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bayside

Matt Sato and Haskiri Velazquez star as Bayside High School students Gil and Daisy in the second season of “Saved By the Bell,” now streaming on Peacock.

When the new “Saved By The Bell” made its debut on Peacock last year, I had a friend tell me they couldn’t even make it through the first episode. I was surprised, because even though the show was not the “Bell” I know and love, it was still good and I really enjoyed it.

After watching the first four episodes of season two, I still feel that way, as the show is even better as it settles into a comedy groove, providing laughs through the spectrum of current social issues.

When season two kicks off, the students are returning to Bayside High in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Our main gang is dealing with the reality of basically missing their sophomore year, while trying to figure out how to recapture the moments they lost. Daisy (Haskiri Velazquez) is angry she lost all the momentum she had gained as class president and is determined to get it back. Mac (Mitchell Hoog) is upset about all the pranks and schemes he was unable to pull, while Lexi (Josie Totah) is trying to capture the perfect moment to finally have her second kiss with Jamie (Belmont Cameli). While some of the situations are a little over the top, the emotions behind them are real and perfectly mirror what many real-life students struggled with in 2020. Meanwhile, the original gang is dealing with a huge loss of their own. The first episode of the season is an incredibly strong start for the show both for its realism and its poignancy. Longtime fans will definitely want the tissues nearby.

Once things get back to normal at Bayside, the show doesn’t miss a beat. Dante (Dexter Darden) struggles with dating a rich girl, and Daisy finds herself distracted by a cute guy, while Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley Lauren) deals with getting a divorce. Thankfully, Jessie has Slater (Mario Lopez) for support.

One of the best differences between the new “Bell” and the original is that these new characters are so well defined, thanks to the stark differences between the Bayside kids and the Douglas transfers. This new version is meant to be for us adults who grew up watching the original and so it’s not afraid to point out the issues of the first go-around — issues that we didn’t really fully grasp as teenagers but totally understand now.

I’m still struggling with the changes the show has made to Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), but since I would pretty much watch Gosselaar read the phone book, I’m just going with it. But if the writers decide to make a bigger change and break up Zack and Kelly, that’s an entirely different story. I still can’t watch the episode where they broke up the last time.

The second season of “Saved By the Bell” is now streaming on Peacock.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for HD Media. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.

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