This past weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the hit sitcom Saved By The Bell. While that’s still hard to believe, we have to take the time to thank this show for some of the greatest storylines and characters in TV history. Let’s be real, Zack and Kelly were the first “Cory and Topanga” couple goals for many.
The show aired 86 episodes between 1989 and 1992, before it went off-air. That included the episodes in Hawaii, a college spin-off, then the historic wedding in Las Vegas. We stuck with the cast through and through as Zack (Mark-Pual Gosselaar), Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), Screech (Dustin Diamond), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley), and Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) all underwent the trials and tribulations of high school before eventually moving on to college. Obviously, we all wished our high school days were similar to theirs, but that remains to a dream.
In honor of the show’s 30th anniversary, we’re going down memory lane to take a look back on some of the most memorable episodes of the series. Time out!
The Fabulous Belding Boys
This one was more of a tribute to principals who were sticking out their necks for their students. In this episode, the gang is introduced to Mr. Belding’s younger, but much cooler, brother, Rod Belding. He substitutes the high schoolers and, of course, he’s the laid back teacher everyone always hoped the older Mr. Belding could be. He made fun of the principal, gave them the grades they wanted, and was the ultimate friend everyone wanted to have. He got everyone so excited for the upcoming class trip, that is, until he decided to bail out last minute for a romantic weekend. Looking to his older brother, Mr. Belding makes up some excuse for him, but only Zack knew the truth. Give Mr. Belding some respect!
The Last Dance
Oh, god. We still can’t listen to “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” without feeling a bit heartbroken. This was the episode that broke every single heart as we watched Zack and Kelly’s relationship disintegrate before our eyes. We all thought they’d be together forever (spoiler alert: they would be, eventually) but we witnessed the sappy heartbreak that seeped into a school dance all thanks to another guy who made Kelly’s heart swoon.
Drinking and Driving
Shows during this era were huge on the “After School Specials” which, in essence, told a bigger story and taught the viewers a lesson. This was one of those episodes. (We’ll get to Jessie Spano’s historic cry soon!) After a huge toga party, Zack assumes he’s 100% sober enough to drive the gang home (the gang minus Jessie and Kelly!). Spoiler alert: he was wrong. They spend the whole episode trying to cover up the car crash, but Zack being Zack, eventually confessed everything to his dad and Lisa’s mom and had to face the consequences of his actions.
Home For Christmas Parts 1 & 2
Oh yes, a Christmas special is part of this countdown! Who could ever forget the plot twist after watching part one? In the first half, the whole cast picks up a part-time job at their local mall to rack up some cash over the break. We have two storylines, so pay attention. Zack runs into a girl named Laura in the mall and he’s easily smitten by her. They spend the day together after a long minute of cat and mouse. In the second storyline, Screech and Slater come across a homeless man who, later in the episode, collapses in the mall.
Cut to the very last scene where everyone is at their local hospital passing out presents to each admitted kid. Once they’ve done their civic duty, they decide to go visit the homeless man who they previously saw collapse in the mall. To no one’s surprise, the man turns out to be Laura’s dad.
We don’t want to spoil the entire second half but just know that this episode is a heartwarming tale of the meaning of Christmas where everyone comes together to make one little family’s dreams come true. Cue the awes.
No Hope With Dope
This episode is kind of funny when you think about it, especially knowing that marijuana is now legal in certain states and all. But this is a 90s teenage sitcom for crying out loud. After famous heartthrob Johnny Dakota comes to Bayside to film an anti-drugs PSA, Kelly is in for a real wake up call when asked if she wanted to take a hit. Everything hits the fan at that point. The once “cool” guy was no longer cool in their eyes. The team decides to go forth with the PSA sans Johnny Dakota. Drugs aren’t cool, guys.
I’M SO EXCITED. I’m so excited to talk about this one. Not only one of the most iconic lines of the series, but one of the most serious topics the show tackles. This episode focuses on Jessie Spano and how she’s always at the top of her game. She’s got to study, but promises to join a girl group with Kelly and Lisa because a record producer is looking for “a girl group like New Kids On The Block.” Wanting to be the best of the best, Jessie believes she’s got this and powers through with the help of a few caffeine pills. More than a few, actually. As expected, the group of friends back off from putting so much pressure on Jessie while at the same time, Jessie needed to focus and had to stop putting so much pressure on herself. Full circle!
There are so many more episodes but we’d literally list out all 86 of them if we had the time. Happy 30th anniversary, Saved By The Bell! Thanks for one of the best after school shows in TV history.