Best ___ Of 2015: Some Really Specific Superlatives

2015 is over, and so is vacation. For a lot of us, this is the first day back at work for a week or two, and I, for one, am not ready. How not ready? I’m just going to bury my head in the sands of time and think about 2015 for a few more minutes. By now all of the year’s Best Of lists are out – best movie, best new television show, and so on. However, I think a few categories were left off the lists. From best Ham4Ham performance to best original song by a fictional artist, there’s a lot more of 2015 left to enjoy*.

*There isn’t, though. It’s over. Better get back to work after this. Yuck.

Best Ham4Ham performance of 2015: Love For The Techies Day

We aren’t going to talk about the best musical of 2015 – there’s no need, because I think we all agree here (#WeAreAHamiltonBlogNow). So how about the best performance from Ham 4 Ham, the Hamilton lottery? There are a lot of excellent contenders and you could make a solid argument for a handful of them, but I’m going with one of the more unorthodox performances: Love for the Techies Day. The whole company performed the Ten Duel Commandments, but it wasn’t just amazing because the entire cast was there. The stage manager called out all of the cues, and when you realize that he does that for the entire show, every day, you’ll be blown away.

Best dance craze of 2015: Whip & Nae Nae

… and NOT because it’s a good dance, but because it has followed the classic Dance Craze trajectory. It is easy enough that anybody can execute it, though maybe not well. It started as a reasonably “cool” thing to do, then trickled down to the elementary school set. From there, it has traveled way up the age bracket, and there’s a good chance that your mom or aunt has learned it at a wedding (possibly from a child). In a lot of ways, the nae nae is like the Macarena of 2015. Complete with annoying song that we’re all sick of.

Best viral video with a puppy in it: Drunk Girls Get Surprised With Puppies

This was not an easy choice, and I am fully open to more puppy video suggestions because I can’t get enough. I am particularly partial to puppies making friends with other species. But this one basically summed up my internal monologue when I see a puppy, so I’m going with it. Also my favorite puppy/horse video is from 2014, anyway.

Best viral video with a kitten in it: Meet Koko’s New Kittens

Koko always wanted a baby, but she got kittens instead. Apparently when a human does that it’s “sad” (whatever) but it sure is adorable when a gorilla did it. The gorilla is so gentle I want to cry.

Best new Netflix series – comedy: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The magic starts with the theme song and just keeps going. Master of None is a close second, but I’m not considering it a full-out *comedy* (we’ll explain).

Best new Netflix series – drama: Jessica Jones

I don’t know if this makes my opinion more or less valid (probably less?) but I’ve never seen a superhero show before. What I like is that it’s plot- and character- driven (and I realize that most superhero dramas are…) and there aren’t too many action sequences unless they actually move the story forward. Gratuitous action sequences are just something that tends to make me lose interest and avoid the genre. As a character study alone, I’m pleasantly surprised by how good this show is. [Full disclosure: real life got a little too real and I haven’t seen the last 3 episodes yet but I heard they’re excellent.]

Best new Netflix series – documentary: Making a Murderer

This isn’t the last you’ll hear from us about Making a Murderer, so I won’t say too much now. We both love how this filled the Serial-shaped hole in our lives (the new season of Serial is still good, but different).

Honorable mention for best documentary: Master of None, because I know it’s a comedy but it was also the REALEST thing I’ve seen in a while.

Best 90s television reunion: Saved By The Bell on Jimmy Fallon

This was 100% more Bayside-like than that weird school in the Lifetime movie about Saved By The Bell. I wonder at what point Mark Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez will stop looking exactly like 1993-era  Zach Morris and A.C. Slater given the right hair and wardrobe.

Best 2000s television reunion: Gilmore Girls 

And not just because we were there.  It’s not often that the entire cast of a show will reunite like that, and it’s even better now that we know that the series will be getting the sign-off it deserved.

Best original song by a fictional artist: Drip Drop – Hakeem Lyon on Empire

We love original songs by fictional artists so much that we did a whole playlist on the topic, but if we did that today there’s a chance it would just be Drip Drop ten times. Just think, a year ago at this time we had no idea what Empire was going to unleash on all of us.

Best children’s movie for adults: Inside Out

It’s great for kids, too, but something about this one really grabs most adults, plus a lot of the references to things like art and psychology are geared toward the grown-ups, anyway. Fair warning: this is also 2015’s Best Children’s Movie To Cry During, based on an informal survey of … us. We both cried.

Best uncanny resemblance between a  celebrity and a presidential candidate: Larry David/ Bernie Sanders

Many of the best impressions are performed by people who look nothing like the subject they’re impersonating. Still, there’s something so exciting when a politician has a ready-made celebrity doppelgänger (see: Tina Fey and Sarah Palin). It looks like we’ll all be feeling the Bern for at least a while longer, so let’s all hope that Larry David is willing to reprise his spot-on, no-effort impersonation.

Best surprisingly heartwarming pop culture moment: Shia LaBoeuf watches the Even Stevens movie

 

I don’t know how I feel about Shia LaBoeuf, but I DO know how I feel about Even Stevens: that it’s an essential part of my childhood television cannon, and when I say childhood I mean that it aired when I was in high school and was made for 8-year-olds. Shia’s latest performance art piece, #AllMyMovies, involved him… watching all of his movies. Yet when I watch all of Shia LaBoeuf’s movies, it’s not performance art, it’s just a weird Saturday. Anyway, his reactions to Even Stevens were actually precious.

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Pop Culture Reunions That Need To Happen

The reunion issue of Entertainment Weekly came out last week, and we got to see what the casts of Bring It On, Felicity, Family Ties and more are up to now. This issue is one of my favorite annual issues from EW, especially when they cover shows or movies I’m particularly interested like Gilmore Girls or Clueless or The West Wing (have you SEEN the vid of Bradley & Janel talking about present-day Josh & Donna?!). There are of course millions of things to choose from when it comes to narrowing it down to a few for each issue, but I too have hopes and wishes for future get togethers by some of my (used-to-be) favorite stars. Here are just some of them.

