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Series / Saved by the Bell

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Iiiiiiiiit's alllllllll right...

We don't see Zack's discovery of a discarded brick-phone in a storm drain, or Screech being bitten by a radioactive dickhead, or a homeroom roll-call of each character, with voice-over exposition of their trademark traits and crushes. And we don't need to, because it's unthinkable that a time could exist when Zack, Slater and co., and their various interpersonal foibles, weren't as much a part of our cultural database as Stairway to Heaven or the great flood. They went to Bayside, but we did too; all of us.
Stuart Millard, So Excited, So Scared

"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?"

Saved by the Bell is a sitcom that aired on NBC from August 1989 to May 1993. Heavily inspired by the films of John Hughes, the show centered around the spokespersons from each of the archetypal cliques: The Beefcake, The Cheerleader, The Fashionista, The Revolutionary, The Nerd—and most importantly, The Hustler, as embodied by the fourth-wall breaking, time-freezing Zack Morris. In spite of its achingly outdated (even for the time) '80s fashions and lingo, it remains the archetype of the TV High School, to the point where it is widely theorized that the entire Saved by the Bell universe is contained within Bayside High, and that Zack is, in fact, God.

The show began life as a Hayley Mills vehicle titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss (1988-1989), which centered around a junior high school teacher named Miss Bliss as she dealt with her quirky students, among them Zack Morris. Though an NBC pilot, the network rejected it and the Disney Channel picked it up instead. It was not a success, but the series found its way back to NBC and was given a drastic retool: focus was shifted to the student body, and only Zack, Samuel "Screech" Powers, Lisa Turtle, and Mr. Belding made the transition. The name of the school also changed from John F. Kennedy Junior High to Bayside High, but this is possibly less of a mystery than the school's unexplained move from Indiana to California. The new show, now titled Saved by the Bell, was led by Zack and it is this version that is the one most viewers are familiar with.


Powered by the Law of Disproportionate Response: characters won't even bat an eyelash at the absurdities of their lives (such as the fact that Screech designed and built a self-aware robot), but will explode over something trivial. Though they began and ended as friends, the Bayside Six had a rigidly-enforced pecking order in which Zack lurked somewhere near the bottom, with only the Renfield-like Screech (imprisoned in a locker at least once per episode) to boss around. Most episodes revolved around a zany scheme hatched by Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) with 1 of 3 objectives:

  1. Cheating/bribing his way up the social ladder, only to get knocked down again.
  2. Concocting a get-rich-quick scam to enslave Bayside to his whims.
  3. Woo back his on-again off-again girlfriend Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Theissen).

Without fail, Screech (Dustin Diamond) would spoil the plan while attempting to help.

His nemesis A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) also had his eye on Kelly, leading to a tug-of-war between them as "Preppy" tried and failed to discover Slater's nonexistent weakness and break his seduction spell on the school. Slater would repeatedly win Kelly with little to no effort, but would later hook up with the armchair activist Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley). Lisa (Lark Voorhies) rounded out the cast as the token minority and debutante who acquired an unwanted admirer in poor Screech. Dennis Haskins, as Principal Richard Belding, ended up playing his role longer than anyone else associated with the show — though he and Vice Principal Screech would form a double-act in The New Class.

The show is quite camp, with a high level of rewatchability, though not without its finger-wagging moralizing (which one could argue is part of the joke). The most infamous "message" episode involved Elizabeth Berkley having a conniption as a result of a caffeine addiction. Her ensuing rant has become legendary among fans and non-fans alike, and belongs in a gallery of television's greatest narm moments.

The series ran under four titles:

  • Good Morning, Miss Bliss (a.k.a. Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years; 13 episodes, 1988-89)
  • Saved by the Bell (87 episodes, 1989-93)
  • Saved by the Bell: The College Years (19 episodes, 1993-94)
  • Saved by the Bell: The New Class (143 episodes, 1993-2000)

After graduating from Bayside, Zack, Slater, Screech and Kelly ended up at California University for the more adult-oriented sitcom Saved by the Bell: The College Years. Unfortunately, it failed to attract an audience and ended after one season, though it did lead to a television movie that finally saw high school sweethearts Zack and Kelly get married. Ultimately, the producers' attempt to cater to both younger fans of the original series and older primetime viewers proved unsuccessful as both demographics felt alienated by the series: The show was too hokey for older viewers and younger fans were turned off by the show's focus on relationship drama instead of wacky schemes.

Launched at the same time as The College Years, The New Class might be classified as more of a Spin-Off than a continuation; with one exception, the entire old main cast had left and were replaced with new students. In fact, The New Class featured an alarmingly high cast turnover during its run. Mr. Belding and (later) Screech were the only constants. Amazingly, despite its lack of memorable characters, at least compared to the original cast, it was the longest lasting incarnation of the series (mainly because it was the anchor of an entire Saturday morning block of Saved by the Bell clones).

Now has a character sheet.

For the trope described by the "saved by the bell" phrase, see Just in Time or one of its variants.

Cartoon Network started airing Saved by the Bell on their Adult Swim night time programming block (despite the show's rating of TV-G) as a April Fool's Day prank shortly before the TV show goes back to TBS.

The series soon became a worldwide phenomenon as Universal, the current owners of the trademark, started doing a massive product brand revival of their #1 TV show in 2015.

This series contains examples of:

