November 30, 1988 – The Live-Action Series Good Morning Miss Bliss Premieres on the Disney Channel
“There’s nothing quite like the first day of school: fresh faces, new clothes, and summer memories.”
On November 30, 1988, the live-action sitcom Good Morning Miss Bliss premiered on the Disney Channel. The series was cancelled after five episodes, with thirteen episodes having been completed; the series then moved to NBC and was retooled as Saved by the Bell, which became a huge hit for the channel. Good Morning Miss Bliss featured stories about teachers and students, while the latter focused on just the students. The episodes of Good Morning Miss Bliss were added to Saved by the Bell’s syndication later on. The series was created by Sam Bobrick, and featured Hayley Mills as Carrie Bliss, Dennis Haskins as Principal Belding, Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris, Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle, Dustin Diamond as Screech Powers, Max Battimo as Mikey Gonzales, and Heather Hopper as Nikki Coleman.
The first episode, “Summer Love,” begins at John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, with the new school year having just started. Zack Morris greets his friends Mikey and Screech, and brags about hanging out with a ninth grader all summer long, as he pretended he was in the ninth grade as well. His other friend Nikki is rather critical of Zack’s lies, but her friend Lisa argues that everyone lies in the matters of summer love. Carrie Bliss, their teacher, is talking with her fellow teachers about their schedules, and she talks with Principal Belding, who asks her to cover for him at the PTA meeting, but she declines, as she has a date. As Miss Bliss helps a new student to their classroom, they run into Zack in the hallway, and he is shocked to see that the new girl is Karen, the girl he met at camp. The two nervously chat, and Zack comes up with more lies to tell her to cover for the fact that he isn’t a ninth grader. Things get worse when Miss Bliss tells him that he’ll be announced as the eighth grade representative at the assembly that afternoon, but he shockingly announces that he resigns.
During lunch, Zack eats with Karen, while Belding joins Miss Bliss at her table. He again tries to guilt her into taking his place at the PTA, but with no avail. Zack and Karen run into Lisa and Nikki, with Nikki trying to ruin Zack’s lie surreptitiously. As the bell rings, everyone heads to class, but Miss Bliss asks to talk with Zack for a moment. She asks him why he turned down being the student council representative, and he comes clean. Zack’s worried that Karen will dump him if he tells the truth, but Miss Bliss tells him that she’ll find out sooner or later. He tries to tell Karen the truth, but chickens out when she invites him over while her parents are away that weekend. Unfortunately, Karen finds out the truth on her own, and she walks away angrily. As Miss Bliss sits in her classroom, Belding once again tries to convince her to take his place at the PTA meeting, but she turns him down again.
That night, Miss Bliss is getting ready for her date when her friend Tina arrives. Miss Bliss tries to get Tina to leave, but her date arrives before Tina can leave. Fortunately, she sees herself out, and Miss Bliss and her date enjoy their evening. As she goes to get dessert, Zack arrives at her backyard. He confides in her that Karen dumped him. Miss Bliss takes time from her date to help Zack, and she helps him understand that this kind of pain is a part of life. Her date walks in on them talking, and when he says that he has to go, she tries to convince him to stay, thinking that her life as a teacher scared him away. Fortunately for her, he just had an emergency at work, but would love to see her again, and thinks she’s a wonderful teacher.