Saved by the Bell - Seasons One & Two

Pining for the days of life-altering crushes, track meets and text books as expressed through neon spandex and a ton of cross-dressing trickery? Search no longer, because the puzzlingly persuasive beginnings of the Saved by the Bell sextet now provide you with 750 minutes of the most stress-free, hilarious teen drama you can buy. All your old pals are there — the smooth-talking Zack Morris, the muscle-bound A.C. Slater, the lovable Screech (Samuel) Powers, the all-American Kelly Kapowski, the fashion-obsessed Lisa Turtle and the intellectual Jessie Spano. Every episode follows the same formula: one of the clan develops a small but easily solved dilemma, Zack brews up an elaborate solution that usually involves some obvious costuming and/or the duping of everyone's favourite naive and giddy principal, Mr. Belding. The plan begins to work, but falters, causing the realisation that the solution is always honesty, and a TV life lesson is learned. The only deviant episode is the infamous "Jessie's Song," where writers attempt to branch out and jump on the old "tackling real life issues" bandwagon. The perfectionist in question becomes addicted to caffeine pills and forces us to sit through the most painfully acted scene of her breaking point freak-out with Zack ("I'm so excited, I'm so excited, I'm so... scared!"). Still, this stuff is like a train wreck and you can't help but indulge in its so-bad-it's-good-ness. Strangely enough, the absurd predictability, amateur high school play-ish acting and implausible sets aren't annoying, they're addictive. You just can't beat one-liners like, "if this works on principals, why can't it work on girls?," especially when combined with the one-dimensional dynamics between the characters. Jessie will always spew faux-liberal feminist rhetoric at Slater, who will always call her a "chick." Zack will forever be plotting to win the optimistic, air-headed Kelly. Lisa will always be running from the over-the-top geekiness of Screech. And Saved by the Bell will always be recognised with bizarre near-cult status fondness by all those weirdoes bridging the gap between generations X and Y. (Lions Gate)