  • 555: Everyone's phone number in "Video Yearbook".
  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Screech in the eyes of Lisa.
    • Rhonda Robistelli, a Tomboy who's actually pretty decent looking... although, any guy would be turned off by a girl who's strong enough to lift and twirl them over her body during a swing dance, as Zack endured in "Fatal Distraction".
    • Wendy Parks, the overweight girl who won Zack during the date auction in Season 3. In the same episode, Brian Watkins sees Lisa as this until she pretends to share his intellectual interests.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Jessie teeters close to this - particularly when someone gets better grades than her - but overall she's a good-hearted girl.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Lisa's father finds out she worked as a waitress to repay a debt to him, he finds it hilarious:
    "My daughter? Waited on tables?"
  • Adorkable: Screech before his voice changed. He was such a cute, dorky little kid and far less annoying.
  • An Aesop: So many morals. Don't do drugs. Don't drive drunk. Don't hypnotize a girl so that she'll go out on a date with you.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Any aesop the gang learns in one episode is forgotten and/or never referenced again in the ones after.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Happened with Screech and Zack's birthdays.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Screech is this for the rest of the gang. According to Dustin Diamond, Screech's actor, this is also the source of a lot of his disdain for the rest of the cast.
  • Alpha Bitch: Averted/subverted. Despite displaying typical alpha bitch-qualities such as head cheerleader (Kelly), overacheiver (Jesse), and fashion queen (Lisa), all three main character girls are genuinely nice people and worthy of their popularity.
  • And Starring:
    • T.K. Carter in Good Morning, Miss Bliss.
    • Dennis Haskins in Saved by the Bell.
    • Tiffani Amber Thiessen in The College Years.
  • Anti-Climactic Parent: Lisa spends the entirety of "The Lisa Card" worried about what her father will do to her when he finds out she overcharged his credit card. At the end, he just says "Oh well, you've learned your lesson" - and Lisa has to beg him to punish her for it.
  • The Artifact: Leslie in The College Years. She's set up in the first episode for a Will They or Won't They? storyline with Zack. Then in the second episode, Kelly rejoins the gang. A few episodes play with Zack pursuing both of them, but the writers soon settle on him focusing on getting back together with Kelly. Afterwards, Leslie is still around, but she ends up with very little to do for the rest of the season.
  • Artistic License – Military: It's revealed in one episode of The College Years that Slater's father changed his name to hide his Hispanic heritage to join the Army. Slater's father would have most likely joined the Army during the Vietnam War. In reality, people of Hispanic descent weren't being excluded from military service at the time. Although Slater alludes to him wanting "to be accepted", so it's possible his father was afraid of racial prejudice if he went in under his real name.
  • Ascended Extra: Mr. Tuttle. He never became a series regular, but he appeared sporadically throughout the series (certainly more often than any other teacher at Bayside), becoming a fan favorite guest star. Seemed to teach a wide variety of classes and coach a wide variety of clubs.
  • Beach Episode: A whole string of them, informally known as "The Beach Episodes" or "The Malibu Sands Episodes." Though they don't really fit the traditional definition, a swimsuit-clad Kelly and Slater in all six of these episodes ain't too shabby.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • During the prom episode, Screech finally gets a date with Lisa. She shows no appreciation for him getting her snacks and keep talking during the whole movie. He eventually dumps her in the middle of the date and leaves the theater.
    • During the second season of The New Class, Lindsey eagerly enters herself and her boyfriend Tommy (who's far less enthused) in a competition where the winners get to participate in a hot-air balloon ride. Lindsey and Tommy end up the winners of the competition despite Tommy's best attempts at sabotaging himself and Lindsey's chance (circumstances thwart him, however hard he tries). The episode ends with them in said balloon ride... which Tommy enjoys whereas Lindsey doesn't.
    Tommy: This is fun!
    Lindsey: (weakly) I don't feel so good, Tommy...
  • The B Grade: Happens to Jessie several times. She fainted after receiving a B on a test (which most of the class, with the exception of Screech, bombed) and had fits over scoring lower on the SAT than Zack, leading to her spray-painting "Death to the SAT" on the lockers. However, when she finds out Screech beat her in valedictorian (but gave it up to spare her feelings), she publicly announces it during her speech and awards the title to him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Malibu Beach Club episodes end with Stacey having to return to New York for school, parting amiably with Zack. He's still very saddened by her departure, and the episode ends with his friends comforting him on the beach afterwards.
  • Black and Nerdy: Ollie Creekly.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • In The College Years, you have Leslie (the blonde), Kelly (the brunette), and Alex (the redhead).
    • In The New Class, Rachel (blonde), Maria (brunette), and Katie (redhead). Liz would later take Rachel's place as the blonde.
  • Bottle Episode: A few, but since production values as a whole were not large, they aren't terribly noticeable.
  • Born in an Elevator: Zack Belding. Guess who attended the birth?
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Zack put a hypnotic suggestion into Kelly's music tape to drop Slater and go with him to a High-School Dance, with Screech making one for Lisa. Initially it worked, but then Kelly loaned her tape to various friends and suddenly all three girls wanted to take him. They got revenge.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "My hobbies include dating, guys, and dating guys!"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Zack would often address the viewers.
  • Breakout Character: Good Morning, Miss Bliss was completely retooled to focus on Zack. If that doesn't give Fonzie a run for his money, nothing else does.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Zack gets a genius-level score on his SAT, despite putting much more effort into his schemes than his studies. In "Jessie's Song", Jessie has a nightmare about flunking math and enrolling in the only college in the world that would accept Zack: Surf U., where everyone's dressed in surfer wear and sipping cocktails.
  • Building of Adventure:
    • Somewhere around 95% of the action takes place at good old Bayside High.
    • Occasionally, scenes are set in one of the kids' bedrooms. Also, tons of school-related activities takes place in The Max. This is justified because The Max is owned by the school board.
  • California University: Trope Namer. Zack, Kelly, Slater, Jessie (for a little while), and Screech all attend this university after graduation. This despite the fact that near the end of the original series, Zack was going to Yale, Slater to Iowa, and Screech to Cal Tech.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin':
    • They drive drunk once and crash the car. See Family-Unfriendly Aesop for the details.
    • Jessie has a full on junkie meltdown on caffeine pills.
    • The boys use fake ID cards to sneak into an over 18 club and Zack gives a girl his phone number. Of course, she calls as soon as he's gone from the house and just as his mother is in his room.
