Anatomy of a 2.7 mile drive - Saved By The Bell

If you’re complaining about traffic in Los Angeles you might as well ask for a diet coke with your massive piece of cake because you’re on a diet. But, let me complain for a second –

Sometimes while driving in Los Angeles I feel as though we’re in season 7 of LOST. You know, it was the time travel season that was confusing even for the die-hards like myself. You’re trying to wrap your head around one thing but while that’s happening another thing starts happening which makes you question the things that happened before the first thing. Yes, that’s traffic.

In this case I was at work in Santa Monica, I was asked to drop something off to a location, which was 2.7 miles away. Initial thought: 2.7 miles isn’t bad… this should probably take 20 minutes with traffic. A moment later I knew I should maybe add on 10 minutes because 20 minutes to drop something off may be on the optimistic side… But I can do it.

I leave my office and as I do I hear someone mention the show Franklin And Bash starring Mark Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer. Can’t say that I’ve ever seen it. I head to my parking structure and approach my car which currently does not have working air conditioning, nor does it have a working passenger side window (Don’t judge me, we’re not talking about the car). Its hot, very hot, but no worries – its only 2.7 miles.

Above is the Key to this whole driving equation.

POINT A: My starting point. To NUMBER 1: Head down 4th and Wilshire to 8th and Wilshire and take a right, 4 blocks.

It’s so hot I’m in that catatonic stare of trying to be calm and going with the flow. Maybe my calm demeanor will help flow of traffic. As I sit at a light on 6th street I start to wonder why I haven’t seen Franklin and Bash?

What was the last thing I’ve seen Mark Paul Gosselaar in? Was it the show about him being a lawyer when he had long hair? Wait… no… it was on Jimmy Kimmell when he was trying to get the Saved By the Bell cast back together. Why is there so much traffic? Dammit, I hope it’s not like this the entire way.

The single thought of MPG trying to get the cast of SBTB back together opened the floodgates to a few thoughts and questions I have pondered for a very long time. It’s time to rehash Saved By The Bell.

NUMBERS 1 to 2: On Lincoln Blvd. What was up with Miss. Bliss?

Remember that first season of Saved by the Bell when Miss Bliss was the go to teacher? Before Wikipedia I could never figure this out… were they in Junior High? Who was Zack’s best friend Mikey, who was the chick Nikki, and what was up with the janitor Milo? How did they ever justify jumping from this time period to current day Bayside High?

The worst and best part about this season is that I actually liked Miss Bliss. If my emotional state serves me correctly, I think I wanted a teacher like her - Giving leeway to the students, being their best friend, and constantly dropping knowledge like Yoda (A moment of silence for Miss Bliss).

I’m on Santa Monica Blvd. Between NUMBERS 2 to 3: What was up with The Max? And what was his last name?

So let me get this straight, a magician owns a restaurant named after himself? Cool. But seriously, what was up with this guy. Being older now I realize he was kind of creepy. He took an active interest in the lives of a bunch of kids and hooked them up with free food from time to time.

The guy had a restaurant that was a teenagers wet dream. It was colorful like the 90’s, had a really cool door, and seemingly always roped off the same booth for the crew. It even left space for AC slater to sit backwards on a chair… which reminds me… AC Slater and the crew!

Between NUMBERS 3 to 4. I hate you traffic - it’s hot. But that’s okay because I can think about: The Crew Of Characters.

Kelly Kapowski: Zack’s main squeeze, it was true love from the get go – he even had a cardboard cut out of Kelly on the volleyball team that magically came down from his ceiling.

AC Slater: The meathead that would one day host Extra. But forget the meathead stuff for now because he knew ballet, challenged Zack and called people Mama’, that person being Jessica Spano.

Jessie Spano: Long legs, one day we’d see her naked in Showgirls.

Lisa Turtle: Who was the last character ever to be on a show with the last name of a reptile. Maybe with the exception of Johnny Snake, the card swindler from the hit show - “Shuffling Vegas” (I just made up this show and character, the heat is killing me, someone please make “Shuffling Vegas”.

Screeeeech: I imagine a 1990 conversation with this guy to go a little something like this:

Me: Yo dude, in the 2000’s you’re going to be living in Kenosha Wisconsin doing stand-up talking about how much you hate Saved By the Bell. You’re going to write a tell-all book from the nothingness that’s going on backstage. OH! You’re going to have a porno too.

Him: Wait, what’s a porno?

Zack Morris: The coolest kid ever.

Mr. Belding: Sort of the Miss Bliss, even though he was on the show during the Miss Bliss era. Who cares, he brought it all together.

Between NUMBERS 4 to 5: The Zack Attack and the greatest Musicians that never were.

Lets just be honest, these guys killed it with “Friends Forever”. Once SBTB opened the can of worms that was “Oh, these guys can sing!?” All bets were off. I have a feeling that some exec really wanted to stress the talents of these kids, then suck their talents dry by releasing a CD, and by god they did. But lets just be clear, the only one who really seemed to have the talent was AC Slater on the drums.

