When my sister Katy and I were growing up, we loved any teenage American sitcom. We devoured episode upon vacuous episode of California Dreams, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Hang Time, USA High, Sister Sister, Clarissa Explains It All, Blossom, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, My Two Dads, Two of a Kind, What I Like About You, Sweet Valley High, Boy Meets World, That 70s Show…
Arguably, our favourite was Saved By The Bell.
Like Kelly Kapowski, we could not decide whether we liked Zack Morris or AC (Albert Clifford) Slater more. We loved all the girls – perky cheerleader Kelly, spoiled fashionista Lisa and sexy feminist Jessie (my favourite, who would later star in the film classic Showgirls) – and coveted the hilarious 90s fashions. We laughed at Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers. How I longed to go to such a cool American high school and have a hilarious headmaster like Mr Belding and go to drink soda and eat French fries at The Max!
There were two episodes in particular that we loved, possibly because we were also very keen on cheesy pop music and musicals. Yes, I can pinpoint my favourite episodes of Saved By The Bell, OK?
‘Jessie’s Song’ details Jessie Spano’s harrowing decent into drug hell. Yes, really. Well, no – not really. She has an algebra test and a musical audition all in one week, and so takes some caffeine pills. Her friends duly panic, Jessie falls out with them, breaks down and eventually Admits She Has A Problem.
Here is a helpful visual aid that illustrates Jessie’s caffeine consumption throughout the episode:
Even more hilariously, said musical audition is with the girl band Zack has put together, ‘Hot Sunday’. They have one shot at big-time fame with a famous record producer who is coming especially to see them – not surprising when they make such a truly seminal music video as this:
As if it could get any better, there is the equally classic episode ‘The Zack Attack’. If anything, I love this episode even more.
How could I not? It’s a high-concept dream sequence, in which Zack imagines that their band – The Zack Attack – become world-famous rock stars. It all starts so well – they are wearing sparkly outfits, fending off groupies, singing beautiful and not at all cheesy songs like ‘Friends Forever’…
I won’t spoil it for you, as obviously it’s a deep tale about enduring friendship and the corrupting influence of fame in our current celebrity-obsessed culture.
More importantly, how come they weren’t real rock stars when they had amazing songs like this?
Despite the fact that it doesn’t hold up at all and now seems, well, quite lame really – I still have a lot of love for Zack and the gang. All together now – when I wake up in the morning…