  • The Cheerleader: Both lampshaded and subverted. Jessie is reluctant to join the squad because she thinks cheerleading is not for smart girls. Lisa and Kelly are not pleased. Lisa herself is the closest to a straight example the show has but she is still a nice person who cares about the squad.
  • Cerebus Call Back: Stacey is introduced annoying her hatred of Californians, speaking to Zack in mock surfer dude slang. They eventually fall in love, but she has to go back to New York for school. In one of their last conversations, she calls back to her introduction saying "later, dude".
  • Characterization Marches On: Tommy De Luca from The New Class. As an Expy of Slater in Season 1, he's not above threatening violence on whoever did him wrong. Then he Took a Level in Kindness in Season 2, where his tendency for violent retribution is all but gone. In Season 3 he Took a Level in Dumbass before he's Put on a Bus for the rest of the series' run (Season 4 onward).
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • All the characters from the original Good Morning, Miss Bliss series (including the original lead herself, Hayley Mills as the titular Miss Bliss), with the exception of Zack, Screech, Lisa, and Mr. Belding. Within the main show itself, all characters not a main character or Mr. Tuttle, including but not limited to Jessie's stepbrother, Kelly's younger sister, and Slater's sister. They're assumed to have been lost in the Saved by the Bell Bermuda triangle.
    • Kelly and Jessie were both Brother Chucked and replaced with Tori in the fourth season. Tori herself disappeared in time for Jessie and Kelly to return for graduation.
    • Leslie disappears between The College Years and Wedding in Las Vegas.
    • The New Class had several characters outright disappear. Scott (the original lead) may be the most notable example.
  • Clip Show: Abused by The New Class. The show had so many of these that most of them were made up of clips from episodes that were only a couple of weeks old. Season 5 for example had not one but two clip shows that consisted of nothing but Season 5 clips.
  • Clueless Aesop: In "Jessie's Song", Jessie becomes addicted to simple over-the-counter caffeine pills. This is fairly realistic, as caffeine is indeed addictive. However, while the withdrawal is minor and usually limited to headaches and irritability, the show treats her reaction as if she were taking cocaine, and she is shown developing a dire, uncontrollable, terrifying craving for what is essentially just Starbucks in pill form. It's clear that the writers wanted to include a drug episode—Word of God states that Jessie was supposed to become addicted to amphetamines—but didn't want any of the characters using actual illegal substances, and the overall message kind of falls flat given the substance in question.
  • Compliment Backfire: Screech has made two such mistakes. The first time involves his attempt to compliment Violet's mother by comparing her with a celebrity. His celebrity of choice? Arnold Schwarzenegger. His other such mistake is shown in this exchange when he introduces Mr. Belding to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in an episode of The New Class series:
    Screech: This is Mr. Belding, the man who made me what I am today!
    Abdul-Jabbar: (turning to Mr. Belding) Mr. Belding, we need to talk.
  • Compressed Vice: Jessie's caffeine pill addiction. And any tobacco or drug addiction any student from The New Class series gets would likely end up as this.
  • Continuity Nod: in The New Class, Eric, the school's star quarterback gets Jim Harbaugh, who was the then-quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, to speak to his class for a report because he is Screech's cousin. The show's first incarnation, Good Morning, Miss Bliss is set in Indianapolis. Mr. Dewey, the math teacher from the original series states that he is from there, as well.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The Good Morning, Miss Bliss thirteen episode season were originally just Canon Discontinuity after the retool. Only four characters made the transition and all sorts of details changed (aside from the location, Jessie was often referred to as Zack's oldest friend despite the fact that she didn't exist in the Miss Bliss episodes). However, with the popularity of the series exploding, Miss Bliss episodes started airing to help pad the rerun count and retroactively were dubbed The Junior High Years (in syndication, they tend to run before "King of the Hill" - the pilot episode). The snarl comes in as with these reruns, new intros with Zack reminiscing about junior high were filmed. Needless to say, less knowledgeable viewers wondered what happened to Jessie and Kelly (among other things), while those coming in cold wonder how things took such a drastic turn after these thirteen episodes.
    • In the Good Morning, Miss Bliss episodes, Zack's father was divorced, and Zack had a sister who was mentioned but not seen. After the retool, Zack's parents were together, his father's original actor had been replaced, and he was now an only child.
    • The Tori episodes in the fourth season. Not that the show as a whole is known for its continuity.
  • Cool Teacher: Miss Bliss, and Miss Wentworth in the re-tooled episodes.
  • Creator Cameo: The end of "No Hope With Dope" features NBC President Brandon Tartikoff As Himself. Tartikoff broached the initial Good Morning, Miss Bliss premise and supported the series.
  • Crossover:
    • Mary Beth and Amy from fellow TNBC show Hang Time appear in The New Class episode "The Kiss".
    • A crossover of sorts when The New Class gang visited the school from USA High (a.k.a. Saved by the Bell in Europe on the USA Network!) in the episode "Foreign Behavior". None of the characters from USA High actually appeared in the episode, however.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Stacey Carosi who is hostile to Zack and friends, but warms to them as she works with them.
  • Delivery Guy: Zack, who indeed shepherds the birth of his principal's wife's child. In an elevator. During an earthquake.
  • Descent into Addiction: The infamously Narm-y caffeine pills episode shows this happening to Jessie.
  • The Documentary: The dream episode where the Zack Attack becomes rock stars is structured this way.
  • Dogged Nice Guy:
    • Screech, to Lisa. Borders on Stalker with a Crush.
    • This is seen in the first season of The New Class as regards Screech expys Weasel's (mostly) unrequited crush on Lisa expys Megan.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Melissa, the girl in the wheelchair during one of the Tori episodes, really hates being treated differently. Zack really doesn't seem to get this, and keeps embarrassing her by saying things like "Could you slouch down? My date's in a wheelchair and she can't see the screen," and "Melissa you were amazing in that game! See, even though she's in a wheelchair she did great!" and other cringe-worthy comments. One honestly can't blame her when she dumps Zack.
  • Double Standard: The episode where an unattractive fat girl shows interest in Zack and he has to learn that looks are not everything is Played for Drama with An Aesop at the end. Unattractive nerds hitting on the girls who rebuff them constantly? Played for Laughs.
  • Dream Sequence: Plenty of them. Many of which involve the characters all having the same daydream/dream.
  • Dumb Blonde: Ginger, a recurring character, who has a Running Gag of asking if she has lipstick on her teeth. In one episode Zack nearly has her convinced that he wrote the song "Pretty Woman".
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Screech has so many of these that one would think he's Obfuscating Stupidity. To name a few examples:
    • He's always the one who calls out Zack on his Jerkass behavior.