On this musical note, this show also featured one of the all time cheesiest Alternate Universe moments when Zack fell asleep before band practice and imagined Zack Attack getting big –

Casey Kesem was the special guest of the show and he chronicled the rise and fall of the Zack Attack. Ego’s got the better of them but in the end… they had a reunion tour, which I imagine, generated something like 1 billion dollars.

I’m sort of really hot right now. I’m sweating, and wondering why smog and other fumes are seeping into my car. Starting to get a bit squeamish and antsy. But it’s okay because…

Between NUMBERS 5 to 6. What was up with the love triangles?

There was a lot of passing off of each other and minor break-ups; as a matter of fact I think the major break up was when Kelly dumped Zack. If I remember correctly cool college guy Jeff who was managing the Max (where was Max?) started to take a liking to Kelly.

Quick side note: Jeff also caused problems for Jonny Rico in Starship Troopers.

Anyway, in one of the greatest break ups that featured Slater and Jessie singing a Michael Bolton duet at the school dance, Kelly told Zack it was over as they sat on a picnic table then slow danced they’re asses off.

Anyway… let me try and break all of this inner loving greatness down.

Zack dated Kelly.
Kelly broke up with Zack for Jeff.
Kelly had a stint with AC Slater.
AC loved Spano.
Spano was that annoying girl who really only dated AC.
AC had a thing for Kelly.
Kelly strung along AC.
Screech loved Lisa.
Zack once made out with Lisa.
Lisa loved everyone but Screech.
Screech actually then loved Violette Bickerstaff. OH MY GOD, Violette, played by Tori Spelling.
Zack had a stint with Jessie.
Lisa ultimately gave Screech a shot.

Assuming everyone slept with everyone… like I do…. That means everyone slept with everyone.

We’re leaving out one very key figure here… Tori. No, not Tori Spelling, but Tori, the badass biker chick that was the biggest question mark for any show…

Minimal car movement. Between NUMBERS 6 to 7. Who the hell was Tori, and where did she go?

Okay Tori, what were you doing at Bayside High? Didn’t you arrived senior year but somehow you didn’t graduate with Kelly or Jessie but we also saw Kelly and Jessie graduate. This has always confused me and I tried to put the pieces together. I would like to sit down with someone to have him or her really explain this to me because my Wikipedia answers aren’t good enough.

Where is Tori today? Do I really care? Yes and no – part of me wants this to be a question mark until I die.

Between NUMBERS 7 to 8. The time they were at the beach.

Remember that one time when Lisa’s Aunt got them jobs at the Malibu Sands Beach club? Their manager was Stacy Carosi, played by Leah Remini. Carosi was an east coaster and she didn’t like the “California style” that was Zack and the crew. But of course, this didn’t stop Zack - it actually fueled him.

The summer at the beach was a great departure from the standard antics at Bayside High and ended in a moment on the beach with Zack and Stacy kissing under the fireworks. Any teen shows in the future should take note of this tactic… although most have.

Between NUMBERS 8 to 9. I’m almost there but I wander and begin to think of – The Weed Episode.

Who can ever forget Johnny Dakota and the infamous “There’s No Hope With Dope” episode. Not me. Zack and the crew were basically pressured to smoke from a movie star who was falsely promoting a non-dope policy. In the end the crew prevails but I can’t help but think that this is crap… come on, it’s Johnny Dakota.

Also, this was the famous Brandon Tartikoff episode (RIP).

It’s good to remember this episode.

It’s been about 45 min in Los Angeles traffic and I just turned down my street - almost there. I may have set the record for longest drive ever but that’s to be expected at this point. I’ve passed about 30 different construction sites and red lights and whatever else. I know it seems hard to believe a human being can be in a car this long for such a short drive but sometimes this sort of thing happens in Los Angeles. Seriously.

As I’m speeding to my location and before I get there I flash through everything

Between NUMBERS 9 to 10. Everything else.

So many questions and things to ponder…

- How did Screech ever fall for Zack as the Russian in the chess championships?
- Where did the full music video go from the epic “I’m so Excited Jessie Spano on speed” episode?
- Who was that one “actor” who replaced Max at The Max?
- Why didn’t AC just give away his Raider tickets when he and Jesse were fighting, rather than tear them up?
- Was there a Zack Morris at Valley High?
- I want a Buddy Band.
- I want Love Cuffs.
- Wasn’t there a toga party episode?
- I can’t believe I watched the spin off of this show.
- Did this show invent the “window to climb out of in your bedroom” trick to make all teen shows cool?
- Why did Zack have such bad coordination when dancing yet he was a musician and an athlete?
- Did the College Years have the greatest or worst opening song ever?

Arrived. 10 to B (My destination) I leave my car with a sweaty back, drop off what I need to drop off. It’s one of those anti climactic drop offs where you’ve been through a lot but the other person doesn’t care, and part of you is wishing someone anywhere invited you in for a drink.

30 seconds pass and I’m back in my car… Hopefully traffic isn’t as bad on my way home.