Saved by the Bell: Driver’s Education

This is an episode that feels particularly close to home for me because I haven’t had to do much driving living in New York. Today the Bayside kids start Driver’s Ed.

This episode starts off with Zack giving Kelly a ring and Kelly telling Zack that she isn’t ready to go steady. Now, I was a little young for dating when Saved by the Bell was on, but this doesn’t feel very 90’s to me. Did teenagers talk about going steady in the early 90’s?

Anyway, let’s get back to driving. A.C. Slater is the only kid who knows how to drive safely. Everyone else thinks it’s appropriate to dry your nails out of the window (Lisa) or put one arm around Kelly (Zack), but Slater knows that the proper way to hold the wheel is the 10 & 2 position. Slater is also the only one who is financially responsible enough to save for and purchase a car. Basically, Slater is a 25 year-old amongst 15 year-olds in this situation. And yes, I’m saying this mostly because of his fashion choices.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.29.13 AMAnyway, Zack gets super jealous because he’s worried that Kelly will be more interested in Slater than she is in Zack. She says she isn’t ready to go stead and she considers the ring to be a friendship ring, so the next logically thought is that she is totally shallow and only interested in boys with cars, duh. Thus, he begins to concoct a plan to get the Driver’s Ed. teacher to fail Slater. Solid friendship, guys!

Now, I don’t know about you, but my Driver’s Ed car was a clunky old sedan. The kids of Bayside get this lovely compact convertible. Some might even call it a golf cart. Obviously, their driver’s training was a lot more cutting edge and unconventional than mine.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.36.49 AMBut Zack’s attempts to turn the teacher against Slater don’t counter-act that fact that Slater is an incredibly good golf cart driver. And maybe he does have cause to worry about the Kelly/Slater connection because Kelly seems pretty turned on by how well Slater did in the in-classroom cone obstacle course. I’m beginning to wonder if Zack is a masochist because then he has a fantasy about Slater taking Kelly to the drive-in while he and Screech sit next to them on a bike.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.44.03 AMScreen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.52.52 AM

Zack is such a douche in this episode. Basically, he’s not great at driving so he asks Slater for help. Slater totally agrees to help him out and Zack is still trying to ruin his life. So basically, Zack takes the car out of the classroom and into the hallway and bribes Slater to teach him how to drive out of bounds. But Kelly walks up and wants to ride with Slater. (Zack has suspiciously asked to observe Slater’s teaching techniques from outside the vehicle). As it turns out, Zack has setup Belding to find Slater driving the car alone outside of the classroom. But Zack can’t get Kelly away from the car and basically shocks Slater into crashing. A golf cart. In a hallway. So maybe he isn’t that great of a driver.

It’s pretty concerning that these school locker’s cannot withstand the force of a slow-moving golf cart. But they must not be very heavy lockers because Kelly is actually okay and non-concussed. However, Screech tells Kelly, Slater, Jesse, and Lisa the truth about Zack’s actions, so Jesse encourages Kelly to fake massive-brain-injury in order to guilt Zack into confessing. It almost works, but then Kelly accidentally calls Zack by his name and shows herself to be a lot more lucid than she appeared. Also, someone should have been getting this girl serious medical attention if she really mistook Zack for Tom Cruise.

Then Zack concocts a new plan to keep everyone quiet so that no one gets punished. But since no one has come forward, Belding decides that the best course of action is to cancel Driver’s Ed. Apparently, the school board and parents are totally cool with that. Kelly is so sweet that she offers to take the blame for everyone. Then Slater offers to take the blame instead of Kelly. Why are they protecting Zack?? He was so awful! Agh!

Luckily, Zack proves that he really can be the hero of our show and finally confesses. He’s automatically flunked out of the class and Slater gets two weeks detention. And Kelly is so impressed with his honesty that she agrees to go steady! So good week overall for Zack?

Very Special Lesson: If you ever become jealous of your friends and want to ruin their lives, they will cover for you in the event of a horrible disaster totally and completely by your doing.

6 thoughts on “Saved by the Bell: Driver’s Education

  1. In the late 80s early 90s folks “went together”. Of course, they also didn’t go back and forth and worry about it that much–i.e. the whole first season where Kelly waffled between Zack & Slater would not have really happened unless she wanted to be called…something. She could have gone with Zack for a month and then Slater for a month and waffled that way (details details lol) but there wasn’t really dating different folks on different nights like SBTB portrayed it.

    Second, I hate this episode for many reasons. Zack is a bigger douche than usual (& I love Zack), and everyone will string me up because, though I loved Slater and Jessie I think Kelly and Slater always had more chemistry than Zack and Kelly and this episode kind of highlighted that for me but she still chose Zack. Even though he was a bigger douche than usual.

    Finally, IMO, yes, Zack did have reason to worry. Kelly was, uh, kind of not the going steady type. Her affections did change rather quickly and way more than his throughout the run of SBTB. BUT, did I mention Zack was more of a douche than normal this episode?

    Great review. Thanks!

    1. Seriously! Slater was the way better option. The other reason this episode is stupid is that Slater wasn’t even pursuing her at this point. He was actually being a good friend to everyone and Zack was just being a jerk.

  2. Looking back at the show as a whole, when I watch the first episodes (production order, not airing order) I kind of think they were planning Zack/Jessie and Slater/Kelly at first–but Mark-Paul’s Zack was so popular that the fans wanted him to get his dream girl. Added that Tiffani (I say Tiffani because I don’t think Kelly would have been as popular if she wasn’t played by Tiffani because Tiffani was so pretty (and IMO a way better actress than the character of Kelly demonstrated). Kelly, as first written (until they made her family poor) was kind of one dimensional as a character.

    Can’t remember the episode names, but it seemed like they were leaning towards Zack/Jessie up through maybe The Sprain. The shifts really seemed noticeable to me by the Zit Cream, Class Marriage (which also gave hints of more with Jessie and Slater) and finally the brainwashing episode (when the audience booed when Kelly decided to go with Slater because Zack was supposed to be in trouble it became a given IMO that Zack/Kelly was where it was now added).

    Yes, I’m a geek. And I don’t feel like working right now 🙂

    1. I am honestly not 100% sure if I have seen all of those episodes in production order and now that Netflix has selectively removed episodes from every season, I probably won’t be able to for a while. I do know they wanted to be an ongoing rivalry between slater and zack for lelly but they killed that when kelly/zack became so popular. I hadn’t heard about a jesse/zack thing but you may be on to something. He kissed like every girl on that show so maybe they wanted to give him a shot at all of them.

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