    • When Zack calling him the dumbest person alive for including Kelly in their dating service whilst dating Zack, Screech responds "Well you hired me, so what's that make you.
    • When he accidentally grabs a baby doll rather than Kelly's brother, he acknowledges Jessie & Lisa pointed to the wrong crib.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zack.
    • Jessie's stepbrother for being a borderline sociopath in "The Wicked Stepbrother"
  • Edgy Backwards Chair-Sitting: This is Slater's default way of sitting. As the series predates most ironic uses of this, Slater manages to come across as cool and slightly (but harmlessly) rebellious.
  • Edutainment Show: Really only in technicality, but it has life lessons, so it counts, so some television stations will plug it in a timeslot with an E/I logo in the corner and get credit for it.
  • The '80s: Started in 1988 as Good Morning, Miss Bliss and after the retool came back as Saved by the Bell in 1989. Most of it takes place in the '90s, however, although stylistically there are still lots of '80s influences throughout the show's entire run (until The College Years begins in '93 at least).
  • '80s Hair:
    • Lisa, Jessie, and Tori poofed up their hair as much as humanly possible, but Kelly only poofed it up in the front, to the point that in retrospect, it looks like she has a mullet. And don't get us started on Slater's Jheri curls and Zack's bleaching and feathering.
    • Zack's fantasy self with a... faux punk look will never be surpassed.
    "...I look like 'Mr. Madonna'! "
  • Embarrassing First Name / Embarrassing Middle Name: Slater's full name is Albert Clifford Slater (hence why he prefers "A.C."). Jessie's middle name is Myrtle. Which was, apparently, also the name of Zack's turtle.
  • Enter Stage Window: Zack and Jessie.
  • Estranged Soap Family: The parents rarely show up, but when the gang graduates, goes to college, etc., they're never around. The only exception to this is when Zack's and Kelly's parents showed up in Wedding in Las Vegas (and with the original actors too).
  • Extraverted Nerd: Screech.
  • Fake Band: Zack Attack.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage
  • Fantastic Racism: Stacey Carosi initially has a rather fervent and irrational hatred of people from California, openly accusing them all of being airheads and Surfer Dude stereotypes, and declaring that she has no time for their supposed ditziness because "I'm from the East Coast." However, her Foe Yay with Zack eventually turns into a romance and she ends up changing her mind about Californians, and Stacey actually ends up transforming into a friendly, Reasonable Authority Figure towards the end of her arc.
  • Fat Idiot: Mr. Tuttle. Although he was a knowledgeable, enthusiastic science/driver's ed/glee club teacher, he was shown to be very gullible and easily manipulated by Zack.
  • Feigning Intelligence: Lisa's (in)famous quote: "What is art? Are we art? Is art art?"
  • Flanderization:
    • Both Jessie and Slater ended up, by the end of the series, defined mainly by way of Jessie being an ultra-feminist and Slater a proud male chauvinist. Also by this time, Screech's "zaniness" had been flanderized into "blatant stupidity," which is about the time viewers just got sick of him.
    • Reversed in the case of Mr. Belding. In the original series, he was a bit of a doofus and acted as a foil for Zack. In The New Class, he became a respected mentor to Screech and the students.
  • Framed Face Opening: Clips of the cast members each appeared in their own unique shape in the opening credits. In what may or may not have been an intentional joke, Dustin Diamond's shape was...a diamond.
  • Friendship Song: In a Behind the Music-like episode showing the formation, success, breakup, and reuniting of the gang's band Zack Attack, their big hit is called "Friends Forever."
    We'll be friends forever
    'til the end of time
  • Freudian Excuse: Several episodes in Good Morning, Miss Bliss implied that Zack's ultra-manipulative personality is the result of his parents being divorced. His father basically ignores him because of work while his mother makes excuses for Zack's delinquent behavior and generally does nothing to punish her son for his actions. In the Saved by the Bell proper, and The College Years, Zack's parents were still married. Furthermore, one of the earlier episodes in the proper series suggests that Zack is a poor student because his father is busy working all the time and never around to keep him focused.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": In "Operation: Zack", Zack has a dream where he sees his own funeral after a failed knee operation. It's very, very narmtastic, right down to his picture being a black-and-white photo of him smirking and pointing at the camera and the mourners actually humming the Funeral March.
  • Future Loser: Slater feared this for one episode, where he imagined his life as an out-of-shape WWF wrestler who was losing one match after another.
  • The Game Never Stopped: Trope namer, in the murder mystery episode.
  • Gender Flip: Plots from the original series were recycled in The New Class with the gender roles reversed.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • A rare example happened on the show and most fans overlooked it when it happened (and still do). During the episode "Date Auction", when Mr. Belding asked if there were any other motions to make during the student council meeting, Zack replies, "Yeah, let's see the cheerleaders in motion" while making a diagonal fist and motioning it up and down above his waist.
    • In "Screech's Woman", when Zack is dressed up as Screech's date Bambi, Slater (who quickly catches on that it's him), jokes that "your secret's safe with me, sweetheart" while patting "Bambi's" breast.
    • "Save the Max" has Screech briefly impersonate Al Bundy...complete with him shoving one of his hands down his pants.
    • "Slater's Sister" has Slater bragging to someone about Zack that "they don't call him 'Steam-up-the-windows Morris' for nothing!" Steam up the windows doing what?
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Screech had several one-episode love interests, often played by extremely beautiful actresses (Hillary Danner, Emma Caulfield, Christina Moore, and Marnette Patterson). In the "country club" story arc, he had a recurring girlfriend named Alison, played by the lovely Clare Salstrom. Even his "nerdy" girlfriend, Violet, was played by Tori Spelling, although she wore thick glasses and a dorky hairstyle and clothes for the role.
  • Grand Finale: Wedding in Las Vegas for the original series.
  • Grandma's Recipe: Subverted in an episode where Screech whips up a batch of his grandma's spaghetti sauce, which everyone at Bayside finds delicious. Zack turns it into a money-making enterprise, only to be threatened by a company who discovered "Screech's Secret Sauce" was from a recipe in their cookbooks. Screech says that of course it came from a cookbook because "Grandma was a lousy cook!"
  • G-Rated Drug: Jesse's caffeine pills.
  • The Great Politics Messup: The show takes place right at the end of the Cold War, when the Soviet empire was falling apart.note  It actually becomes a plot point in the 1990 episode "The Prom", where Kelly's dad loses his job at the local defense plant due to Cold War tensions coming to an end and the Real Life federal budget cuts in defense. In Mr. Kapowski's words, "World peace broke out." Serves as an example where Real Life Writes the Plot.
  • Greek Chorus: Zack himself fills this role, often breaking the fourth wall to address the audience.
  • High School: The setting of the series.
  • High-School Dance: Basically every other episode features one. It seems like the kids of Bayside High believe that a school dance is the solution to every problem.
  • High School Hustler: Zack. He's also the rare example that crosses it with Big Man on Campus, until A.C. Slater shows up and plunders all of Zack's accomplishments.
