Before hangovers, drinking, and brunches existed, we all used to have the same Saturday morning routine: wake up, eat a bowl of sugar-coated cereal before slurping down the sweetened milk, all before getting butt-deep on the couch and settling in for some Saved By The Bell. It’s just what you did.
Hang Time? City Guys? USA High? California Dreams? Boy Meets World? Sure, they were great, but Saved By The Bell paved the way for every last one of ’em. It was the first non-cartoon show that we all identified with outside of Full House.
From Bayside High to The Max to Malibu Sands Beach Club, we were graced with 86 episodes of ’90s awesome (plus The College Years, Good Morning Miss Bliss, and a few made-for-TV movies that we won’t confront here). With that many hours of television to choose from, we all gravitated towards certain characters more than others, which is why it’s completely necessary to set the record straight on the “Who’s Who?” of Bayside.
10. Tori Scott
Who even are you, Tori? Where did you come from? Which writer came into the conference room and said, “You know what we need? A tough ass bitch who rides a motorcycle and exclusively wears leather jackets.” Mind boggling how she made it in this series on all levels.
She was brash, annoying, and a total try-hard. And to make matters worse? She parked her fucking motorcycle in Zack’s parking place. Now, I haven’t read the official rule book of Bayside High, but I’m pretty sure there’s at least one unwritten rule: never park in Zack fucking Morris’s parking place. That’s a certified death wish if I’ve ever heard one.
Don’t just waltz into The Max thinking you can have minor romantic flings with both Zack and Slater, Tori. Their resumés show that they are way out of your league. No offense, Tori, but ya got ta go.
9. Mr. Carosi
Much like his daughter Stacey (more on her in a second), Mr. Carosi made a brief but influential cameo in the show as the owner of the Malibu Sands Beach Club where the cast worked for a summer.
There’s no sugarcoating it: Mr. Carosi was a scumbag. Whether he was rigging the Miss Liberty Pageant for Stacey to win or cheating in the 4th of July games, Carosi had no shame in his game. Sure, Zack ended up getting weekends off when he taunted Carosi about going public about the pageant, but everyone knows Zack runs the world so it shouldn’t have been any surprise that he came out on top of this Humpty Dumpty motherfucker.
I know, I know, he could be a part of the #BucketMafia, but nah. The dude can loaf around his resort all he wants, but he’s not getting any love from me.
8. Mr. Belding
Mr. Belding was like a poor man’s Dan Aykroyd.
Like, no one just becomes principal of a major Southern California school with the bird brain that Belding had. The dude was either making brash decisions against Zack and the gang, or he was getting the wool pulled over his eyes looking like a complete dumbass who got hung out to dry by a bunch of high schoolers. Come on, bro. Be better.
Do I like entering parties with his signature line, “Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?” Of course I do, because then I get to follow it up with my high-pitched laugh that sounds a little too much like his. But that’s not something I’m proud of. It’s just me making the best of my situation.
Sure, he was a likable guy. And yeah, he never really meant any actual harm (probably because he was jealous of Zack on the low). But Belding’s role just did nothing to make the show as next-level as it was.
7. Lisa Turtle
Diva, diva, diva, drama, drama, drama.
We get it, Lisa, you’re fashionable and loaded. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a complete Snob. Screech? Yeah, in real life, he’s an asshole. But in the show? Why’d you have to be such a hater? Dude was just trying to aim for the fences with his advances towards you, and everyone knows that shooters shoot. Did you really have to treat him like you did only to have that one-episode fling with Zack, Screech’s best friend? Come on, Lisa.
When it’s all said and done, Lisa never brought anything to the table besides a big mouth and a wildly overrated dance performance at The Max after she sprained her ankle.
If you want to climb the rankings of Saved By The Bell, you’re going to have to bring a little more to the table than a sassy attitude and a dope wardrobe.
6. Stacey Carosi
Sneaky wild card, that Stacey Carosi. Sure, she wasn’t a full-time cast member. And yeah, her dad fuckin’ sucked. But Stacey was kind of the chick that we all wished Lisa could have been. Hear me out.
While Lisa was being a bitch to Screech, Stacey was originally unimpressed with Zack. But what did Stacey do? She had some chill about her and got to know the guy without writing him off for the entire series. Meanwhile, while Lisa was sunbathing and treating everyone like garbage at the resort that Stacey’s dad owned, Stacey was on her grind being a respectable teenager workin’ through the summer.
Everyone loves a good summer fling, and that’s exactly what Stacey was for Zack. Just a fresh breath of New York air that Zack needed to get out of his system before going back into the arms of Kelly. And can you blame him? Nah, she looked ’90s smokin’ in her Miss Liberty Pageant gown.
5. AC Slater
Yeah, maybe AC Slater would be a cool dude to hang out with if I liked people always trying to steal my girl while simultaneously calling me demeaning nicknames like “Preppy” and “Mama.” Who was Albert Clifford trying to fool with his tough guy act? We get it, man. You wear Zubaz and you turn your chairs backwards before sitting in them. Why you trying to big time everyone that comes your way?
And don’t even get me started on how he was the star quarterback at Bayside. If that’s the case, they had no other options because with his body type, he should’ve been trucking guys into the endzone, not hucking up passes.
