Bayside High: The NEW New Class

When Good Morning, Miss Bliss hit the airwaves over two decades ago, we never could have guessed that it would have spawned the tween tv hit of the 90s, Saved By The Bell – which in turn inspired the spinoff Saved By The Bell: The College Years, which led to the late 90s tribute Saved By The Bell: The New Class, which I think segued into a later version of SBTB: The New Class, which all generated so much interest that Dustin Diamond wrote a book about it, which loosely inspired tonight’s Lifetime movie, The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story. It’s like that nursery rhyme, The House That Jack Built – except this is the house that Zack built, and one of the stages of building it involved procuring a butt-ton of neon paint.

Despite all those iterations of Saved By The Bell, we all know that there is one true Bayside Clique: Zach, Screech, Slater, Kelly, Jessie, and Lisa. Plus sometimes Violet, Tori, or occasionally a kid in a wheelchair or an overweight girl who shows up for an episode to teach us all a lesson. Tonight we’ll see all new kids playing our favorite 90s teens, so let’s see how they stack up against the old class, shall we?

Then come back tomorrow for our live blog of The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story! (We’re live blogging it, well, live –  but posting it the next day because we’re in two separate time zones.) And if you’re a true Bayside Tiger, come back every day this week as we celebrate Saved By  The Bell Week here on Cookies + Sangria!

Zack Morris

The Character:

You know those people who are natural protagonists? They aren’t necessarily smarter than everyone else, or funnier, or better looking, but somehow they’re the main character of every scenario they’re in? That’s Zack Morris. Like Early Bart Simpson made human, Zack is a neon-wearing 90s rascal with a penchant for mischief.

The Actor:
Mark-Paul Gosselaar:

A major difference between young actors in the 90s and today was the level of public exposure. Aside from the occasional Teen Beat feature, we didn’t know much about the “real” Zack. He wasn’t trailed by paparazzi or spouting political opinions on Twitter, but after the fact we’ve learned that he hooked up with all of the members of the Bayside cheerleading squad (that’s Jessie, Lisa, and Kelly for you newbies). Gosselaar is an American-Dutch-Indonesian who lucked into the role of a lifetime after a career as a child model.

Post-SBTB, you may know M.P.G. (in the tradition of cute boys in the 90s, he had three names) from N.Y.P.D. Blue, Raising The Bar, Franklin & Bash … and reprising his role of Zack Morris on Fallon. He is a father of three and races cars in his free time.

Dylan Everett:

You may know Dylan from Degrassi, which is Canadian Saved By The Bell (basically replace The Max with Tim Hortons). This Canadian kiddo has been around for almost a decade, with roles on children’s shows like Doodlebops and Superwhy, as well as a number of T.V. movies.

How He Spent The 90s
Mark-Paul Gosselaar:

Making day-glo t-shirts look almost cool; banging America’s Sweethearts Kapowski, Turtle, and Spano; making you believe you could somehow hatch up crazy schemes every week yet become best friends with your school’s administrators.

Dylan Everett:

Everett spent the first half of the 90s in God’s eyeball, or whatever it is you say about people who don’t exist yet: he was born in 1995. Presumably, he spent the latter half of the decade mastering tasks like not pooping himself, reciting the alphabet, and not biting kids on the playground. Because although Dylan was a seasoned child actor who began working at age 10, for him age 10 was 2005. Yikes.

Kelly Kapowski

The Character:

Kelly Kapowski was the girl every boy wanted to be with and every girl wanted to kill, a little bit, if you could do it without impunity, because she was so flipping perfect. Head cheerleader, most popular girl in school, beloved by all, and on-off girlfriend of Zack Morris, Kelly is that girl that still makes you say “ew” when you see how stunning she looks even years after graduation.

The Actor:
Tiffani-Amber Thiessen:

Even more perfect than Kelly Kapowski, Tiffani was Miss Junior America, a child model, and the valedictorian of her high school class (you know, when she was already a worldwide teen sensation). After Saved By The Bell she starred on 90210 and appeared in a number of films. You can see her now on White Collar on USA. She is also the married mother of a four-year-old daughter and has risen above the truly baffling double barreled name “Tiffani-Amber”: it’s just Tiffani Thiessen now.

Alyssa Lynch:

Lynch is a total newcomer, but as an apparently talented dancer and singer, she’s sure to bring the air of effortless, unattainable perfection needed to play Tiffani Thiessen.

How She Spent The 90s
Tiffani-Amber Thiessen:

Appearing on every teen TV touchstone, having 90s bangs that were big but not too big, dating 90s dreamboat Brian Austin Green (see, 3 names!), being better than you.

Alyssa Lynch:

Not existing for 5 years, gestating for 9 months, missing the SBTB finale on account of not being born yet.

A.C. Slater

The Character:

Slater was a tough guy wrestler who had a soft side due to his childhood in a strict military home. His opposites attract relationship with Jessie Spano really stretched the bounds of the imagination. He was jocky and bro-ish, but also, in my opinion, the best-looking of the SBTB guys. Well, as a child I thought he looked “sticky” but kids are weird.

Fun fact: when we taught Vacation Bible School in high school there was a little girl who looked just like him, down to the jheri curl mullet. We posed for a photo holding a picture of A.C. up behind her head where she couldn’t see it. And that WASN’T the reason we got kicked out.

The Actor:
Mario Lopez

To think, today’s youth must think of Mario Lopez as “that guy who hosts stuff” instead of Bayside’s premier jock. And host stuff he does – from Animal Planet shows to Extra to The X Factor. Prior to SBTB, Mario was a child actor who appeared on Kids Incorporated and a real, live teen wrestler. You may also be familiar with Lopez’s work in A Chorus Line on Broadway, foxtrotting on Dancing With The Stars, and designing men’s underwear. He’s also the father of two future Bayside Tigers.

