The very first show featured in our Sports On TV column was ‘Saved By The Bell,’ and with good reason. It’s one of those shows we’ve all seen whether we like it or not, and face it, you can’t spell “Internet” without ‘Saved By The Bell.’
Saved By The Bell’s 20 Greatest Sports Moments featured so many of the classics — Zack becoming an Indian to deal with track team stress, girls on the wrestling team, wheelchair basketball, Zack hitting a soon-to-be-dead-from-oil-spillage duck with a baseball — but it didn’t feature them all. It’s only fitting that the first part 2 entrant in Sports on TV history would be 15 MORE great sports moments from the show.
So, please click through to enjoy sports moments 21-35 from ‘Saved By The Bell.’ Warning: there is a lot of spooning-disguised-as-instruction gags in these entries. A LOT.
More Sports On TV: Saved By The Bell | Full House | King Of The Hill | The Wire | The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air | Parks And Recreation | Married… With Children | 30 Rock | The Brady Bunch | The Three Stooges | The Simpsons | Glee | Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers | South Park | Boy Meets World | Buffy The Vampire Slayer | It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia | Arthur | Community | Arrested Development | Freaks and Geeks
Episode: “Cut Day” (season 3, episode 23)
What Happens: Yes, this is going to be nothing but people trying to rub their dicks on girls’ butts to teach them sports.
In an episode that is mostly about Jessie Spanno protesting the use of styrofoam cups at Bayside High with Graham The Shitty 1990s TV Show Environmentalist, Slater leverages Bayside’s Annual Cut Day with Zack having already used all but the last of his unexcused absences to try to win a hundred bucks. FOR YOU SEE, if Zack can not cut class and be in every place Slater and Kelly go on Cut Day, he’ll lose a (contextually) large bet. During the first cut attempt, Zack rushes in to find Slater teaching Kelly how to play bumper pool at The Max. The Max never had bumper pool before this and never had it again, so I guess Max handled Cut Day by saying “f**k it, I’m not serving you delinquents burgers today, here is a game nobody has ever played.”
Key line: “Bullseye! You’re a terrific teacher, Slater. You and Jessie must have a blast together.” “Are you kidding? Once I tried to teach her horseshoes and she said it was cruelty to animals.”
Come to think of it, they never had CUT DAY before or after this, either.
Other locations Zack must escape to are that terrible movie theater that only plays dialogue-free monster movies and is just five rows of folding chairs, and that Frankie and Annette interpretation of the beach ‘Saved By The Bell’ loved where kids go to do The Twist and bat beach balls at each other. They also do that funny joke where you bury someone in the sand and let them breathe/drink out of a straw. Also, Gidget is there, probably.
Episode: “Zack’s Birthday” (season 3, episode 2)
What Happens: oh for f**ks sakes
The Whole Gang lands summer jobs at the Malibu Sands Beach Club thanks to Lisa’s parents, who are members. Malibu Sands is run by Leon Carosi, a stuffed-shirt New Yorker who sounds a lot like Pumbaa from The Lion King and demands that everyone have NOT FUN at the beach. He makes Zack the “social director” of the club, and Zack interprets that as “rub my dick on girls’ butts to teach them sports.” He coaches a women’s volleyball team before he is dragged away by Carosi’s uptight daughter Stacy, who is TOTALLY cute but also the type who’d grow up to marry a fat, awful guy and yell at him nine years instead of getting a divorce.
Key line: “Take your right arm … bring it back, nice and smooth, nice and smooth … smooooth …” “Okay, that’s smooth enough.”
First of all, why are Lisa’s parents members of this club? Besides the fact that it’s terrible and exclusively features bikini girls and elderly tourists, the Turtles are rich people who live within driving distance of the beach. Maybe the other summers were better? That other beach where the kids do The Bird and shit seemed like a better experience.
Second of all, the Malibu Sands episodes are as bad as ‘Saved By The Bell’ episodes can get without Hayley Mills or college. Mr. Belding was the secret thing that made SBTB work, because he’s an antagonist to our main character, but a lovable, constructive one. Leon Carosi was just a dumpy asshole, and when they got to college they were bumping heads with a two-dimensional Mean Dean. Belding had heart and wanted the best for these kids. He probably sat at home all summer wondering what they were up to.
Episode: “Fourth Of July” (season 3, episode 6)
What Happens: Well, at least that’s a … little different.
Malibu Sands celebrates the Fourth Of July with an annual beauty contest and physical challenge thing featuring an obstacle course, a wheelbarrow race and a game of tug of war. You know, between the faculty. People who actually pay to GO to Malibu Sands have to stand around in the background clapping. Anyway, Lisa brags that she’s the reigning competition champion and record holder, which (of course) sends Slater’s brain into A GIRL IS NOT BETTER THAN ME AT SPORTS mode. They face off and Lisa wins, not only because she’s intimately familiar with the course, but because Slater would not stop flopping around like a f**king idiot. Seriously, he tries to wacky-jump through the entire thing.
Also, Screech tries to run it and gets caught in one of the tubes, because jokes.
Key line: “You’re history, honey.” “Eat my dust, Slater.”
In round two, Corosi and his accomplice get all Ben-Hur on Kelly and Jessie, knocking them down to win the race. The guy who runs the resort physically attacks two female, teenage employees in front of everybody to win a wheelbarrow race. They get back at him by pulling him into the tug of war mud pit unexpectedly, which in the ‘Saved By The Bell’ universe makes them square.
Slater comes out on top in the head-to-head competition by tug-of-warring Lisa into the pit, but gets pulled in himself a la Big John Studd and William Perry at WrestleMania 2. Also like Studd/Perry, this leads to Slater and Lisa going to a dance together.
Episode: “Palm Springs Weekend Part 1” (season 3, episode 18)
What Happens: Continuing the “nobody currently in high school actually goes to school” trend is “Palm Springs Weekend Parts 1 & 2,” about The Whole Gang getting invited to a luxurious resort (not Malibu Sands, which is a hole) to attend the wedding of Jessie’s dad and his child bride. Jessie plans to disrupt the wedding and preserve that shitty family life she has where evil stepbrothers emerge from the darkness and disappear without a trace, but the guys don’t care, because they know what you’re supposed to do when you get to a resort: find the gym and sexually harass every woman in sight.
Zack pretends to be the captain of his school’s aerobics team (?) to impress an aerobics instructor, but ends up ass-over-head when he tries to be mildly athletic. Of course Zack Morris isn’t athletic enough to do a basic aerobics move! He is only ACTUALLY the captain of his school’s track, baseball and basketball teams.
Key line: “I don’t know about you but working out is the last thing on my mind.” “I hear you, blood.” “‘I hear you, blood’? Where’d you get that?” “Chapter 3, talking cool.”
This episode also features the infinite hilarity of Screech trying to bag ladies from the treadmill:
“Say, foxy lady, want to run away with me?”
“Run away with yourself you geek!”
Then she makes his treadmill go faster and walks away! We don’t get to see how that ends, but I can only assume he calmly slowed it down and continued walking.
Episode: “Palm Springs Weekend Part 2” (season 3, episode 19)
What Happens: One thing you learn from watching ‘Saved By The Bell’ episodes is that in the last five minutes Zack Morris is a centered, enlightened being who always makes the right decisions. Here, he’s telling Jessie that she’ll regret it forever if she doesn’t attend her father’s wedding. Despite everything else she has thought forever, Jessie says “you’re right!” and it’s up to Zack to get her from point A (the golf course) to point B (the wedding) in time. His solution: drive a golf cart into/through anyone or anything in his way.