  • High School Rocks: This is an overall theme of the series. Reinforced in the "School Song" episode during senior year, where Zack pens a song all about how Bayside rocks.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Zack and Kelly. Their eventual marriage even got lampshaded in one episode.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Screech suffers from this in an episode of The New Class. To recap: Mr. Belding is planning to give a surprise birthday party to Screech, but Screech keeps nosing in for any trace of a birthday celebration. When he gets too prematurely close to finding out, the students organizing the birthday party tell him that said party is for Mr. Belding instead, prompting an outraged Screech to volunteer to "help" — when, in truth, he's out for revenge for Mr. Belding's neglect for his birthday celebration (or so he thinks) — by ordering a cake from "Mr. Pie In The Face". When the truth is revealed to Screech near the end of the selfsame episode, he's happy about it — except he forgets to cancel his order from Mr. Pie in the Face amidst all the joy. The episode ends when the birthday cake delivery guy shows up and asks for the birthday boy and Screech claims himself as such... *splat*
  • Hollywood Dateless: Mostly averted, as all the lead actors are gorgeous, and their characters are popular in the school. There is one odd example, though. The boys participate in a date auction, and not one girl bids on Slater, until Kelly does out of pity. This despite him being a star wrestler, good friends with Zack, and played by Mario Lopez. That was justified as Jessie threatened every girl in school not to bid on Slater because she was opposed to the idea of a date auction for some reason. Kelly was the only one willing to to stand up to Jessie about it. Jessie initially played it off as feminist disapproval, but it was quickly made clear she was being jealously possessive of Slater.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Kelly in the "Miss Bayside" and "School Song" episodes, though that little factoid is thrown out in the "Jessie's Song" and "Rockumentary" episodes. In the case of the "Rockumentary" episode, it was All Just a Dream. She's also stated to be in their band in the episode where she meets Jeff, though she can't take part since she has to work at The Max.
  • Hospital Hottie: Nurse Jennifer in one episode.
  • Hypocrite: Jessie more than anyone else in the series. She's a Straw Feminist who is jealous of Girly Girl Kelly, possessive of her boyfriend, will sell out her beliefs and outrage for a chance to be a model, and has no issue with physically abusing her significant other.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Zack (see Rhetorical Question Blunder, below).
    • Early on during the third season of The New Class, Lindsey is faced with both Ryan and Tommy competing for her favor and decides to talk it over at the slumber party with Rachel and Maria. Ryan and Tommy, separately and without the other knowing, planted a bug each at Lindsey's bedroom to overhear the girls' conversation. When the focus is on Ryan during the conversation, Lindsey starts to gush over him a bit, leading to the dialogue below:
    Maria: Yeah, I know Ryan is good-looking, but I went to Valley with him, and he's always up to something.
    Ryan: (indignant) How can she say that?! (Beat) I need more volume. (adjusts the volume to hear better)
  • Ice Queen: Stacey Carosi, at least initially.
  • Idea Bulb
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Stacey pretty much unequivocally states this when she arrives to take charge of the Malibu Sands resort for her father. What she wasn't counting on was that her antagonism with the fun-loving Zack would turn into Foe Yay and result in her becoming a Defrosting Ice Queen.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Kelly was portrayed as the hands down hottest chick at Bayside, yet most would agree she's not any more attractive than Jessie, Lisa, or any other one-off "hot" girl.
  • In with the In Crowd
  • Insane Troll Logic: In The College Years, Zack and Slater are talking of possibly cheating on a test. Slater says that if he fails the test, he could fail the course which would get him kicked off the wrestling team which means they'll lose meets which means they lose boosters and donors which could cause the entire college to collapse.
    Slater: Don't you see, Zack? I have to cheat! To save the college!
    Zack: That was pretty good. All I had was, my dad would yell at me.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Melissa, the girl in the wheelchair. Much to her chagrin.
  • Ironic Inversion: Zack achieves a 1500 SAT score - despite being a lazy student. Jessie - the straight A student - gets only a 1205.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: During an episode of The New Class, Rachel decides to run for student body president to pat her extracurricular activities for college application, and Ryan — her boyfriend at the time — volunteers as her campaign manager. Her election campaign struggles at one point, leading to the following exchange:
    Rachel: OK, Mr. Campaign Manager, now what? For my extracurricular activities, I'm not writing down "a big, fat loser".
    Ryan: Come on, Rachel, think positive.
    Rachel: OK. (beat) I'm not fat. I'm just a big loser.
  • It's Been Done: During an episode of The New Class which focuses on scientific inventions, one student came up with a writing utensil that uses black carbon mineral contained within wood and can be erased after writing.
    Screech: So, you've invented a pencil. Next!
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Well, California University for Everyone, anyway. Zack got into Yale, but ends up going to Cal U instead.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Screech did this to surprise Lisa. She was not impressed.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Screech's heart is crushed when he spies Zack and Lisa kiss in "The Bayside Triangle". He may have been more of a jerkass in this episode than any other, but he certainly has a point when he calls out Zack. Screech is Zack's best friend and has been for over a decade by this point. He knows how Screech feels about Lisa and still kisses her anyway, without even talking to him about it.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • A plot point in the episode "The Lisa Card". Lisa charges over $300 on her father's credit card and spends the episode terrified of how he'll react. He actually takes it fine and doesn't punish her. However, after two days of living in fear, Lisa actually begged him to punish her. She ends up having to take a waitress job to pay the money back (and that's after all her clothes have been sold as well).
    • Zack gets away with a lot of sociopathic behavior. Belding gives him detention for attempting to sell the school to the Japanese.
    • Kelly has her fair share. On the occasions where she is to blame for her and Zack's ruined relationships it's played straight that what she did was wrong. However when they get back together, it's all white washed.
  • Large Ham:
    • Mr. Belding, though he's no BRIAN BLESSED.
    • During the Hawaii movie, when Mr. Belding briefly impersonates a professor, his performance can only be described as this. Lampshaded by Kelly when Belding starts bellowing a loud proclamation in native Hawaiian while banging a spear into the ground and the camera zooms in on the look of silent incredulity on Kelly's face. And lampshaded again by Zack when Belding afterward asks "How was I?" and Zack replies that he was "A little hammy here and there."
