Saved by the Bell

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Saved by the Bell TV Poster Image
Self-mocking sitcom reboot has a diverse, charming cast.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

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

Stands out for positive role models.

Positive Messages

Promotes equality in a realistic way: doesn't pretend that inequalities don't exist, but takes care to point them out and to provide characters with alternate paths to success. School spirit, accepting others as they are, value of friendship are also championed. 

Positive Role Models

Cast is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, body type, socioeconomic status. Knowingly points out the diversity without mocking its characters -- e.g., in a scene where Coach Slater assumes Devante is misunderstood and tries to help, Devante says that "It's not a White savior thing, because you're Mexican." In another scene, football players see a potential new recruit coming who looks "tough as hell"; it turns out to be Aisha. Adults are present and caring: "It's our job to make space for every kid at Bayside so they can become a healthy and mature adult," says counselor Jessie Spano. 

Violence
Sex

Characters flirt and date; expect kissing and references to boyfriends and girlfriends. Some mature humor is pointed, like when Mack asks a pair of twins if they're ready to go "skinny-dipping"; when they walk away he says, "Now that's what I call a double date," clearly portraying an old-style Saved by the Bell lothario who's now anachronistic. References to "nudie photos" and "porno." Daisy tells Aisha she's "dickmatized" by a handsome male classmate. 

Language

Language includes "ass," "hell," "damn," and "bitch," as well as words like "sucks," "d--k," and "crappy." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mocking references to drugs, like in an (off-screen) prank in which Lexi "drugs" Mack's toothpaste to get a parking spot first; he passes out and wakes up at Six Flags. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Saved by the Bell is a reboot of the original late 1980s/early '90s kids' sitcom. It brings back a few of the original characters (nice to see you again, Slater and Jessie!), now middle-aged adults, and introduces a new cast of young characters, who are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, body type, and socioeconomic status. These differences are discussed honestly, and no one is mocked for being who they are. An openly trans character is one of the most popular students at school, and a talented girl plays football on the boys' team. Rich, privileged students are helped to understand that others come from a more marginalized background, and they take care to give these classmates the help they need to succeed. Sexual content is more mature than in the original show: Along with flirting, dating, kissing, and references to girlfriends/boyfriends, there are jokes about "nudie photos," "porno," and "skinny-dipping." One character tells another she's "d--kmatized" by an attractive classmate. Language includes "ass," "hell," "damn," and "bitch," as well as "sucks," "d--k," and "crappy." In an off-screen prank, one character is said to have "drugged" another's toothpaste in order to make him late to school. Adults are present and caring, including a principal who genuinely wants his students to succeed and a coach and counselor who are ready to provide any help students need. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAgeReviewer December 2, 2020

Saved By The Bell Age Rating

I have been reviewing alot of shows in the past few years and most people took my advice. I am trying to start a website for age ratings for shows. I have two k... Continue reading
Parent of a 15 and 15-year-old Written byccsawyer83 December 8, 2020

Reboot Letdown

I was very disappointed with this reboot, as I personally watched the original every day after school growing up. The wholesome, family friendly feel is replace... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byalexmhalligan January 29, 2021

DONT WASTE YOUR TIME

i beg of u to simply no waste ur time!!! i am in love with sbtb, but this spin off/reboot is so dumb! I am mostly mad at the way they say words like: “d*ck, as*... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDogcat December 13, 2020

Saved by the Bella!

Yuck! This show is gross! I watched the first episode last night on the E! Channel to see if it would be any good but, all reboots are trash! The plot makes no... Continue reading

What's the story?

Formerly a Saturday morning kids' show about the jocks, the nerds, the cool kids, and the grinds at Bayside High, this SAVED BY THE BELL reboot is kicked into action when Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gossellar), now the governor of California, attempts to balance the state budget by cutting $10 billion from education. Struggling schools are promptly shuttered, leaving many students with nowhere to attend classes. Zack's solution? Bus the kids to schools in neighborhoods that pay high property taxes instead, including his own beloved alma mater, Bayside High. Now Bayside's administration, including counselor Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) and P.E. teacher/football coach A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), has to find a way to teach a new crop of not-so-privileged students, who care about more than dates and pranks. Chief among them: Daisy (Haskiri Velazquez), who takes over Zack's fourth wall-breaking direct-to-camera addresses; Devante (Dexter Darden), a talented singer who's mistaken for a tough guy; and Aisha (Alycia Pascual-Peña), a female football player who's simply thrilled to be at her fancy new school. 

Is it any good?

Self-mocking and pleasantly tart, this satirical reboot provides a fitting second life for a show that was mostly enjoyed ironically even in its late '80s/early '90s heyday. The Saved by the Bell reboot is smart and sly enough to understand the goofy place that the original played on television (and in the lives of its fans), and to subvert the original's simple-minded plotlines with real-world perspective. Daisy is flabbergasted on her first day when her appointed "Bayside buddy," Mack (Mitchell Hoog), the spiritual successor to ultra-cool Zack, is able to download all his school books by scanning a QR code on his phone. Daisy, equipped only with a decidedly non-smart mobile brick phone, wonders, "What if I don't have one of those?" "Don't have?" Mack responds quizzically. "What's that?" 

Things are just as mystifying for the other new-to-Bayside characters. Devante is astonished when more Bayside students sign up for the artisanal bath bomb club than the football team; Aisha is confused that so many of her classmates look, well, odd. "Is it just me or are the seniors at this school really old-looking?" she inquires of Lexie, an openly transgender classmate (played by real-life trans actor and former Disney Channel stalwart Josie Totah), who already has her own reality show. "It's just you," says Lexie, who's too busy thinking up a new scheme in her ongoing friendly power struggle with Mack to care much about either the question or the answer. It's all very amusing and self-aware, not to mention lots of fun; but that's not the best part of the new Saved by the Bell. The best is the thread of sweetness that runs through the show. Even while Zack and Lexie are self-obsessed and ridiculous, they actually care about making their new classmates feel at home. So does the administration, which works hard to unify its student body. "It's our job to make space for every kid at Bayside so they can become a healthy and mature adult," sums up Jessie. Watching the teachers do just that, and the students fitting in and finding their voice, is a pleasure, it turns out, and so is this show. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Many shows that were once popular on TV are getting modern remakes: Fuller HouseCharmedOne Day at a Time. Why? Do these shows have a built-in audience or appeal? How do the shows change when they are remade or rebooted? Are all the changes for the better? 

  • Families can also talk about the messages that this show sends to teens. Are these characters -- both teens and adults -- realistic? Do they face relatable issues and deal with them in believable ways? What would the real-life consequences of their behavior be?

  • Did you watch Saved by the Bell when it first aired? If so, does that increase how likely you are to watch and enjoy this show? Or is it made to appeal to new fans? How much "fan service" (i.e., including elements that will mostly be enjoyed by people who are already fans) does it perform? 

TV details

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