One of the best parts of watching Saved by the Bell in present day is getting to comment on the absolutely unbelievable 90s fashion that was paraded around on the show. Because the sitcom centered on a group of teens, they had to wear what the teens were wearing back in the day. Just like the video yearbook the gang left for the Class of 2003, the show itself leaves us with a time capsule of what it was like to be hip and cool in the early 90s. And as thankful as we are for the treasure trove of bad/good fashion, that doesn’t stop us from making our own commentary on it. Here are just a few select styles the Bayside bunch wore throughout their time on our TV screens.
T: Apparently at this photo shoot, Mario was the only one who was running hot because he clearly needed to unbutton his shirt for all to see. You don’t see Dustin complaining in his abstract painting shirt or Zack whining in his surprisingly normal outfit. Someone get a Beyonce fan on Lopez.
M: Something about the cut of Zack’s t-shirt makes him look like his torso is on backwards. Something we never talk about when we talk about 90s clothes: those big-ass sneakers everyone wore. Look at Slater and Zack. Those are some “me and my retiree church group are taking a bus tour of Germany” sneakers.
T: I remember watching SBTB as early as 1st grade, so I was a little younger than the teenagers at Bayside High. Therefore, the first impression I had of high school was that of these kids. Yeah, the ones you see up there. Is this what teens really wore back then? All I’m saying is that if I had to pick one of these people to be the “trendsetter” of the group, it definitely would NOT be Lisa. She’s the one who is super into shopping and fashion and even goes to college for it, but judging by this alone, one would think she’s practicing to become one of the ticket takers at a Broadway theater.
M: OH LORDY. Lisa is seriously in Playbill Yellow. She reminds me of Claudia Kishi, who was supposed to be “into fashion” as well, but that meant she’d wear Lisa’s outfit here with homemade clay bee earrings and a bracelet that encased her hand in an entire, active beehive. There’s a lot going on here, but I also want to take a moment for Mario’s jeans, which make him look like he’s rocking a full diaper.
T: Remember when aerobics were really popular in the 80s/90s? I blame Jane Fonda. For that fad and this look. No one wears these bright, spandex, outfits to the gym anymore, right? IDK I hate the gym.
M: Not sure, because everything I wear at the gym could also be worn by a child at PE class or field day. But I wish I had these outfits. If anyone wants to buy me a spandex crop-top workout suit, I will wear it to work out and post photos. I think this was the 90s version of wearing fun sneakers to go running so you hate it a little less. But what is the function of those belts? YOU ARE WEARING SPANDEX. It should hold itself up just fine.
T: Technically this is some kind of press tour the cast did to promote the show, but can we all just take a minute to admire what exactly is going on here. MPG and TAT (Mark Paul Gosselaar & Tiffani Amber Theissen, obvs) are being the heartthrobs that they are and smiling and looking directly into the camera with their fresh to death outfits, Mario Lopez is still getting the hang of this celebrity thing and Dustin Diamond is looking off into the distance and has spent the past hour trying to find the gum he put in his pants pocket.
M: I know I was like 5, but how did I miss that this show was just Zack, Kelly, then a bunch of garbage people? Dustin looks like all of the boys in junior high whose moms would buy their uniform pants a size too big to “grow into them.” You really gotta hand it to 1992, when a beautiful teenage girl could appear in a bra top (a bustier, according to Selena RIP), and still somehow look frumpy.
T: Ok, so I lied. Lisa clearly is a trendsetter. She was the inspiration behind Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt, right?
M: Look at the solid four inches of lace at the bottom of her white shorts! Damn. That is a LOOK.
T: Looking back on all these pix, it’s clearly Zack and Kelly that have the most timeless looks of them all, no? #IShipIt
M: I want Kelly Kapowski’s entire wardrobe and I’m not even sorry. Meanwhile, Spano looks like a travel agent who can never quite amass enough frequent flyer miles to escape from her existential ennui. Now that I know about Lark Voorhies’ religious beliefs, I find myself looking at every one of her outfits and going “maybe it’s because she’s a Jehovah’s Witness?” But it’s not like they have special underwear or anything.
