Among the pantheon of 90s pop culture phenomena, few are quite as beloved as Saved By the Bell. Though it only lasted four years, (we don’t talk about The College Years), Saved By the Bell became a pillar of 90s culture. Zack Morris’ narration style has been the inspiration of dozens of ripoffs and tributes. Its reruns remain in syndication to this day.
Part of Saved By the Bell’s charm is how tied it is to its period. From the wardrobe to the writing, every frame of Saved By the Bell is undeniably 90s. It lampooned the most popular movies and current events on the regular. Modern technology was heavily featured–people still call the big, bulky 90s cell phones “Zack Morris phones.”
But Saved By the Bell is likely so celebrated because of its boldness to approach more mature issues. The more serious “moral” episodes heavily to the social concerns of the day: rising drug use, drunk driving, divorce, and woman’s rights.
Which got me to thinking. What Saved By the Bell be like if it took place in the current day? Here are a few possibilities…
The Modern Cast
While the original characters could just be transplanted without much trouble, you’d need to adapt them a little bit.
- Zack Morris: he’s still the coolest kid in school, but now he has an iPhone X and is a YouTube star. His fourth-wall breaks are part of his meta-video series. At some point, he gets a huge case to make his phone look like a 90s cell phone. Everyone calls it a Zack Morris phone.
- A.C. Slater: there’s only one thing Slater loves more than the ladies: his muscles. He’s decked out in a permanent bro tank. His Instagram is just a bunch of shots of him at the gym.
- Screech Powers: still a lovable geek and secret genius. But now, his gadgets have a huge upgrade. He carries an Arduino with him so he can invent on the go. He somehow has a flip phone though.
- Kelly Kapowski: the nicest girl ever. Constantly featured on UpWorthy and Buzzfeed for “restoring their faith in humanity.” Doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Everybody wants to date her (including some girls–this is the Twenty-first Century), but she’s oblivious.
- Lisa Turtle: a social media queen. She gets in feuds with Kylie Jenner on Instagram. Her Snapchat story seems to update itself. Won’t shut up about how Facebook is over, but still posts there. Her parents bought her a Tesla.
- Kellie Spano: the 1990s Kellie Spano was an aggressive, outspoken feminist, and there’s no reason to change that. She’s still mad that Hillary lost the election. Spends her nights and weekends at protest rallies. Has a blog on The Daily Kos.
- Mr. Belding: he’s the same lovable and gullible principal as he ever was, but now he can’t tell that the Onion is satire. He has Urban Dictionary bookmarked on his phone. He’s constantly paranoid that students are sexting or doing drugs–usually both.
A genderqueer student starts at Bayside. Slater is confused about whether or not he should hit on them. Mr. Belding gets flustered about which locker room they should go in and just gives them a gym credit instead. Kellie crucifies anyone who misgenders them.
“That Good Kush”
Screech’s anxiety disorder gets the best of him and he can’t go to school. The gang makes varying attempts to help him. Slater takes him to the gym to get some endorphines–which only makes it worse. Lisa tries to give him a Xanax. Eventually, Max shows him how to get a medical cannabis card.
“All’s Fair in Love and YouTube”
Zack’s attempts to get more views than Logan Paul land him in more and more trouble. They keep escalating until Mr. Belding has to rule on his expulsion. He tells Mr. Belding he’ll feature him in a viral video if he lets him stay in school. It works: the video gets a million views and Mr. Belding can’t go outside for a month.
“Keep Your Ear to the SoundCloud”
A new SoundCloud rapper takes Bayside High by storm. No one knows who he is, but his mixtape is straight fire. He says he’ll reveal himself at the talent show.
“Tindr is the Night”
After a nasty breakup, Zack and Kelly download Tindr. She receives hundreds of dick pics, which sets Jessie on the warpath. Kelly meets a nice guy, who ends up being thirty. Slater makes a bunch of fake accounts to catfish Zack.
“I Wish That I Had Jessie’s Girl”
Jessie announces that sexuality is a spectrum and gets a girlfriend. Slater sets himself to “converting” her. It doesn’t work. Meanwhile, Screech builds an AI 3D printer that prints 3D printers. It becomes sentient.
“Don’t At Me”
Lisa’s feud with Kylie Jenner comes to a head when a Keeping Up with the Kardashians taping visits the Max. The next day, Lisa is thrilled to find out her picture is on the front page of TMZ. The producers at E! offer her her own show, but she turns it down to focus on her music career.
“Face the Music”
Screech builds the most advanced facial recognition software in the world. Mr. Belding’s hidden secret life is revealed when he is tagged in a bunch of photos of him DJing at clubs. Ted Cruz is tagged as the Zodiac Killer.
“I Am the Vine”
Zack gets hit with a creative block after his YouTube channel leads to a contract to direct a movie. But, he can’t think of anything longer than six seconds. He enlists Screech’s help to hack Vine back into existence.
Does anybody have a time machine I could borrow? I could probably pitch these to Netflix…
Do you guys have any other ideas? Let me know in the comments.