When I wake up in the morning and something something something and I don’t think I’m gonna make it on time. But the time I grab my books and I give myself a look something something to see the bus drive by. Well excuse me for not remembering all the words for the theme song for ‘Saved by the Bell’. It was more than two decades ago! Sheesh.
I was recently reminded of the upbeat and iconic Saturday morning sitcom (it aired 1989-1993 to be exact) and decided to give you guys a pleasant long walk down memory lane. For this post I will be ranking the top seven characters from the main show – I said “main” so no Miss Bliss from the show’s original incarnation, ‘College Years’ characters, jacket wearing tough girl or hotel owner’s daughter here – and also checking out what the actors have been up to lately. So hop on the old nostalgia train and let’s do this thang:
#7 Mr Richard Belding/ Dennis Haskins
Principal Belding was such a lovable goof and it was enjoyable seeing Zack Morris pull the wool over his eyes time and time again. And he had such an infectious laugh. After appearing on the show Haskins joined the spin off “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” from 1993-2000 (I am as surprised as you are that it lasted seven years) and in 2009 released a music album “Karaoke With Your Favorite Principal Dennis”. He has also been trying to get on to ‘Dancing with the Stars’. All we are saying, is give Belding a chance!
#6 Jessie Spano/ Elizabeth Berkley
Oh Jessie. You were such a know-it-all, overachieving, feminist tree hugger. But we loved your sweet relationship with AC Slater and you’re “I’m so excited” Emmy-bait meltdown (see link below) is one of the most memorable scenes of the show’s entire run. Post-Bell Berkley ditched her good girl image and appeared as a stripper in the ultra cheesy Showgirls (1995). She has also appeared in a laundry list of television shows including ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’, ‘CSI: Miami’, ‘The L Word’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ (sorry Dennis). How exciting!
#5 Lisa Turtle/ Lark Voorhies
Lisa was the pretty, sassy, gossip loving fashionista of the group. She was also the unrequited love interest of the group’s resident nerd Screech. His misguided attempts to woo her and her brutal put downs of him was one of the show’s main running gags. After the show Voorhies appeared on soaps like ‘Days of our Lives’ and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ and guest starred on shows like ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ and ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. Her last TV appearance was in 2008 in the comedy mash up series ‘Robot Chicken’ and her last film appearance was the straight to video flick Little Creeps (2012).
#4 Samuel “Screech” Powers/ Dustin Diamond
Screech was one of the show’s most memorable characters and the source of a lot of the humour. He was often an unwilling partner in one of Zack’s schemes or the butt of Lisa’s biting wit. But he had boundless energy, strong loyalty and a sweet naiveté and we were always rooting for him. The only character to appear in all iterations of the show, Screech returned for ‘The College Years’ and ‘The New Class’ though in the latter he was extremely clownish (even by his standards) and was little more than a walking punch line.
In real life things were not all that amusing for actor Dustin Diamond. In 2006 he released his own sex tape, Screeched – Saved by the Smell, and has appeared in reality shows like ‘The Weakest Link’ and ‘Celebrity Fit Club’. In 2009 he published a tell all book Behind the Bell which alleged sordid backstage behaviour by many of his colleagues. His former co-stars, including Mark-Paul Gosselaar were very critical of the book, and Diamond would later admit that it was ghost written and many accounts were fabricated. In 2015 both Diamond and Voorhies were absent from a ‘Saved by the Bell’ sketch on ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’ while Haskins, Berkley, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Mario Lopez and Gosselaar made appearances.
#3 Kelly Capowski/ Tiffani-Amber Thiessen
Who didn’t have a crush on Kelly Kapowski? This beautiful cheerleader was gorgeous and the main object of Zack’s affection. Zack and Kelly’s on again, off again relationship, and also the sometime love triangle with AC Slater, was the emotional core of the show and kept us tuning in week after week. Tiffani Thiessen (she dropped the Amber professionally) has kept busy after the show appearing in direct to video fare like From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, Shriek if you know what I did last Friday the Thirteenth and most recently Cyborg Soldier (2008). On TV she has graced shows like ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’, ‘Fastlane’ and ‘White Collar’. From 2015 she has hosted a cooking show on the Cooking Channel called ‘Dinner at Tiffani’s’.
#2 Albert Clifford “AC” Slater/ Mario Lopez
While the guys had Kelly, Lisa and kinda Jessie (those outfits would make my eyes burn) to gawk at the ladies had Zack and AC Slater. The latter was the muscular jock with the big dimples that kept “Preppy” Zack on his toes and challenged him for Kelly’s affections. Slater’s relationship with Jessie was most entertaining with the strong willed feminist dismissing him as a “pig” and he calling her affectionately “mama”. His dancing around in a black ballet outfit is also an iconic moment in the entire series. After appearing in ‘The College Years’ Lopez got into hosting duties for shows like ‘Extra’, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and the American version of reality competition show ‘The X Factor’.
#1 Zack Morris/ Mark-Paul Gosselaar
When the Disney Channel show ‘Good Morning, Miss Bliss’ starring Haley Mills (The Parent Trap ) failed to take off the show was rebooted as ‘Saved by the Bell’ with a focus on the kids rather than the teacher. And one of those kids was a charming, manipulative scamp named Zack Morris.
He drew in audiences with his fourth wall breaking and “time out” where the scene would freeze and he would chat directly with viewers. Zack was like a high school James Bond – girls wanted him because he was so cute and charming and guys wanted to be him because he stuck it to the man and got all the ladies, though his true love would always be Kelly. In the 1994 TV movie Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas those two crazy kids tied the knot.
Post-Bell Gosselaar ditched the blonde look for a darker do and went from bright Bayside to the gritty New York streets for acclaimed cop drama ‘NYPD: Blue’. He also appeared in legal drama ‘Raising the Bar’, legal comedy drama ‘Franklin & Bash’ and on baseball drama ‘Pitch’ which premiered just this year. He has also been building up a filmography with movies like comedy Dead Man on Campus (1998) and Canadian action film Precious Cargo (2016) with Bruce Willis. Wait to go Zack!
Well that’s the list. But before I go here is the theme song for the icing on this nostalgia cake:
So who is your favourite ‘Saved by the Bell’ character? Feel free to comment below.
For more TV nostalgia you can check out my Top 15 ‘Smallville’ characters here and my Top 13 ‘Golden Girls’ facts here. And for more redmangoreviews posts and movie videos you can like the MovieVille Facebook page here or follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates.
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