Kids, do you realize that Saved By the Bell is available to watch on Netflix any time you want to see it? You can’t see the college years, but that was a poorly executed, if well-intentioned idea anyway. What you can see is every episode featuring Zack Morris and the original gang from Bayside High. Netflix has been thoughtful enough to throw in the earlier Miss Bliss episodes starring Hayley Mills, as well as the later, ill-conceived “Tori” episodes which we can all agree come from some alternate universe that should not exist to this day.
Anyway, I recently decided to re-watch (for probably the 842nd time) the first episode of the proper Saved By the Bell series. In it, Zack Morris wakes up excited about the first day of school. His reasoning? Kelly Kapowski. And what 9th grade boy wouldn’t be excited about that? Zack is a kid who carries a certain amount of arrogance with him, but still becomes weak in the knees when it comes to the girl of his dreams. He wants to ask her out, but finds himself too nervous to do so.
But it’s easy to see that Kelly would say yes, whether she had a thing for Zack or not. Sure, she’s the hottest girl in school and, for some reason, is captain of the cheerleaders as a freshman in high school. Beyond that, she’s probably one of the nicest people you would ever run into. You can see that in her character’s personality. Screech could have walked up to her and asked her out and you get the impression that she would at least give him a shot.
Fast forward a couple years. Zack and Kelly are Bayside’s dream couple. You just know that these two are gonna be together forever. And then Kelly dumps him. And this is where I have a problem. For Kelly, that’s just completely out of character.
No matter how they grew up, Zack always kind of stayed the same. Kelly pretty much stayed the same hot, popular, incredibly sweet girl. Except for that one little act of betrayal that completely went against her nature.
I get it. The writers wanted Zack to be single in preparation for his senior year. He had to be single for their TV movie in Hawaii. He had to be single while he worked at Malibu Sands so he could “fall in love” with Leah Remini. But knowing their characterization, Zack would have been much more likely to cheat on Kelly. But he never would have because you just couldn’t have done better than Kelly Kapowski.
So they gave Kelly a job. And they brought in some douchebag assistant manager at the Max that would inappropriately hit on a high school kid because he obviously couldn’t get a girl his own age. And then, for some reason, in the span of a 22 minute episode, Kelly lost her grip on the reality of life at Bayside High and forgot that she was dating the star of the show. And then we’re treated to a heartbreaking break up set to the sounds of not-Jessie and not-Slater singing a duet of Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.”
And that’s why Zack and Kelly never should have broken up. Because Kelly never would have cheated on Zack. Zack never would have cheated on Kelly. Never would have happened. Never. Ever.