Jessie makes it just in time to participate in the wedding, and by “participate” I mean “make herself the center of attention by standing in front of the reverend between the bride and groom to apologize to them.” Dude has to stand there looking at the back of her neck until the situation is resolved.
Key line: “Murray, when I make this putt, you’ll owe me $1,000.” “FORE!” “NOT FAIR, NOT FAIR!”
In the (very) B-story of “Palm Springs Weekend,” the girl Slater tries to hit on at the gym turns out to be the PRINCESS OF A FICTIONAL EUROPEAN NATION (“Lichtenberg”). He finds this out because she’s suspiciously good at golf, and also because the goddamn King of Lichtenberg walks up to them in the middle of a round and tries to get Slater to kiss his hand.
Here’s the happy couple in mid-stroke, having totally Ed Gein’d somebody’s living room couch.
Episode: “The Fabulous Belding Boys” (season 2, episode 16)
What Happens: Hey look, they’re in school again! The Whole Gang is worried about passing their history mid-term so they can go on their annual class trip to Yosemite National Park. Thankfully, on the day of the test they get the world’s coolest substitute: ROD BELDING, the cool, younger brother of the Principal. Rod lets Zack and Screech watch a Dodgers game in Mr. Belding’s office while he’s in a meeting, convinces the school to say f**k Yosemite for an EXTREME SPORTZ trip and volunteers to lead a white water rafting expedition in its place. Mr. Belding tries to warn the kids that his brother’s a flake, but they won’t listen, accusing him of being jealous. Sure enough, when it’s time to head to the Colorado River, Rod is nowhere to be found — he’s bailing on them to hook up with a stewardess.
Key line: This, an iconic ‘Saved By The Bell’ quote if there is one:
Mr. Belding not only covers for his brother, saying he can’t take the … dozen or so kids that make up the “class” in a Los Angeles area high school white water rafting because he’s got the flu, but offers to take them in Rod’s place. Zack realizes that The Big Bopper is a cool guy in his own right, and it’s true … watch these shows as an adult and Mr. Belding is the only kind, sane, reasonable person on the show.
As a bonus sports moment, here’s The Gang’s history teacher haunting Kelly in the form of Magic Johnson.
Episode: “Drinking And Driving” (season 4, episode 10)
What Happens: Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis for this episode, in its entirety:
After getting drunk at a party and crashing Dr. Turtle (Lisa mother)’s car on the way home, Zack and Company learn the worst thing about DUI: having to face the music from their enraged parents.
Yep, “facing the music” is the worst part about DUI, right ahead of “going to jail,” “a hefty fine,” “having it on your record for the rest of your life” and “senseless, avoidable deaths.” Facin’ the music from a ‘Saved By The Bell’ parent! Nothing worse than being grounded for x-amount of months, then having everyone forget it in a week.
Key line: “It’s not every day that a truck load of bananas spills all over the freeway. I’m just glad your mother is all right. Terrible thing about the monkeys, though.”
In a sports moment ahead of its time, Zack and Company (cough) try to secretly raise money to repair the car and get away with even fewer consequences than zero by selling ads on Slater’s jersey during The Big Game. Mark Cuban’s been trying to sell the NBA on jersey ads forever, and if that ever goes through, I’m raising money to scrawl S.S. LOVES AGNES on Dirk Nowitzki’s back.
The Gang makes $500 selling what, three ads? But, alas, it’s revealed that Slater injured his shoulder in the DUI wreck and will miss the game. His teammates seem shocked at the announcement, even though he’s been sitting with them with his arm in a sling the entire time. Anyway, money is refunded, music is faced, and nobody in southern California drinks again until they’re old enough and in Las Vegas.