Julian Works

This kid’s been around a while (okay… since 2008) but already has amassed a number of screen credits, from that classic jumping off point, The Disney Channel, to TV series like Southland and Modern Family.

How He Spent The 90s:
Mario Lopez

Hitting the gym and the church on the regs – Lopez isn’t just a fitness buff, he’s a practicing Catholic. A smile like that AND a boy you could bring home to your mama? I bet the 90s were even kinder to Mario on the dating front than they were to Mark-Paul.

Julian Works

I just saw an interview where Julian said that his MOM was a big SBTB fan – like, that’s where we are generationally, guys. Julian is 23, so presumably he spent the 90s drooling in an exersaucer while his mom ogled A.C. Slater. If she could have known then where her kid would be now – well, that would have been weird.

Jessie Spano

The Character:

Jessie was a type-A studious gal who took her studies, her dance, and her family’s history in the slave trade very seriously. She is best known for tweaking out on caffeine pills, bringing the catch phrase “I’m So Excited – I’m So Excited – I’m so scared!!” into the TV lexicon for decades to come.

The Actor:
Elizabeth Berkley

Berkley was an accomplished dancer and model before ever gracing the halls of Bayside. After her stint as Jessie Spano, Elizabeth’s career swung way the heck in the other direction, in the NC-17 stripper flick Showgirls. A number of other TV, film, and theater credits have followed. She also runs a teen self-help program called Ask-Elizabeth. Elizabeth is also the married mother of a two-year-old.

Tiera Skovbye

Truly hitting all of the 90s kid bases, Tiera recently appeared in a TV adaptation of Goosbumps. This Canadian has been appearing on the small screen over the past 9 years or so. Like Berkley before her, Tiera was also a child model.

How She Spent The 90s
Elizabeth Berkley

From pill-popping perfectionist to stripper with a heart of I’m not sure what because I actually haven’t seen Showgirls, Elizabeth was the original good girl gone bad.

Tiera Skovbye

Based on a few #TBT snaps, Tiera spent the half of the 90s that she was alive for looking like the kind of baby where, if someone said she would grow up to get an international modeling contract by age 13, you’d say “eh… sounds about right, yeah.”

Lisa Turtle

The Character:

Lisa was the fashionista of Bayside High, a spoiled rich girl who could never quite shake the affections of geeky Screech. Somehow, she was the only one of the gang not to end up with a real relationship – even Screech had Violet. But Lisa had a passion for fashion so I guess she was too busy hanging out at the mall for all of that.

The Actor:
Lark Voorhies

Except for a few commercials and guest parts, Lisa Turtle was Lark’s first big role. After SBTB, Voorhies appeared on a few soap operas and sitcoms. There’s some debate over Lark’s current state, with some saying her self-published book was incomprehensible, and with rumors of drug use and mental illness. However, Lark herself says she’s doing just fine, thanks.

Taylor Russell McKenzie

Canadian Taylor (who would have thought? Seriously, this production is more Canadian than Anne of Green Gables) has only been acting for a couple years. But, she has a few projects filming now, so watch out for her if you’re, probably, Canadian!

How She Spent The 90s
Lark Voorhies

Carefully negotiating soap opera contracts so she wouldn’t have to do anything contrary to her Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and morals.

Taylor Russell McKenzie

Although non-existent for the entire run of Saved By The Bell, McKenzie was born a couple months before Saved By The Bell: The College Years first aired (on my seventh birthday, it turns out, so happy birthday to me, I guess). Who knows, that may have been one of the first TV programs she saw when she was old enough for her eyes to focus. Probably more like Hockey Night In Canada, though. Seriously, so Canadian, this movie.

Samuel “Screech” Powers

The Character:

There are no real geeks this geeky. Or, very few anyway. Screech was not only dorky, he was also so obnoxious and socially inept that frankly, he deserved to be ostracized. He wasn’t, of course: he was part of Bayside’s power clique along with Golden Boy Zack Morris, top athletes and head cheerleaders. So, what exactly makes him a geek if he’s palling around with the top of the social strata?

The Actor:
Dustin Diamond

After keeping a low pro outside of Saved By The Bell during the original run, Diamond has certainly capitalized on his signature role. After reprising Screech in Saved By The Bell: The New Class, Dustin penned a behind-the-scenes peek at SBTB and appeared as himself on numerous reality shows. He also produced and starred in his own sex tape, taking the Screech capitalizing just a tad too far.

Sam Kindseth

I’m going to go ahead and assume that Sam is a Canadian child actor until I hear otherwise – you may know him from Shameless. He looks like he may be a few years younger than his castmates, which is an easy way to make him look more nerdy than he actually is.

How He Spent The 90s
Dustin Diamond

Math time: Dustin Diamond claims to have slept with 2000 women. Sorry, I’m going somewhere with this. Let’s say this started at age 18, just for age of consent purposes or whatever, and ended in 2009, when he got married. That averages out to roughly 143 women per year, or a different woman every two and a half days or so. And that’s assuming that none of them were longer-term exclusive relationships. Safe to say, Dustin Diamond either spent the 90s boning more ladies than I’ve even met – or he spent the 2000s lying about how many ladies he boned in the 90s.

Ew.

Sam Kindseth

Sam appeared as an eight year old character in 2008, which means that there’s a very real possibility that he spent the entirety of the 90s still holed up in the respective gametes of Mother Nature and Father Time. Again, not really clear on what all of the myths are for when people don’t exist yet.

 

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8 thoughts on “Bayside High: The NEW New Class

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  6. I thought Alyssa Lynch was great as Kelly, but the wardrobe dept. failed to capture Kelly’s style of dress, which was a big part of her appeal for me.

    Like

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