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We all loved Zack Morris. That scheming smile. His blond-streaked hair. His penchant for color blocking. And, of course, that rad, cutting-edge cell phone. In the minds of all children of the ’90s, the only way to be cuter and cooler than Zack Morris was to be named Jonathan Taylor Thomas. But since I began watching TBS’ Saved By the Bell reruns about a year back, I’ve grown to develop a deeper appreciation for its less heralded characters. There’s Slater, the dimpled army transplant with a soft spot for strong women. There’s Jessie, the caffeine pill-popping feminist who still takes advantage of any opportunity to wear a revealing outfit in front of the boys. There’s Lisa, the spoiled yet mature fashionista who’s just way too big for Bayside. There’s Screech, the squeaky shrimp that’s so insecure, you kind of believe that he would grow up to make a sex tape. There’s Kelly, who’s a bit like a manila envelope — but the hottest manila envelope ever. And, of course, Mr. Belding, the authority figure so desperate to recapture his youth that he puts a little too much “pal” in “principal.” (Remember that episode when Mr. Belding, having trouble with his wife, came to hang out with Zack and the boys in Zack’s room?!) Sure, Zack might be the coolest character of Saved By the Bell, but the fact that a kids’ show managed to deliver such disparate, multi-layered personalities is a feat unto its own. There was a character everyone could identify with, and not just on a Breakfast Club-esque jock/brain/basket case level. Many of us grew up with the Bayside clan — during the show’s four-season run, we were able to watch our own personalities mature as theirs developed.
Not that we should take Saved By the Bell too seriously. When it comes down to it, Saved By the Bell is just a terrible series book-ended by two horrendous series. READ FULL STORY »