Saved by the Bell Season 1, Episode 11: “The Friendship Business”

What is up with the theme song in this episode? No, seriously, listen to it.

It’s the same graphics that we are used to but it sounds like the singer had laryngitis that day. I don’t really mind this song, but I definitely prefer the usual one so I hope this will be the last time we’ll ever see this version of the song.

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We open in Economics class ,where the gang has been tasked with coming up with a business they can run successfully for a group project. They can’t agree on anything because they’re all self-absorbed, but then Lisa comes in and gives them all friendship bracelets. Well, all of the but Screech because he tries to manhandle her into a hug and she tells him that she’s rather stick her head in Paris Hilton’s snatch.

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This is the first appearance of Mr. Tuttle, another teacher we will see quite a bit, here playing the Economics teacher, and he may well be the most normal teacher besides the sub that we’ve seen since Miss Bliss. As for the project, I want to know where the hell Bayside gets its funding. Mr. Tuttle is giving out $100 of seed money to every group, meaning he’s trusting at least three groups of pubescent teenagers to responsibly invest $100. Yeah.

Mr. Tuttle polls each group about their project. The Guy with Butt-Rock Hair and Skateboarding in School Guy have both become stereotypical surfers along with another extra and have decided to sell cardboard surfboards, because cardboard matches the depth of their personalities.

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The guy on the right in the below photo is Edgar Poindexter, who we will also see show up a few times, every time we need one of the stereotypical nerds to actually talk. He and his group are marketing pocket protector protectors, because, as we all know, all geeks can ever think of are pocket protectors.vlcsnap-2014-02-12-18h48m15s218

The gang is about to admit they don’t know what to sell when Zack Morris makes a unilateral decision to invade the friendship bracelet business, which Skateboarding/Surfer Guy thinks are “awesome.” Such beautiful prose has not been uttered since the sonnets of Shakespeare. Skateboarding/Surfer Guy is a true muse.vlcsnap-2014-02-12-18h49m45s146In Zack Morris’s room, Zack Morris has a fantasy about becoming rich and famous through the friendship bracelet business. He’s on the cover of such prestigious magazines as National Celebrity and Famous. Seeing the titles of magazines in Zack Morris’s fantasies, I am glad certain episodes revolving around him never featured certain topics. For example, if there was a very special episode about gay people, I bet Zack Morris would read a magazine called Buttsex Monthly. Or an episode about mental illness might be called Fucking Nuts Quarterly.
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Of course, being the narcissistic fuck he is, everyone in Zack Morris’s fantasy is serving his every whim and need. Screech is a Robin Leech rip-off hosting a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous rip-off. This may be Dustin Diamond’s most unbelievable role yet. After all, instead of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, Dustin Diamond usually had hand-job wishes and dreams of self-importance.
vlcsnap-2014-02-12-18h50m40s190Screech is profiling Zack Morris, who we can tell is rich because he beat up Richie Rich and stole his shoes.

vlcsnap-2014-02-12-18h50m53s56 vlcsnap-2014-02-12-18h51m16s33Slater is doing the grunt work in manufacturing, which I can actually believe considering his lack of direction in the career week episode.
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Lisa is still making the friendship bracelets for Zack Morris because fashion is all she’s good for.

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Jessie is his secretary, and you can tell she’s a spinster by her never-been-touched-by-a-man outfit and demeanor. Fantasy Jessie does give us a funny line, though, when she says that President Bush wants a friendship bracelet for Gorbachev but Vice-President Quayle put his friendship bracelet over his head. Yeah, if you’re too young to remember Dan Quayle, just know that he was perhaps the most incompetent man to serve as Vice-President during my generation.

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Mr. Belding, odd enough, has been turned into Zack Morris’s chauffeur, which I guess is Zack Morris’s way of saying he’s going to be a big jerk to Mr. Belding forever.

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And, of course, Kelly is Zack Morris’s rich housewife, because Kelly has no other purpose in the mind of Zack Morris than to be on standby to fulfill his every sexual desire.