T: For some context, this was the episode where Mr. Belding’s cool yet unreliable brother Rod shows up and promises to take the class on a trip white water rafting. This explains why Lisa’s wearing an all-camo shirt/skirt combo and holding a Louis Vuitton caboodle, and why Slater looks like he’s practicing to become one of the Village People.
M: Are they all going white water rafting in entirely different climates? Zack has on a fleece vest and a denim tuxedo, that one extra with the flat-top is in a sweatshirt that looks like a design you’d see on a pool raft, and Slater is dressed like a nice young mom catching fire flies with her children in a detergent commercial.
T: Slater’s jeans look super uncomfortable, but all I can think is that I want to find Lisa’s outfit and wear it for Halloween. Like what even is the inspiration behind this? TEXAS FOREVER 21, AMIRITE LADIES??
M: Early 90s trend that hasn’t come back yet: those dresses with the bodice that ended in a crotch triangle with the flouncy layered skirt attached. They were the thing when we were in kindergarten or so.
Screech looks like a sad quirky boy from a Wes Anderson movie.
T: I think everyone’s pissed off in this picture because they all realized they would go down in history as one of the most ridiculously dressed casts in TV. Also, a lot of denim on denim.
M: Photos of groups of people in the late 80s/early 90s almost give you a stress headache because there’s so much happening at once. Really weird to think this was at the same time as Seinfeld, where everyone looked sort of earth toned and beigey. We mentioned in our live blog of The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story that the kids looked way too modern. Turns out we were right: the costume designers didn’t even try. This is why teens today have such a warped idea of what the 90s really looked like.
I’m getting more and more confused as to why Lisa and Screech are supposed to be such a mismatched pair. Look at those getups. They are made for each other.
T: Okay, but like, Slater’s wearing those jeans again. Did they really not have a budget to buy different pants? Speaking of pants, Screech is definitely wearing those Zumbas (Zumbas?) like it’s his job. Ok well technically it is. I feel like he came out of the womb wearing those.
M: I hope he has a provision in his will that he has to be buried in those pants.
T: I am going in on this fairly blind folks. As a preface, Saved by the Bell was like the number one show for me. Sure I watched Full House and Boy Meets World and the ilk, but nothing really compared to SBTB. I remember watching it before I went to school in the morning and then again at night. It got to the point where I knew exactly which episode it was just by the first 5 seconds of the opening scene. I once taped (on a cassette) the school song and tried to convince our chorus teacher to let us sing it for our 8th grade graduation (I convinced her to let us sing Seasons of Love from Rent instead). It was the first show that I was every obsessed with and probably the reason why I’m obsessed with TV now. That being said, I hold SBTB and its cast/characters in a special pedestal in my heart, so I’m taking this entire movie with a grain of salt.
T: Ah yes, the movie starts out in Cincinnati, Ohio, where every great story about 90s teen idols begin.
M: These children look like a pack of college kids dressed as Saved By The Bell characters for Halloween. It’s like the Garbage Pail Kids when you’re expecting Cabbage Patch, or that weird baby with the unibrow who’s Maggie’s nemesis on The Simpsons.
T: The kid playing Zack has the DUMBEST face and I’m already annoyed with him. He looks like he’s 10. And The dude playing Mario Lopez is way too ethnic. Yeah, I said it.
I’m gonna start counting the number of times I say ‘I can’t’ outloud to myself whilst watching this trainwreck. (1).
M: FAKE ZACK CALLS A TIME OUT. I’m sort of obsessed with this movie already.
T: The depressing thing about this mob scene is that these girls weren’t even born when Saved by the Bell: The College Years ENDED.
T: Baby Zack’s IRL time-out only works within the walls of Bayside, duh. Uh ‘Dustin Diamond’ just stole BZ’s thunder by taking control of his time-out. (2)
Hold up – Dustin Diamond was a legit executive producer on this? I know it’s based on his book, it makes sense, but my best guess is that he just tried to make everyone else except ‘DD’ look like shit.
M: Fake Steve Buscemi (okay, a man with deep-set eyes) says they need to set the show in the Midwest, although there’s never been a show set in Indiana before. See, 2014 is all about sitcoms set in Indiana, but the late 80s and early 90s were very Southern California-centric. That’s why everyone was so into L.A. Looks.
