Saved by the Bell is constantly on my Netflix queue, though I do own all seasons on DVD (not including The College Years. I try to forget about those.) I find that while I am Internet-surfing or crafting or eating Lunchables, the best background noise seems to be Zack's talking-to-the-camera voice and canned "Ooooh"s after Jessie says something especially snarky. The episode that popped up this particular evening was none other than "The Friendship Business," which I love and which epitomizes what Saved by the Bell is really all about. Including, but not limited to:
Friendship Bracelets and/or Headbands are Super Cool, Fashion-Wise
During a project in Mr. Tuttle's Economics course, Zack and the gang have to start a business and make a profit. Since Lisa has been making friendship bracelets, yes, friendship bracelets, in the Fashion Club she is a part of (which, incidentally, is never really mentioned again in the series), Zack decides to grab the idea for his own benefit. He does that a lot. And with good purpose - what high school student wouldn't shell out five bucks to look like these edgy trendsetters?
Pocket Protectors are a Thing
Zack's competition is a group of surfers selling cardboard surfboards and these "dorks" with their pocket protector protector. I remember hearing a lot about pocket protectors on television shows that stereotyped nerds...but are these actually a thing? They exist, but do people really use them? I've never seen one in real life. But I have also never seen a high school boy named Poindexter. I'll just chalk it up to the Saved by the Bell Experience - along with the elusive Tori, "Time Out," and modeling jobs in Paris that are never claimed.
Mr. Tuttle is a Wizard of Teaching
Mr. Tuttle, a god among men, seems to love each group's ideas equally, cheering them back to their desks ("motivatedmotivatedmotivated"). Speaking of Mr. Tuttle...what exactly is this man's job description? He is an economics teacher...a shop teacher...a driver's education instructor...a CHOIR teacher...and a science teacher. Did I miss anything? This man can do it all.
THIS VIDEO OH MY GOD THIS VIDEO
So after Zack tells Lisa he needs 60 bracelets per day and takes over the presidency for himself (see below: Zack Morris is Awful), everyone walks out on him - except Screech, who doesn't know how to quit Zack - to start their own business. Their new business? Buddy Bands - Hey...They Work. This video just...screams 90s. It is everything I love about this show. Just...there are no words. Watch it. The best part is how everyone in the class applauds all speechless like they just watched the most awesome Hot Sundae music video of all time. (Wait. They kind of did.) After seeing the great success of the super stylish Bands, Zack decides he needs a new selling strategy. Which leads us to...
Zack Morris is Awful
The picture doesn't lie. Zack decides he needs to be selling more bracelets and makin' dat money - which seems to be a common theme on this show. And I don't get it...what is he going to buy with all of his sneakily-made cash? An even more giant cell phone (burn!)? A second cardboard cutout of his girlfriend? Illegal entry to The Attic? Okay, I'm done. So this awesome friend's business strategy is...to pimp Screech out to each buyer. Like poor Samuel is a cheap hooker. Zack refers to it as "getting a friend for an hour with each purchase" or something like that, but let's call it what it is here, Zack. Prostitution. The johns (are they called johns? I'm unfamiliar with the prostitution lingo. We'll go with it.) who rent Screech do things like make him carry their books and dance with him for hours. And honestly, if Peggy really wants to dance at The Max with Dustin Diamond all night, she probably has more problems than a temporary friend can solve.
Zack sucks. I can't believe I ever loved this man. He basically made Lisa his slave and Screech his bitch. And this is just another day at Bayside. Here is more proof.(Photo from here)
Mr. Belding is Desperate and Uncool
(photo from here)
Love Cuffs: Not an S&M-esque toy for the bedroom, but a way for high schoolers to make a profit!
The Max's Max makes everyone friends again simply by giving the gang friendship bracelets "from Zack" and asking Zack if he wants to order "four friends with a Screech on the side." Jerk. And then everything's fine. Oh, and the group decides to pitch Love Cuffs to Mr. Tuttle instead, which are basically furry handcuffs for the high school set. Mr. Tuttle is ecstatic about the Love Cuffs. Infer what you will.
(photo from here)
Well, I don't know about you guys, but I learned a lot of lessons from this episode. But that's the thing about Saved by the Bell...so much learning on so many levels.