Search icon


20th Jun 2017

Every character from Saved By The Bell, ranked from worst to best

Number 1 is a no-brainer

Ciara Knight

*Extremely Mr. Belding laugh*

Saved By The Bell was iconic. The faces, the clothes, the personalities, the hairstyles. It was a lot to take in, yet us non-Americans always wanted more. ‘Is this what life is actually like over in the big U S of A? Can they really just jump in each others’ bedroom windows without their parents noticing? Are there really that many dorks in the average high school?’, we’d ask ourselves.

Every single one of the characters was important. They all brought a different element of necessary nonsense to the show, and we mustn’t lose sight of that in the following piece which will most likely destroy each and every single one of these fictional teens.

Regardless of their individual lovability, decisions need to be made. Who was the absolute best? More importantly, who was the absolute worst?

Relax, I’ve figured it out.

8. Jessie Spano

Jessie was Zack’s next door neighbour and would welcome his frequent visits through her bedroom window with a little less enthusiasm than THE Zack Morris deserved. Surely this was enough of a red flag to the viewer that she would later become trouble. The girl had more opinions than a college newspaper journalist’s first foray into the industry and sometimes it seemed as though the sound of her own voice was truly getting her off.

She was aggressively a teenage feminist which was fairly underrepresented on UK television at the time, but sadly that made it all the more disheartening for gender equality enthusiasts when her deeply annoying personality tarnished the reputation of feminists worldwide. If there was ever so much as a slightly over-salted chip presented to Jessie at The Max, she’d immediately start a strike, petition and riot, enlisting the help of her blatantly disinterested friends.

I often wonder how Jessie Spano would cope with the modern world, if she was a real person. She’d be so outspoken about Trump on Twitter that you’d have to mute her for the foreseeable. Jessie would absolutely have gotten arrested for defacing a Victoria’s Secret poster in the mall and you get bet your butt Jessie would host an intimidating weekly podcast about the smashing the patriarchy with a listenership of 4 people.

7. Lisa Turtle

The fashion and gossip queen of Bayside High was all too comfortable with telling her friends that their outfits were repulsive, which I find laughable given that they existed during a time when everyone’s outfits were nothing short of a dangerous epidemic against humanity. Just because Lisa had a bit of money to spend on vibrant scrunchies and shoulder pads, that does not an Anna Wintour make.

She seemed like a decent friend but also definitely smelled pungently of perfume at all times which is inconsiderate given that I am allergic to perfume so feel personally victimised by her selfish and entirely fictional choices. Lisa definitely wanted to bone Zack but sadly never got the chance because his interest always lay with her best friend, Kelly. Rather than harbour a grudge, Lisa simply turned her frustrations into sass.

Screech had a massive horn for Lisa and she handled the entire situation like any of the rest of us would, by leading him on so that if she ever needed a favour, he would immediately oblige in hopes of getting some form of a Screech out of her. In 2017, Lisa definitely has a fashion blog and Etsy store that she operates from her bedroom in her parents’ house, aged 35.

6. Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers

Never on screen has there been a more apt name for a massive virgin than Screech. Mad respect to the writers for that one.

Screech was a loveable dork who truly enjoyed the high school experience. Unfortunately, his best friend had an entirely different set of motives, mostly involving entering Kelly Kapowski and just generally being an absolute lad with an offensively large mobile phone. Screech was essentially Zack’s bitch, doing his homework and helping him out with various strands of mischief on a daily basis.

In an unprecedented turn of events, Screech was completely oblivious to his shortcomings as a sexual being, fully convinced that he was the object of many ladies’ affections, namely Lisa Turtle. Despite the glaringly obvious clues that she wasn’t interested, he continued in his attempts to woo her for nigh on seven years, to absolutely no avail.

2017 Screech Powers is the multimillionaire founder of PornHub. He won’t return Lisa Zuckerberg (née Turtle)’s calls.

5. A.C. Slater

Air Conditioning Slater was a mighty good man who definitely peaked in high school. Rest assured, us young viewers at the time weren’t fooled by him, we knew that Slater was merely a malfunction in the schooling system, as every former spotty and scrawny male student can surely attest to. Slater wasn’t real, but nevertheless, he was glorious.