[Kids, L.A. Looks was hairgel that every early 90s teen used, and it looked like Aloe Vera. This has been a message from C+S Cares, a social outreach ministry where we teach teenagers what the 90s were like.]
Was it really necessary to point out that MPG is part Indonesian? And that DD commented on his hair?
M: Fake Hayley Mills has major 2014 hair. Inaccurate.
T: True story: My first introduction to Hayley Mills was via Good Morning, Miss Bliss, so I’m probably one of the only few people that doesn’t correlate her with The Parent Trap.
M: The adults in the futuristic office discussing SBTB are so stupid. Like, an unlikely level of stupid. They don’t believe that kids would rather watch a show about kids instead of teachers. They exposition that there has never been a live-action show starring kids before. But even in the 50s and 60s … Mickey Mouse Club? Leave It To Beaver? Lassie? Okay, I guess the last one was mostly the dog.
They also gloss over the existence/firing of Mickey and Girl Mickey. Those kids from Good Morning Miss Bliss? And the girl freed the frogs from the science lab? That might have been Jessie, actually.
T: No, I think it was Nikki (Girl Mickey). Can’t remember Mickey’s real name. Too lazy/don’t care enough to look up.
[ M: Laterblog: I googled it in the morning. Mikey and Nikki. Yeah, I’m just going to keep calling them Mickey.]
Far (L) Mickey or something. Far (R) Mickey the boy version.
T: DD comes into rehearsal lit’rally acting like a quacking duck and everyone – everyone thinks it’s hilarious. Even the dude playing Mr. Belding. BZ/MPG says, ‘He’s awesome!’ about DD. I feel like that sentiment’s not going to last throughout the movie…
M: At what age, if you’re saddled with a name like “Tiffani Amber,” do you say screw it and just introduce yourself as Tiffani? Evidently older than “Tiffani Amber” is here.
T: The original title of SBTB was apparently ‘When the Bell Rings’, which is very similar to ‘As the Bell Rings’, a short (like 5 minute interstitials) on the Disney Channel like 7 years ago. The show was actually kind of similar to SBTB, and took place entirely in a school hallway, starring pre-Demi Lovato Demi Lovato and the white kid in MKTO. I may have been obsessed with this one song, because I am 12 years old.
This blonde casting bitch is really into racial profiling. First she wanted to adhere to Lisa as a ‘Jewish American Princess’ and now AC Slater turns out to be Latino and not Italian.
M: “It’s a comedy about kids, how much range do you need?” LOTS. Tons.
T: Since when was the SBTB casting room Mad Men in 1989?
If I’ve learned anything from this movie so far is that DD’s dad was a real asshole and cared a lot about his car’s mileage.
This first table read is already a mess. DD realizes everyone is starting to get along without him and he even has to sit next to Dennis Haskins (Belding) because it’s the only seat left.
The Executive Producer Peter Engel tells the gang that they need to keep their relationships professional, but Mario Lopez apparently didn’t get the memo. He also didn’t get the memo that he doesn’t need to dress up like his character at the table read.
UH OH MPG AND LARK ARE HOLDING HANDS UNDER THE TABLE! And by hands, I mean Lark offered her pinky, and MPG is grasping it with his hand.
I have a problem with this set. Mainly because it’s NOTHING like the real one.
M: Fake Bayside is probably the worst casting yet. It looks like a Disney Channel Original Series set.
Real Bayside. BONUS: Those rando twins who must have been recurring contract extras; Jessie Spano being the worst, probably.
M: Now the kids exposit about their talents, interests, and ethnic backgrounds. God. There is nothing more insufferable than someone full of hope and promise telling you what they’re good at.
T: Kelly was urged to talk about her beauty pageant days (Miss Bayside?) and Elizabeth talked about how she’s a dancer. Mario said he was too, and she replied, ‘YOU’RE a dancer?’ and Mario was all, ‘You tell me’ and I legit had to stop to gather myself because, second hand embarrassment. (4)
The people in the live studio audience are definitely not wearing 90s fashion. Who dressed them? I WANT MORE SCRUNCHIES.
