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4 Horrifying Implications of the Saved by the Bell Universe

I wish I could claim that I never watched Saved by the Bell, the NBC Saturday morning sitcom that put forth such wholesome, reality-based conceits as having glasses makes you unattractive to guys (thanks for that, says this female, glasses-wearing since 4th grade blogger), over-the-counter caffeine pills can cause severe addiction and emotional, singing-infused meltdowns, and that it’s totally normal to have your principal come to your house and sit on your bed.  I wish I could say that I saw it for what it was– a ridiculous, poorly written, clichéd laden schlock fest with dialogue so tortured you couldn’t help but wonder if it had been a victim of the Spanish Inquisition.  My life would be better, my shame less prominent, if I could make such a claim, but alas, I cannot.  Saved by the Bell, in pretty much every incarnation, remains so entrenched in my brain, I can pick out an episode within a few seconds of a rerun gracing my television screen.

It’s near impossible to take Saved by the Bell seriously.  That way madness lies.  Yet, what if one did?  What if you took every premise of the shittiest of shitty young adult programming and treated it like reality?  The implications may alarm you.  For instance:

1)      Zack Morris can stop time

Anyone who watched Saved by the Bell probably remembers Zack Morris (current sociopath, future cocaine user) and his ability to pause an episode’s action by putting left hand to right hand and shouting, “Time out!” to whichever inner voice was guiding him that day.  Then, in Ferris Bueller-esque fashion, he would proceed to speak directly to the audience about whatever his next illegal, immoral action would be, thus making us accessories that could be prosecuted if it ever came to that.

"Listen, kids. You hate your parents, don't you? Dooon't you? Yeees, that's right."
“Listen, kids. You hate your parents, don’t you? Dooon’t you? Yeees, that’s right.”

In the meantime, everyone else remains frozen behind/around him.  Eventually, he would proclaim, “Time in!” and action would start up again with no one realizing they’d been paused (or questioning why Zack appeared to disappear into thin air).

Let’s deal with this for a second: Zack Morris can stop time, bending time to his will.  That’s an X-Men-level mutant ability.  This a major leap forward in human evolution, yet no one seems to notice even though there’s major evidence that there’s something amiss with Zack.  More importantly, is he just stopping time for the people in his near vicinity, or does it also extend out to The Max?  The whole state of California?  The entire universe?!  It’s difficult to say, but it’s only a matter of time before Zack uses this ability to become Bayside’s first and only super villain, robbing banks and murdering innocent bystanders or whatever enters his twisted head.

"Yep, I'll just take Mr. Belding's wallet here. Glad he left it on his desk."
“Yep, I’ll just take Mr. Belding’s wallet here. Glad he left it on his desk.”

And what if he forgets/chooses not to say, “Time in?”  Does everyone just remain frozen forever, immobile like sad, haunted mannequins?  It’s only a matter of time before Zack brings the earth to its knees.

2)      Screech creates artificially intelligent, sentient life

I never knew how Screech became part of this group of jocks and cheerleaders.  Perhaps they’re just such wonderful people that they take pity on this poor, hopeless misfit who seems to even be scorned by the Bayside nerds.  I think, though, they may be sadistic bastards who heap massive amounts of emotional and physical abuse on a teenager with such low self-esteem that he writes off their cruelty as signs of affection.

The true sign of devoted friends.
The true sign of devoted friends.

Perhaps it’s this abuse (which normally leads to Prom Night style fatalities) that inspired Screech to make his own best friend: a robot named Kevin.

"At least you'll love me, right?"
“At least you’ll love me, right?”

Now, Kevin wasn’t a My Pal 2 or an Electronic Express toy.  Kevin had a personality and awareness of self; he was sentient!  Everyone in the cast treated this as no big deal, failing to realize that a mere high school student like Screech had succeeded where the brightest minds in technology had failed: create artificial intelligence!  Not just that, Screech had done so with limited equipment, space, and resources.

Though this may explain why his eyesight wasn't 20/20.
Though this may explain why Kevin’s eyesight wasn’t 20/20.

What’s even more disturbing though?  After 2 seasons, Kevin just disappears, and no one asks what Screech has done to him.  Maybe Screech melted him down for scrap,no doubt while turning a heartless, deaf ear to Kevin’s agonized screams.

"Here's that towel you needed to suffocate me, Master."
“Here’s that towel you needed to suffocate me, Master.”

Maybe he gave him his freedom, and Kevin’s living on his own in a low-rent apartment, enduring scorn and suspicion from nearby human beings, his only comfort being Bot Girl Magazine.  We’ll never know.  Like owners of The Max before and after him, no one knows or cares where Kevin went.  No one cared that Screech either turned him loose on an unsuspecting public or murdered him in cold blood where he stood.

3)      Zack had Kelly’s cheating boyfriend, Jeff, murdered.

We all hated Jeff. True, he was one of many Max owners (who seemed to have the life span of Spinal Tap drummers), and he was willing to take a chance on Kelly as a waitress. However, he broke up Zack and Kelly, the Lancelot and Guinevere of Saturday morning sitcoms.  For that, there could be no forgiveness.

"If ever I would leave you... it will be for a fast food manager."
“If ever I would leave you… it will be for a fast food manager.”

Then, to add insult to injury, he cheated on Kelly at a club she wasn’t even old enough to get into, as if that would hide his shame.  Alas, Kelly snuck into the club, caught Jeff in the act, broke up with him, and then…Jeff was never again referenced or heard from.