Good Morning, Miss Bliss

Before Zack and Slater in California, there was Zack and Mikey in Indiana. The latter lasted approx one season, but thanks to the magic of syndication, the 14 episodes were rolled into repeats of Saved by the Bell. This explains why as a kid you saw two middle schoolers – Mikey and Nicki – suddenly turn into high school Slater and Jessie. Call it The Tori Complex, if you will. While we know Zack, Lisa and Screech and even Mr. Belding went on to find fame with SBTB, the actors who played Mikey and Nicki, Max Battimo and Heather Hopper, didn’t quite reach that level. Even Miss Bliss’ teachers Miss Tina Paladrino and maintenance supervisor Mylo Williams had few roles here and there. I think the reunion, more than anything, would be to ask the question – what went wrong with this show?

Notting Hill

When we were growing up in the 90s, Julia Roberts was (and arguably still is) the Queen of Romantic Comedies. After seeing My Best Friend’s Wedding for the first time, I became obsessed both with her and the movie, and when Notting Hill came along, that became my favorite. Like, I have it on VHS currently in my room and have seen it way too many times to remember. Pairing Julia with the King of Romantic Comedies, Hugh Grant, was a no-brainer and they had great chemistry. It also stars a young Mischa Barton, Alec Baldwin AND his 30 Rock frail-boned co-star Emily Mortimer, and the dude from The Wire. But it’s also the first introduction I had to Hugh Bonneville aka Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey, as Bernie, Hugh/Will’s friend. He has a very understated comedic charm to him we don’t get to see as much on Downton.

Ally McBeal

Most of the Ally McBeal cast reunited at the TV Land Awards earlier this year, but I want a full get together with Robert Downey Jr., Jane Krakowski, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs and Portia De Rossi, otherwise it would be for naught. Also, didn’t know until right now that Renee Elise Goldberry of Hamilton fame played one of Vonda Shepard’s backup singers in the bar throughout the entire series. BRAND NEW INFORMATION. She should be invited to the reunion too.

Ed

Ed, the show about a big town lawyer who moves back to his small hometown and becomes the owner of a bowling alley. This show ran for four seasons and through the entirety of my high school career. I loved this show, but like most programs I watched back in the day, I wasn’t necessarily the target demographic. None the less, the show was a lovely dramedy with sort of a Gilmore Girls vibe. It also produced stars like Modern Family’s Julie Bowen, Michael Ian Black, and a young Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin (again, learning so much. I forgot she was in Ed, but very clearly remembered their scenes together in classic He’s Just Not That Into You). Most of these actors have gone on to do great things, but like, where’s Lesley Boone/Molly? Jana Marie Hupp/Nancy (SHE WAS MINDY IN THE ONE WITH BARRY AND MINDY’S WEDDING #COPACABANA).

Rent

I was introduced to Rent when I was approx 13 years old, around the time Rent first hit Broadway. I’d listen to the OBC soundtrack on repeat, and for sentimental reasons, is still one of my favorite musicals. Despite getting together for the polarizing movie and the 10th anniversary show, I will always be available for this OG cast to get together once more. Especially Taye and Idina.

Newsies

Speaking of musicals, Newsies was a childhood staple for many kids my age, and starred a young Christian Bale before he became Batman. If I could just get a current group picture of everyone in this cast in the exact same pose, crutch and all, that would be fantastic.

Dirty Sexy Money

It’s like a given we would all like a reunion of Six Feet Under, so that aside, he’s another addicting show Peter Krause was a part of. I binged this a few years ago when it was still on Netflix Instant, and I don’t even remember why. Maybe it was Peter I was intrigued by. Then again it was also Donald Sutherland, a girl from Passions, Lucy Liu (again) and William Baldwin. This would be a fun reunion, specifically because it was cancelled after just two seasons with a total of 23 episodes. What happened to this Darling family??

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Is Studio 60 polarizing, too? Probably. Did I watch it because I appreciate Matthew Perry? Of course. Did I expect to like it so much that I bought the DVDs? Absolutely not. Studio 60 had some problems with it, of course, but all the cast members were extremely talented and made the show watchable. Also, Columbus Short, aka Harrison from Scandal was on it, along with Dawn from the British The Office, and it’s weird seeing them not as the characters you most associate them with, despite the fact Scandal came after this show. Anyways.

Laguna Beach

Molly & I didn’t even go to our own high school reunion, so I can’t say I entirely expect the cast of Laguna Beach to take part in a reunion. However, it would be itneresting to see what’s changed dynamics wise. Is Kristin still mad at ‘Stephennnnn’? Does Stephen pine for LC at all? What happened to Christina’s Broadway dreams? Is Trey still the best human on the show (besides LC)?

That Thing You Do

In addition to renting this movie on VHS, for some reason, That Thing You Do! was constantly, or what seemed to be, on repeat on VH1. It wasn’t a blockbuster in the box office, but it wasn’t a flop either. What it does have is a strong, passionate fan base who will be able to sing the titular track for you at a moment’s notice. They’ll know the different between The Wonders and The Oneders, and know how to pronounce the latter. They’ll also want to get the band back together one more time.

2Ge+her

2ge+her

And one final segue – SPEAKING OF BANDS GETTING BACK TOGETHER – I’ve spoken about this before, but as a young lass, I was a teenybopper to the max. BSB was my jam, and that love of boy bands extended to pretty much everyone (except ‘N Sync, duh), including the fake boy band put together on MTV to mock the genre. That ultimately backfired since they had a ‘hit’ song with U+Me = Us (Calculus) and their follow-up hit, The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (Is Getting Back Your Stuff). Both their albums made it into the Billboard top 40, including their sophomore record, 2Ge+her Again, which hit 11. While it wouldn’t be the same without the late Michael Cuccione as part of the reunion, it would be great to see them 2GE+HER AGAIN.

 

Just Say YES: 80s & 90s Kids’ Shows That Made Drugs Look Fun

First things first: we would never tell children to do drugs. Children’s programs do it for us. Or did, anyway. Back when the front line of the War On Drugs was manned by a white lady named Nancy, kids’ shows told the youth of the nation to “just say no.” The problem: the drugs looked awesome. Was it because the show runners didn’t know what drugs looked like? Or were they just trying to show kids how hard it could be to resist peer pressure? Because I guarantee if these cartoons showed gross needles, or weed being smoked out of a dank Coke can, fewer kids would have wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Instead, the drugs looked awesome:

Punky Brewster

Punky’s got lessons. Don’t go all the way inside of a refrigerator. Your family is who loves you, not who abandons you in a supermarket. Someday, you’ll get a bra. And don’t do drugs, even though drugs look like the best candy in the world.