M: Wardrobe moment: Lisa’s outfit and hair look so accurate, and Slater has a good jheri curl mullet and crop top, but they’re trying to make Kelly look too “normal” – I think I’ve seen her outfit at Target, and her 90s bangs are M.I.A.
T: But really, was it because the real SBTB set has some kind of copyright on it because this re-creation is not the same.
M: Jessie says she won’t celebrate President’s Day until there is a woman president. And then she calls Slater a chauvinist. Ah, yes. Jessie Spano was probably the first introduction most millennials had to feminism, and she was also awful. Whenever a 20-something celebrity does that “I’m not a feminist but…” thing, I think: Oh. You’re thinking of Jessie Spano. We have Beyonce now. /90s history from C+S Cares.
Shut up, Spano. (Jessie’s ancestors WOULD tho)
T: … so BZ is actually a good actor as Zack, but not as MPG. He belongs on the Disney Channel. Or on Degrassi. Which he was.
M: Fake Lark Voorhies mentions church – everyone know she’s a Jehovah’s Witness? If Lisa Turtle showed up my door with religious literature, I would actually let her in instead of pretending not to be home – but only so I could pepper her with questions about SBTB.
M: Fake Steve Buscemi is on the phone calling Seinfeld “too Jewish.”
We learn that SBTB’s popularity spread by word of mouth. At this time that meant ACTUAL WORDS out of HUMAN MOUTHS, not texting or tumbling or instafacing. Remember when the only phone you had was attached to the wall, and you couldn’t stay on it too long because your stupid brother would pick up one of the other phones in the house and listen in?
T: Among those doing the whole grassroots thing were these girls:
M: Sometimes Fake Mario Lopez sounds like somebody doing an impression of Aziz Ansari.
T: We’re back to Cincinnati, which is weird because the flashback should’ve ended with this scene at the end… or at least that’s what a good script would do.
The girls run into teen fans while shopping, and one of them says she was inspired by Kelly to break up with her BF because she knew he was lying. This inspired the actresses to pitch more serious subjects – THERE’S NO HOPE WITH DOPE?!?!?
DD recalls Mario inviting rando fan girls to the stage for a tour then promptly making out with them, as DD creepily looks on. Honestly the worst part of this is that DD is a voyeur.
And THEN he has a daydream JUST LIKE IN THE SHOW. And his daydream makes him look like Stretch Armstrong in a hot tub with bikini-clad ladies. (5)
So this movie makes it look like MPG and Lark were dating for pretty much the entire series. I thought they all dated each other? I mean except for DD. He dated no one.
M: Fake Mark Paul Gosselaar tries to talk up birthdays to Fake Lark Voorhies. And all of us watching who know 2 things about Jehovah’s Witnesses are screaming “nooo!” like he’s walking alone down a dark hallway in a horror movie. Don’t do it, Fake Mark Paul!
T: LARK VORHEES WAS/IS A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS?
MPG and Elizabeth are having a heart-to-heart about his not-real GF Lark and it’s actually really touching. I hope this happened IRL. They’d be like Jessie and Zack BFFs for real!
MPG and TAT rehearsing their kissing scene. Bring on the LULZ
Um my DVR just did this really weird thing where it stopped after an hour of recording and played a promo for the movie then continued where it left off, but stopped recording after a minute? And then the final hour started as a “separate program”? IDK if that even makes sense but basically I just missed 15 minutes AND DOES TIME WARNER CABLE NOT UNDERSTAND THIS MOVIE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME??
M: Seriously, did they buy all of Fake Tiffani’s clothes at Forever 21 last week, because that’s what it looks like.
T: “The networks didn’t kill us but the hormones might.” – something said in the promo by anon bc MY DVR CUT OFF
M: I’ll say it. If Lifetime sold the soundtrack to this movie, I’d buy it.
T: I’d buy anything with Bell Biv DeVoe’s ‘Poison’ on it.
T: I picked back up where everyone is sitting except Elizabeth and Zack and Mario calls DD dumb and he storms out? WHAT HAPPENNEDDDD?? WERE STEROIDS INVOLVED??
M: A teen tells Fake Screech “it gets easier” after he spits out whatever was in the flask he just swigged. “It gets easier” was the proto-version of “it gets better,” when teen were taught to drink to forget their troubles instead of waiting them out like they do now.
