When Did Saved By the Bell Jump the Shark?
Today, we look at when (or if) you folks believe that Saved By the Bell “jumped the shark.”
This is “Just Can’t Jump It,” a feature where we examine shows and whether they “jumped the shark.” Jumped the shark (coined by Jon Hein) means that the show had a specific point in time where, in retrospect, you realize that show was going downhill from there (even if, in some rare occasions, the show later course-corrected). Not every show DOES jump the shark. Some shows just remain good all the way through. And some shows are terrible all the way through. What we’re looking for are moments where a show that you otherwise enjoyed hit a point where it took a noticeable nose dive after that time and if so, what moment was that?
I’m going with a tricky one this time around, the teen sitcom, Saved By the Bell, about a group of high school students and the wacky hijinks in their lives, along with their wacky principal. This was one of those series that really blew up in syndication, which occurred right when the series was just about to end, leading to a primetime spinoff that went nowhere (as the syndication audience didn’t translate to primetime well. Perhaps if it had longer in syndication before debuting the primetime series? The show hit syndication in the fall of 1992, and the primetime show was fall of 1993).
So first…DID IT JUMP THE SHARK? Yes.
WHEN DID IT JUMP THE SHARK So here’s where this is tricky, as there is a very good argument that the show jumped the shark from Day 1. I think it didn’t, but I am willing to bend to the will of the majority on this one, and I’m very curious as to how many people think that it jumped from the start. I think that it is important that we judge the show for the context of how it was intended, as a show for tweens. You can still say that a show for tweens was bad, even in the context of a show meant for tweens, of course, but it definitely changes the context of how you should judge the show, quality-wise. For me, I’m going to go with the tricky final season, where the syndication numbers were strong enough for NBC to double the order on the final season AFTER they had already filmed the initial order of episodes, and so Elizabeth Berkley and Tiffani Amber-Thiessen were not available for the extra-ordered episodes, so the show instead replaced them with a new cast member, Tori (Leanna Creel), and then just aired the episodes mixed together, so Jessie and Kelly would be there one week and missing the next, and the show then also re-used unaired episodes from previous seasons mixed in there (sometimes with at least a framing sequence of Zack “Remembering” the unaired episodes, but sometimes just thrown in there despite not making any sense, continuity-wise), and they also did a number of clip shows. It was a total trainwreck of a final season. So that’s my pick (I don’t think The College Years counts, but if it does, then that was terrible, as well).
Let me know what you think in the comments or on social media!
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com for suggestions for shows for us to do in future installments!
2 thoughts on “When Did Saved By the Bell Jump the Shark?”
It was always terrible. The shark was stuffed and mounted on the floor. In college, my friends and I wasted too much time hate -watching it.
I’d say when it went from Good Morning, Miss Bliss to Saved by the Bell. In that first season, Zach was kept in check to an extent. Once Zach was completely unleashed, the show became very difficult to watch.