Anytime Saved by the Bell fans are asked to list the most iconic moments from the youth-skewing franchise – a request that doesn't happen often enough for my tastes – it's never long before someone brings up the wildly memorable Season 2 installment "Jessie's Song." That is, of course, the episode where Elizabeth Berkley's Jessie is trying to balance girl-group performances with maintaining high test scores, and gets assistance from a bottle of caffeine pills. The classic scene? Jessie's emotionally panicked rendition of The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited" to a flabbergasted Zack.
The scene is so quintessential to Saved by the Bell fandom that it not only got parodied during a Family Guy cutaway gag, but it also inspired a hilarious callback joke in the upcoming revival series set to stream on Peacock. In fact, it was the best part of the newly released trailer, which can be found below.
For the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Saved by the Bell put on a panel with revival creator Tracey Wigfield, O.G. star Elizabeth Berkley, and most of the new actors, including John Michael Higgins as the new Bayside principal and Haskiri Velazquez as the new main character. As an avid viewer of Saved by the Bell programming for what now counts as the majority of my life, I got to give my inner child a high five by asking Berkley about getting to pay tribute to the caffeine pill episode for her return as Jessie Spano. In her words:
There's a great episode – I don't want to give too much away – that really pays homage to that moment, where Jesse still has some interesting feelings about that time. And of course, one of the most kind of loved episodes is the 'I'm So Excited' caffeine pill episode that, to this day, people come up to me and just say those three words. Not 'I love you.' 'I'm so excited.' And of course, I mean, there are a few ways that Tracey brilliantly embedded that into some of the scenes, and I can't wait for you to see it. That's a perfect example of having fun, a little wink, and still just honoring the things that people loved, but then putting it in this modern new way.
Let's be real. It would have been very easy for a new Saved by the Bell series to simply sit back and become a shameless self-parody, or something more harshly critical of itself in the way that Zack Morris Is Trash so beautifully recontextualizes classic episodes. Or for it to do like The New Class did and just hit all the same character beats and narrative tracks. Instead, former 30 Rock and Mindy Project writer/producer Tracey Wigfield is embracing SBTB's history and hair and bad clothing and building upon it as a fan, as opposed to someone trying to bring in only nostalgia-soaked dollar bills.
To that end, Tracey Wigfield talked about the creative team's approach to drawing in both fans of the original series and new viewers who might only be familiar with Saved by the Bell by name alone. (And probably "I'm So Excited" memes, if we're being realistic.) Here was Wigfield's response, which should give fans a warm feeling about what we can expect when the show arrives in full.
It was very important that we also treated Saved by the Bell with reverence and respect. People really love the show. You know, Elizabeth and I have talked a lot about people, it means a ton to them. Because like I was saying, it was on for every moment of my childhood. So people attach to it and we want to poke fun at it in a way you only can if you deeply love something. But we also don't want to kind of be like, 'Look how stupid it was,' or something that. That isn't our intention.
Saved by the Bell has no shortage of memorable moments during its run, with so many of them hinging on baffling musical sequences. Let's all band our hopes together to wish for Tracey Wigfield, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez and other O.G. cast members to reference tons of other classic moments beyond Jessie's caffeine pill problem, such as Zack Attack, Tori's absence and the whereabouts of Professor Jeremiah Laskey.
Saved by the Bell's new iteration doesn't yet have a premiere date locked up for the Peacock streaming service, as there is still more filming to be done once productions are allowed to start back up again. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more coverage, and head to our Fall 2020 TV schedule to see what shows will be premiering soon.