T: Some muscley Azn dude sitting outside the studio offers DD his first swig of vodka out of a flask.
M: Screech’s flask is back. Bad news. Alcohol is the gateway drug to substances like caffeine pills. By the way, caffeine pills look like a real blast on this show.
M: Is this squirrelly 90s boy a secret ghost who shows up when Dustin Diamond needs a drink? How is he EVERYWHERE? I think I just guessed the plot twist, guys.
T: Really? Malibu Sands gets like a 2 minute scene? And it includes a crop top-wearing Slater and a crew who didn’t dress up for a movie set in 1991.
“Then I guess we’re just as fake as Zack and Kelly” Lark is PISSED that MPG was out photographed with TAT.
Guys, I’m pretty sure this movie theater DD is at where he beats a kid up for calling him Screech is like minutes from my apartment. Going tomorrow to see if there’s a marker commemorating the scene.
DD practicing his karate is only making me think of Ross Geller.
LOLZ @ TAT and MPG getting to go to Paris to promote the show while DD is forced to go to Spartanburg, South Carolina.
But really who is this Azn enabler that’s suddenly become DD’s BFF????
Peter tells DD that “IT WAS A BIG DEAL” that he was drunk at the fan signing, and again, because this is how my brain works, it reminded me of this
“I got wasted and I got laid!” DD stop. No one wants to hear this. especially your father. (6)
Cut to TAT and MPG having dinner in Paris and being offered wine. Does everyone become an alcoholic? JK MPG just spit his red wine back into the glass.
M: Fake Kapowski just called Saved By The Bell “Bell.” Just about every play I’ve been in has been reduced to a single word by the cast and crew, and you know what? It sounds stupid. If you have enough time to introduce yourself as “Tiffani Amber,” you have enough time to call it Saved By The Bell.
T: “What’s Saved by the Bell without Zack and Kelly?” – MPG. Um, Zack and Tori? Duh.
Speaking of Tori, is she gonna show up? I’d much rather it end like how I’ve been telling myself it ended, with Kelly and Jessie graduating with the rest of the gang.
DD describes the last season of SBTB “a mess” and described Leanna Creel as “tough girl Tori”. I imagine if Tori were real, she would be living in Provincetown with her wife of 10 years, one of the girl twins that was always an extra at Bayside. They ride bikes together.
Yeah, the Azn enabler is clearly just an actor trying to be on the show. And he recorded DD smoking pot, and threatens to blackmail him if he doesn’t get him a bigger part than an extra.
M: Fake Screech actually looks a lot like real Boy Mickey.
Fake Spano says that she’s up for a film role. SHOWGIRLS. Right?
Fake Screech is beating up his Booze Ghost. How about less of this subplot, more of that time they worked at Carosi’s resort with the white and teal uniforms? Or the time the lizard died? I’ve liked this movie, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also been 2 hrs of missed opportunities.
T: Since TAT and Elizabeth decided to not renew their contracts for all of season 4, they “leave” and come back for the final episode where they all graduate. It’s actually really tender to see them all back together. Also tender: MPG and DD having a moment together where MPG apologizes for being a stupid kid. I appreciate this conversation was put in the movie, because it doesn’t make it look like they were all “against” DD.
Yeah, it’s got to be a trademark situation because I’m so annoyed the set doesn’t look anything like the real graduation set. Also they’re showing mini montages of each character before they cross the stage from that happened in the movie and it’s really not necessary.
GUYS IN THE 15 MINUTES MY DVR SKIPPED, I MISSED “I’M SO EXCITED” WTF
M: They’re all dressed for graduation, and I swear to God if they waste this opportunity to sing Friends Forever I will be livid. I mean unless Zack Attack still has the rights to it.
T: DD does one final Time-out and walks around describing what each actor did next. And shades the hell out of Elizabeth/Showgirls, IMO. Also, they’re not good at standing still because Elizabeth was just shaking her hand like it was a nervous tick.
Like this? Glad New Jessie Spano is also horrible.
