Every once in a while, there is an episode that is so tonally off the wall or takes “A Very Special Episode” to beyond the beyond. Today’s example: Saved by the Bell.
The full run of the Saved by the Bell canon was made available on Netflix streaming in the spring of 2012.1 This episode hit the regular beats of any SBTB episode: a direct address from Zack to the audience kicking off the show, a dream sequence midway through, and someone (usually Screech) ending up in a costume and/or an unfortunate accent. Zack was really into human trafficking. However, “Jessie’s Song” was one of the rare episodes to have only an A-Story. I suppose it could be argued that Jessie’s math midterm and her obligations to Hot Sundae are separate A- and B-stories, but the coalescence around Jessie makes it almost unnecessary to parse.
The episode begins with Jessie freaking out about an upcoming geometry midterm. While studying at The Maxx with Zach and Screech watching(?), they have a conversation about how Jessie hates coffee and wants to get into Stanford. Kelly and Lisa show up and notice “I’m So Excited” starts playing on the jukebox. The three women have a sing-a-long and it doesn’t sound half bad. The first indication this show is off-tone: the audience has no reaction to the performance. This is the same audience that goes “wooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” at the slightest hint of sexuality. Anyway, Zack thinks they sound awesome and he wants to introduce them to a record producer his dad knows. The girls just wanna have fun and sing in the locker room and not try to become the next big thing.
The next day in math class, the students get the results from a quiz. Jessie gets a C and she is not pleased about it. She asks Slater for some tutoring2 and they agree to study together that night. The girls head to the locker room to get ready for gym class. Zack sends Screech to follow, dressed as a custodian with an Irish-ish accent and the name Sinead O’Connor. I’m sure she had a sense of humor about this. Screech’s mop has a microphone hidden inside and the girls start to sing again.