Saved by the Bell

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Saved by the Bell TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Classic teen sitcom still entertains. Tweens OK.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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

Violence

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.

Sex

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

Language

Mild ("butt," etc.).

Consumerism

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.

What 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.

Wondering if Saved by the Bell is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byray b. February 19, 2018

The Show is awesome!

It’s awesome on episode is strange because Johnny does
Drugs like Pot.
Adult Written byLowe's man September 19, 2013

teaches good lessons

Mr. Belding is the kind of person we should all want as principal in our schools- firm but fair. He finds just the right balance between making the school a pl... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byballerina2004 January 28, 2017

Best show ever

After this left Netflix I was so sad i bought the whole series on iTunes! The episodes that had drugs and drinking in them had good messages at the end about no... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byisabelisamazing June 11, 2020

Meh

I watched the first episode. The acting wasn't great, the comedy was a little hard to get and the canned laughter made it worse.

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate