This August will be a big one for anyone who has ever called someone "preppie" or performed Zack Attack songs at karaoke, with Saved by the Bell turning 30 years old. To celebrate the occasion, four of the main cast members – Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley – all met up for dinner, accompanied by their spouses. It appeared to be quite a cute and happy get-together, and I think it'd be a fantastic set-up scenario for a Saved by the Bell revival special.
First, let's champion all the former co-stars before conceptualizing their potential TV return. This is one of the most ageless TV casts known to man, and everyone is looking predictably great all grouped together around a restaurant table. Granted, Mark-Paul Gosselaar's dark beard is something that would have looked surreally alien on Zack Morris' face, but his eyes and smile could easily take viewers back to Bayside's halls.
Two of the main Saved by the Bell "kid" stars were absent from the dinner, with Dustin "Screech" Diamond and Lark "Lisa" Voorhies nowhere to be seen during the communal dinnertime. Voorhies largely backed away from her acting career in the 2000s, with arguably her most notable roles hitting in How High and the Robot Chicken episode where she reprised her SBTB role. She'd previously declined to take part in the planned reunion on The Tonight Show in 2015.
It's not so surprising that Dustin Diamond wasn't around for this pic, since he hasn't been close with the others in years. Diamond had some legal problems in recent years, not to mention penning the 2009 tell-all Behind the Bell, which shed unflattering light on the alleged behind-the-scenes behavior of Diamond's co-stars. Just about everything has been refuted, of course, and Diamond later "confessed" that it was written by a ghost writer. Just as he claimed he wasn't in his own sex tape.
In any case, the limited reunion dinner was still a success for Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley. Here, Lopez shared an amusing video laying out how the meal went.
Now, as far as a pitch for a Saved by the Bell reunion special goes, I'd like to offer up the seemingly simple idea of Zack, Slater, Kelly and Jessie all doing the the same thing that their portrayers did. Reuniting for an evening together, possibly with respective life-mates, would be an interesting way for these characters to return in evolved ways without, say, needing Zack to scheme an entire population into following his bidding.
They could have conversations about past hijinks they regret and past romances they look back on fondly, possibly with old clips getting shown. Little convo would likely get devoted to the actual education they got at Bayside; even if Jessie tried to do it, Zack would probably shut that shit down.
Not that any potential Saved by the Bell reunions would absolutely need to take place in a restaurant. The point would and should just be to introduce circumstances for the characters' lives to realign with one another, as opposed to coming up with the scheme of all schemes for Zack to attempt pulling off. I just want to see what these people are like as genuine adults.
Quite often, concepts for modern TV revivals are basically just beat-for-beat reproductions of the series' original formats, with some minor updates. Murphy Brown, Roseanne (turned The Conners), and even CBS All Access' The Twilight Zone makes intentional callbacks to the franchise's flagship. That couldn't happen, however, with Saved by the Bell's central characters, who'd all graduated Bayside High at the end of the initial series' run, ahead of the College Years and New Class spinoffs, as well as the TV movies.
In fact, if those follow-up projects are still considered canon within the Saved by the Bell-verse, then Zack and Kelly might still be married. And Mr. Belding might STILL be suffering through another multi-year span getting hijacked by one of Bayside's craftiest slackers, although I'd prefer to see him get introduced as the gang's waiter for the reunion dinner. "Hey, hey, hey! What is being ordered here?"
Fans' love for Saved by the Bell has never completely died, but recent years have seen pop culture embracing the former Saturday morning series in different ways, such as that pop-up diner, that bonkers Lifetime original movie, Mario Lopez and Dennis Haskins' NFL-related cameos for Fox, and more.
Arguably the biggest highlight, which is admittedly unfavorable to Saved by the Bell itself, is the Funny or Die web series Zack Morris Is Trash. Each short-form episode offers editorialized recaps of SBTB episodes while pointing out the endless number of ways in which Zack is a monster to the friends, family and strangers around him. (Such as that time he sold untested zit cream that made people's faces turn maroon, and then blamed Kelly for applying some after he sold it to her.)
As a parting piece of proper "make yourself feel old" wisdom tied to Saved by the Bell's upcoming anniversary: the entire cast could realistically have had children of their own that would have already graduated from Bayside by now. After picking your jaw up off the ground, be sure to rewatch the teen shenanigans in all of their glory by streaming episodes on Hulu (opens in new tab).
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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