A group of girls invite Punky and Cherie into their clique, but only if they do drugs. I repeat: the girls invited Punky and Cherie to hang out in an amazing technicolor dream fort, and offered them free drugs. I’m not surprised that Punks did the right thing, I’m just confused why those girls wanted to be friends with her that hard.

Cartoon All Stars To The Rescue

This was an all-out failure of concept. When a young boy starts drinking beer and smoking dope ( I think they say “dope,” and I’m never 100% clear on what drug that’s supposed to be), his kid sis and a team of Cartoon All Stars gang up to teach him that there’s a better way.

That’s right, kids. If you do drugs, all your favorite cartoon characters will come over to hang.

In a way, though, this was the harshest punishment of all, because can you imagine being on drugs and then trying to deal with the fact that you were rolling with Alf, the Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, the Muppet Babies – the freaking Muppet Babies – and the Ninja Turtles? While we’re at it, Ninja Turtles: the CONSTANT PIZZA? The slow, drawled out speech? Sitting around all day in a basement with your bros? Oh, come on.

Dinosaurs

I’ve seen episodes of Weeds that were less pro-drug than this. Earl and Robbie, the boy dinosaur who’s Dinosaurs’ answer to Eddie Winslow, find a plant that makes them all chill and happy, but then the next day all they can find is seeds and stems. So I guess the lesson here is that they should have had more drugs on hand. Anyway, the whole family turns amotivational and at the end, Robbie delivers an anti-drug speech. Or is it an anti-anti drug episode speech? “When one show does an anti-drug episode, other shows feel pressured to do one, too. […] [P]ut a stop to preachy sitcom endings like this one.” In sum, the writers room of Dinosaurs probably smelled like that one kid in your nighttime sociology class who always wore a Central American poncho.

Saved By The Bell

We all know and love the “I’m so excited.. I’m so scared!” scene, but it’s easy to forget how appealing that episode made drugs look to all those Type A kids out there. Like, if I do “caffeine pills,” I too can get tons of shit done? That sounds amazing. I think we can all assume that “caffeine pills” is a Saturday morning T.V. euphemism for speed or a less depressing version of meth.

Then, there was Johnny Dakota. He was a teen star who showed up to make an anti-drug P.S.A. with the kids of Bayside. The gang goes to a party at his place and learns that he does drugs himself. So, Johnny Dakota went back to his lifestyle of drug-fueled house parties and the Bayside kids went back to hanging out with their principal. Real good job there, Saved By The Bell.

Fresh Prince

Was speed really THAT big an issue for highly-motivated teenagers in the 90s? Like Spano, Carlton is a clean-cut honor roll type who falls prey to amphetamines. He gets the pills from Will, who is using them to keep up with his go-go lifestyle, and Carlton takes them thinking that they’re vitamins. I am now realizing that I took Sudafed to pull an all-nighter in law school a few times, and that I probably learned that little trick from 90s kids’ shows. I graduated Magna Cum Laude and I owe it all to what I know realize were drugs. These were either some hardcore amphetamines or Carlton had a pre-existing condition, because he got hospitalized HARD.

Captain Planet

This episode features something that I was led to believe would happen a lot more than it does: a stranger forcing me to take drugs for no real reason. Do you remember that? They’d teach you how to “just say no” if someone offers you drugs, and then your whole DARE class would get sidetracked talking about “well, what if someone MAKES you take drugs?” And not for any reason other than that they want you to be a person who is on drugs. I remember when Traci and I were in Greece, we met this weird girl on the train who told us to be careful in Athens because people would put drugs in our food. “Oh, like… for reasons?” we wondered. Nah. She said just like weed or mild hallucinogens, and I don’t know why they would waste their hard-earned drugs on people who didn’t even want them.

But I digress. Some dude puts drugs in Lenkas food not to do anything to her, but just so that she becomes a person who is on drugs. She’s pretty miserable when she’s off drugs, but when she’s on them it looks like a blast!

Now, as someone who’s blessed to share her name with a popular club drug, I’m in a unique position to critique drug names. The one in Captain Planet is called Bliss. That’s a stupid drug name.

Jem

A girl we’ve never seen before is offered drugs, and before you know it her guitar skills are through the roof! Eventually she starts experiencing side effects or something, but this will go down as the anti-drug episode that taught us kids that if you hate practicing clarinet for band, there’s probably a drug for that.

 

O Come Let Us Adore… Holiday-Themed Sitcom Episodes

ATTENTION: IT IS DECEMBER. IT IS THE LAST MONTH OF 2014. WHAT HOW HUH.

Ok now that I’ve made you feel like you’ve done nothing this year, it’s time to introduce you to our special holiday playlists of the month, because we like spreading joy here at Cookies + Sangria.

If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you know that we usually have a Playlist of the Month featuring our favorite songs based on the given theme. For December, we decided to give our gifts to you early (yay!) and have THREE ‘playlists’ that are all holiday themed. Today we’re kicking it off with some of our favorite holiday sitcom episodes. If you’re like us, you enjoy watching stuff like this to get into the spirit, so break out the egg nog (or just like, wine or something) and kick back with some of the best Christmasukkah crap TV has to offer!

Molly’s Picks

Parks and Recreation – Citizen Knope
{Season 4, Episode 1}

Guaranteed to bring on my annual Yuletide happy-cry, in this episode Leslie learns that as much love and dedication as she has for her friends and community, they have for her. Leslie always gives almost obsessively perfect presents, but after her rough suspension she receives the best gifts a gal could ask for: the love of her friends, a gingerbread facsimile of her workplace, and a campaign staff.

Seinfeld – The Strike
{Season 9, Episode 10}

Yes, my family has celebrated Festivus. The Feats of Strength were a real bummer because my brothers are both 6’5, but I think the Airing Of Grievances hurt more. If you don’t know what those things mean, you need to watch this episode.

The Office – Christmas Party
{Season 2, Episode 10}

Remember those sweet, early ‘will they/won’t they’ days of Jim and Pam’s relationship? When a Christmas gift exchange turns into a forced Yankee Swap, Jim’s gift to Pam is in jeopardy. She ultimately gets the teapot he bought her, but not before Jim removes the note he wrote her … then gives it to her like 7 years later.

Guys. I really miss this show sometimes.

Friends – The One With The Routine
{Season 6, Episode 10}

Do you guys remember Millennium Fever? Survivalists were freaking out about Y2K and everyone else was under heavy pressure to have the best New Year’s ever. When Monica and Ross land a spot on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, they decide to bust out their childhood dance routine.

