There are some things in my childhood I just can’t stop loving.
Saved by the Bell is one of those things, for better or worse. I say “better,” my wife disagrees at times, like when I recited every word of the Screech’s Spaghetti Sauce episode when it was on a random Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago. I was often quoted as saying me and my three brothers would take on any other four people in the country in a Saved by the Bell trivia game and I’d put thousands of dollars on us to win. I stick by those words.
So when there’s SBTB news to report, I’m there. Like when Jimmy Fallon starts a public campaign to host a 20th anniversary cast member reunion. Or as I like to call it, My Dream Come True.
My wife told me about it yesterday, and I laughed.
Then I started thinking — could it really happen? You have to think about who might show up for the show:
DENNIS HASKINS (Mr. Belding): He’s in, as he’s become Fallon’s weird little poster child, a la Abe Vigoda with Conan. ODDS: Lock.
DUSTIN DIAMOND (Samuel Powers): At this point, he’d stand on his head while a transvestite fed him live tarantulas on camera if someone paid him $10. He’s gotta be in, though I imagine he’s going to act like an complete jack@ss and ruin the whole thing. ODDS: 1-2
MARIO LOPEZ (AC Slater): He’s being called the Latin Ryan Seacrest now — is that good or bad to be called the ethnic version of the man with a mortal lock on the title of Luckiest Man on the Planet? Chances of Albert Clifford returning are good as long as the reunion happens this year when he’ll likely have something to plug. Even if he doesn’t want to, he’ll be there. ODDS: 3-2
LARK VOORHEES (Lisa Turtle): The wild card. She’s the only member of the cast you really never heard anything about — ever. The only thing I remembered her from post-Bell was the Boyz II Men video for On Bended Knee. Frankly, I blame them for her career going MIA. Anything they touch turns to junk. Here’s the upside of that — what does she have to lose? ODDS: 4-1
MARK-PAUL GOSSELAAR (Zack Morris): The one member of the cast who somehow managed to keep some integrity in his career — but that doesn’t mean he’s totally abandoned talking about the show or getting back together with his fellow classmates. He’s got a show on TV right now that should be starting its second season in late summer. He’ll have to be in if TNT needs him to promote it. I’d say that’s the date you shoot for for this whole thing. ODDS: 7-1
TIFFANI THIESSEN (Kelly Kapowski): The good news — she’s still working, and will always have something to promote, no matter how entirely filled with feces that project may be. Because said project will be bad, no way she gets on a late-night talk show without some kind of hook. In that case, she’s gotta be in. Bad news – if you look at her career since Saved by the Bell, it’s a study in how to remove yourself from a wholesome child character. She’s played a rape victim, a conniving minx, a tough female firefighter, etc. She’s done everything possible to leave Kelly Kapowski in the dust — and you can’t blame her. So I’d bet convincing her will be hard. Maybe if whatever her current Hallmark/Lifetime Movie of the Week is about to premiere, there’s a shot. ODDS: 15-1
ELIZABETH BERKLEY (Jessie Spano): No one has tried to shed the goodie-goodie young TV star persona in the last 20 years like Berkley. It’s just too bad her attempt at doing so landed her one of the most infamously hysterical career-ending roles in Hollywood history. But there’s an upside to that — we all got to see her quite naked in Showgirls. It just seems like of all the cast members, she would resist the most. In real life, she was older than everyone else, and always seemed like she had other stuff going on. ODDS: 50-1
THE FIELD: Leanna Creel (Tori) didn’t even make the picture Fallon used and would make things pretty awkward on the show with Berkley and Thiessen. But hey, if those two don’t show up, why not dip back to the Tori well? . . . Leah Remini (Stacey Carosi) isn’t even taking calls right now on the chance it could be someone from Fallon’s camp . . . Same for Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (Ginger) . . . Ed Alonzo (Max) would provide nothing but awkward comedy, which is why it won’t happen . . . Tori Spelling (Violet) might actually do it, so let’s hope she doesn’t get the call . . . I’d pay good money for Jack Angeles (Mr. Tuttle) to come back for 10 seconds, long enough to say, “Pushy pushy . . . move your tushy!” ODDS FOR ALL: 5,000-1
Hey, it could happen. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.
Just one other thing to mention:
Clear eyes! Full hearts! Yeah, yeah, you know the rest. At least you should. Friday Night Lights is back for two years in the continuation of the most unique distribution deal probably in the history of television. It’s terribly, extremely rare for everyone involved — the actors, the producers, the network(s) – to realize exactly what kind of product they have here and all of them bend over backwards to make precedent-setting sacrifices to keep the show on the air. Everyone has something to lose in this NBC-DirecTV concoction, it’s just that no one seems to care. Everyone agrees this show NEEDS to be on the air. They’re right.