I don’t care if you’re a military brat or just a big softy with a chiseled outer shell — acting like AC was just purely inexcusable. Everyone knew that Kelly was meant to be pretty boy Zack, and that dickhead AC was meant to be with strong-headed Jessie Spano who was the only character strong enough to put him in his place.
Don’t sleep on his sister, JB, though. She brought heat.
4. Jessie Spano
Let’s just get the infamous “I’m So Excited” pill scene out of the way, because yes, it was one of the landmark scenes from the series.
Alright, we good? Can we move on? Awesome.
Just going to come out and say it — Jesse was hot. Despite her being a raging overboard feminazi, she also kind of put out a total “Head Bitch In Charge” attitude too, which I found to be somewhat sexy as hell. Just look at her in this workout video:
I get it, I get it, she was annoying treated Slater like shit. But guess what? Every guy is attracted to some sort of crazy and Jessie’s came in the form of a tall, frizzy-haired queen. If she was hot enough to go tits out in Showgirls, then she’s hot enough for you. I mean, she came from a broken family, guys. Go easy on her.
When it was all said and done, Jessie was a hot cheerleader (also on the swim team) that won salutatorian and ended up going to Columbia. You’re saying you wouldn’t? Please.
3. Samuel “Screech” Powers
Yeah, Dustin Diamond is a psychotic asshole in real life. And yeah, Screech was frustrating AF with all the stupid moves he pulled. But at the end of the day, we needed him around.
Sure, he got a little too handsy with the sexual predator vibes he put out on Lisa, but you can’t blame a guy for constantly trying to play above the rim with a girl that’s beyond out of his league. When he finally started tagging Tori Spelling in their nerdy-ass relationship, Screech got what he deserved (and what Lisa would never ever give him).
Screech, as the secondhand man to Zack, would do whatever Zack wanted whenever Zack wanted. As one of the two characters who was in the series from start to finish, Screech was a consistent personality that we all needed for comedic relief. When he wasn’t foiling one of Zack’s plans, he was partaking in side antics like growing ant farms and dominating chess tournaments.
I know we didn’t always want Screech around, but he was a much-needed release from the Bayside status quo, a school filled with an absurd amount of unrealistically hot people.
2. Kelly Kapowski
The Goddess. The Original. The Greatest Of All-Time. If you weren’t a pre-teen dude with your mouth on the floor staring at Kelly Kapowski in her cheerleading outfit, then you were a pre-teen girl trying to figure out how to be Kelly Kapowski. Kelly’s effect on the world still lingers today, as one person explained to me.
Kelly taught me how to be the woman I wanted to be… aka she taught me how to use my looks to get whatever I want but to be doe-eyed enough so that people wouldn’t realize that’s what you were doing.
When Zack was fucking with Tori, Lisa, and every other girl, he knew what he had at home. And what he had at home was the ten of all tens, the cream of the crop, the high school sweetheart of every ’90s kid just trying to be cool.
I mean, just look at her.
But looks aside, Kelly still had it all. She was head cheerleader (okay, that was probably because of her looks) and captain of the swim, volleyball, and softball teams. She had Zack wrapped around her finger, even when she was dating Jeff (the older guy who Zack caught grinding on some little filly at an 18+ club that he used a fake ID to get into). She even had older dudes trying to get her to smoke weed with them, which screams “Kelly, you’re a bombshell.” Hell, she won the Miss Liberty Pageant at the Malibu Sands resort despite Mr. Carosi trying to sabotage her.
When Kelly and Zack finally got married after their escapades in Vegas, we all got what we wanted. The perfect, all-American couple that lived happily ever after. So Zack, here’s to you for bagging not only the best girl on the show, but possibly the best girl of all time.
1. Zack Morris
You knew he was going to be atop of the list. I mean, it’s Zack fucking Morris, for heaven’s sake. That hair, that style, that swag. When he wasn’t putting the screws to the head cheerleader, he was spitting next-level game at every broad in Southern California. What girl was saying “No” to this? I know you weren’t.
Sure, Zack lacked in the academics department and was a complete sociopath, but what ’90s sitcom heartthrob didn’t (looking at you, Shawn Hunter). But for all intents and purposes, Zack was Saved By The Bell. From his days with Miss Bliss to his run-ins with Belding to when he was dominating college despite having an NFL player for an RA, Zack consistently dominated.
Like, remember when Nurse Jennifer high-key tried to bone him?
If you’re literally getting pressured into hooking up by the hot school nurse, you know you’re putting out some next-level Hot Dude vibes. Like, he was even hooking up with that older college chick in the episode where they made fake IDs to hit the dance club.
But outside of how much ass Zack pulled, he was also an awesome friend. He stuck with Screech (who didn’t deserve a second of his friendship), he was (mostly) cool with AC despite the fact that he constantly called him “preppy” and tried to steal his girls, and he fished Jesse out of that whole caffeine pill debacle. Even saved the fuckin’ goose from the oil spill. Just huge friend moves all around from a good-ass bro.
Simply put, without Zack, there simply was no Saved By The Bell. .
Image via YouTube