Surest sign you were a tweenaged Friends fanatic in the late 90s: you watched the episode (taped on VHS, naturally) over and over until you had that routine down. Guilty.

30 Rock – Ludachristmas
{Season 2, Episode 9}

This one had me at the title. What can I say, I love a good portmanteau. But the episode itself seriously delivered. Jack’s mom (Elaine Stritch) is in town, as is Liz’s family (including her brother, whose brain injury makes him believe that it is perpetually 1985). The TGS Christmas party is ruined when Kenneth takes it upon himself to teach everyone the Real Meaning Of Christmas, and saved when Tracy decides to ignore his alcohol monitoring bracelet.

The Simpsons – The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire
{Season 1, Episode 1}

I was a big Simpsons fan as a little kid, and this is probably my favorite of their Christmas episodes. Homer gets a job as a mall Santa, but still comes up short on Christmas Eve. He and Bart hit the racetrack, and come home with the best present of all – Santa’s Little Helper, the losing greyhound they bet on.

Traci’s Picks

The Office – A Benihana Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 11}

This isn’t just one of my favorite Christmas episodes, it’s one of my favorite episodes of The Office – ever. There is so much going on in this episode that I don’t even know which storyline is my favorite. So let’s break it down. First we have Michael, whose realtor girlfriend, Carol (and Steve’s IRL wife) breaks up with him, leading him into a spiral of depression. To help him with the pain, he goes out to lunch at Japanese restaurant Benihana with some of the guys in the office. Michael and Andy pick up two of the waitresses (Kulap!) and bring them back to the office for the annual Christmas party. Except Michael can’t remember which Asian waitress was the one he was hoping to hook up with, and after a heart to heart with Jim, Michael realizes he really likes someone else and invites them to go to Jamaica with him (spoiler alert, it’s Jan). Speaking of the party, there are actually two dueling parties between Angela’s Party Planning Committee and Pam and Karen’s margarita-karaoke party. This is important because it’s the first time Pam and Karen are actually getting along despite the fact there’s the whole Jim love triangle. Eventually the two parties merge, and all is fine. Oh and as a Christmas present to Jim, Pam has been playing an elaborate trick on Dwight which involves the CIA. This episode is The Office at its finest. It has the perfect mix of humor, heart, and plot progression that will fit in a special hour-long episode. Ugh, I miss this show.

Friends – The One With The Holiday Armadillo
{Season 7, Episode 10}

This is obviously one of the more iconic moments of Friends – even though it’s from one of the much-debated later seasons. Ross wants to teach Ben about Haunukkah, since he’s half Jewish, but all Ben wants to do is talk about that Santa dude. Ross gives in, but it’s too late into the season that all the Christmas-related costumes are sold out, so he settles for an armadillo – the Holiday Armadillo to be exact (who is Santa’s representative for all the southern states. Annnnnd Mexico!) But because Ben has uncles who love him a lot and want to help out, Joey and Chandler dress up too, and the result looks like the Easter Bunny’s funeral.

Full House – Our Very First Christmas Show
{Season 2, Episode 9}

When I was a kid, I always thought Corduroy and his story was just the coolest. The fact that this bear came to life and gets to wander around a department store at night when it was closed just seemed so intriguing to me. Basically, any plot that involves people (or inanimate objects coming to life, I guess) being stuck in a place where they’re not usually supposed to be is great to me. In the first Christmas episode from Full House, the fam is on its way to Colorado for the holidays, but a blizzard forces the plane to land in a rando small airport and they have to spend the Christmas Eve in the baggage claim waiting room. Jesse’s dad tries to get Jesse to kiss Becky under the mistletoe, Deej is mad that their gifts have gone missing, Steph is upset because she doesn’t think Santa will find her in the stupid airport, and Joey doesn’t get a real storyline because this is Full House. Eventually some guy Steph was afraid of on the plane turns out to be the real Santa, and they all get their presents. It’s full of cheese, but what else do you expect from this show?

Parks and Recreation – Ron and Diane
{Season 5, Episode 9}

Because Leslie Knope is the greatest, she dresses up in this elf/santa’s workshop worker costume to tell Ron he is nominated for an award from the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association for a chair he recently built. Ron invites Diane to the ceremony and Leslie invites herself, and therefore meets Diane for the first time (cameo appearance from Tammy 2). Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are planning their annual Jerry Dinner – every time Jerry does something stupid, they put a dollar in the box, and at the end of the year, they use the money to treat themselves to a dinner. But on their way to spend the $500, Tom, Donna, April and Andy pass by Jerry’s house only to find out that the Gengriches, including Christie Brinkley, are having a big Christmas party without them. Ann, who is a guest at the party, won’t let them in, but they finally apologize and end up giving the Jerry Dinner money to Jerry to help pay for his hospital bills after his fart attack.

How I Met Your Mother – How Lily Stole Christmas
{Season 2, Episode 11}

Lily finds an old message on their answering machine that Ted left for Marshall after Lily left him to go off to San Francisco. He called her a grinch (bitch) and urged Marshall to get over her. Ted tells her that in all fairness she was being a huge grinch during that time, and refuses to apologize, which makes Lily furious. She takes away “Lily’s Winter Wonderland”, in which she decorates the entire apartment full of snow and Christmas items, and it’s Marshall’s favorite part about the holidays, especially this year since he’s busy studying for the bar exam. There are a lot of episodes in HIMYM focusing on Marshall/Lily and Ted/Marshall/Barney, but there are a few which get to focus on Lily/Ted, and this is one of them. Throughout college, it was Mashall, Lily, and Ted as a trio, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that with the Marshall/Lily ship, so seeing them fight and ultimately reconcile in this episode is certainly a Christmas miracle.

Saved By The Bell – A Home For Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 24}

Boy, do I love/hate a teen show which tries to incorporate adult subject matter. We briefly talked about how this show handled drunk driving and drugs during our SBTB Week a few months ago,  and this is no different. Most of the gang has jobs at the mall, and Zack lit’rally runs into this blonde girl and hits on her but he turns around for one second and she’s gone. Separately, Zack and Screech run into a man in the bathroom who they realize is homeless. Turns out, the blonde, Laura, not only works with Kelly at a department store, but is the homeless man’s daughter, and they’ve been living in their car after he lost his job. Zack’s mom offers to let them stay at their house until they find a place to stay. At the same time, the crew is putting up A Christmas Carol, which IRONICALLY mirrors a similar story between Laura and Kelly and their mean scroogey boss Mr. Moody. The episode ends with everyone singing Silent Night around a piano, and S2G, if I watched this episode as an adult I would hate it, but because I watched it so many times as a kid, the corny factor doesn’t even bother me. God bless us every one (esp Zack Morris).