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Well, that was a weird foray into Zack Morris’s psyche. I almost expected us to see Max playing a butler and Miss Bliss acting as attorney.

The rest of the gang join Zack Morris all at once, which suggests they carpooled over. Either that, or there’s going to be an episode of Taxicab Confessions featuring the Saved by the Bell gang. They decide to name their company “Friendship Forever” but the company falls apart when Zack Morris attempts to assert himself as President of the company because he’s afraid that Jessie will blow his idea and, if there will be any sort of blowing around here, it will be done by Zack Morris. He’s all,. “Me Zack Morris! Me smart! Me President!” Jessie, Kelly, and Slater don’t agree and they break off to start a rival company. And I’ve just realized that Zack Morris has an Australian flag on his bedroom door, suggesting that the other company’s strategy will be to call ICE and have Zack Morris sent back to his native land.

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The friendship bracelet business is, so far, a success, with people literally just walking by and throwing money at Zack Morris. In class, Zack Morris reports that the company has, so far, netted a profit of $120.

Not to be outdone, Jessie, Kelly, and Slater have created their own company, complete with a Schindler’s List-style promo video.

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Yes, Slater is sad because he’s no good at making friends. What is his panacea? Why, it’s a head thong, stupid little elastic bands that you wear on your forehead and accentuate your forehead in such stylish ways. Their brand name is “Buddy Bands” and, because girls are only good for sex appeal, Jessie and Kelly dress in skimpy outfits and shake their boobies. The subliminal advertising here is that head thongs and boobies solve all your problems.

vlcsnap-2014-02-12-18h57m41s56At The Max, Max does a magic trick that’s supposed to explain to Friendship Forever how he beat a competitor down the road. What he actually does is make some eggs appear.

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And then a baby chicken whom he was suffocating inside an eggshell.

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The moral here is the way to beat your competition is to offer your customers a live chicken whether city ordinances allow for it or not.

Anyway, they get the idea to market their friendship bracelets by offering a free friend with every purchase, who just happens to be Screech, because why would Zack Morris or Lisa do anything when they can just force their brunt work on Screech. And this woman who appears to be in her late-twenties buys a whole lot of friendship bracelets so she can have Screech’s hot body for as long as possible.

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Back at Friendship Forever headquarters, aka the Australian Embassy, Screech is exhausted from being everyone’s friend all day and Zack Morris suggests that Lisa take over tomorrow. Lisa tells him, “Oh no you didn’t! Bitch, you done made that up! I’m taking my mother fucking friendship bracelets and our mother fucking rent-a-friend and going to sell me some forehead thongs.” And, with that, Lisa and Screech abandon Zack Morris.

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The next day at school, the five watch as Zack Morris packs up Friends Forever and closes for business. He seems to be admitting defeat but, if you haven’t figured by now that Zack Morris always has ulterior motives, you haven’t been paying attention.

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Zack Morris buys a buddy band and the self-satisfied look on his face tells me that I’m now able to predict his actions way too well. Meanwhile, Buddy Bands decides to invest all their money in five hundred additional head thongs because now that Zack Morris is out of business, what can possibly go wrong? Yeah, they haven’t been paying attention.

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Zack Morris goes into the locker room where, for some reason, Mr. Belding is lifting weights because he didn’t want to be caught in the weight room. Zack Morris starts giving Mr. Belding lots of self-serving complements and Zack Morris tells Mr. Belding that he admires him so much he wants to give him a head thong.

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Mr. Belding is so touched he gives Zack Morris a bad touch. And Zack Morris gives his “I need an adult who doesn’t work at this school” face.

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In the hallway, Mr. Belding shares his enthusiasm at having a head thong with a random extra who just bought one, who seems genuinely disturbed to be having this interaction. The extra goes back and demands his money back because anything Mr. Belding wears is instantly uncool, which means they should stop wearing shoes, socks, and underwear. Soon, all the extras follow suit and the head thong business is out of business because they invested all their money in head thongs that no one wants to cover their head butt with.

