Saved by the Bell's 13 Best Episodes: Graduation, Prom and More
13 | Save the Max
WHAT HAPPENED | The gang holds a “radio-thon” to raise money to, well, save the Max.
WHY IT ROCKED | The Max almost closing down is totally worth a glimpse of Mr. Belding’s ‘stache past as a radio DJ.
12 | Graduation
WHAT HAPPENED | In order to earn the last credit he needs to graduate, Zack must perform in the school ballet. Elsewhere, Jessie and Screech compete for valedictorian.
WHY IT ROCKED | There’s no stronger show of friendship than when Lisa stands up for Screech, telling Jessie that he asked Mr. Belding to make her valedictorian because he knew she wanted it so badly. Also, of course: Zack Morris in a leotard.
11 | No Hope With Dope
WHAT HAPPENED | A movie star who’s shooting an anti-drug PSA turns out to be a hypocrite who smokes pot. The episode then turns into a <i>real</i> PSA.
WHY IT ROCKED | An episode about an anti-drugs PSA that turns into a real PSA? Even Community’s Abed would be impressed.
10 | Mystery Weekend
WHAT HAPPENED | The gang spends the weekend at a murdery-mystery mansion. When Zack is accused of being the murderer, he must get himself off the hook.
WHY IT ROCKED | “The butler did it!” is just one of the lines this fun, “Clue”-inspired episode lobs out as it plays with the conventions of a murder-mystery party.
9 | Rockumentary
WHAT HAPPENED | A “behind-the-scenes” look at how the gang’s band, Zack Attack, rose to fame.
WHY IT ROCKED |Years before VH1’s Behind the Music became a thing, Casey Kasem (yes, the Casey Kasem) explored Zack Attack’s rags-to-riches story, in what is one of the show’s most creative episodes.
8 | Jessie’s Song
WHAT HAPPENED | Nervous about getting a bad grade and overwhelmed by her other commitments, Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills.
WHY IT ROCKED | “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so… scared.” Who could forget Jessie’s brief brush with addiction? (And the birth of Hot Sundae.)
7 | Fake I.D.
WHAT HAPPENED | Zack, Slater and Screech make fake IDs to get into a club — where they discover Kelly’s boyfriend Jeff with another girl. Gasp!
WHY IT ROCKED | At first it seems inevitable that Zack’s lie will be found out (and it is), but really this episode is about that cheating bastard Jeff’s secret unraveling.
6 | The Fabulous Belding Boys
WHAT HAPPENED | When Mr. Belding’s younger (and cooler) brother substitute teaches, he breaks most of the rules to win over the students.
WHY IT ROCKED | Rod may have been more popular than his older bro, but Mr. Belding proves to be infinitely cooler (and more dependable) when he fills in for Rod after he predictably ditches the class trip to pursue his own selfish interests. Sometimes what you want isn’t what you need.
5 | The Aftermath
WHAT HAPPENED | After Kelly breaks up with Zack for Jeff, the new, slightly older manager of the Max, the rest of the gang tries to set Zack up on numerous dates, while he tries to make Kelly jealous.
WHY IT ROCKED | Sure, Kelly broke Zack’s heart when she left him for jerk Jeff, but both teens — and their shared pals — got some valuable exercise in navigating friendships after two break up.
4 | Wrestling With the Future
WHAT HAPPENED | Slater and his father argue over where he should attend college.
WHY IT ROCKED | Like some parents, Slater’s dad had his own plans for his son’s future (aka military academy). But after grappling with his own doubts, Bayside’s finest athlete was able to rally together the courage to tell the Major that he wanted a college education instead.
3 | Mamas and the Papas
WHAT HAPPENED | As part of a class project, the students must act like married couples for a week.
WHY IT ROCKED | Jessie and Slater’s “marriage” may have failed because of their opposing views on gender roles, but Mr. Belding is right when he points out that knowing when a relationship <i>isn’t</i> going to work is an important lesson to learn.
2 | Student Teacher Week
WHAT HAPPENED | When the kids and teachers switch places, Kelly becomes the new history teacher and Zack becomes principal.
WHY IT ROCKED | As hard a time as Zack gives Mr. Belding, this episode taught the perennial prankster how tough it actually is to walk in the principal’s sensible shoes.
1 | The Prom
WHAT HAPPENED | When Kelly’s father loses his job, she can’t afford to go to prom, so Zack throws her an outdoor picnic she can attend.
WHY IT ROCKED | Episode after episode of this show featured Zack’s many schemes to get rich and/or famous. But as he ensures that Kelly gets to have a special night after all, we see him use his planning skills for good, winning her heart (and ours) in the process.