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Where Are They Now – Saved By The Bell: The New Class

Whoever said “all good things come to an end” wasn’t entirely correct. Sometimes, good things sputter, flounder, and turn into a shell of their former selves and then come to an end years later, long after their period of relevance.Yeah, I’m talking about the Saved By The Bell Franchise. Remember that weird senior year where Kelly and Jessie were replaced by Tori, who may as well have been a permed wig and a leather jacket perched on top of a wheeled office chair? That was nothing compared to what lay ahead. Saved By The Bell: The New Class contained a rotating cast of teens who aged out every year. If you watched it for enough seasons, it must have been how being a teacher feels, staying in the same school and watching the kids get younger and younger. These kids all sort of ran together into not-Zacks and fake-Kellys and weird-Slaters. We all sort of know where the original Bayside gang is now, so I think it’s about time we catch up with the cast of Saved By The Bell: The New Class.

Robert Sutherland Telfer (Scott Erickson)

This kiddo was really trying to hit all the marks.He even has three names, like Mark-Paul Gosselaar (and Brian Austin Green, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Taryn Noah Smith, and so many more). But Scott Erickson was fake Zack, and it just wasn’t the same.

These days, Robert Sutherland Telfer has quit the small screen and managed, in 2014, to exist without an internet presence. A few probably false bits of information on the internet: (1) He was fired from SBTB: The New Class after it became known that he was a “radical conservative”; (2) He was fired because he “didn’t act like he should”; and (3) “he competed in amateur gymnastics under the tutelage of famed Québécois magician F. Brian Fester.” Curiously, magician F. Brian Fester’s only Google hits are in fake-sounding bios of this kid from Saved By The Bell: The New Class. Anyway, the real magician here is Robert Sutherland Telfer, for maintaining such a trackless existence on the worldwide web.

Jonathan Angel (Tommy De Luca)

“Tommy D.” was an odd combination of Slater and Joey Tribbiani. Actor Jonathan Angel has mostly left the business, last appearing in the small 2006 film “Leaving L.A.” By the LinkedIn process of elimination game, he is either a 3D animator now or, perhaps much more likely, he doesn’t have an internet presence and that’s some other guy who has a cool job. You may be more familiar with Jonathan’s dad’s work – Joe Angel is the radio announcer for the Baltimore Orioles.

Isaac Lidsky (Barton “Weasel” Wyzell)

Now we have something to work with. Isaac Lidsky played Fake Screech, and although they even gave him wacky mismatched outfits and a stupid nickname, it still wasn’t the same. After leaving The New Class, Lidsky graduated with math and computer science degrees from Harvard (after enrolling at age 15!) , founded an internet advertising company, Poindexter Systems, then graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law. He was on Law Review, naturally. Lidsky, who is blind, founded Hope For Vision, a charity that promotes research for the visually impaired. And he clerked for my favorite Supreme Court Justice and yours, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Lidsky has also founded a construction firm, as if all of the rest of that weren’t enough. He is married and the father of three triplets: Thaddeus, Phineas and Lily Louise. Well done, Weasel!

Natalia Cigliuti (Lindsay Warner)

Not to be outdone by Fake Screech, Fake Kelly is also doing pretty well for herself. Natalia is still a working actress, and you may know her from Raising The Bar, The Glades, All My Children, and 90210 (the original version and the 2000s spinoff). Natalia, who was born in Uruguay, is also the mother of a 9-year-old son, Kaden. You can catch her on Twitter and Instagram, where she posted this great photo of her, Sarah Lancaster and Samantha Esteban (Becker) today.

Bianca Lawson (Megan Jones)

Megan Jones was sort of a combination of Lisa and Jessie, and when you think about it those characters could have easily been rolled into one person – a straight-A student like Spano fending off the affections of a nerd, like Turtle. But today, you may be most familiar with Bianca Lawson as one of those human vampire people who does not age. After leaving The New Class, Lawson played a teenager again in Buffy The Vampire Slayer – and then again on Dawson’s Creek (Nikki Green), and in Save The Last Dance, and then an early 20-something on Secret Life Of The American Teenager, and most recently Maya Saint Germain on Pretty Little Liars. Yes, Maya was like 33 years old. Hats off to Bianca, and also to the portrait that Bianca has in her attic that ages on her behalf.

Bonnie Russavage (Vicki Needleman)

The notes I jotted down for this post include this description of Vicki Needleman: “Fake Jessie only even more useless.” And basically, yes. There was no need for this character. Or any of these characters. Or this entire show, to be quite honest.

After The New Class, Bonnie all but left acting, choosing to go to college and earning a degree in Business Administration. She works in the medical field and is a parent, and seems to be living a nice, normal life – except with the cool party anecdote that she used to be on a Saved By The Bell spinoff as a teenager.

Sarah Lancaster (Rachel Meyers)

Rachel Meyers (sort of a Lisa-ish character, for you SBTB purists) is doing well for herself! Sarah Lancaster took college courses while filming The New Class, and pursued an acting career after she left Bayside. Most recently, she’s appeared in a string of TV movies, which is probably good work if you can get into it. However, you may be most familiar with her as Ellie Woodcomb on Chuck – as well as one- and two- episode stints on tons of tv series. Meyers is currently married and is the mother of a young son, Oliver. You can follow her on Twitter – she seems like a nice lady!

Lindsey McKeon (Katie Peterson)

My notes for Katie Peterson said “generic clean-cut 90s girl,” and I’m going to stick with that. She played sports and had kind of a Delia’s Catalog vibe. Post-Bayside, McKeon appeared as Taylor James on One Tree Hill, Tessa on Supernatural, and Marah Lewis on Guiding Light. Her IMDB bio is a bit vague but she sounds like a genuinely smart and interesting person – she likes to travel, is on the board of a nonprofit, enjoys reading, and, like Meryl Streep and my niece and nephew, hails from Summit, New Jersey. Lindsey was married last year, and has several film projects in the can.

