Saved by the Bell: My Favorite Secondary Characters

By Kippah

Saved by the Bell was an epic and ground breaking TV program that answered some of life’s most intriguing questions…

Can I yell time out and have time stand still?

Can I always eat lunch at the same establishment and not pay?

Can every song on a juke box have no lyrics?

Can I get a job at Malibu Sands based on my Volleyball skills?

We all know Zack, Slater, Screech, Kelly, Jessie and Lisa.  They all went to Bayside High…and let’s just say that the school revolved around them.  Seriously, there was not a club, team or event that they were not a part of. 

The episodes were groundbreaking, hard hitting and ultimately life saving! Remember Jessie’s addiction to caffeine pills.  (Really?  Caffeine pills?) She was so excited...so scared…and ultimately cost “Hot Sundae” a Recording Contract that was sure to be worth close to a kajillion dollars.

Okay, I am a geek.  I thought SBTB was so cheesy.  Cheesy yet awesome.  I loved the main characters because they were so stereotypical.  The cool guy, the jock, the geek, the cheerleader, the smart girl and the fashion guru.  However, what kept me tuning in week after week were the secondary characters; Those assorted nerds, studs, babes and teachers that pushed a majority of the episodes into another realm of awesome.  

Here is a small list of those who made appearances with the Bayside Gang and ultimately stole the show. 

Sadly, Max didn’t make the list. Sorry!


10. Wendy 

Fat Student Council Member 

In a date auction, Zack lands in the very flabby arms of Wendy, a big girl who bids $100 for a date to accompany the blonde Tom Cruise to yet another one of Bayside’s school dances.  In order to avoid the date, Zack comes up with an abundance of excuses (including faking a back injury from a surfing accident).  Ultimately, it becomes clear that the superficial nature of Zack doesn’t want to be seen with the good natured Wendy due to her physical appearance.  Understanding his manipulative plot, Wendy tells Zack that she is going to the dance alone because “at least she will be with someone that she trusts.” 

After learning his lesson and sitting with the Nerds at the dance all night, Zack becomes a good guy and asks Wendy properly for the last dance of the evening.  He even takes her to the Max afterwards for dinner. I hope Zack brought his wallet because Wendy could probably eat 15 Max Burgers in one sitting.  



 9. Jennifer 

The Hot Nurse 

Zack, after finally getting Kelly to go steady with him, drops the ball and falls for the new school nurse.  Apparently, in the world of Saturday Morning Live Action Comedy’s, nurses are fat, scary and ugly or hot, hot and hot.  After hearing about Zack’s crush and his subsequent break up with KK, Nurse Jennifer, in cahoots with the rest of the gang, double crosses the “Preppy” and pretends to have a husband…not just any husband…this fictional husband apparently wants to “fight Hulk Hogan for the Belt.” Brilliant WWE reference from the writing staff! Zack loses both Jennifer and Kelly in the process (to Melvin Nerdly, a Chess enthusiast).  On top of this error, Zack continued wearing Converse “Cons” with pegged jeans. 

Jennifer must have lost her job for messing with Zack, because we never saw her again…The moral of this story: NEVER CROSS ZACK MORRIS! 


 

8. Mr. Tuttle 

Teacher 

A renaissance man if there ever was one…this guy was one hell of a teacher. Not only did he teach Driver’s Ed on a 3-wheeled Golf Cart, but he also led the Tigers in the District Choral competition (thanks to Tori Spelling in one of the most improbable cameo appearances ever as Screech’s girlfriend.)  He was also the victorious teacher during the Academic Bowl against Valley, despite his protégé (Screech) being hospitalized with a severe cold (making him even more idiotic…if that’s possible).  There were apparently no other schools beside “Valley” in this California District. 

Tuttle was a man with no morals and was often butting heads with Dick Belding concerning his teaching methods.  He encouraged the students to lip-sync “When the Saints Go Marching In” to fool a clueless Mr. Belding.  He also led a teacher strike against Belding during preparations for the Academic Bowl.  The strike would come to an abrupt end when Zack and Slater convinced Belding to give up his office for the teachers to use as a lounge.  Essentially Tuttle was a combination of Joe Clark, Mr. Holland and Grimace.  FYI: Mr. Tuttle is not to be confused with Leon Carosi of The Beach Club episodes.   



