Friends Forever: Zack Attack For the Ages

SAVED BY THE BELL, Top Row: Ed Alonzo, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Bottom Row: Lark Voorhies, Tiifani-Amber Thiessen, Dennis Haskins, Dustin Diamond, Season 1, 1989-1993 (c)NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection.
SAVED BY THE BELL, Top Row: Ed Alonzo, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Bottom Row: Lark Voorhies, Tiifani-Amber Thiessen, Dennis Haskins, Dustin Diamond, Season 1, 1989-1993 (c)NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Welcome back to the randomness! Continuing the ‘fake television band’ love fest, I come to a smaller band. This band did not get a full-blown television show but it was part of a bigger teenage revolution. Well…in reruns at least.

Saved by the Bell aired from 1989 to 1992. It was another version of the show aimed at high school aged kids. The first shot was called Good Morning Miss Bliss and was aimed more at younger middle school aged kids. The third try was with the Saved by the Bell: College Years. I am sure I am the only person out there that actually enjoyed the show (I have it on DVD somewhere).

Either way the show followed Zack Morris and his friends (Kelly, A.C. Slater, Jesse, Lisa Turtle, Screech and Mr. Belding) as they navigated middle and high school and then college. Yes, it was preachy and could get ‘afterschool special’ on its audience but the characters were charming and have endured over time. I did not watch the show live (I was three when it started!) but I was a part of the Superstation (TBS) rerun generation.  Every day before school, I would watch two episodes while eating breakfast. In that time, I found my favorite episode to be the one that turned out to be all a dream.

“Rockumentary” was the season three closer that followed the rise, fall and rise of the Zack Attack band. It obviously followed the normal trajectory of the band being full of friends, letting outside forces tear them apart but to come back to together on their own terms (huh…sounds like the show itself followed that trajectory too).  I look at this episode as a VH1 Behind the Music with Casey Kasem (ah…poor Casey Kasem).

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The episode, watching it now (thanks Netflix!), is hokey and silly. The songs they sing in the episode are silly and I do not know why they would be hits to begin with. Silly is not a strong enough word but silly will work for now. I do love the references to Vanilla Ice (MC Hammer? I was never sure).

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I also found it funny that Screech was the one to write the tell-all about the band (predicting the future much?).  The episode is also missing Jesse. Jesse is in the band when Kelly and Zach break up but not in the fantasy version of the band! That always bugged me but according to the Saved by the Bell Wiki actress Elizabeth Berkley (Jesse) broke her left knee and was written out of the episode. I always figured that Jesse was too smart to go with the group and just went to college and got a high paying job (or Vegas). Either way, the writers could have added a small explanation. Then again, this show was not a stickler for continuity (Tori and Kelly were never in the same room people! Discuss!).

The songs were hokey but man where they catchy. I still catch myself humming the songs. Mostly Friends Forever but Did we Ever Have Chance still comes up in my head.  Friends Forever was a nice idea and fit the shows happy go lucky spirit.

I think I loved this episode and band so much because it let me vicariously live my secret desire to start a band when I was a kid. Let me say that I cannot hold a tune but I can play the flute…that is about it. I think I found the idea of hanging out with my friends and ability to sing soft rock un-ironically a huge draw. I think we all, at some point, wanted to start a band like the Saved by the Bell gang.

I will never forget the Zack Attack and apparently neither will future generations (again…Thanks Netflix!).

Stick around because tomorrow I will be covering the other Saved by the Bell band (I am so excited!) as well as other small fake bands that caught my attention as a kid.

The randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed your time on the fake television band train!

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