Ben Gould (Nicky Farina)

Check out that Regulation Cute 90s Boy Haircut! This was one of those kids added a bit later in the series, after the original New Class started to age out. Ben continued to work as an actor into the early 2000s, with roles on Once and Again and E.R.

Christian Oliver (Brian Keller)

Brian Keller was a Swiss exchange student who was named Brian Keller, because presumably that was the most Swiss name SBTB execs could come up with? German-born Oliver was the cute foreign guy in the mid-90s. Remember Stacy’s love interest, Luca, from The Babysitter’s Club movie? Yep, that was him. More recently, he appeared in Valkyrie, but he has worked consistently on tv series, movies, and tv movies. Christian has a surprisingly serious website.

Richard Lee Jackson (Ryan Parker)

Ryan transferred from Valley (ooooh!) but he was actually all right. Since The New Class, Jackson has continued to act, most recently appearing on Grimm. He is also a musician and the current drummer for Enation, in which his brother Jonathan is the lead singer. He was married in 2005, and you can keep up with him via his website.

Samantha Becker (Maria Lopez)

In the ultimate proof that the showrunners of The New Class weren’t even trying, this character’s name is only one letter off from the name of one of the original series’ stars. If The New Class had gone on any longer, I’m sure we would have been treated to characters named Mark-Paul Gosselaark and Tiffany-Amber Thiessen. Samantha Becker is now known as Samantha Esteban, and recently appeared as Monica Garza on From Dusk Til Dawn. You may also recognize her as Letty from Training Day. I know I’ve said this about everyone so far but based on her Twitter she seems like a really nice person.

Salim Grant (R.J. ‘Hollywood’ Collins)

Why did they call him ‘Hollywood’? Didn’t they all live in L.A.? Grant has worked on and off as an actor since Saved By The Bell. He has primarily moved into music production, working with Rising Platform Productions LLC – ” a full service Production Company and Independent Record Label.”

Anthony Harrell (Cornelius ‘Eric’ Little)

 

After I shook off my confusion at Eric being a nickname for Cornelius (I’m sure they explained it?), I got a sense of deja vu. Didn’t I do this already? Yes. Prior to SBTB, Harrell appeared in Kids Incorporated, and he has already been featured in one of our Where Are They Now posts. He is currently a singer and performed with the R&B group Brutha.

Ashley Lyn Cafagna (Liz Miller)

After appearing as a regular on The Bold And The Beautiful, and guesting on series like Seventh Heaven, Ashley set her sights on loftier heights: contemporary Christian music. Now known as Ashley Tesoro – which means Ashley Treasure because she is such a gem (yeah, I majored in Spanish, what?), she released an album called Simply Worship in 2012. Okay, Tesoro is actually her husband’s surname, and together they run Tesoro Entertainment and Tesoro Records, Christian production companies. She has a one-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and also enjoys martial arts. You can look at her adorable family on Twitter.

Doing Lines: Saved by the Bell

Listen. I think we’re all on the same page when I say while Saved by the Bell is one of the most beloved TV shows of kids who grew up in the 90s, it’s not the best in terms of, say, storytelling or acting. It’s a show for teens and tweens, and in cases like myself, children under the age of 10. But because it was geared towards a younger crowd, they could get away with more ridiculous storylines, something that they wouldn’t have been able to get away with on “adult” programming.

That being said, we’re back with another installment of our Doing Lines series (you can catch the other ones here), and this time we’re heading to the Pacific Palisades and seeing what kind of trouble the kids got into during their five-year stint in high school.

Season 1

Episode 3 {The Gift}

Fun fact: the image on the TV is an exterior shot of John F. Kennedy Junior High School from Good Morning, Miss Bliss!!

Screech gets struck by lighting and suddenly has a superpower where he knows what will happen before it happens. Also, he acquires an afro.

Episode 5 {Screech’s Woman}

Zack decides to help Screech get a girlfriend but no one is willing to go out with him, so Zack dresses up as a girl named Babmi and goes on a date with Screech, but he starts to like Bambi frreal.

 Episode 8 {Cream for a Day}

Screech accidentally invents a zit cream in chemistry class, which gets rid of pimples overnight. Kelly wins homecoming queen but uses the cream the night before – too bad the cream makes everyone’s face maroon.

Episode 11 {The Friendship Business}

Zack leads the gang in a project for business class, in which they have to create and market a product. They choose an item called Buddy Bands, but when their company becomes successful, the power gets to Zack’s head and Kelly, Jessie and Slater decide to make their own friendship-related item, Love Cuffs. Also, this timeless commercial.

Episode 12 {The Mamas and the Papas}

The gang participate in a project to simulate a domestic marriage, and everyone gets paired up. Jessie and Slater, Zack and Kelly (foreshadowing!!!) and Lisa and Screech. I think the most importnant thing to remember from this episode is that Lisa ALL OF A SUDDEN is allergic to Screech. Because she keeps sneezing and scratching everytime she’s close to him, Mr. Belding separates them and Screech becomes Zack and Kelly’s son, while Lisa goes over to the Slater/Spano family. Lisa’s allergy was never spoken of again.

Episode 14 {The Zack Tapes}

Zack learns about subliminal messaging and attempts to trick Kelly into going to the dance with him with a sneaky cassette tape. She finds out and decides to turn the tables on him. Ah the troubles of being a teen heartthrob. 

Season 2

Episode 7 {Rent-a-Pop}

Mr. Belding wants to set up a meeting with Zack and his dad because Zack’s been failing his classes. Zack doesn’t want his father to find out, so “rents” an actor to be his dad, because, Los Angeles.

Episode 8 {Miss Bayside}

After watching The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell story, we learned that the writers asked the cast what their talents or hobbies were, and incoporated their answers to the scripts. TAT used to be a beauty queen, which explains the Miss Bayside pageant, but can/do real schools actually do this?

Episode 9 {Jessie’s Song}

It’s the infamous ‘I’m so excited’ episode. And honestly, my problem isn’t with Jessie’s ridiculous addiction to caffeine pills, it’s that a trio of teens from the Pacific Palisades, and called Hot Sundae, easily got the attention of music executives. They were on the fast track to stardom until Jessie’s freakout!

Episode 10 {Model Students}

A photographer comes to Bayside and “discovers” Kelly after Zack and Screech secretly take pix of the girls in swimsuits and make a “Girls of Bayside calendar”. The photographer gives Kelly the opportunity to go to Paris to be a model. Zack isn’t okay with this. Is this photographer somehow in cahoots with the music execs who wanted to sign Hot Sundae? 

