It would take all day to list the myriad ways in which Saved by the Bell could be made fun of, but TruTV’s sketch comedy series Friends of the People honed in on one reason – the all-around lack of black people on the show – and exploited it to guffaw-worthy results. Check out “Black Kids of Bayside” below, with a special appearance from Dustin “Screech” Diamond.
First, this sketch is another example of the strange connectivity between the lives of Mr. Belding and Screech, as Diamond is playing a bearded version of the Bayside High principal here. (That connection is admittedly tied to the fact that Diamond and actor Dennis Haskins are the only two who still regularly immerse themselves in the Saved by the Bell universe.) And once again, he’s the least convincing actor on screen, though it’s hard to compete with this stellar group of comedians. Particularly the loud and boisterous Lil Rel Howery. LISA!!!
Everything about this is great, from the “black dudes in the background” cast shots for the opening theme to their inability to be timed out by Zack’s signature fourth wall-breaker. (Is it canon now that the “time out” is just bowing down to the popular kid and not true magic?) And the editing makes the most of the humor. Lisa not being able to see other black people, regardless of their inherent worth and social status, is such an amusing (though not progressively encouraging) joke. The vortex is probably the only reason to explain Lisa’s exclusive white friendships, right? LISA TURTLE!!!
I’m surprised nothing was made of the show’s musical moments, where these guys had an amazing group to counteract Zack Attack. Maybe that’ll be in Part 2. In the meantime, check out their interpretation of how Steve Urkel took over Family Matters.
Friends of the People is made up of Howery, twin brothers Kenny and Keith Lucas, Jermaine Fowler, Josh Rabinowitz, Jennifer Bartels and Kevin Barnett. Their show, the first of its kind on TruTV, is at the end of its 10-episode first season, and we’re hoping it gets picked up for Season 2.
Oh, and speaking of Dustin Diamond, he was arrested recently for “reckless endangerment, possession of a switchblade and carrying a concealed weapon,” according to EW. He allegedly stabbed a guy. Eesh. Time in!