In January of 2011 I began a project that I had been kicking around for years, an undertaking of historic proportions: a marathon viewing of Saved by the Bell complete with copious notes, thoughts, reactions and analysis. What was planned as a two-day process turned into three weeks, thanks to a couple serious snowstorms, the irresistible urge to sleep, and the realization that perhaps, yes, it was not healthy to mainline that much Screech in such a short time. Still, it was 88 episodes in less than a month, and that’s a lot of Bayside, and a lot of denim (for what I felt were obvious reasons, I did not include Good Morning, Miss Bliss as part of this project, nor, sadly, did we view Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style). After almost 2,000 minutes of Zack and the gang I observed many trends, themes and patterns, and probably enjoyed revisiting those five seasons way more than a then-twenty-seven-year-old should have. I hesitate to say that the show holds up – because I’m not sure it ever did in the first place – but it’s a fabric of our youth, and, for better or worse, it’s an indelible cultural touchstone. Kelly Kapowski is still my all-time number one crush, and I still despise that punk Jeff for breaking up Zack and Kelly. It’s been thirteen years since I graduated high school and Bayside is still somehow my picture of an ideal school, and I still wish that we had our own Max. The series is not, and was not, good, but boy was it ever great.
You can read all the season recaps by checking out the drop-down menu at the top of this page, or for full coverage of The Saved by the Bell Project, including video updates, you can view all related posts HERE.
This is how it all began. This is what is going on here.