Saved by the Bell: A Future History
It's alright, 'cause I'm saved by the bell!
If you hate waking up before the alarm goes off, you are in good company. Many people will do anything other than climb out of bed before the alarm sounds. Some might resort to turning on the television for relief. If you wind up turning to TV Land, you will find two hour blocks of “Saved by the Bell,” tucked in nicely between “Married with Children” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” From 1989 to 1993, teens tuned in on Saturday mornings to catch this show and watch the zany antics of Zack, Screech and the rest on the hit television series.
This show starred Mark-Paul Gosselarr as Zachary “Zack” Morris; Mario Lopez as Albert Clifford “A.C.” Slater; Tiffani Amber-Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski; Lark Voorhies as Lisa Marie Turtle; Dustin Diamond as Samuel “Screech” Powers; Elizabeth Berkley as Jessica Myrtle Spano; and, Dennis Haskins as Bayside High School’s principal, Mr. Belding. Leanna Creel played Tori Scott for one season, and Tori Spelling was Violet Anne Bickerstaff in three episodes.
A schemer, a jock, a geek, a cheerleader, a gossip queen and a neurotic activist comprised this unlikely team, and it is odd to see them reliving their adventures at Bayside High into perpetuity. Cell phones the size of hand guns, big hair styles cemented into place with an endless supply of hair spray, and expensive if garish clothing permanently identifies the group as a product of their “90210” era. The show was unquestionably for teens with tales of unrequited love mixed with finding dates for the prom and anxiety about tests, but their escapades were not always lightweight. In one particularly poignant episode, Bayside High sold out to big business and allowed oil drilling on their campus. An oil spill killed the wildlife in their pond, prompting the gang’s impassioned protest of big business. The show also dealt with topics ranging from alcohol and drug abuse to homelessness and illiteracy. As this group of California rich kids grew, they learned about the world. One wonders what might have happened if we had been allowed to watch these young men and women continue to mature. What would they be like if they were not stuck in the 90’s? Some of the cast’s post-SBTB career choices in real life have been interesting, and their activities allow for speculation as to what might have become of Bayside High School’s Class of ’93.
More from the cast of Saved by the Bell: available from Amazon.com
Saved by the Bell: Then and Now
Standing at the edge of tomorrow
Let’s take an imaginary and whimsical look at what their lives might be like as they ready themselves for their 20th high school reunion. When practical, subsequent television roles or real-life activities will serve as a blueprint for imagining what might have happened to the Class of’93.
Zachary “Zack” Morris married Kelly Kapowski in Las Vegas after their freshman year in college. Divorced five years and three kids later, Morris returned to college, earned his law degree and eventually found work as a defense attorney. When asked to explain his appearance in court with long hair, he confided it was necessary for his Jim Morrison impersonations at a local karaoke club on weekends.
Kelly Kapowski moved to Beverly Hills after divorcing Morris to study nursing. Still bitter from her failed marriage, she gained a bad-girl image and often fought with the other residents of her community. She soon married a doctor who insisted she get breast enhancements to boost his—career. Kelly was last seen in the company of Woody Allen—known for his penchant for young ladies.
Jessica Spano dropped out of Stanford University to pursue a career as a Las Vegas showgirl. Well-known for both her ambition and her ability to dance, she appeared at the Stardust in “Girls on Fire,” “Girls on Ice,” and “Icy Hot.” After more than 300 consecutive appearances onstage, she abandoned the Las Vegas lifestyle and hooked up with a football coach thirty years her senior who looked disturbingly similar to Al Pacino.
A. C. Slater cut his mullet and became a fitness celebrity, appearing on shows such as “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “Rachael Ray” with diet and exercise advice. With his newfound fame as a health guru, Slater made the jump to reality show host, where he introduced washed-up celebrities to a healthier lifestyle. He lost the arm-wrestling championship of 2012 to Jillian Michaels.
Lisa Turtle became famous for her loud, tasteless fashion designs that catered to a wealthy clientele lacking in any sense of style. With her outrageous tastes in clothing and her gift for gossip, she soon became hailed as a 21st century combination of Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller. Botched cosmetic surgery ruined her aspirations as a red carpet host, and she was last seen wandering the Nevada desert with a metal detector.
Samuel “Screech” Powers abandoned a promising career in robotics for the glamour of Hollywood. Powers became one of the most successful film stars in the history of Hollywood. He was well-known for his loud, piercing “screech” which served as a call to action, whether in life-threatening situations or the bedroom.
Tori Scott dropped out of high school during her senior year and began training in preparation for her debut as a female wrestler. Tori’s strength and athleticism made her feared on the pro wrestling circuit, but she suddenly disappeared and her whereabouts remained unknown. An unverified rumor linked her to the Republican party, where she was believed to be working as Sarah Palin’s bodyguard.
Violet Bickerstaff blossomed in college and became something of a sex symbol on campus. She found a rich boyfriend and moved to Beverly Hills, where she fashioned an uneasy friendship with Kelly. She became famous for appearances on reality television, bouncing between singing and dancing onstage and offering an overly-revealing look at her home life that made viewers wince.
Mr. Belding retired from Bayside High after the untimely death of his wife to pursue a career as a drive-time disc jockey. His ability to relate to younger audiences served him well as he was eventually tapped to replace Howard Stern on his syndicated talk show.
Eight kids with big hair, big phones and big plans. Could they make it on their own? Would the schemes they concocted in the high school halls serve them in real life, or was their Bayside High education insufficient in preparing them for the uncertain future they would soon face? And what about Mr. Belding? Could he continue as a high school principal after these unusual kids graduated, or would the halls of Bayside seem empty without his beloved students?
Let's look a little further into the future--the answers may surprise you....
Do not ask for whom the (school) bell tolls
Disillusioned by the lack of purpose in their adult lives, they reunited as 40-somethings to return to their musical roots. They reformed their pop band “Zack Attack,” and toured the country with the Brady kids as their opening act. They rekindled their romances, as well; Lisa realized Screech shared her fashion sense and agreed to marry him after a 35-year romance. Jessie and Slater also finally tied the knot and created a workout DVD they sold while on tour with the band. Zack and Kelly became famous for their on-again, off-again relationship--they remarried, divorced again and remarried yet again, each time having two more children. Belding plugged their music on his radio show, and garnered them yet another generation of fans. Their classic hit, “Friends Forever” became Sarah Palin’s 2012, 2016 and 2020 campaign theme song at the recommendation of her bodyguard, Tori Scott.
And that’s how the future could look for our friends Zack, Kelly and the rest. Is there a message to this imaginary story about imaginary teens? Not particularly, unless it is that sometimes we get things right to start with, and we have to go down another path to realize it. As kids we ally ourselves with friends and regard them as the foundation of our entire lives. As we mature, we sometimes forget the value of friendship, losing ourselves in pursuit of material possessions. Perhaps there was something to their sappy pop anthem, after all…
Here's to the Class of '93; may you always walk those hallowed halls in reruns.
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