    • James, but he's an actor, so it's understandable.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: During an episode of The New Class, Eric wears a wig to pass himself as a girl in a girls' gym class for a school radio program. To keep the masquerade going, Rachel introduces Eric to her gym teacher as "Eric...a. Erica!" The gym teacher doesn't even bat an eye.
  • Law of Disproportionate Response
  • Life Embellished: Zack would sometimes use an inexplicable "Time Out" ability - basically, he could freeze time to escape from whatever sticky situation he'd gotten into, and break the fourth wall.
  • Limited Social Circle: Played extremely straight. Not only do Zack and his friends pretty much only interact with each other, they also seem to be the only students who ever do anything. In other words the school sees to consist of them and a bunch of Ghost Extras.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The New Class. In seven seasons, a total of nineteen different main characters appeared in the opening credits (though not all at the same time obviously).
  • Market-Based Title: Germany aired the series as California Highschool.
  • The Masochism Tango: Slater and Jessie. There's Belligerent Sexual Tension, and then there's dysfunctional couple. The two were the latter. This was lampshaded by Screech during one of Slater and Jessie's breakups: "But you guys were so happy together...every now and then!"
  • May–December Romance: Played for Drama when Jessie's father is going to marry Leslie, who is significantly younger than him. Jessie convinces herself that Leslie is only after his money and nearly walks out of the wedding as a result.
  • The Movie: Two TV movies. One for going to Hawaii and another with Zack and Kelly getting married in Las Vegas.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Slater likes wearing gym short-shorts, and incredibly loose muscle shirts.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Zack and Slater.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Parodied in one episode. Zack's mother catches the boys at an over 18 dance club. Zack's date asks if she's his mother. Zack's response?
    "Oh no, this is my lovely, beautiful, young-looking older sister."
  • Music Is Politics: A naive Zack Attack discovers this at the hands of Mindy, the evil music exec who pulls a Corrupt the Cutie on Zack and causes the gang to go through years of pain and turmoil. Luckily it was All Just a Dream.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
    • Out of the guys, Screech is nice (a quirky but well-meaning nerd), Zack is mean (a charming but manipulative schemer), and Slater is in-between (a bit of a hothead but ultimately a Lovable Jock).
    • Out of the girls, Kelly is nice (the sweet Girl Next Door), Lisa is mean (the Lovable Alpha Bitch who is often rude to Screech), and Jessie is in-between (the outspoken Go-Getter Girl).
  • The '90s: Considered one of the trademark shows of both the late '80s and early '90s.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Zack's time out.
    • Zack would also address the audience, usually at the beginning of an episode to provide exposition.
    • During the first season of The New Class, the Zack expy Scott Erickson did the same thing in every episode.
  • Noodle Incident: "Screech, I have a great idea!" "Gee, I dunno, Zack. The last time you had a great idea, I ended up (in an extremely improbable situation)". Examples include "naked in a jar of jellybeans" and "with my tongue stuck to a moving airplane". Scenarios that are never shown, nor discussed again.
  • No Sympathy: Kelly dismisses every single complaint that Jessie or anyone else in the gang has about Eric in "The Wicked Stepbrother" two-parter over what a post he is or how he's disrupting their lives. While on one hand, it was rude for her to immediately side with a stranger over her friends (to the point of her eventually being written out of the second part), on the other hand some of her reaction to their gripes with him (particularly Jessie) is because as someone with so many siblings, she knows how to share better than her friends and probably has more tolerance for annoying siblings/people (which explains why she's so forgiving of Zack's nonsense).
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Jessie when the cheerleaders suggest Screech spying on Valley's squad.
    Jessie: Why would we stoop so low?
    Lisa: To win.
    Jessie: (to Screech) Take notes.
    • Kelly gets annoyed with Zack when - after he's got her a ring - he yells at any boy that talks to her saying "see the ring". After she lectures him about this, a cute girl comes up to Zack. Kelly now tells her "see the ring?"
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: At the start of the fourth season of The New Class, a teacher reports to Mr. Belding that she bumped into his car while trying to park at her own spot. Once she leaves, Mr. Belding demands to know who assigned her spot next to his. He's speaking to no one in particular, but Screech, upon hearing Mr. Belding's demand, whistles to himself while looking sheepishly away, which, due to his close proximity to Mr. Belding, serves only to tip himself off.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: We discover during senior year that Zack has been playing this from the beginning (although it had been hinted at throughout the series) when it comes to academics. Despite his self-constructed image as a slacker, he scores extremely high on the SAT and gets into Yale. The represenatative from one college, the fictional Stansbury University, actually kept showering Zack with attention and courted him to attend their school, much to Jessie's frustration, as the lady kept ignoring her.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Mr. Belding often played this role during the Miss Bliss episodes.
  • Omnidisciplinary Teacher: Mr. Tuttle teaches science, economics, driver's ed, and music (including coaching the glee club). This makes it rather easy to sympathize with him when he insists that he deserves better pay.
  • One Born Every Minute: And Zack is certainly quick to take advantage. He can't handle even a brief taste of power. Even showrunner Peter Engel compared giving Zack any responsibility at all to "putting Hitler in charge of the Jews."
  • One Steve Limit: Acknowledged when Mr. Belding calls a duck Becky, which is the same name as his wife. Turns out he just named the duck that years ago. Additionally, Leslie is the name of Jessie's stepmother, and the gang's roommate in college.
  • One True Threesome: In-universe example. In the episode where Screech falls in love with Tori, who is dating Zack, Tori ends up having to pretend to be interested in Screech to win a bet with Zack, but asks Screech to allow her to continue seeing Zack at the same time. This is Screech's response:
    "Ahhh, an open relationship! I can dig it! I'm hip!"
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Part of one of the Very Special Episodes about drugs, Zack realized Jessie's antics were a red flag before discovering she was addicted to caffeine pills.
  • Opening Narration: Every episode of Good Morning, Miss Bliss opened the first act with a brief voice-over by Miss Bliss. When they were re-packaged as episodes of Saved by the Bell, these would be preceded by a Cold Open monologue from Zack, which usually covered a lot of the same ground; however, since he would always discuss the events from his perspective and Miss Bliss would talk about them from hers, it created an interesting "he said/she said" dynamic.
  • Parent ex Machina
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Zack and Jessie, who have been friends since preschool and describe their relationship as being more Like Brother and Sister than anything. The one time they tried to find out if their relationship could've went to the next level, they discovered that they felt like this. Unfortunately, Kelly and Slater walked in on them as this was happening.
  • Plot Hole:
