Saved by the Bell: 100 “King of the Hill”

Pilot Episode
Airdate: December 12, 1989

This is the pilot for Saved by the Bell. Fourteen episodes were actually aired ahead of it, which might have been confusing to viewers since this episode is about the first day of school. But I only saw the first season a few years later when it reran on TBS. By that time, Saved by the Bell viewers were all used to how little sense the show made.

Saved by the Bell pilot

Zack gets out of bed to a 7am wake up call from Cindy, the wake up call girl. “It’s 7 o’clock Tiger,” Cindy coos, “time to roar.” I wonder if she knew she was calling a 14-year-old when she used her sexy lady voice.

Zack tells us that this is the year he will make his move on Kelly Kapowski. He know all sorts of information about Kelly. He also has a remote control that lowers from the ceiling a life size poster of her. OK, this went from being a harmless high school crush to creepy stalker really fast.

Saved by the Bell pilot Saved by the Bell pilot

To the school. There is a skateboarder in the halls because this is California WHERE THE COOL KIDS GO TO SCHOOL. Zack talks to Mr. Belding, the principal. They know each other from last year when Mr. Belding was the principal of Zack’s junior high and they all lived in Indiana. Many Saved by the Bell viewers know that Saved by the Bell was a reboot of an earlir program called Good Morning, Miss Bliss which ran on Disney Channel and was canceled after one season. Belding, Zack, Screech and Lisa were all characters on Miss Bliss. NBC retooled the show by keeping half the cast and moving the location from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. When shows are set in Los Angeles it’s usually because many are filmed there, making it less expensive to travel to film outdoor scenes. But there were, like, never any outdoor scenes in this show. 99.9% of Saved by the Bell took place inside the school. Hell, 90% of it took place in that one hallway. So the reason they changed the setting had to be because California is cool, I guess, while Indiana is full of hicks. Interestingly, both the school in Indiana and the one in LA have equal amounts of Hispanics.

Having the junior high episodes set in one state while the high school episodes were in another always confused the heck out of me. I used to try to believe that Zack, Lisa, and Screech’s families all moved to California over the summer due to the poor economy in the Midwest, while Belding accepted a promotion to the same school. Them all being together is a coincidence. Back then I would think that maybe the “Indianapolis” they refer to could be a small suburb of Los Angeles that their junior high school was in, while the high school is located in LA city limits. Nowsdays I am more concerned with how I am ever going to lose my virginity when I spend all day on the computer reviewing kids’ programs from the 1990s.

Back to the episode, Zack wants the locker next to Kelly’s. But a new boy, AC Slater, has that locker and will not give it up because he sees that Kelly is a hot piece of ass.

Saved by the Bell pilot Saved by the Bell pilot

Zack tells his nerd friend, Screech, to let him share lockers, since he has the other one next to Kelly’s. Screech is so excited to be sharing a locker that he steps inside it to vacuum. That is not the weirdest part of all of this. The weirdest part is that the kids keep opening their lockers without having to use the lock first. I guess anyone can just go into anyone else’s locker then.

The next phase of Zack’s plan is to get a seat beside Kelly in class. Jesse sits next to Kelly already, so he asks Jesse to give the desk to him. But Jesse tells Zack that everyone knows he has the hots for Kelly. I bet Skateboard kid works part time in the print shop that made Zack’s wall-sized Kelly poster, and he had to warn others, so they all know to protect Kelly from Zack and his creepy obsessive ways. Zack is able to switch seats with Lisa in exchange for a locker next to boy’s bathroom. She wants to get the boys while they are focused on their dicks. She is not going to mind the smell or hearing a toilet flush every time she goes to get another book.

Slater enters the classroom and the only seat remaining is in back next to Screech. But he has a plan. Slater tells the teacher that he must sit up front due to being legally blind in one eye. Kelly offers to trade seats, but Zack protests, which results in Zack losing his seat to Slater. Oh, Zack, you have been foiled once more!

Saved by the Bell pilot Saved by the Bell pilot

The kids have lunch at the Max, which is run by Max the magician. He does some magic tricks while he serves them their food. I would find that annoying. I don’t like it when waitstaff put that much effort into their job. I prefer waitresses who don’t hide the fact that they don’t really like their crappy jobs and just refill my water when needed then go away. Zack sits down next to Kelly and tries to ask her out, but he can only stutter. Slater butts in with some onion rings and places one over Kelly’s finger like a ring. Kelly finds this very romantic, so much so that she does not even notice how hot that onion ring would be.

Kelly does not seem to be aware that these two boys are competing for her. She also does not appear to be very smart in general.

Saved by the Bell pilot Saved by the Bell pilot

Zack has one last plan. He knows Kelly was a lifeguard (because he would watch her all summer through binoculars). He gets Screech to fake choking so Kelly will perform CPR on him, which is actually dangerous to do on a person who doesn’t actually need it. Kelly “saves” Screech, who was happy to have Kelly holding him even if she would have cracked his ribs. This makes Kelly late for class and she is given a detention. On her first day of school. That teacher is a dick.

Zack is given detention as well by making mischief in the deaf teacher’s Shakespeare class and then again in Belding’s office. Oh, Zack, you rapscallion!

Saved by the Bell pilot Saved by the Bell pilot

Zack has a pink bordered fantasy about spending detention with Kelly. She appears in a pretty white dress and lowers him on a desk. It’s basically the plot to any number of pornos.

But Kelly is not in detention. Belding learned that she saved Bayside High’s brightest student from an early death so granted her a pardon. Slater is in detention instead. He mooned a teacher. That would probably get you suspended in a normal school. Anyway, Slater explains that his dad is in the army which means he moves around a lot and has been to many different high schools. Zack and Slater declare a truce and then make out. At least they do in my pink bordered fantasy.

Best Outfit:

Slater’s blue, pectoral hugging, long sleeve shirt.