Alas, it ends with an oblig throwing of the caps up in the air and an end credit card that reads “The End…ish” DD says SBTB: The College Years didn’t last long because no one wants to see them grow up – I disagree. I liked the College Years and S2G I still have my VHS of when I taped the SBTB: Wedding in Las Vegas TV special somewhere.
I feel gypped they didn’t sing Friends Forever, so just pretend the movie ended with this, and a good Casey Kasem (RIP) sign-off.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Not existing for 5 years, gestating for 9 months, missing the SBTB finale on account of not being born yet.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
Here’s a myth about living in Los Angeles: I see celebrities all the time. I do see them occasionally, but it’s not like I see one every day. However, when I do see one, it’s usually in the oddest of places and involves an awkward exchange of words. Here are some that come to mind.
Okay, this is technically way before I lived here, but a good story nonetheless. I was visiting family here in 2003, and I got tickets to see American Idol. I went with my dad, who honestly, I don’t think he had any idea what was going on, but I also made a sign that said, ‘I came all the way from Rochester, NY to see Justin win’. Yeah. Justin Guarini. Anyways, during commercials, the audience warm up guy announced that Mario Lopez was in the audience. I naturally freaked out because if there is any TV series that encapsulates my youth, it’s Saved by the Bell. So I got the balls to go up to him (because other girls were doing the same thing too) and I asked him for his autograph on a piece of paper ripped from a small notebook of the gal behind me in line. There he was, AC Slater, flashing his smile and dimples at me. He asked me what my name was and I said, ‘Traci’. He said oh how do you spell that? And I was all ‘T-R-A-C-I’, but apparently said it really fast, because he looked confused and it literally said, “To Traici, Love Mario Lopez.” To make it worse, I told him how much I love SBTB and how I’ve seen every episode, to which he smiled again and I ran away like a little girl.
My friends and I were at Yogurtland, a popular self serve fro-yo place. We were sitting outside eating and I thought I spotted Talan from Laguna Beach go inside. I came up with a reason to get napkins just to see if it was in fact him. Turns out it wasn’t. Also turned out that the dispenser was out of napkins, and since I needed them anyways, I decided to go up to the cashier to ask for some. When I went up there, there was only one cashier, and I let her know that they were out of napkins. And then a line started forming and it took waayy too long and I started feeling guilty about just getting fake napkins. I said outloud, “You’d think they’d have more than one person working here, right?” Then a voice next to me said, “I know right?” Yeah, that person that responded to my offhand comment was Mindy Kaling. I ran away like a little girl.
Damien from Mean Girls
Ironically at the same Yogurtland, but a different time, I saw Damien (Daniel Franzese) with some girl. I think I was staring at him for too long because we made eye contact and he looked at me with some concern. A year later I saw him handing out flyers for a theater during a Christmas open house.
Jon Heder aka Napoleon Dynamite
I was picking up food I ordered from my favorite restaurant, Aroma cafe. There’s a TV behind the registers that usually plays old timey movies, and the one that was playing that day was a really odd one that was super low-budge and featured some woman with a huge gold headdress. While I was waiting to pick up my food, the guy next to me said, what movie is this? The cashier said it’s called She. And without even thinking that I shouldn’t be part of the conversation, I said, ‘She? That’s the name of it? So weird.’ Then the guy next to me looked at me and nodded in agreement before saying something else, and I realized I made small talk with Napoleon Dynamite.
My friend Thom was visiting us in LA, and my roommate Meghan and I took him to one of the greatest cupcake places/tourist spots in the city – Sprinkles. This place is so popular that there is always a line out the door at the Beverly Hills location, but it’s so worth it. While waiting in line, a couple girls got out of a car and came up to us frantically saying, ‘We need a guy to sing happy birthday to!’ and I was like ‘Holy crap, that’s Whitney from The Hills! Slash it’s actually Thom’s birthday!!’ I immediately pointed to Thom, but he was having none of it and she’s like do you want to do it? We’re in a scavenger hunt and I need to sing happy birthday to a guy.’ Thom said no and she moved on. Ugh come on!
