Back in the 90s we didn’t have Netflix to constantly pump out teen-related movies and TV shows. We just had network TV. And before Fox showed up, the teen show didn’t even really exist. Then two shows came along and suddenly 90s kids were seeing themselves represented in primetime. Or at least after school.
Those shows were Saved by the Bell and 90210. 90210 was an hour-long primetime drama, a pop culture sensation that ushered in the return of sideburns. It was must-see TV, even when it was unbearably cheesy and frequently preachy. Saved by the Bell, on the other hand, was a Saturday morning sitcom and eventually a just-home-from-school afternoon TV staple.
As a child of the 90s, I devoured both of these shows. Both shows were pretty bad, to be honest, especially by today’s standards. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t love them! Which one did you love more?
That’s the question Dan Orlovsky, a former NFL QB, and current sports personality, asked on Twitter.
Team Saved By the Bell
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) June 23, 2021
Orlovsky’s tweet immediately got attention, and the Tampa Bay radio personality laid out his preference and reasoning with a compelling response that is hard to argue with:
Steve Sanders>AC Slater
Dylan McKay>Everyone pic.twitter.com/9il9fAbPbp
— Drew R. Garabo (@DrewOnTheRadio) June 23, 2021
I have some issues with that tweet, primarily that Steve Sanders is better than Slater. Neither are great, but Sanders is a tough look. That said, Dylan McKay is 100% the best character on either show and the only one that brought any sense of danger to teen television in the 90s. RIP Luke Perry!
Tweeter JGMIII raised the specter of the one actor who played major roles on both shows, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen:
When you had a crush on Kelly in saved by the bell and she showed up like this in 90210… 😍🔥😳 pic.twitter.com/xzd5Wky9lo
— JGMIII 🖥🖱⚽🎸🎮 (@Metalhead9806) June 23, 2021
(Apologies to Tori Spelling, whose appearance as the nerdy love interest for Screech was not a major character)
Some people raised the idea that other shows were superior. Someone mentioned Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, which, like SBTB, took inspiration from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the way its central character was a smooth-talking operator. Others brought up less glaringly white programming:
Team Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or A Different World pic.twitter.com/RSsA5W89BJ
— Professor Wright 🎓 (@Savion) June 23, 2021
TV in the 90s was totally lit, yo. What shows did you ride for?