We know what happened, right?  Zack used his “Time out!”/”Time in!” ability to murder Jeff right then and there.  Think about it-Kelly still worked at The Max, and it was still the regular hang-out for the gang.  Surely, this meant a great many horribly awkward encounters between Kelly and Jeff in the future, right?  Well, the Bayside kids couldn’t let that happen.  Jeff had to go.  We don’t know how Zack killed him.  Maybe he’s buried with Kevin’s remains, or perhaps Zack has him weighed down in the ocean with an old surf board.

"Is Zack gonna make me an offer I can't refuse?"
“Is Zack gonna make me an offer I can’t refuse?”

Either way, I’m certain Jeff’s last thoughts echoed a Magnetic Fields song: “I hate California girls.”

4)      The entire Bayside cast suffered from a shared mental illness

There was a time in the show’s fourth season when Kelly won the opportunity to work as a model in Paris, France. Bayside was completely fine with this, giving her a few assignments to keep her caught up because the really beautiful students don’t have to do all of their school work—just enough to get by.  Kelly left, no one mentioned her again, including her then-boyfriend, Zack, who just the week before had tried to guilt her into giving up the trip.  Then, all of a sudden, there was a new girl – the motorcycle-riding, leather jacket-wearing, new jewel of Zack Morris’ eye Tori Scott.  She quickly became a member of the core group of friends, right down to the customary rivalry between Zack and Slater over who to gets to kiss her first.  All told, we got 10 episodes to get to know her.

She looked happy to be there too.
She looked happy to be there too.

Then, as quietly as an autumn leaf, Tori left Bayside High, Kelly returned, and no one seemed to remember Tori ever existed.

"Look at me, please, I beg of you, LOOK AT ME!"
“Look at me, please, I beg of you, LOOK AT ME!”

There’s only one explanation: the entire Bayside student body and faculty were so grief-stricken by the loss of freakishly peppy Kelly they were forced to hallucinate another teenage girl to replace her.  Once Kelly came back, Tori was blinked out of existence, and no one felt the need to remember how beneficial and comforting their hallucination was.  Plus, Zack never had to ponder whether or not it’s cheating if the woman doesn’t exist.

"This is just so many levels of messed up."
“This is just so many levels of messed up.”

I only hope hallucinations don’t have feelings and desires of their own.  If they do, Tori should talk to Kevin.  They’re both creations, carelessly tossed aside before their time.  What a cold, dark world Bayside turned out to be.

So, what do you think?  Did we miss any strange, unsettling occurrences at Bayside?  Let us know in the comments!

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12 comments

  1. Nice, but Kelly went to Paris in season 2, and Tori showed up in season 4.

    A more likely explanation is Tori showed up while Kelly and Jessie were out of state on family business )Hawaii and New York, respectively), and, upon their return, they…did something to Tori.

    1. Sure enough, you’re right (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Saved_by_the_Bell_episodes#Season_4:_1992.E2.80.931993). I had remembered it happening just how Julianne described in the article. At least we agree that they most definitely “did something to Tori.”

      From what I’ve read, the actual real world explanation is “NBC doubled the number of episodes ordered for the 4th season, despite needing to re-sign the entire cast to new contracts in order to film the extra episodes. Thiessen and Berkley refused to sign a new contract for these new episodes.” So, they just did the 10 or so episodes with Tori in place of Kelly and Jessie.

  2. How could you miss the fact that Zack Morris, Screech, Lisa, and Mr. Belding moved from Indiana to California together all in the summer between eighth and ninth grade. They forgot about their old friends, Zack Morris got new parents, Screech lost a brother, and Jessie pretended like she had known them her whole life.

    1. We did discuss this elsewhere on the site (https://weminoredinfilm.com/2014/01/22/re-tooling-7-tv-shows-that-started-out-one-thing-became-something-totally-different):

      “It essentially became a different show that pretended like Good Morning, Miss Bliss had never happened. None of the characters ever mentioned Mikey or Nikki or Mylo or even Miss Bliss nor did they in any way indicate they had once lived in Indiana. Of course, collective amnesia was a common problem on Saved By the Bell. Was there just a slow gas leak at that dang school – the same school they once discovered sat atop an oil field?”

      I guess in the spirit of Julianne’s original article about the implications of the Saved By the Bell universe maybe one of the strangest parts of the transition would be the idea that a high school principal in the midwest would oddly follow 3 of his students when they moved to California to attend a new school. Then again, there was a lot of strangeness attached to their relationship with Mr. Belding.

      However, I’ll be honest – I forgot that Screech had a brother on Good Morning Miss Bliss. So, that’s yet another person who went missing in the Miss Bliss/Saved By the Bell universe.

      1. Actually, Mr. Belding once told Slater’s father that he was a part of the Indiana National Guard. It was probably an unintended reference, though. Dan Quayle bashing was all the rage at the time and the writers probably intended it as a subtle jab at Quayle’s National Guard experience. Subtlety on Saved by the Bell…what’s next?

      2. Well, shut my mouth. I know I did not remember Mr. Belding ever saying that, although your explanation seems more likely than the writers suddenly remembering some of the characters were originally from Indiana.

      3. It’s a pretty obscure line in “Aloha Slater.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running a blog that reviews every Saved by the Bell episode it’s that you learn lots and lots of really obscure minutiae about a really badly written show.

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