One of the most classic teen shows of all time, "Saved By the Bell," is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The series premiered back in August of 1989 and if you were a child of the '90s with a TV, we're willing to be bet this program made some sort of an impact on you.
Sure, "Saved By the Bell" brought us plenty of laughs and outrageous (almost surreal) moments, but it was also filled with life lessons we'll remember forever. These more serious messages came in the form of what could be described as "very special episodes" -- the ones that serve a moral purpose so the youth of America is entertained and better off because of it. It's just that sometimes these episodes were also just as weird and wacky as the non-serious subject ones, but that's what made "Saved By the Bell" so ... very special.
Let's take a closer look the lineup of "Saved By the Bell" lesson-filled episodes and rank them from worst to best, shall we?
8."Pipe Dreams" (Season 3, Episode 11)
Summary: Bayside strikes oil during drilling for a new football field goal post and then everybody gets excited about the possibility of being super rich. The school looks into striking a deal with the big bad CalStar oil company for more drilling, but a spill occurs, harming the beloved creatures in a nearby pond. One of those critters happens to be "Becky," a duck that Zack has gotten close to. (Really.) At an assembly revealing CalStar's plans, the gang stands up and fights up against ecological injustices.
Message: The environment is sacred and we must protect it. Ducks are friends, too.
Best part: Zack sprays oil all over CalStar exec, Dan Greyson.
Now please enjoy this mash-up of "There Will Be Blood" and the aforementioned episode:
7. "Teen Line" (Season 4, Episode 6)
Summary: The gang starts up a "teen line" service to help other teens with their teen problems. Zack meets a girl over the phone while giving her advice and they hit it off and make a date 'cause that's a totally acceptable way to pick up dates, right? When they meet at The Max he realizes that his new love interest Melissa is (dun dun dun) in a wheelchair. Zack says he's totes cool with it even though he ends up acting like a weirdo and makes a huge deal about her being handicapped as their relationship continues. He freaks out when somebody parks in a handicapped space and yells at a movie theater manager for making her pay full price because, I mean ... she's handicapped! Yes, he keeps reminding everyone that. Turns out Melissa loves b-ballin' so they set up a wheelchair basketball fundraiser for their teen line. Remember, this one group of friends pretty much run Bayside and have control over everything that goes on there. Later, Melissa confronts Zack about his obsession with her disability and then they dance. Funny thing though -- Melissa IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN.
Message: A disability doesn't stop you from living a full life. Zack needs to calm down.
Best part: Well, the B-story involves Screech kind of adopting a teen line caller's obnoxious little brother, Tommy. Tommy ties Screech to a chair.
6. "Date Auction" (Season 3, Episode 15)
Summary: A date auction is held to raise money for new cheerleading uniforms. A girl named Wendy ends up winning a date with Zack but it turns out even though she's really funny and sweet, she's overweight. Zack is his jerky self and keeps making terrible excuses so he can blow her off. Wendy ultimately stands up for herself and tells him he should have been honest with her and he apologizes. Zack is still incredibly vain, though. Also we never see the lovely Wendy again either. What gives?
Message: Honesty is the best policy and appearances aren't everything. Zack needs to calm down.
Best part: Sorry for going off topic, but this the same episode where Lisa tries to impress a bookworm by acting studious and well-read. Please see meme below for further reference:
5. "Drinking and Driving (Season 4, Episode 10)
Summary: The title kinda says it all, am I right? After indulging in some brewskies at a toga party, Lisa, Tori, Slater, and Screech all let tipsy Zack get behind the wheel to drive them home. Terrible idea, obviously, and they end up crashing Lisa's parents' car while singing "Wild Thing." They lie to Zack's dad about the accident and make money to fix the car fast by selling messages on Slater's football jersey, but end up confessing and getting in trouble anyway.
Message: Don't drink and drive. Just don't do it.
Best part: When everyone is like, so hungover the morning after. Sucks to be you guys!
4. "Home For Christmas, Parts 1 and 2" (Season 3, Episode 24 and 25)
Summary: The gang gets jobs at the mall over Christmas break and Zack hits it off with one of Kelly's colleagues (Laura) at her clothing store gig. But Laura gets unfairly fired after being accused of stealing a sweater at her shop. Zack encounters a homeless man who later passes out and the it's revealed that this man happens to be Laura's father. So, Laura is homeless. Shocking stuff for Zack to process, but unsurprising considering we've seen how ignorant he has been in the past. After Laura's father is released from the hospital (Lisa volunteers there, but that's a whole other thing) the two of them head to the Morris household, where they are offered to stay. Everyone celebrates the holidays but of course, as is the pattern, we never see this homeless family again.
Message: Don't judge. Anyone can be homeless.
Best part: Kelly: "He's homeless? That poor man." Screech: "Of course he's poor! That's why he's homeless!" Oh, no.
3. "Rockumentary" (Season 3, Episode 22)
Summary: This stand-alone dream sequence narrated by Casey Kasem follows the rise and fall of "Zack Attack" -- a band formed by Lisa, Slater, Zack, and Kelly. But leave it to Zack to let the success of the group to go to his head and break the whole thing up. Friendship ultimately rules out, though. Also Jessie isn't in this one and there's no explanation for that.
Message: Fame ruins everything. So does Zack.
Best part: The classic jam, "Friends Forever."
2. "No Hope With Dope" (Season 3, Episode 21)
Summary: Kelly, Slater, Zack, Screech, Jessie, and Lisa (remember: they are the only ones in the school who are allowed to do anything at all) are set to star in an anti-drug PSA with famous Hollywood celebrity, Johnny Dakota. Turns out Johnny Dakota -- who takes a liking to Ms. Kelly Kapowski -- isn't exactly squeaky clean at all and uses drugs himself. The gang has been deceived! Don't deceive them, bad, bad Johnny Dakota. There's no hope with dope.
Message: Come on.
Best part: The final PSA featuring late NBC chairman, Brandon Tartikoff.
1. "Jessie's Song" (Season 2, Episode 9)
Summary: Jessie needs to study so she can learn geometry and get into Stanford. But she also has to start her girl group career with Kelly and Lisa since Zack's dad knows a record producer that can help them hit it big. Thus, Hot Sundae is born and the ladies even make a workout-themed music video!
But there's still scary geometry to deal with. So much pressure, so little time! Naturally Jessie starts taking caffeine pills to keep up. But that doesn't turn out so great because she gets addicted and goes a little off the rails, resulting in an epic breakdown featuring the famous phrase: "I'm so excited ... I'm so ... I'm so ... scared."
Message: Grades aren't everything, teenage stardom can wait, caffeine pills = bad.
Best part: Seriously?
Photo courtesy of Everett Collection
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