Remember that time you cried because Zach and Kelly broke up? What about that time you cried because they got back together? It's all right…'Cause you're Saved by the Bell. Is there a better way to remember this quintessential '90s sitcom than by reliving your favorite moments?
We invited the cast of the daffy Saved by the Bell-inspired stage show, Bayside! The Musical!, to tell us the SBTB moments that inspired them.
Sam Harvey — Zack Morris
Favorite Episode: "The Prom" (Season 2, Episode 1)
My favorite episode is Zack and Kelly's prom. Reason being, it is one of the only times that we get to see Zack's true charm without any trademark signature schemes. I also see [the show] through Zack's eyes now, so it feels good to see him win over the girl that he is meant to be with. (Even if she breaks his heart every other episode.)
April Kidwell — Jessie Spano
Favorite Episode: "Palm Springs Weekend" (Season 3, Episode 18)'''
My favorite episode of Saved by the Bell is hands down "Palm Springs Weekend," where Jessie is hell-bent on sabotaging her father's wedding to a younger woman by throwing a temper tantrum like an angry five-year-old in a big, pouffy dress. She dunks her new stepmom's head under the water during a race in the pool. It's Jessie Spano in full—throttle crazy, sans the pills. Priceless.
John Duff — A.C. Slater
Favorite Episode: "Date Auction" (Season 3, Episode 15)
If I had to choose a favorite episode it would probably be "Date Auction." It's a real character showcase. Lisa realizes that being vapid is better than being fake. Zack is a total jerk and can barely control his stomach around big girl Wendy. Slater has muscles, dimples, and awesome pants. Jessie is absurdly aggressive in her feminist beliefs. Screech is Screech. It all revolves around a dance (classic) and none of them go with their usual partner. But, it all works out in the end.
Maribeth Theroux — Kelly Kapowski
Favorite Episode: "House Party" (Season 2, Episode 5)
My favorite episode of Saved by the Bell has less to do with Zack and Kelly and more to do with Elvis and Tom Cruise. It's an episode called "House Party," and seeing it for the first time at age eight, it resonated strongly with my limited life experience. Screech's parents leave town and put him in charge of looking after the house and, more importantly, a porcelain bust of Elvis Presley that lives in the living room. It's established that Screech's mom will literally die if anything happens to the statue. Elvis ends up smashed seven minutes into the episode. I didn't know much at age eight, but I did know who Elvis Presley was, because every car ride of my life until then had included the sounds of the solid gold oldies FM radio station. The best part of "House Party" is when Zack, Slater, and Screech lip-synch and dance to a song frequently played on that station — "Barbara Ann" — in the exact style of Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Before Bayside! The Musical!, I might've said that watching so much of this show during my most formative years was a mistake. I was wrong.
Justin Cimino — Samuel "Screech" Powers
Favorite Episode: "Home for Christmas, Part 1" (Season 3, Episode 24)
The single greatest episode of Saved by the Bell is "Home for Christmas, Part 1." First, we have the rare treat of seeing Zack's mom, and I just love her.
There's this: Slater: "I'm good at everything I do." Zack: "Not according to the girls I talk to" — surprisingly dirty.
There's the moment when an angry woman violently chokes Slater with a piece of ribbon.
There's the part where Screech has a doll that urinates on him for an extended period of time.
There's the fact that Screech attaches mistletoe to a hat — genius.
There's the part where homeless Laura can't stop eating chips — awkward and beautiful.
There's the time a little boy calls Jesse an "ugly old bag," which seems unnecessarily harsh.
There's Zack's mom saying this: "[Zack] starts out with hard candy, and then works up to chocolate kisses. That's how his dad got me."
There's the fact that this episode doubles as an instructional video on CPR.
"Home for Christmas, Part 1" is gritty, sad, funny, and ultimately shocking. For me, it's the closest Saved by the Bell ever came to The Sopranos, The Wire, or Breaking Bad, and it comes pretty darn close.
Shamira Clark — Lisa Turtle
Favorite Episode: "Wicked Stepbrother" (Season 3, Episode 13)
My favorite episode is the one with Jesse's brother, with whom Lisa has palpable chemistry. I love this episode because we get to see a side of Lisa that we haven't seen before — and finally see her with a date! (She only had one other date in the entire series.) Lisa is normally the voice of reason. Whenever a point needed to be made, Lisa did it with poise and sass. She "checked" Jesse when she was mistreating her stepmother, Zack when he was using women to make Kelly jealous, and advises the entire school on Teen Line. In the episode with Jesse's brother, Lisa messes up. Then she delivers one of my favorite Lisa lines in the entire series: "When I took the tickets, I didn't like him. But now, I don't like me." At which point she bursts into tears. In the entire series we never see Lisa cry (excluding graduation). She is confident that she can solve her own problems so she's rarely shaken. When she breaks down, we see Lisa's vulnerability and how connected she really is to Jesse's brother. Those are two moments we never get again for the entire run of the series.
Seth Blum — Mr. Belding
Favorite Episode: "Miss Bayside" (Season 2, Episode 8)
My favorite Saved by the Bell episode is "Miss Bayside," the episode with the beauty pageant. It's got everything: Jesse protesting against sexism, Kelly acting dumb (and trying to sing), Zack and Slater making a zany bet, Lisa doing her own thing, Screech's robot giving him a black eye, the girls fighting in the locker room (and then instantly making up two seconds later), Jesse doing an interpretive dance as a butterfly, Slater intensely playing the drums, Kelly doing a silly cheer, Belding singing, Slater showing off his muscles, Zack hanging out in Mr. Belding's office, The Great Screechini making an appearance, and of course, Mr. Belding hosting the pageant in a tux.
Amanda Nicholas — Every Other Student at Bayside
Favorite Episode: "House Party" (Season 2, Episode 5)
I love the "House Party" episode. The boys are playful and adorable and they dance to the Beach Boys, the girls are sassy and hilarious, and we are introduced to an oppressed nerd ornament (Violet) who, over the course of the episode, leaves her dickhead of a boyfriend, finds herself, and falls madly in love with a suddenly charming and endearing Screech. Plus Belding as Elvis is just a beautiful image.
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