Episode: “Aloha Slater” (season 1, episode 6)
What Happens: Zack is jealous of Slater’s gigantic, girl-baiting wrestling trophy and concocts a scheme to get him sent back to Hawaii, where he’ll never be temporary competition for a girlfriend again. As the trophy is going into the school’s trophy case (which was removed to put in another row of lockers) (or not, depending on the blueprints of Bayside in THIS episode) (sometimes they have a f**king elevator), Mr. Belding asks Slater to show him a few moves. Namely …
Key line: “Slater, show me that hold you used to beat Johnson. You know, that double-jointed torso stretcher. Don’t worry, Slater … I won’t hurt ya!”
“Show me how you beat Johnson” is one of the best unintentionally-dirty lines in the run of this show, I think.
Anyway, the hold Slater used to … heh, beat Johnson, the “double-jointed torso stretcher,” is in fact the crossface chickening, the hold utilized and perfected by WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Bob Backlund. For more info on how deadly the chickenwing is, watch this:
No way Johnson was ever getting out of that. No way.
Episode: “The Babysitters” (season 2, episode 14)
What Happens: Zack gets stuck secret-babysitting Kelly’s baby brother Billy on School Picture Day and bonds with him when he changes Billy’s dirty diaper with Slater’s shirt. Zack announcers to no-one in particular that one day he’ll have a kid, and that launches us into a foggy magenta-bordered dream sequence where Zack meets a series of progressively-aged Zacks Jr. In one scene he tries to teach his son how to play baseball, watches as the kid breaks a window, then simultaneously praises and chastises him. You’re going to be a great dad, Zack!
Key line: “Here comes my best pitch!” *glass breaks* “Boy have you got a great arm, kid! ‘Course, that window’s coming out of your allowance.” “Awww dad.”
Early ‘Saved By The Bell’ dream sequences are Taiwan Animation levels of batshit insane, and my favorite part of this one is that Zack and his son apparently live inside a big paper bag.
Episode: “The Will” (season 4, episode 14)
What Happens: Bayside’s oldest alumnus dies and leaves the school $10,000, the sixish notable kids at school get to have competitions to see how the money will be used. Yeah, I don’t know. Both sides agree that the money should be used for sports (see Tori’s MONEY FOR SPORTS chant), but the guys don’t think the girls should get money for girl sports because boys sports sell tickets to make girl sports possible. Zack and Slater would be right at home on the Internet in 2013. SAVED BY THE BELL MEN’S RIGHTS DOT ORG
To settle the issue, they have increasingly stupid head-to-head showdowns including a Classic Concentration-style rebus challenge, reassembling a disassembled carburetor and a pineapple upside-down cake bake-off. Holy shit, who is running this school? Zack cheats at the bake-off and Screech gives it away by literally walking up to the girls with the evidence, yelling that Zack cheated at the game and then saying OOPS as though he is not a total POS and did that on purpose. That leads to a LIMBO CONTEST.
Key line: “Zack, a dome would cost over a million dollars.”
No, seriously, THEY LIMBOED TO DECIDE HOW A DEAD MAN’S MONEY WOULD BEST BE UTILIZED AT THEIR SCHOOL. Can’t somebody step in and wrangle the school away from these five-to-six people?
Tori called a mulligan on one of her limbo attempts and should’ve been disqualified. Just saying.
Episode: “Rockumentary” (season 3, episode 22)
What Happens: Zack and The Gang are playing musical instruments, dreaming about being a popular band. CUT TO Casey Kasem, admirer of The Sprain, with a “rockumentary” from the future about ZACK ATTACK, the only band cool enough to feature THE WHOLE GANG. Of course they put “Zack” in the name. The band gets big but falls apart, leading to Zack’s artistically-unfulfilling solo career as Vanilla Ice, Kelly joining a convent (on a soap opera) and Lisa becoming “Lethal Lisa” on NOT AMERICAN GLADIATORS PLEASE DON’T SUE “U.S. Gladiators.” Slater becomes a race car driver, hurts himself in The Big Race and brings everyone back together in his hospital room. There they realize that FRIENDS ARE FOREVER and compose their biggest, fictional hit.
The events of this episode caused the creation of an alternate timeline called ‘California Dreams.’