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At The Max, the gang laments the end of their head thong business, and I want to imagine that Dustin Diamond dresses like this in the comfort of his own house. They realize that they went so over board trying to beat Zack Morris that all they did was beat their meat.

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Zack Morris comes in and sits at a table by himself, telling Max that the others hate his guts for making head thongs uncool. Max tells Zack Morris he’ll get his friends to like him again and even throw in Screech for good measure. He goes over to the head thong table and gives them all friendship bracelets that have had spells of forgiveness cast on them by the magic wizard Belding, instantly repairing the bad feelings the groups had with each other.

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And Zack Morris finally gets his own head thong.

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At school the next day, Edgar reports that his group earned $270 by buying out the surfer group and marketing their stupid cardboard surfboards as car visors, which is actually a clever plan. And their demonstration model attempts to imitate the sunglasses from the opening credits. I think Edgar just became my favorite recurring character on this show because, though he is a complete stereotype, he actually does stuff useful unlike our regular characters most of the time. Who wants to start the Edgar Poindexter Fan Club?

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Next our heroes report that they put together the friendship bracelets and head thongs to create “love cuffs,” which are sure to catch on with the budding high school BDSM crowd.

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And, of course, Lisa is stuck in a sexual position with Screech.

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They report that, though they only broke even and didn’t make a profit, they learned a valuable lesson in friendship. Mr. Tuttle decides that learning a valuable lesson is more important than his overbearing project standards and gives them an A because, in the end, whatever problems you may have in your personal relationships can always be solved with bondage sex toys.

Firsts: Mr. Tuttle, Edgar Poindexter, Mr. Belding lifting weights.

15 responses to “Saved by the Bell Season 1, Episode 11: “The Friendship Business”

  1. *** Slow Claps**** I have to say this is by far your best review so far. This episode is remarkably shitty and I felt that way the first time I saw it and I was about 10 then. Love the term Head Thong, because Buddy Bands are just stupid. I remember thinking back when I first saw this I would never wear them. Also as a 10 year old girl I was very capable of making my own friendship bracelets and wouldn’t by them from Zack either. Stupid idea for a business by both of them. And even though the nerds are very stereotypical on this show, their marketing skills of a terrible product goes to show, you know that when the internet hit, they got really rich off of it. And lastly the interaction between Zack and Belding and the comment of “He gave Zack a bad touch” coupled with the screen cap of Zack was just perfect.

    • Thanks as usual, JennieB! I never much understood the point of friendship bracelets myself. I had some but I think I gave them all to myself.

      I bet if there was a reunion, Edgar would be like Bill Gates. His idea was amazing!

  2. I thought Mr. Tuttle was the Driver’s Ed teacher? What other classes did he teach? I always liked him.

  3. I think Alan (the middle nerd) will grow on you as well. Not only is he a nerd, but there are many episodes where Zack lobs a fat joke or two his way. Talk about a multidimensional character.

  4. I refuse to look things up and just go on my memory from however many years ago that was, but I think his name was Alan or Allen Fairbanks. I never thought he was overweight either, but who can argue with Zack Morris? .

  5. Another great review! I too wondered about the $100 seed money each group was given. In high school we had an obese brown haired substitute one day the students unaffectionately called Mr. Tuttle.

  6. The theme song is an alternate version by Michael Damian. It was used during the first two seasons. (You can find the full-length version on the soundtrack album, which I own.) It doesn’t appear in syndication, so the appearance of this version of the theme on DVD is an indication of an NBC master (as opposed to a syndication master). That and the fact that the episode is slightly longer than a syndicated episode.

    • I’m beginning to think I should email you when I have questions like this. 😛 Thanks for the information, Mark. That does shed a lot of light on why there’s a different theme.

  7. Pingback: Season 3, Episode 15: “Junior Achievement” | California Dreams Reviewed

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