At the stationery store I used to work at, a lot of celebs would come in looking for assistance, and I would have to act cool. I’d say the biggest star to come in was Tim Allen. At the time, I was by myself, and on the phone with a customer. Then I heard a man say, ‘excuse me’ and I turned around and it was Tim the toolman Taylor. He started asking me about an ink refill for his pen, and I promptly came up with an excuse to call the customer on the phone back. We didn’t have what he wanted, but he and his daughter ended up buying some stuff anyways. When he was checking out he said, “I’ll Paper your Goose.” The name of our store was Paper Goose.
Duck Lips then…
Duck Lips now…
L.A. isn’t really known for its walkability. Everyone here drives. So often when there’s someone walking across the street illegally, I turn on the road rage. Last month, this very thing happened. I was coming to a stop in traffic when this guy just runs across the street to his car. I thought he looked familiar, like he went to my college or something because he looked super hipster and that’s my natural train of thought in LA – Emerson or celebrity? And thanks to Molly’s previous Full House where are they now post, I realized it was the guy who played Duck Lips on Full House who illegally crossed the street in front of my car. How rude.
If I had to name one TV show that defined my childhood it would be Saved By The Bell. Full House comes in a close second, but Bayside High was, is, and always will be my number one (so expect more posts about this in the future).
I’ve seen every single episode of the series, including the long forgotten Good Morning, Miss Bliss ones. A fun trick I used to be really good at was naming the episode and/or plot based on the first 5 to 10 seconds of the show. I can kinda still do it now, but in my old age, I’ve managed to forget.
So because I’ve seen all the episodes multiple times, I’ve noticed a lot of things most people don’t, including the background characters who showed up throughout the high school years. Here are a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!
The gravelly voiced black nerd was often seen roaming the halls with his fellow Central Casting extras, but also frequently seen in clubs and committees, along with his fellow geektastic friends.
Herbert the Nerd
Friend of Ollie, geek to all. He was often with the rest of the geek squad, but for some reason, he stuck out because he was just so … on edge all the time. Also, he made the perfect faces that made me wonder why the “geeks” in my school didn’t look exactly like him.
Did the twins have names? Probably not. What they did have was matching outfits in every episode. Like as teens, they had to wear the exact same clothes, because otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to tell that they were twins.
The short black girl, the twins, and other frequent extras that Zack is pretending he is friends with
Ok, she didn’t have a name either. But she was short, black, and always jovial.
Kevin the Robot
Screech had a best friend in Zack, but he also had a best friend in his robot Kevin. Looking back on it, this robot must have cost hundreds of dollars in the 1980s. And did his parents have him specially made? He was a talking robot that was almost life-sized for goodness sake!
Ox was the token idiot jock who actually first came on the scene with the name of ‘Scud.’ That’s right folks Scud. Needless to say, the big galut lucked out with ‘Ox’.
You might remember Alan from one of my personal favorite eps, The Prom. He was a part of the prom committee, and suggested that the food for the night consist of all different kinds of cake.
I want to say his name is Robert … which is probably incorrect. But he looks like a Robert, no? He looks like he runs wit h the geek crowd, but he was always with the average people, like the twins.
Here is Rod teaching the teenage boys how to do “CPR.” Cue: HEY HEY HEY WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??
“A building with two beldings and one of them is balding!” Ok, so he was only in one episode but I feel like I need to address him. The kids were surprised to find out that not only did Mr. Belding had a brother, but he had a cool brother. You can call him Rod. Classic 90s Californian with long flowing blond hair and surfer dude attitude. The only problem was that he was a flake. When Rod promised to take the class white water rafting, he warned the kids that he wouldn’t fulfill his promise, and per usual he was right. Always listen to Mr. Belding kids. Always.
Bonus: Scott Wolf
Glee club extraordinaire, Scott Wolf would soon grow up to be an alcoholic in Party of Five and then marry Kelly from Real World: New Orleans IRL.
RIP Mark Sloan
Also only in one episode, but I only found out it was him like a year ago and it blew my mind. He played Tad (maybe Ted? IDK one of the two) who was an excellent volleyball player and played against our crew when they spent their summer at the Malibu Sands Beach Club. McSteamy dated Stacey Carosi (Leah Remini of King of Queens), but she told him she moved away instead of actually dating him. If only you knew he would grow up to be a smokeshow on Grey’s Anatomy.