    • The "Tori Paradox", the unexplained disappearance of Jessie and Kelly and the introduction of the new character of Tori Scott, and then her disappearance and Jessie and Kelly's reappearance in time for the graduation episode that is never given any explanation in the course of the show.
    • There never is any real explanation for what happened to all the characters who disappeared in the show's transformation from Miss Bliss to Saved by the Bell.
  • Pretty in Mink: Kelly in a fantasy scene.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: After guest starring as Scott's love interest in the first season of The New Class, Sarah Lancaster's character Rachel was promoted to regular in the second season when she was brought back to replace Vicki.
  • Protest By Obstruction: In one episode, Jessie and Kelly protest oil drilling on campus by chaining themselves to an imitation oil drill in the main hallway. Then a nerd joins them on the drill — officially to join the protest, but really because he's a Stalker with a Crush.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Zack and Slater were going to be bitter rivals for Kelly's affections, as seen in initial episodes. However, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez were good friends on set, and their natural chemistry led to the writers turning the two of them into best friends. Slater's eventual romance with Jessie likely stemmed from this.
    • The infamous Tori episodes in Season 4. The network ordered an additional set of episodes after they had wrapped, but Elizabeth Berkley and Tiffani Amber Thiessen had other commitments. Thus Leanna Creel was cast as a replacement character called Tori.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. Belding.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Screech discovered artificial intelligence early on in the series. Also during his senior year, he and his lab partner Kelly build a Love-O-Meter that can accurately gauge how two people feel about each other. Considering the scientific breakthroughs Screech made despite being a high school student, one really wonders why he didn't come up with more inventions that could solve the gang's problems.
  • Rejection Affection: Even though Lisa is extremely vocal in her lack of interest in Screech, he obliviously insists they are meant to be.
  • Remember the New Guy?:
    • Kelly and Jessie who allegedly grew up with Zack, Screech, and Lisa.
    • Slater's sister J.B. returns from boarding school in Europe where she's apparently known by the main cast since Slater transferred in grade 9.
    • In The New Class, Bobby (Season 2), Katie and Eric (both in Season 4) were apparently always there. They were the only new characters who were introduced in this fashion rather than being new students or transfers.
    • Also in The New Class, Katie's older sister Robin (Marnette Patterson) was apparently the object of Screech's affection when they were in high school together, he even refers to her as "the one that got away". Robin was never mentioned or shown in the original series.
  • Revolving Door Casting By the time The New Class ended, Belding was the only one to be there from day one. Granted, high school is four years, but many of the characters that left were never stated to be seniors, so they were either Put on a Bus or Brother Chucked.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Zack is convinced Kelly is blowing him off, because every time he wants to talk to her, she has to wash her hair. He confides in Slater and asks:
    Zack: Who washes their hair five times a day?
    Slater: You do, Preppy.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: The group (later on Kelly excepted) all come from families that are upper class. They don't have jobs, have cars, and seem to be less than prepared for the real world. One episode even has them mention that the most complicated thing any of them actually knows how to cook is scrambled eggs.
  • "Risky Business" Dance: When Zack, Slater and Screech have a sleepover (except they're dancing to "Barbara Ann" instead of "Old Time Rock 'n Roll").
  • Screaming Birth: Mrs. Belding gives birth trapped in an elevator with Zack and Tori.
  • Seers: Screech for an episode.
  • Sexy Mentor: The show clearly loved this. Here are some examples:
    • Much to everybody's utter shock and awe, Screech becomes this to Kelly while coaching her for a science exam during their freshman year. Kelly begins to respect Screech for his scientific genius. Then, she actually starts to find it attractive (thus Kelly became seemingly the only person at Bayside to believe in the Nerds Are Sexy). Everyone else is completely shocked to hear about this and treat it as if it's the most shocking news of the century, reacting with a mixture of awe, disgust, and amazement, with people at Bayside openly wondering What Does She See in Him? Screech and Kelly getting together is apparently such a big deal that the news spreads like wildfire around the world, and George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Margaret Thatcher are actually seen gossiping about it! President Bush himself sums it up by giving an OK sign and declaring "Way to go, Screech!" while First Lady Barbara nods in agreement. Even the crew of the MIR space station get in on the action.
    • Screech repeats this again in The College Years when he plays astronomy mentor to a hot, famous tennis player.
    • Stacey becomes one for Zack during the Malibu Sands arc.
    • Jeff, the sleazy new manager of The Max becomes this for Kelly for a while, becoming the Romantic False Lead in the process until Kelly finds out he's been cheating on her.
    • The lecherous Professor Lasky becomes this for Kelly as well in The College Years, becoming the Romantic False Lead and a fan unfavorite character overnight, as he was throwing a wrench in the Zack and Kelly pairing. In the end, Zack and Kelly get together when Kelly breaks up with Lasky after realizing that Zack truly loves her and that Lasky is just a sleazy Casanova Wannabe. After Lasky's relationship with Kelly was exposed and Kelly dumped him to return to Zack, Professor Lasky was last seen as a broken man, apparently undergoing a nervous breakdown and downing milk at the college food court in an attempt to cure his stress-induced ulcers...
  • Ship Tease:
    • Both the Zack/Jessie and Zack/Lisa pairings each got one episode devoted to teasing the pairing. The former promptly sank it because they realized they had no romantic chemistry (though some fans seem to disagree). The latter went all the way and, ironically enough, was never mentioned again despite being the Fan-Preferred Couple. Zack and Lisa were also teased in the Zack-in-hospital episode, the Murder Mystery episode, and several other subtle moments. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Lark Voorhies actually were dating for much of the series, so that certainly explains the undeniable chemistry between Zack and Lisa.
    • As for Zack/Jessie, there were definitely a few episodes in Season 1 that seemed to subtly Ship Tease them, such as the one where Jessie trains Zack to dance so that he can take Kelly to a dance, but Zack ends up asking Jessie herself to be his dance partner (many fans like to think of this as an example of Jessie becoming a Sexy Mentor to Zack), and even in their senior year, the moment after Jessie realizes that Zack has orchestrated a hair-brained scheme to get her into Stansbury University, she and Zack share a sweet moment outside Belding's office.
    • In The New Class, Scott/Megan in "Home Shopping" and "Running the Max and Rachel/Tommy at the end of season 3. Neither 'ship stood a chance thanks constant cast changes.