7. Kevin the Robot 

Screech’s Robot 

In earlier episodes at Bayside, Screech was often accompanied by a smart-ass robot named Kevin.  He assisted in helping Kelly pass her Science test so that she could attend the George Michael concert.  He participated as Screech’s Magician’s assistant in his improbable run to the Miss Bayside title…defeating Slater, Kelly and Lisa in the process.  He was also an honorary Hall monitor. 

A faithful counterpart and constant comic foil, Kevin’s finest moment may have been when he forgot Screech’s birthday despite the fact that he was programmed to remember it.  



6. Leslie 

Jessie’s Stepmother 

When Jessie’s father plans to remarry, our favorite psychopath suffers yet ANOTHER traumatic ordeal.  It seems that Jessie believes that her new step-mother is a slut and is only marrying her father for money.  Unbeknownst to the SBTB Universe, Mr. Spano owns a 5 star hotel.  He hired Leslie as the hotel’s aerobics instructor and one thing led to another and…they got engaged.  I think that Leslie played this all wrong as I’m sure she would have received a nice settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit…that being said, I’m sure she will clean him out in a future divorce proceeding. 

There is also a moment that will solidify Jessie as a complete raging, crazy person as she actually tries to drown her future step-mother during a swimming race.   Major Issues Spano!  

A funny thing happened a few weeks later while I watched the “Zack Attack Rockumentary” episode…there was Jessie’s step-mother playing a totally different character…Mindy, the group’s agent/Zack’s girlfriend!!?!?!?!  Hello?!?!  Did they think I wouldn’t notice?  

Jessie had major issues with her Step Mom among other things.


 
5. Big Pete

Volleyball expert, Actor in school plays 

We first meet Big Pete in the “Summer” episodes at the Malibu Sands Beach Club, where he somehow managed to be the most qualified addition to the Volleyball team after 8 ft 4 inch stud Gary (who sported a ponytail) went down to an injury courtesy of Screech’s stupidity.  Right before the big game with South Beach, Big Pete quits opening the door for Stacey Carosi.  

Inexplicably, Big Pete showed up at Bayside High that Fall (did he transfer?).  He became one of the token geeks along with Ollie (the black nerd with a frog voice). Not only did he have parts in two theatrical productions, (Swan Pond and Snow White and the Seven Dorks) but he was also a member of the Boys Team during a battle of the sexes for Bayside’s Money Inheritance. “Money for Sports!!!”  If I was Zack and/or Slater, I’m not sure I would have rounded off my five man team with Screech, Ox and Big Pete.  Are you telling me that there was no one else to choose from aside from those three stereotypical dopes? 

Big Pete should have ended up with Tori because they were both lame!



 
4. Laura 

Homeless Chick in the Christmas Episode 

Hysterical! Not that being homeless is funny, but the girl portraying Laura is quite possibly the worst actress this side of Lisa Turtle.  Anyways, Zack meets Laura while helping his Mom set up a theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol” in the Bayside Mall.  I’m not sure why they thought the Mall would be a sufficient place to hold such a production???  Was the Bayside High auditorium being renovated?  Zack gains her favor by offering her some food (she’s homeless).  

Later on, after arguably the most miscast production of A Christmas Carol in theatrical History (Jessie and Lisa play sisters?  Slater as Tiny Tim?  Zack and his Mom play Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit?  Soooo weird.), Laura is accused of stealing a Sports Jacket for her homeless Dad by her employer Mr. Moody, owner of Moody’s Store for Men.  However; when Mr. Moody contacts Mall Security, it is revealed that Kelly had paid for the jacket. When did Kelly switch jobs? Were there no benefits at the Max when Jeff left?  Anyways…problem solved. 


Laura and her Dad are invited to live in the Morris household until they got back on their feet….which was apparently very fast as we never saw them again.  