Key line: “Wow, Lisa, I just saw you on US Gladiators. Wow, you beat up everybody, including the audience!” “Nobody messes with Lethal Lisa.”
Aside from the “who would win in an episode, Gladiator Lisa or Gladiator Belding,” this is all you need to know about “Rockumentary”:
Episode: Saved By The Bell The College Years “Pilot” (season 1, episode 1)
What Happens: They’re standing at the edge of tomorrow … today. Or they were for 19 weeks back in 1993 when NBC decided to send half the cast to fictional California University, ignoring the like, 10 episodes about which colleges they all wanted to go to. Hey Slater, remember when you almost got disowned by your dad for wanting to go to Iowa and wrestle instead of attending West Point Military Academy? Now you’re getting pinned by some nerd at faux UC Berkeley. Screech, remember how you got accepted everywhere you applied, and Harvard was your back-up? Now you’re going to the same college as Slater. Enjoy being a principal’s assistant or whatever for the next 10 years!
Key line: “Listen, A.C., this the big leagues here, this ain’t the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.”
Fun fact about that quote … two different Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling actually cameoed on ‘Saved By The Bell,’ and they’re both episodes in this list. Jeanne Basone, aka Hollywood, was “girl on the beach” in the first Malibu Sands episode, and Dee Booher, aka Matilda The Hun, shows up as the substitute karate instructor a few slides up. So technically this is closer to the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling than “the big leagues.”
Slater’s ridiculous over-exaggeration about a bad practice is amazing, with his NOBODY PINS A.C. SLATER mantra, demanding that eye-witness Screech tell no-one that he actually had to practice in practice. Come on, Slater. We talkin’ bout PRACTICE. Regardless, he almost quits the team until he realizes that he could just go to the gym and practice more. Congratulations again on going to the same college as Slater, Screech.
Episode: Saved By The Bell The College Years “The Homecoming” (season 1, episode 6)
What Happens: ‘Saved By The Bell’ looked to recreate its high school magic by combining two classics — the Johnny Dakota “There’s No Hope In Dope” episode and Rod Belding’s white water rafting fail — into one College Years thing. Enter: Johnny Walters, star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and friend/former teammate of dorm R.A. Mike. Kelly has his awesomely photoshopped underwear ad (pictured) and is in love with him (because she loves any famous dude named Johnny). Zack rejects him at first, but quickly befriends him when he thinks Johnny can introduce him to important CEOs for whatever reason. Johnny makes a bunch of big promises and Zack gets his hopes up, despite Mike telling him how Johnny’s a flake. Zack says Mike is just jealous and … ugh, you know how this ends.
Key line: “Aw please, what is with you? Come on, Walters is just another jock who thinks just because he gets a million bucks to endorse some sneaker, his gym socks don’t smell.” “You make a good point, Zack. By the way, have you met Johnny Walters?” “Talk about a quarterback sneak!”
The other sports highlight of the episode is Alex, the “free spirit” of the College Years era who was way too cool and creative a person to hang out with these self-defeating world-owners. Alex gets a gig as Freddy the Falcon, Cal U’s open-faced mascot, but boyfriend Slater thinks it’s embarrassing. To Slater’s credit it IS pretty embarrassing, both because she has to yell shit while she’s in the suit and because it looks just like Carlton Banks’ peacock getup from ULA.
I can’t figure out whether Slater had the best or the worst taste in women.
Episode: Saved By The Bell The College Years “The Poker Game” (season 1, episode 7)
What Happens: Remember when I mentioned karate instructors? Kelly, Alex and The Other One sign up for self defense and discover that their instructor is local superhunk JOHNNY HAMMER, played by American Gladiator Nitro. Yes, Kelly is in love with him because his name is Johnny. He throws the girls around and they keep getting off on it, so much so that it drives a wedge between them and they start trying to karate fight each other. Johnny eventually hurts himself and can’t teach the class, subbing in a large, heavyset woman, and the girls give up on self-defense forever. Because hey, the only reason to learn how to protect yourself is if you want to f**k the guy attacking you.
