Saved by the Bell TV Poster Image

Saved by the Bell



Classic teen sitcom still entertains. Tweens OK.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Network: TBS
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1989

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Promotes positive behavior, respecting adults, taking responsibility for one's actions, school spirit, and the value of friendship. Anti-social/racial behavior isn't tolerated.

Positive role models

Zach and his friends get involved in mild mishaps, but they are overall well-intentioned, nice kids. Lots of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.


Occasional scenes of kids pushing each other. These actions are quickly stopped by other kids or an adult and are portrayed as hurtful and inappropriate.


Boy/girl social dynamics. Discussions of crushes and romance. Teens kiss and date. References to heavy petting.


Mild ("butt," etc.).


References to "designer" fashion, but no specific designers are highlighted. Brands of food and beverages are non-specific. The make of particular cars, such as the hood of a Mercedes Benz, is occasionally noticeable, but isn't discussed specifically.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some shows discuss substance use, including under-age drinking and the abuse of over-the-counter pills. Usage always provides the characters with a lesson about staying clean and sober.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that adolescent kissing is prevalent, as are references to heavy petting, which means it's up to them to decide whether tweens are mature enough to understand the significance of this behavior. The sarcastic remarks and mild insults constantly aimed at Screech sometimes border on mean. There are sanitized discussions of major teen issues such as peer pressure, drunk driving, and drug abuse.

What's the story?

Surviving a variety of incarnations, SAVED BY THE BELL is a positive series about school, friends, and lessons learned. The show offers a world that reflects the ultimate high school experience, as seen through the eyes of Zack. At Bayside High, Zack, Screech, and Lisa are joined by good-looking transfer student A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), sweet Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen), and intellectual over-achiever Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley). The Bayside clique is a diverse but tight-knit social circle that most junior and senior high school students can only dream about. Plots range from the silly (Zack and Slater bet on who can kiss a girl the longest), to the romantic (Zack skips the prom when girlfriend Kelly can't afford to attend), all the way to the serious (underage drinking and driving, and pill addiction).

Is it any good?


It's all pretty cheesy, but it's also well-intentioned. At the end of each show, lessons are learned -- lessons that are often guided by Principal Belding or, when dealing with more major issues, a parent. The show's adults, while often presented more as caricatures than real people, are respected and are received as mentors by the kids. But as is the case with most average teens, sexual innuendos (albeit innocent ones) and mild profanity are an integral part of the Bayside teens' lingo. While the significance of these words clearly goes over the head of most young children, they're clear enough for preteens to understand. Saved by the Bell offers an opportunity for viewers to watch relatively good kids learn from their mistakes and grow from the process.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the value of friendship, as well as how to cope when friends are the source of peer pressure. Have your teen's friends ever landed them in a tricky situation? Because the series presents an idealized picture of high school, families can also discuss how difficult high school can be in real life. How is your teen's school different from Bayside? Boy/girl relationships, boundaries, and inappropriate behavior are also topics that families may want to talk about.

TV details

Premiere date:August 20, 1989
Cast:Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Mark Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen
TV rating:TV-PG

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 12 year old Written bydramaqueen@hotm... August 31, 2011

good show ! sets a real good example on teens!

a very good show i use to watch it all the time espically the eppsode where Jesse got addicted to those pills btw a very serious eposode and very good this is a good show i'll admit Saved By The Bell is a classic a must see!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byCooldee May 4, 2010

Positive all the way!

Watch this show with your children! Positive all the way!
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 8 year old Written bychillaxer December 26, 2009


i enjoy the positive message by the end of the show it teaches kids everything they choose has a consequence
What other families should know
Great messages


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