The Bayside Mall: When you need a quick shave!



3. Rod Belding 

Mr. Belding’s hip, younger brother. 

A substitute teacher who wanted be considered “cool” by his students, Rod had the entire Bayside gang ripping up tests and giving each other “A’s” on Mr. Dickerson’s History Final.  Basically, Rod was a cheap rip off of Robin Williams’s character in ‘Dead Poets Society’ without the camera mugging or Ethan Hawke. 

Rod tested the boundaries of the student-teacher relationship by eating pizza and enjoying televised sporting events with Zack and Screech in the confines of his older brother’s office…ummm creepy!  He also changed the class trip from a Yosemite Park Nature walk to a white water rafting adventure…this was fine with Kelly, who had heard that “White Water rafting is exciting like a spike in Volleyball!”  OK Kelly, just be quiet and look pretty. 

The morning of the trip, Rod confronts Mr. B and cancels his plans to supervise the kids as an old acquaintance (a stewardess named Inga) wants to have relations with him.  We then watch Mr. Belding disown his brother with the crushing line; “Get out of my school Rod.” 

Zack and the gang are initially let down only to have Mr. Belding step up and accompany them on their trip.  Zack remarks that even though Rod was more exciting (weird again) that they ‘have the better Belding.’  


2. Jeff 

The guy who stole Kelly away from Zack.  

For a brief time, Jeff was the Manager of the Max…not a bad job for a college guy.  Apparently the real Max got a job as Michael Jackson’s private Magician…I am not kidding. Kelly was probably turned on by Jeff’s position at the Max and thought that dating him would ultimately lead to a promotion. Jeff was oblivious to the obvious crime he was committing by dating Ms. Kapowski. He was around 19, she was 16. Statutory!!! Shame on you Jeff!  Regardless, the young Kapowski was smitten by her boss, cheated on Zack and broke up with him during the Costume Party dance (which was being headlined by the first appearance of the supergroup “Zack Attack”…ouch.)  Making the situation even more awkward; the break up was underscored by Slater and Spano lip synching (badly) to “How am I Supposed to Live Without You?”  Even Michael Bolton thought this was ridiculous. 

After landing Kapowski, Jeff promptly cheated on her at the infamous 18+ Dance Club known as “The Attic” (thanks to a tip from Zack).  Kelly dated a few others during her time at Bayside including Gary (the tall dude from the Beach Club), Slater (during the early Zack Vs Slater days) and Melvin Nerdly (a friend of Screech’s from the Chess Club)…but Jeff will always be the man remembered for the Morris/Kapowski split…that Bastard! 

Pedophile?  Maybe.

 

1. Johnny Dakota 

The movie star who planned to shoot an anti-drug commercial at Bayside. 

Unbeknownst to everyone; Johnny was a pothead. Zack was appalled when he went to a Hollywood party and a joint was being passed around.  Really Zack?  Did you think there was going to be a punchbowl and sour cream and onion chips at a friggin Johnny Dakota party…please!?!?!  Johnny also hooked up with Kelly (which was cool with Zack…ummmm weird).   Dakota’s drug use was a slap in the face to the gang and was part of a harsh realization that outside the hall of Bayside, evil existed. 

This episode was epic with plenty of awkward moments.  The students had a round table discussion on how terrible drugs are…there was a random girl (not even sure if she was a Bayside student) talking about how she had to drive her brother around because he was in a wheel chair (assumingly due to drugs)!  

During an auction of “Dakota memorabilia”, Zack was a little too quick to become the new owner of Johnny’s Purple jacket.  Easy Preppie! 

The highlight of the entire episode included a very weak anti-drug rap performed by the Bayside Students; “We’re Bayside School and we’re no fools, we don’t use drugs cause it’s just not cool.  So if you get the offer, make sure you refuse..When it comes to drugs, just don’t use.”

I’m sure we could make a list of fifty additional SBTB Favorites (it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s done within the next month).  Who’d we miss?  

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Hit us up at SonsofZabka@gmail.com.

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