Episode 12 {Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind}

This is truly one of the more ridiculous storylines to ever come to Bayside. A tabloid is offering money for photos of real aliens so Zack and Slater dress Screech up as an alien and film him being creepy at the school to fool the tabloid. Except a special agent with the government is convinced Screech is a real alien.

Episode 13 {Running Zack}

Zack finds out he’s part Native American and to learn more about his roots, befriends a man named Chief Henry who has a great impact on Zack. Meanwhile, Jessie finds out her ancestors used to be slave owners and spends the rest of the episode ‘apologizing’ to Lisa. I’m convinced at least one scene in this episode is slightly racist.

Episode 14 {The Babysitters}

Kelly’s parents leave their baby son with Kelly who has to bring him to school (because, hello, she’s a teenager), but when she has to take school pictures, she’s forced to leave her baby brother behind with the gang. Honestly, why didn’t Mr. Belding or any of the teachers or any of the students not notice baby Billy and alert social services or something??

Episode 15 {The Fabulous Belding Boys}

Mr. Belding reluctantly lets his surfer dude brother Rod serve as a substitute teacher and immediately all the students flock to him because of his laid back nature. Rod suggests taking the kids on a white-water rafting trip, but just before they leave, Rod tells his bro that he can’t take the kids because he has a date with a girl – and Zack overhears the whole thing. Mr. Belding is left with covering for Rod but they end up having a lot more respect and appreciation for their principal at the end. Also, the title of this episode sounds super gay. Like literally gay.

Season 3

Episode 7 {Check Your Mate}

The annual chess competition between Bayside and Valley gets ugly when Valley plays dirty and steals his lucky beret. In retaliation, Zack and Slater decide to switch Valley’s best chess player, a Russian exchange student, with Zack in a wig. I guess I never realized it until now, but these kids really were into disguises. Must have kept the local wig store in business.

Episode 9 {Fake I.D.s}

Zack meets at girl at The Max named Danielle who is a student at USC, so naturally, Zack pretends to also be a college kid who’s majoring in photojournalism. He agrees to meet her at The Attic, a night club for kids 18 and over, which obviously requires fake I.D.s. While at the club, Zack, Slater and Screech spot Jeff, Kelly’s boss (aka the skeezebucket Kelly wanted to date so she promptly dumped Zack) kissing another girl. Zack tries to tell Kelly what he saw at the Attic but didn’t believe him, on account of jealousy. This episode is a reminder that the gang basically lived out things I would never have the balls to do as a teen. Fake IDs and sneaking into a club? I’d much rather stay in and watch The Baby-Sitters Club Movie on repeat.

Episode 11 {Pipe Dreams}

In one of those *the more you know* episodes, this one tackled the environment and saving it, etc. Oil is found in the school’s football field, and the kids go crazy thinking of what they’ll do with all the money. However, they soon find out that ~getting rich comes with a price~

Episode 16 {All in the Mall}

The gang fails at buying U2 concert tickets, and when they accidentally find a shoebox full of cash, shenanigans ensue. This never happened to me when I went to the mall. The only thing that went down was me trying to avoid eye contact with anyone I went to high school with.

Episode 17 {SATs}

Jessie gets a 1205 on the SATs while Zack miraculously scores a 1502, sending overachiever Jessie into a tailspin. For you kiddies that aren’t American or took the SATs after 2005, a perfect score on the SATs during this time was a 1600. So naturally, Jessie is as confused as all of us to learn of Zack’s score, especially because this is a kid who puts no effort into learning or anything relating to academia.

Episode 21 {No Hope With Dope}

Super megahot Hollywood actor Johnny Dakota chooses Bayside as the location for an anti-drug commercial but the catch is that Johnny himself uses drugs! A celebrity doing drugs?! Actually I think his drug of choice was pot UGH EVEN WORSE.

Episode 22 {Rockumentary}

This is personally one of my fave episodes, and it seemingly comes out of nowhere. Casey Kasem returns to give a Behind the Music-esque documentary about Zack Attack (the band all the gang is in, obvs), and their rise to fame from a garage band to superstar band. It was never explained how they all suddenly learned how to sing and play instruments.

Episode 24 {Home for Christmas}

Zack has a crush on a girl who works at the mall, and later finds out she and her dad are homeless. Again, this is one of those *very special* episodes that makes you think twice before you judge the girl working at a department store.

Season 4

Episode 4 {Student Teacher Week}

The students take over for the teachers – Zack becomes principal for the day. And hangs up posters of Paula Abdul and Guns n Roses next to each other.

Episode 3 {Screech’s Spaghetti Sauce}

Screech makes a spaghetti sauce he sells on TV, and Punky Brewster pretends to fall for him to get his recipe. They even come up with a fun catch phrase that I still have stuck in my head after all these years:  “The sauce you can have, but the secret, she’s a mine.”

Episode 18 {The Video Yearbook}

The gang decides to make a video yearbook instead of the traditional one, and Zack’s plan to use the girls’ videos as a dating service backfires when Kelly starts receiving a bunch of calls from rando guys.

Episode 20 {Snow White and the Seven Dorks}

The gang is all in a rap version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves but when Jessie and Zack find out they have to kiss in the final scene they get all weird about it and question their feelings for each other, and subsequently fall out with Slater and Kelly in the process. And they take the drama to the stage. Get it??

Episode 21 {Earthquake!}

An earthquake hits Bayside and Zack is stuck in the elevator with Mr. Belding’s pregnant wife who goes into labor. Reminder Zack is an 18 year old Senior in high school who just delivered his principal’s son.

Episode 24 {School Song}

The school holds a contest for who can write the best school song (BTW do schools actually do this? Our high school has been using the same ‘school song’ since the 1900s and includes the words ‘rev’rie’ and ‘retrospection’). Zack is determined to win the contest so he can be remembered for something positive before he graduates, as opposed to his scheming ways. But it’s those scheming ways that brings him down in the end. Friendly reminder that I tried to convince my 8th grade music teacher that we needed to sing this song at our graduation. I lit’rally taped the song on a cassette and brought it in to school.

Model Students: A Look Back at Saved by the Bell Fashion

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.

In conclusion:

The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story: Live Blog

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.]

T: So apparently BZ/Mark Paul Gosselaar had the hots for Lark Vorhees from the beginning? Relatedly, this is what Lark looks like when she goes to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

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.

