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Leah Remini is a star in her own right these days, known for her longtime role as Carrie Heffernan on The King of Queens, as well as her work as an activist against the Church of Scientology. But, back in 1991, Remini had only a handful of small acting jobs on her resume when she accepted the role of Stacey Carosi on Saved by the Bell. Stacey was the boss’ daughter during Saved by the Bell’s Malibu Sands episodes, where the gang worked at a beach club for the summer, and Stacey struck up a romance with Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Zack Morris.
The beach episodes of Saved by the Bell came later in the series’ run — after Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez and the rest of the gang were already well-established as teen idols. Leah Remini talked to Gosselaar on his podcast Zack to the Future about how intimidating it was to join the cast, especially in the role of Zack’s girlfriend.
I was petrified. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to be this kid’s type. Is he going to be disappointed that they cast me?' Tiffani-Amber Thiessen is so gorgeous. She was like The Little Mermaid to me. And I was just in awe of her face. In awe of her face! Everyday showing up, I was like, ‘Aggghhh! She’s a little mermaid. She’s a little mermaid.’ I felt like a fat-ass cow there. I just felt old and not pretty. Every time I put that skirt on, I was like, ‘Oh my God. I look so dorky.’ I was intimidated by you guys.
It’s sad to know that Leah Remini felt like that next to Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, especially because fans of Saved by the Bell actually welcomed Stacey as a new love interest for Zack — a strange and surprising phenomenon in a world that, to this day, worships at the shrine of Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski. But, it’s also totally understandable that Remini was nervous to join the established cast. She was still fairly new to acting, and I mean, I wouldn’t want to be the girl who comes after Tiffani-Amber Thiessen either; who wasn't in awe of her face?
It’s crazy to think that Leah Remini was only in six episodes of Saved by the Bell. Stacey Carosi’s summer romance with Zack Morris lives in infamy, which is probably in part due to the chemistry the couple shared on the screen. Remini even told Mark-Paul Gosselaar that she’s still recognized as Stacey Carosi more than any other role she’s played since.
Season 1 of the Saved by the Bell follow-up series is streaming now on Peacock, and while we’ve seen the return of many of our favorites from the series’ original run, Stacey Carosi has had no reason to grace the halls of Bayside High — which might be a good thing, if she wants to avoid an awkward encounter with Governor Zack Morris and his wife, Kelly Morris.
But, who knows? Maybe Mac Morris will take a summer job at Malibu Sands one of these seasons. The original Saved by the Bell episodes can be streamed on Peacock and Hulu, and be sure to check out our 2021 Summer TV schedule for more to watch.