien and his trickery is quickly foiled. Here’s what he looked like:
They confront him and he starts talking strange about how he’s tired of pretending to be a human. That’s when he PEELS OFF HIS FACE and reveals this:
The magazine guy runs off and he peels off that mask to reveal his real face again. Hey, HOW DID HE TAKE OFF HIS HUMAN FREAKING FACE? This will haunt me until the day I die.