Here's a little quiz for you. Which name doesn't belong in the following series?
Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, Dustin Diamond, Tommy Lee.
If you answered Dustin Diamond, unfortunately, you would be wrong. The correct answer would have been none of the above.
With the revelation of the Dustin Diamond/Screech Powers sex tape (Really, did you ever think you'd see those four words put together in the same sentence? Download it now for $4.99!), we are reminded yet again of the career struggles of the cast of Saved By The Bell.
Most of the cast have had issues shedding their SBTB images and being typecast. Diamond, who played the dorky Screeh Powers, and Dennis Haskins, who played Principal Richard Belding, didn't help their cases by carrying on their roles for another seven years on Saved By The Bell: The New Class.
Elizabeth Berkley, who played the super studious, sometimes pill-popping Jessie Spano on Saved By The Bell, had perhaps the most infamous role of any of the cast members. Two years after Saved went off the air, perhaps trying to shed her Saturday morning teen show image, she flashed her headlights in the movie Showgirls. Which I always get confused with Striptease. Which is quite odd considering I've never seen either movie. Hmm, suddenly I got a hankerin' for some fried eggs.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played the popular, scheming Zack Morris, has had arguably the most successful career post-SBTB. He continued his role as Zack Morris on Saved By The Bell:The College Years, which aired in prime time, but lasted only eighteen episodes.
Gosselaar's most famous role after Saved was on NYPD Blue, which he was on from 2001 until the series ended in 2005. Although it's never been confirmed, rumor has it that NYPD Blue ended because Gosselaar called time-out during one episode, as he was known to do on Saved By The Bell, freezing the entire cast, but forgot to call time-in. Which would mean that somewhere Dennis Franz may be frozen in some sort of oddly contorted mannequin-type pose. Which wouldn't be an entirely bad thing.
The career of Mario Lopez, who played A.C. Slater on SBTB, could perhaps be best described by the phrase quantity does not equal quality. Lopez' roles include a guest role on the daytime soap Bold And The Beautiful, as well as hosting duties for Will You Marry Me, America's Most Talented Kid, and ESPN Hollywood. Yeah, I've scarcely heard of them myself. Although he has been the most visible of the Saved cast, one would never mistake him for an award-winning actor.
Many thought Lopez' big break had come when he played the title role in the 1997 made for TV movie Breaking The Surface: The Greg Louganis Story. But it was not to be. Thus, he is currently competing on Dancing With The Stars. He also recently bared his buttocks on an episode of Nip/Tuck. (How is it I have only ever seen one episode of Nip/Tuck, EVER, and this is the episode I see. My only thought was "Eww, that's Slater's @$$!! Make it stop!!")
Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, who played innocent cheerleader Kelly Kapowski on SBTB, was the first of the cast to land a major role post-SBTB. And probably did the best job of shedding her Saved By The Bell stereotype. She played duplicitous vixen Valerie Malone on my other favorite show, Fox's Beverly Hills 90210, from 1994-1998. However, since she has been relegated to such box office smashes as Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth. Uh, yeah.
Lark Voorhies, who played fashion-obsessed Lisa Turtle on SBTB, has had guest roles on Deep Space Nine, as well as daytime soaps Days Of Our Lives and Bold And The Beautiful. (Evidently, there is some weird SBTB/Bold And The Beautiful pipeline.) LVoor (her hip-hop name) reportedly quit the soaps because she refused to do sex scenes. Dustin Diamond, on the other hand, obviously has no problem with those.
So we are left with nothing but memories of Bayside. Good memories, like Kelly getting a humongous zit on her nose right before Homecoming, Jessie nearly OD'ing on caffeine pills, Zack telling everyone Slater is dying and needs to move to Hawaii, the Bayside radio station and Save the Maxx telethon, and of course, Zack's ginormous cell phone. But memories, nonetheless.
And I'm left trying to get the image of Slater's smooth, well-rounded buttocks out of my mind.
In the immortal words of Jessie Spano, after Zack caught her taking pills, "I'm so... scared!"
"Riding low in my chair, she won't know that I'm there. If I can hand it in tomorrow it'll be alright..."