The 5 Times Saved by the Bell Went Sci-Fi. #3 Will Break Your Heart. #5 Will Change the Way You View the World.

I’m kidding about the title. I hate link bait titles. But I love Saved by the Bell. I don’t know why. I can honestly look at it and acknowledge that it’s Not Very Good. Maybe it’s because the cast is trying so hard while the scripts are just phoning it in. There’s no attempt at character development or even internal consistency. Sometimes the show played like a regular sitcom, sometimes it got very cartoony with people being hit by lightning or having an idea and a light bulb pops up over their head. But here and there (mostly in the first two seasons), Saved by the Bell went straight sci-fi with stuff. Here’s my favorites.

Screech fitting in the filing cabinet and no one noticing does NOT count as sci-fi. This stuff just happened.

Screech fitting in the filing cabinet and no one noticing does NOT count as sci-fi. This stuff just happened.

5. Zack Uses Subliminal Messages

Preposterous.

Preposterous.

In “The Zack Tapes” a teacher teaches the gang about subliminal advertising. Zack immediately wants to use this to his advantage, creating a new hit song that tells people to like him. And it works, instantly. They try it on Lisa and she instantly falls for Screech. No one would fall for Screech for any reason. He’s the worst. But also, no one should make their friend fall in love with Screech as a test. Either way, it’s pretty sci-fi.

4. Zack Takes Advantage of Time Out

Best time out ever.

Best time out ever.

Anyone who’s watched a bit of Saved by the Bell knows that Zack occasionally breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the audience. Sometimes he even puts his hands together and says, “Time Out!” and everyone freezes. That’s pretty weird, but in season 3’s “Video Yearbook” it went to another level. Slater was about to punch Zack in the face while Kelly was about to kiss a guy other than Zack. Zack used the time out to freeze everyone in place. He placed paper between Kelly and the other guy to keep them from kissing, then left the room so Slater ends up decking Belding. Everyone is very confused. So that literally happened.

3. Aliens are Real in Saved by the Bell

This fools the U.S. government so don't let it fool you - it's fictional.

This fools the U.S. government so don’t let it fool you – it’s fictional.

This one’s a stretch. There’s no actual alien in “Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind”, but the U.S. government is shown to believe in them. The gang is filming a movie about an alien invasion with the school camcorder and they break it. In order to raise money to replace it, they sell their footage to a tabloid, pretending it’s real. That leads to a special agent with the government coming to take Screech away to be dissected. He literally says that and is 100% convinced that Screech is an alien. The gang organizes the school to step out of lockers in Screech masks and the agent thinks he’s overwhelmed so he runs away and apparently gives up. But the government official didn’t need any convincing that aliens were real.

We ain't 'fraid o' no... ghosts!

We ain’t ‘fraid o’ no… ghosts!

2. Zack Chills with a Ghost

In the show’s most racist episode ever (Jessie learns her ancestors were slave owners while Lisa’s were slaves), Zack is ordered by his teacher to do a better report on his family history. He ends up meeting Chief Henry who tells Zack that he has some Native American in him (I doubt it). Zack learns a lot from the guy, dresses up in a tacky costume and aces his report. But then he gets word that Chief Henry just died. Zack is too sad to go to the school track meet until the ghost of Chief Henry visits him and convinces him to run. Yup, Zack met a ghost!

1. Screech Creates a Robot with Artificial Intelligence

He had to program someone to like him.

He had to program someone to like him.

Screech is just the worst. Even his friends treat him like he’s a piece of dog crap. He messes up every plan they have and has hardly any redeeming qualities. Despite having no intelligence whenever the story needs it, he also built a robot with artificial intelligence. Kevin shows up in several episodes, notably season one’s “Beauty and the Screech.” He makes jokes and expresses emotions. Instead of instantly going to work for NASA, Screech hangs out with 5 people that insult him with every single thing they say. And in the most sci-fi twist of all, he never tries to take his own life.

  • foodjunk

    Awesome. I also have a ridiculous fondness for Saved By The Bell. Have you listened to the Go Bayside podcast?

  • Chris Piers

    Yes! I love it. I wish April Richardson would consider covering the College Years and I hope she gets Mark-Paul as a guest one day.