Spoilers ahead for Peacock's Saved by the Bell revival.
The Saved by the Bell revival has no right to be so good, and yet it is. The series updates the beloved '90s sitcom for a new generation of viewers and it isn’t afraid to take shots at its original storylines, be it Zack’s inappropriate bikini calendar to the ridiculous amount of times the students pranked Mr. Belding and got away with it.
The Peacock revival is very much its own thing, but that doesn’t mean that the new Saved by the Bell doesn’t get nostalgic now and again throughout the season. The series references everything from the iconic “Barbara Ann” dance to Tori Scott. There are simply far too many nods to the original sitcom to keep track of, but here are 13 of the best throwback references to the '90s Saved by the Bell.
13. Malibu Sand Beach Resort Gets A Nod
In the very first episode of the Saved by the Bell revival, the students of Bayside High School set up two different sign-up sheets for the volleyball team. The first was for a regular old league and the second was the "Resort Sand" volleyball team, a sly nod to the original series’ Malibu Sands Beach Resort and the team Zack and his friends joined while working there.
12. Slater Dating A Princess
When Jessie’s dad was getting remarried, the entire crew was invited to his wedding in Palm Springs. In the two-part episode, Slater met and became smitten with Christina, the princess of Liechtenstein. When he and the rest of the original friends group brought up all the locations they visited in the revival, Slater was simultaneously in awe and perplexed that he ended up going out with royalty. High school was wild!
11. Daisy Using Zack’s Giant Cell Phone
This may be one of the funniest references to the 90s sitcom. When Daisy is discussing cell phones, she says that her mom doesn't want her having the new ones so she's resorted to giving her daughter the bulky, giant cell phone that is no longer in use. Yes, it was the very same one that belonged to Zack himself and it was a bit of clever writing that the phone was worked into the storyline as an actual reference to cell phones.
10. Zack Attack’s Friends Forever
When trying to convince Principal Toddman that he was always the original characters' friend (he wasn't), the gang dressed up in glitzy costumes to sing "Friends Forever" as the band Zack Attack — a band Zack presumably dreamed up during a fake music documentary featuring the late Casey Kasem. He’s also referenced as having hosted all the events at The Max, including a dance competition that Lisa and Screech won.
9. Slater Dances To "Barbara Ann”
One of the many memorable moments from the original sitcom was when Slater, Screech, and Zack dance to The Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann.” When Slater is tasked with breaking up a party in the revival, he joins the students instead and turns on “Barbara Ann” to get things going. He even admits to having the old costumes in his trunk. Slater also shows off his famous dance skills to convince the kids that he can, in fact, bust a move.
8. No One Remembers Tori Scott
Tori Scott was the (random) new student who seemingly replaced Kelly and Jessie during their senior year at Bayside. In the Saved by the Bell revival, Zack Morris is convinced that the Douglas High School students keep things fresh at Bayside, just like Tori once did. However, Kelly doesn’t remember her at all and it’s a great in-joke because Kelly and Tori never did cross paths.
7. Zack Doing Swan Lake To Graduate
When Zack and Kelly returned to Bayside for the alumni dinner, they got super nostalgic with Slater and Jessie. At one point, Zack mentions the fact that he had to perform in the school’s production of Swan Lake to graduate on time. Naturally, Zack wondered why he even had to do Swan Lake to pass, but that’s Bayside for you.
6. Jessie Being Caffeine Free For 30 Years
The running gag in the Saved by the Bell revival is Jessie being caffeine free for 30 years since the incident in the original series that led to her taking caffeine pills to study. Jessie doesn’t drink coffee (something her husband forgot) all because she was previously hooked on the pills. Fun fact: it was originally supposed to be speed that Jessie was addicted to, but NBC execs didn’t approve.
5. I'm So Excited, I'm So Scared
Jessie’s big freakout from the original Saved by the Bell is so iconic that Elizabeth Berkley even paid homage to it when she was on Dancing with the Stars. The revival hasn’t forgotten about it either and pays tribute to the moment in a fun way. However, now that Jessie is a published author in-universe, the title of her book is hilariously called, I'm So Excited, I'm So Scared… of Becoming a Parent.
4. Screech And Kevin The Robot
In the early days of Saved by the Bell, Screech had a very smart robot named Kevin (he even shaved). Though he disappeared from the show, the revival makes mention of both Screech and Kevin living in the International Space Station to explain the former’s absence. At least Screech has some company with him in space!
3. The NBC Promo About Drugs
This '90s reference couldn’t go unmentioned. In the original sitcom, the students of Bayside joined real-life NBC Chairman Brandon Tartikoff for a promo that ended with the famous “There’s no hope with dope” line. Zack makes a reference to this moment by bringing up Tartikoff in the revival.
2. Slater’s Heritage Gets A Nod
The original Saved by the Bell was diverse in a sea of shows that weren’t, but Slater’s Mexican-American background never came up until Saved by the Bell: The College Years, at which point Zack dismissed it because he’d always thought that Slater was Italian. In the revival, Dexter tells Slater that it must’ve been hard for him to navigate being Latinx in high school. Slater thanked him for saying that because no one ever brings that up.
1. Kelly Brings Up Ex-Boyfriend Jeff
Kelly Kapowski briefly dated Jeff, the manager of The Max, back in high school. Their relationship even broke up Zack and Kelly for a while. In the revival, Kelly brings up Jeff to Mac and suspiciously makes it sound like Zack may not be his father (which is impossible considering the timeline of events and how much Zack and Kelly are still very into each other). But, hey, I guess Jeff should be happy that Kelly remembers him at all.
Catch all of the references to the '90s sitcom in the Saved by the Bell revival, which is now available to stream on Peacock. For more on what to watch in the coming months, be sure to check out our fall TV guide and our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.
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