(3)

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

(7)

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.

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.

 

12 Days Of 90s Christmas Episodes

Christmas Eve is only a week away, and if you haven’t gotten yourself into the spirit yet, it’s time to start — unless you don’t celebrate Christmas, in which case, carry on as you were. In the spirit of the season, we present you with a dozen days’ worth of 90s Christmas episodes, because if there’s a perfect cross-section of things we love, it’s 90s, tv, and holidays.

Enjoy a restrained viewing experience of an episode per day from now til the end of Christmas week, or spend a solid 6-12 hour block binging on holiday cheer. Extra-awesome: the episodes are ordered chronologically, so you can follow all of the wacky hair trends, silly fashions, and political references (this is probably the only Christmas post you’ll read this year that mentions the Clinton impeachment).

DAY ONE

Family Matters – Have Yourself A Merry Winslow Christmas (1990)

Family Matters never shied away from showing you the weird love-hate, codependent, mocking relationship the grown-assed-adult Winslows had with the sad, outcast teenaged boy next door. In this episode, Steve ruins the Winslows’ Chrismas (of course!) but is invited over after Laura finds him alone in his basement, abandoned by his real family. Shouldn’t somebody call child protective?

Babysitters Club – Baby Sitters Special Christmas (1990)

Don’t they mean SUPER-Special Christmas? Come on, Ann M. Martin! Believe it or not, this is streaming on Netflix

DAY TWO

Saved By The Bell – Home For Christmas (1991)

Everybody gets mall jobs and then they make friends with a homeless girl who we never see again. What’s not to love? (Teen homelessness).

The Cosby Show – Clair’s Place (1991)

Cliff builds a special room for Clair, the family decorates the tree, and there are cookies. Christmas is honestly just a backdrop for an entire episode built on the theme “MAMA JUST NEEDS SOME ‘ME TIME'”.

DAY THREE

Rugrats – The Santa Experience (1992)

Hard to believe that mere infants at the time this episode aired are now of legal drinking age. As are Tommy and the gang, come to think of it. There’s just too much good stuff in this episode – a coveted Deluxe Cynthia toy, the adults getting thwarted when they try to dress as Santa, a Gift of the Magi situation between Phil and Lil, and a cozy getaway cabin.

DAY FOUR

Roseanne – White Trash Christmas (1993)

In the most Roseanne-y Christmas move ever, the family rebels against neighborhood decoration rules by decorating their house real trashy-like. Also, Fake Becky works at Fake Hooters.

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air: ‘Twas The Night Before Christening (1993)

Sure, it isn’t the best Christmas episode ever, but it is the only one featuring Boyz II Men. Good news: they perform at Nicky’s christening. Bad news: That one guy doesn’t start the song by talking all low and deep, something like “Boy… today we dedicate you to God. But first, I dedicate my love… all of my love… and this song” and then they all start doing a dance with folding chairs. That’s how I’d have played it.

DAY FIVE

My So-Called Life – So-Called Angels (1994)

Some of the best Christmas episodes don’t as much warm your heart, so much as cut it open like a merry Yuletide knife. I mean, Angel Juliana Hatfield? Little Ricky with his little candles? Brian on the helpline? MSCL always tugs at my heartstrings (remember Rayanne with Sesame Street and the song about the car?), and this episode just proves why Claire Danes has been making us all ugly cry for 2 decades.

DAY SIX

Full House – Arrest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1994)

This episode is from Full House’s golden age, and boy does it show. It has a Michelle-centric plot, a person stranded away from family before Christmas (Jesse gets arrested), a guest star who’s probably too good for this (Mickey Rooney), and my all-time favorite Christmas episode trope — the characters helping a crotchety old man reconnect with his family at Christmas.

DAY SEVEN

Living Single – Let It Snow, Let It Snow Let it Snow… Dammit (1995)

The crew celebrates Christmas in a Canadian cabin, there’s a Mountie, Synclaire dyes his Santa suit pink, and we all learn the Real Meaning Of Christmas (TM).

Home Improvement – Twas The Flight Before Christmas (1995)

You know, tv had me believe that I’d be stuck in an airport during major holidays way more than I actually have. Bonus: this episode aired at the height of JTT mania, so you can watch this and try to remember what we were all thinking. This episode has such a truly witty and spectacular title that it was re-used by an episode of the Disney show Dog With A Blog (which sounds like an insult someone would use if they hate me and also think I’m ugly).

DAY EIGHT

The Adventures Of Pete And Pete – O’ Christmas Pete (1996)

If anyone dares question why us millenials have been flocking to quirky independent comedies since our teen years, I’d point them to The Adventures Of Pete And Pete. Unlike the shiny neon Nickelodeon shows of today, Pete and Pete was decidedly offbeat. This Christmas episode shows what happens when a kid follows the universal desire to keep Christmas going as long as possible. Even as an adult, I still hate that 12/26 slump.

DAY NINE

Seinfeld – The Strike (1997)

My family celebrates Festivus off-and-on. I hold my own in the Airing of Grievances, but the Feats Of Strength didn’t go so well as an 11-year-old girl with two giant older brothers.

DAY TEN

 Ally McBeal – Making Spirits Bright (1998)

Vonda Shepherd sings, there’s a Christmas party at the office, Billy defends a man who claimed to see a unicorn, and we find out that Young Ally also saw a unicorn, because she clearly has a lifetime history of hallucinations that she probably should have looked into at some point.

DAY ELEVEN

Saturday Night Live – Alec Baldwin (1998)

Fond, awkward family memories: my whole family – grandparents, siblings, aunts, etc – were all watching this episode when the Schweddy Balls sketch aired. We all tried to stifle our laughter – to no avail – while keeping my Grammy in our peripheral vision. She was super-proper and prayed the rosary every day. An all-around good episode, it also aired at the height of the Clinton impeachment scandal, and included a sketch where Molly Shannon plays a clown with weird feelings about a little girl who looks like a grown man, a Bill Brasky segment, and a Harlem Globetrotters Christmas cartoon.

DAY TWELVE

Friends – The One With The Routine (1999)

You know, you should really watch all of the Friends Christmas eps, but I like ending our series with this one because it’s also a New Year ep. Favorite parts: the “AZ” and the routine, which I compulsively rewound with my friend Jenny to learn all of the steps when we were supposed to be watching her baby sister.