Here’s what happened when a few OGs went back to Bayside.
Peacock’s “Saved by the Bell” reboot launched Wednesday on Peacock, introducing a new generation to Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski, Jesse Spano and AC Slater while also throwing more than a few new faces into the mix as well.
Throughout the first season’s 10 episodes, the original cast members were used sparingly, with Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez doing much of the heavy lifting. Mark Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani Thiessen appeared less frequently, while Lark Voorhies made one short — but very memorable — cameo. While Dustin Diamond was MIA — save for a photo or two — his absence wasn’t totally ignored.
The show mainly focused on the high school teens, including Zack and Kelly’s son Mac, Jesse’s son Jamie and a crop of new students who transferred to Bayside after Governor Morris’ $10 million cut in education spending left their school without a budget.
Keep reading for a breakdown of what went down with your favorite alums.
Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski married and are parents to a now-teenage son named Mac. In a re-election ad at the top of the premiere, Zack explained he decided to run for office “as part of a scheme to get out of a $75 parking ticket” and won. It’s pretty apparent he has no idea what he’s doing. Kelly, meanwhile, has started her own “wellness brand” and refers to herself as a “doctor of optimism.”
Jesse became an actual doctor, getting a PhD in psychology before releasing a number of self-help books. After her caffeine OD on the original series, she’s been caffeine-free for nearly 30 years. She had a son, Jamie, who is best friends with Zack and Kelly’s boy and married a writer who spent most of the first season away on a writing retreat. The series finds her working as a guidance counselor at Bayside.
Slater hasn’t changed all that much. He works as a gym teacher and football coach, clearly still has a thing for Jesse and continues to call her “mama.”
Throughout the season, viewers learned Slater and Zack had a falling out at some point. During a conversation between AC and Mac Morris, Zack’s son said, “You don’t even talk to my dad anymore. I know that because my mom was sending out Christmas cards and she said, ‘Should I send one to Slater?’ and he went, ‘Nah, I don’t talk to him anymore.'”
In the eighth episode, the strained relationship between the four returning stars then came to the forefront when they all reunited for homecoming. Right off the bat, the conversations between Zack, Kelly, Slater and Jesse were strained and awkward when they met up at The Max — and all four of them threw jabs at each other about their jobs and physical fitness.
When they met up again at a fundraising event, the digs kept coming, as Screech’s whereabouts were finally revealed. “Screech is so lucky he and [his robot] Kevin get to live on the international space station, so he doesn’t have to deal with any of this,” remarked Slater.
To get over their petty disagreements, the four dug up a time capsule to bond again — and found Jesse’s caffeine pills and Slater’s Swan Lake ballet costume. They quickly started calling each other selfish, before Principal Toddman (John Michael Higgins) interrupted and said they were all too self involved. To prove his point, he said he went to high school with them all and not a single one of them recognized him.
To try and confirm Toddman was telling the truth, the four called up Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), who we learned has been living in Paris as a successful designer. She remembered Toddman, set her former friends straight and signed off by exclaiming, “I’ve got to go, my lovers are waking up.” Lisa’s got it made!
Jesse and Kelly made up, before the boys did too, and the four of them sang “Friends Forever” for good measure.
The first season ended with Jesse making a big life decision by taking a stand against her husband after he brought her a caffeinated coffee. Yes, there are really this many caffeine pill references in the season. She scolded her husband for knowing nothing about her and exclaimed, “I’m Jesse f–king Spano, now get out of my office!”
Jesse also got a very sweet apology from Slater, who said he was sorry for teasing her in high school for caring about important causes. “You were the only one who knew what was really going on,” he told her. “I shouldn’t have been telling you to calm down, I should have been there yelling along with you. Don’t ever apologize for being angry.”
The groundwork is there for a Season 2 Jesse/Slater reunion.
Looking ahead, if and when the show returns, Zack may very well be out of office as well. The season ended with him signing an executive order on education reform that cost him a lot of high-profile supporters — but won him the respect of his son, the kids at school and his wife, who told him, “It was so hot when you did the right thing.”
“Saved By the Bell” is streaming now on Peacock.