The only way I can fault Slater is how his weird relationship with Jessie never sat right with me. There’s just no way they’d ever get together in the real world. Channing Tatum wouldn’t pursue Gloria Steinem, at least not on a continual basis. Initially, he fancied Kelly, now that made sense. But Jessie? Jessie was the absolute worst and the subplot was less believable than Nemo being found in the middle of that massive fucking ocean.

Regardless, Slater’s rapport with Preppy never grew old. They had a beautiful friendship whereby they were sworn best friends but wouldn’t hesitate to beat the shit out of each other if the relentless slagging all got a bit much on any given day. Also, his dance moves were impressive, gripping, aspirational and at times, deeply emotional. Top lad. 9/10.

4. Kelly Kapowski


As a deeply ignorant child who had no concept of fashion, hair or makeup, I knew little other than the ironclad fact that Kelly Kapowski was inspirational. This girl was life goals. Everyone fancied her, her outfits were nice and her hairstyle somehow escaped the ghastly 80s and early 90s perming trend. She was extremely cool and I needed to be her.

Even though cheerleading (luckily) didn’t exist at my school, I still had the presence of mind to know that it was something that all the cool and popular girls did. With that in mind, I turned to badminton, then swiftly learned to keep that a secret because it just didn’t quite have the same panache as cheerleading.

Her on again / off again relationship with Zack was another marker of how cool Kelly was. So chill that the stability of a high school relationship wasn’t the be all and end all for our girl Kel. When she cheated on Zack, for a brief moment, cheating became undeniably cool and I fantasised about cheating on my non-existent boyfriend for days on end. Her remorse was endearing, of course Zack took her back. He was merely a pawn in her quest to become the deserving queen of Bayside High.

3. Zack Morris

Preppy was a stud and everyone at Bayside High damn well knew it. This kid had faded denim jeans hoisted dangerously high, his patterned t-shirt was always tucked in, his beach blonde hair stood higher than the Burj Khalifa and his little chin dimple was said to resolve several conflicts in the middle east between the years of 1989 – 1992. Everyone fucking loved Zack.

He was the charming protagonist that invited you into his charmed life, complete with high school drama and comically bad background actors during freeze frames. He made breaking the fourth wall cool and Frank Underwood sure as shit knows it. The undeniable ladies man only had eyes for Kelly K, despite every other girl in school respectfully throwing themselves at him.

I’m going to go ahead and christen Zack Morris as the world’s first official introduction to the Lad Lifestyle. He was a menace, but in a very cheeky and endearing way. Mr. Belding always had a soft spot for him, meaning Zack was untouchable in the corridors since he could always weasel his way out of trouble. Those enormous brown eyes could sell pouches to kangaroos and vanity to a Kardashian.

2. Mr. Belding

Hey hey hey hey hey! What is going on here?

Mr. Belding was principal goals from the outset. Becky Belding was one lucky lady having him come home every evening, I can assure you that. When I reached secondary school, I was deeply dissatisfied with the faculty I was met with. Where was the charming principal that cared about his students with his adorable firm but fair attitude? On the fucking TV, that’s where.

If I was given three wishes, it would be to have Mr. Belding as a life coach (á la MTV’s Made), teaching me right from wrong and laughing in a very high pitched manner at my terrible jokes. The other two wishes would go on unlimited Freddos, but that’s beside the point.

In 2017, Mr. Belding is probably retired and living a chill life at home with Becky. He’s still in touch with Zack and is the godfather of his and Kelly’s son, Phone-ring. They go on holidays together and exchange gifts at Christmas because everything in life is wholesome and pure despite the current shit show unfolding in the world today 🙂

1. Zack Morris’ Mobile Phone

Iconic. Aspirational. Enviable. Wondrous. Magnificent.

These are just some of the words used to describe Zack Morris’ mobile phone in the modern day. This kid had a mobile phone before John Mobile Phone even invented them. Zack would seemingly carry it around in his pocket (which must’ve been roughly the size of a Renault Espace) and proudly pop it out for ease of communication when and where required.

Who was he calling? What was the battery life like? How could he afford it? Did it weigh 400kg or 500kg? Was the sound quality OK? Did it have any games? DID IT HAVE INFRARED CAPABILITIES?

Those are a series of questions that will never be answered, nor should we ever truly want them to be.

Zack Morris’ monstrosity of a mobile phone stole the show. Saved By The Bell would’ve been nothing without it.

I challenge you to name a more iconic duo than Zack Morris and his mobile phone. I’ll wait.

Images via NBC