Apparently, I watch more late night TV than I think. While flipping channels last night, I stopped on Jimmy Fallon as he was just about to bring out a guest. Then I sat there in near disbelief when who should appear from behind the curtain but none other than one, Zack Morris! Well, the actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, yes. But he was decked out in full Zack Morris regalia!
I sat there with my eyes glued to the television, no doubt grinning like that guy in the Viagra commercial, as Fallon and Zack reminisced about Saved By The Bell. They referenced everything from The Maxx to the Zack Attack to Stansbury, the Harvard of the West. At one point, Fallon even referred to Morris as "Preppy."
Well, here, just watch. If you're a Saved By The Bell fan, you'll think you've died and gone to Bayside.
That may be in the running for the best nine minutes of my life. No, really. I'm trying to think of what else it would be and nothing is coming to mind. And here's the best news of all (in case you didn't watch the video): Fallon is trying to get a Saved By The Bell reunion together!
With all this SBTB talk, I decided to dig up my Where Are They Now: Saved By The Bell post. At that time, I had been inspired by the Dustin Diamond sex tape. Hmm, that doesn't sound right. Anyway, here it is, originally posted in 2006 and only slightly edited. (We should be able to tell a lot about Bone's maturity level now versus then.)
Where Are They Now: Saved By The Bell
With the revelation of the Dustin Diamond/Screech Powers sex tape (Really, did you ever think you'd see those in the same sentence? Download it now for $4.99!), I decided it was time to catch up with the cast of Saved By The Bell. Think of this as sort of like VH1's Behind The Music, but with less crying. Some crying. Just less.
As with any popular television show, no doubt some of the cast have had issues with shedding their SBTB images and being typecast. Diamond, who played the dorky Screech 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, despite the fact that I watched every single week.
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. That would mean that somewhere Dennis Franz may still 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' credits 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.
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. He also bared his buttocks on an episode of Nip/Tuck a few years ago. (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 she probably did the best job of shedding her Saved By The Bell stereotype. Thiessen played duplicitous vixen Valerie Malone on my other favorite show, Fox's Beverly Hills 90210, from 1994-1998. However, she has since 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 Livesand 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!"
"By the time I grab my books and I give myself a look, I'm at the corner just in time to see the bus fly by..."