Technically the first season of Saved by the Bell was Good Morning, Miss Bliss. But Good Morning, Miss Bliss was awful and only loosely connected to SBTB. There was no Slater, Kelly, Lisa, or Jesse. The theme song wasn’t nearly as catchy and had zero bizarre shapes that would likely be found on a Trapper Keeper. And Bayside High was in Indiana, not California. Everything about it was wrong.
Point is, screw Good Morning, Miss Bliss. Instead, we’re focusing on the show that taught us everything we needed to know about life. Okay, so “Time Outs” don’t work in reality (we’ve tried countless times), and nobody gains unlimited access to a local hangout unless they own it or have a photo of the owner in a compromising position with a feral cat. Still, as cheesy and corny as it was, we watched it back in the day, and admittedly still catch an episode from time to time on TBS. What, you don’t?
We added GIFs to help us demonstrate each episode recap. Since we’re too lazy to make our own, not all of them are from the first season.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 1: Dancing to the Max
Air date: Aug. 20, 1989
When Lisa Turtle’s date for the dance contest ditches her because she sprains her ankle — which seems like a perfectly acceptable reason to dump a dance partner — Screech Powers steps in.
Thankfully, Screech’s dance moves are as on point as his style. Despite heavy competition, “The Sprain” was too hot to handle … evidently.
Casey Kasem make an appearance, but sadly doesn’t have dialog as lively as this …
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 2: The Lisa Card
Air date: Aug. 26, 1989
Lisa spends a shitload of her dad’s cash on BeDazzled clothing. The Bayside gang attempts to help her auction off some things to make make up the balance. In the end, Lisa’s dad didn’t care because the Turtle family wipes their asses with $50 bills.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 3: The Gift
Air date: Sept. 08, 1989
Screech gets hit by lighting and becomes clairvoyant. Wisely, Zack wants to use it to ace an exam. But Screech loses his gift shortly before the test.
It’s the first of many reoccurring themes in the show: Screech being used by Zack, Zack’s schemes falling short, and Slater’s mullet bouncing happily through the hallways of Bayside.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 4: Fatal Distraction
Air date: Sept. 09, 1989
Zack bugs Jesse’s room to see whether Kelly is going to go to the big dance with him or Slater. Creepy? Absolutely. But when Kelly, Jesse, and Lisa find out, they devise a plan of their own that would totally work in reality — Kelly will go all Kathy Bates from Misery to make Zack not want to go to the dance with her.
Clearly, Zack thinks with his head and not his pecker, because he buys the ruse hook. One can only hope Kelly didn’t bring the moves in the above GIF to the dance.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 5: Screech’s Woman
Air date: Sept. 16, 1989
Zack dresses up like a girl named Bambi to get his loser pal Screech a much-needed date. Screech, not having any idea what a female’s boob looks or feels like, pops wood and starts to like Zack/Bambi. Rut roh. Always quick to hatch a scheme, Zack comes up with lots of bizarre rules to push Screech away, including that he must ditch his BFF Zack if he has any hopes of getting to first base.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 6: Aloha Slater
Air date: Sept. 23, 1989
The military reassigns Slater’s dad to Hawaii, which means A.C. may have to leave Bayside. Bad news for lovers of tight sweatpants and shitty dance moves (see the above GIF from episode one, “The Sprain”). Good news for Zack, who wants all the women to want his jock.
So Zack does what any sane person would do in this situation — he tells the women of Bayside High that Slater is dying. You’ll never guess whether it backfires on him.
And just because we like you, here’s another gem from Slater:
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 7: The Substitute
Air date: Sept. 30, 1989
When Kelly, Jesse and countless female extras want Tony Crane, the most handsomest substitute teacher that ever graced the halls of any school ever, Zack and Slater get super jealous. Instead of doing the obvious thing — snuffing Crane out — they instead call Chris Hansen to bust him on a date with Lisa.
Okay, that doesn’t happen. They tell the women Crane is married.
*Retraction. We said Crane was handsome. We meant he was considered handsome. We are unable to attribute that adjective to someone who wears this shirt:
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 8: Cream for a Day
Air date: Oct. 7, 1989
A zit pushes Kelly to the brink of mental collapse because zits are the worst thing ever. Like, even worse than having your arm gnawed off by a mutant nutria rat or having your teeth yanked out one by one or … you get the idea. Zits are morale killers — especially after you’ve been named homecoming queen.
When Zack’s solution turns Kelly’s face maroon, she is like, totally not going to let him kiss her on the cheek later.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 9: Pinned to the Mat
Air date: Oct. 14, 1989
Slater quits the wrestling team to take up … baking. Too bad Zack already placed a bet that A.C. would kick Marvin Niedick’s ass in the big ‘rassling tourney. Willing to win at all costs, Zack finds a replacement for Slater — Screech.
In the end, the fastest wrestling match on the smallest mat ever takes place.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 10: Beauty and the Screech
Air date: Oct. 21, 1989
Kelly uses Screech’s brains to pass a test so she can drink virgin daiquiris at the George Michael concert. And then the episode jumps the shark: Kelly develops a crush on Screech. This gave false hope to geeks everywhere that they would one day get the girl.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 11: The Friendship Business
Air date: Nov. 4, 1989
Assigned to come up with a business, the gang creates some lame friendship bracelets. But when Zack goes all dictator, it creates two rival companies. This led to the creation of Buddy Bands and arguably the best music video to ever accompany a high school project. The GIF doesn’t do Slater’s dance moves justice. You’re better off watching the video …
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 12: The Mamas and the Papas
Air date: Nov. 11, 1989
Zack and company get paired up to simulate married life. What’s missing is the hours of torment they’ll endure from seeing each other every day for years on end. Zack gets paired with Kelly, of course, and his insistence that the couple simulate baby making while Screech video tapes leads Kelly to file for divorce. Kidding. But Screech does show up at their kid at one point and annoys the hell out of Zack — and viewers.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 13: The Election
Air date: Nov. 18, 1989
Zack wants to be class president so he can score a free trip to Washington, D.C. because … well, because why the fuck not? Jesse wants to be class president because she’s a nerd who’ll eventually OD on caffeine pills. When the trip gets the axe and Jesse gets pissed at Zack for cock-blocking her chances at winning the presidency, he must do the right thing — whatever that would be in such a dumb situation.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 14: The Zack Tapes
Air date: Dec. 2, 1989
Zack uses subliminal messages to trick Kelly into going to the dance with him. It sounds dumb but it’s a much better plan than his original — roofie her and drag her to the dance. When Kelly catches on to Zack’s scheme she turns the tables and teaches him a humiliating lesson. No, she doesn’t snap a pic of him using the toilet. How juvenile are you? Sheesh.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 15: King of the Hill
Air date: Dec. 12, 1989
This is the pilot that gets aired as a flashback. Why it’s shown out of order is anyone’s guess. Still, it’s the first day of high school at Bayside and Zack — out to finally hook up with hot cheerleader Kelly — butts heads with new guy A.C. Slater when he makes a play for Zack’s woman. Hilarity ensues. Not really.
Season 1: Saved by the Bell Episode 15: Save That Tiger
Air date: Dec. 16, 1989
After Screech — the guy inside Bayside’s mascot uniform — gets kidnapped by goons from rival school Valley, Zack and Slater join forces to kidnap Valley’s mascot.
While this all seems like high school hi-jinx, the cheerleading competition — which people evidently give a shit about — requires Screech to do something athletic, like cartwheel or something. But the jokes on Valley after the impostor mascot they’ve replaced Screech with actually wins the competition for Bayside!