Key line: “I’m Alex. I’m a Freshman, I’m single and I’m ready to be flipped.”
The other storyline in the episode (the episode called “The Poker Game”) is about Zack, Slater, Screech and the dad from ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ trying to play a game of poker without being interrupted. At first they’re interrupted by Mike’s demands that they stop gambling in the dorm, then they fall victim to having to hear about Mike’s love life. When they girls give up on karate they sit in on the game, too, and eventually Selena Gomez’s dad is all POKERGAMEUS DISAPPEARUS and bails.
When the hell did Screech start looking like such a MONSTER? Look at him. LOOK AT HIM. He was a normal looking kid back in the day, and yeah, puberty made him look like a nerd, but it didn’t make him look like the Cloverfield monster. He’s terrifying. Now imagine him looking like that, but making crazy faces and weird noises all the time. What you’re imagining in its most succinct explanation is “why people didn’t watch Saved By The Bell: The New Class.”
Episode: Saved By The Bell The College Years “Screech Love” (season 1, episode 9)
What Happens: Zack unwittingly hits on Linda Addington, the 8th-ranked women’s tennis player in the world. She destroys him in tennis but he wants to keep seeing her, so when she’s like “I dunno, I need to study because I go to college,” Zack goes WAIT I KNOW A NERD and makes Screech tutor her in astronomy. Linda and Screech end up hitting it off, but Zack is a dickhole who thinks Screech is subhuman and sorta lords himself over Linda to make his friend feel like shit. Ultimately Zack realizes that he’s being horrible and relinquishes Linda to Screech, because Screech truly loves her, and that they may live happily ever after. Linda is never seen again.
Key line: “You don’t deserve to share interplanetary gas with Linda!”
There is no actual tennis in the episode, but there’s a sub-plot about how Alex thinks wrestling is barbaric, but ends up being Slater’s good luck charm so she has to be there to kiss him before every match. Imagine that time Mick Foley got his wife and kids to sit in the front row for a match with the Rock that ended with him getting hit in the head with a steel chair 11 times if it was directed by the dude who made ‘City Guys.’
If you’ve never seen ‘Saved By The Bell The College Years,’ I don’t get a lot of chances to write about it, so here are some non-sports episodes I’d recommend: the Robert Guillaume ethics episode, the entire “Kelly hooks up with Professor Jeremiah ‘Johnny’ Lasky” arc, the entire “Screech hooks up with Lucy the sign language monkey” arc and that really amazingly hilarious one where they try to have a rave in 1993 and cool kids pressure Screech into getting them nitrous oxide.
I never really watched ‘Saved By The Bell: The New Class,’ but this clip of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh making a special guest appearance as Screech’s cousin made the rounds a few months ago, so I thought I’d include it here. Notes about the clip, since I’ve never seen the full episode (but might as well have):
1. Would a bunch of 15-year olds in southern California really care that much about a player from the Colts? Like, I imagine that they’d be like, “whoa, cool, a pro football player,” but they are in slack-jawed worship of f**king Jim Harbaugh. My only thought is that the show is still ‘Good Morning Miss Bliss,’ is still set in Indiana, and they’ve just been lying to us about the California thing. It would explain the weird beaches.
2. Of course Jim Harbaugh is Screech’s cousin. Of COURSE he is. Also, Screech is SUCH A WEIRD MONSTER HERE.
3. Lindsey McKeon, aka “the redhead in the sweatshirt who shows up about a minute-forty into the clip,” is the undisputed hottest girl in the history of Saturday morning television. She’s had a full career but spent most of her time stuck on soap operas, or in short-run guest appearances on USA Network shows and the like. But man, she was (and still is) gorgeous.
4. JIM HARBAUGH