  • Shirtless Scene: Mario Lopez has several in both Saved by the Bell and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. In The College Years, on the episode Professor Zack, the girls convince Slater to pose for a shirtless calendar ( which he does on-screen). In the original series, he competes in the Miss Bayside contest, going shirtless for the swimsuit portion and flexing.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Screech and Kelly when they're briefly together. They nickname each other "Screechy" and "Kel-Kel".
  • Six Student Clique: Trope codifier.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Jessie and Slater.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: This series was the king of the Status Quo Is God.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Zack comes across as this more often than not, since he's constantly shown lying, scheming, and manipulating to get what he wants.
  • Spicy Latina: Maria Lopez is this in The New Class (third season onward).
  • Stand-In Parents: Zack got a waiter/aspiring actor from The Max to pretend to be his father for a parent-principal conference with Mr. Belding. Since that guy was an out-of-work actor he decided to ham it up. But that was for a different reason - he didn't want his real father to find out about his scholastic misdeeds.
  • Status Quo Is God: Parodied when the perpetually deaf Ms Simpson gets a hearing aid. As other characters are used to being deaf, they keep shouting at her. She gets sick of this and throws the hearing aid out.
  • Still Sucks Thumb: When Zack, Screech and Slater have been out late at night at an adults-only club (they snuck in with Fake IDs), Screech is seen the next day dozing in the hallway while sucking his thumb.
  • Studio Audience: And a very excitable one, at that. They were also excited in The College Years, to the point that it sometimes really makes one speculate that NBC intentionally found the most excited studio audience ever.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders:
    • On at least two occasions (both while he was in drag), someone makes a flirtatious comment about Zack's legs.
    • Even though it wasn't in drag, there's been a few comments on how soft and girly his hands are. Some of these comment came from Slater.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The New Class, most blatantly in its first season. Scott for Zack (even breaking the Fourth Wall in the same way), Weasel for Screech, Tommy D for Slater, Lindsay for Kelly, and Megan for Lisa and Jessie (due to her being Weasel's unrequited crush, as well as the smart one in the group). Also Tori for both Kelly and Jessie in the original show.
  • Take That!:
    • There's one take that at Vice President Dan Quayle (like in most of the TV shows from this period) where during Zack's fantasy about becoming an industrialist, Quayle buys one of Zack's Buddy Band bracelets and tries to wear it as a headband, breaking it in the process. According to fantasy Jessie and fantasy Zack, this is apparently not the first time this has occurred.
    • In "The Prom," Screech, Lisa, and the rest of the gang are watching a zombie movie and Lisa asks if Matt Dillon is in the movie, to which Screech responds "No, Alan Thicke is the zombie. Everybody knows that!" as a not-so-subtle way of insulting Thicke's acting skills.
  • Tech Marches On: Zack's cellphone. Funny then because a teenager even having one was taking High School Hustlerdom to extreme levels. Funny now because of how freakin' huge it is. The large "brick" cell phones from that era are actually popularly known as "Zack Morris Cell Phones" as a retronym.
  • Thing-O-Meter: There's a Love-o-Meter at the Max. Kelly and Screech also invent one for a science project that leads to hilarity.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • During the Miss Bliss episodes, Nicki played the Tomboy to Lisa's Girly Girl.
    • During the Tori episodes, The Lad-ette Tori played the Tomboy to Lisa's Girly Girl.
  • Totally Radical:
    • Some of the surfer dudes definitely came across this way. That being said, it may actually be Truth in Television for some.
    • And the show does take place on the California coast, where the whole Surfer Dude culture never really went away.
    • Stacey Carosi mocks this when she meets Zack, talking in exaggerated surfer dude slang.
  • Town Girls: The three girls fit these nicely. Vocally aggressive feminist Jessie is the butch, boy-crazy fashionista Lisa is the femme and sweet Girl Next Door Kelly is neither.
  • TV Teen: Zack's awkward, uncertain, and initially resistant reaction when he's offered a beer. Mind you, this is Zack, the Lovable Rogue who loves to party and loves to flout the adults' rules for fun; the idea that he would be initially resistant to enjoying a beer seems rather bizarre and inconsistent with his usual characterization. The same can be said for Zack's furious and aghast reaction to the idea of smoking pot; again, it's certainly not impossible for him to abstain from it, but his furious reaction seems at odds with his usual characterization.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter:
    • When Mr. Belding first mentions his niece, Slater imagines Belding in a wig with Uncanny Valley Makeup. However, when we finally meet Penny Belding, she is hot.
    • Leon Carosi is portly, balding and unpleasant in personality. His daughter Stacey is hot.
  • The Unseen: A really bizarre and glaring example. In some episodes, Mr. Belding is informed of an incoming visitor to his office by a secretary over the PA system. But how? The door from the hallway leads directly into Mr. Belding's office, with no secretary room in between, so unless the guests to Mr. Belding's office first enter a pocket dimension where a secretary works before re-emerging in Belding's office, this seems impossible.
  • Vacation Episode:
    • The Grand Finale, in Las Vegas.
    • An earlier TV Movie has Kelly's grandpa inviting everyone to his hotel in Hawaii for summer vacation.
    • The whole Malibu Sands arc plays with this, since the gang are actually working at the club. Only Lisa is on vacation there.
    • And Jessie inviting her friends to her dad's hotel to meet her new stepmom.
  • Very Special Episode:
    • Most blatantly "Jessie's Song" and "No Hope With Dope".
    • The College Years has a very poorly done episode where Slater discovers his father is Mexican but changed his name to get into the Army. Zack apparently has to learn An Aesop about respecting Slater's heritage after Slater spends the episode being overly sensitive and accusing Zack of being racist.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jessie and Kelly's location during the Tori episodes is never stated due to contractual issues regarding the number of episodes they were signed up to do.
  • What Is Going On?: Mr. Belding's Catch-Phrase: "Hey, hey, hey! What is going on here?!!"
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Zack often gets called out by his friends for his schemes and manipulations yet they continue forgiving him and go along with them over and over again.
    • Some of Kelly's actions during her relationship with Zack. For example, she cheated on him twice. In The College Years, Zack's attempts to win Kelly back are disregarded as stupid. One of the people she cheats on him with, a college professor, calls her out on this and when she realizes what she did to Zack, she doesn't blame herself, she blames him.
  • Wheelchair Antics: There was an episode with a disabled woman in a wheel chair. At the end of the episode they had a charity wheelchair basketball game.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: It's what eventually kills Zack and Kelly's relationship. For a while, anyway.
  • Zany Scheme: This show managed to raise zany schemes to an art form.
    • In a few episodes after Zack's scheme fails he begins to formulate a new one and the other characters tell him off.
    • Sometimes when they figure what Zack's up to, they come up with a Counter Zany.