I was about to fall asleep when I got a call on my brick-sized cell phone that Jimmy Fallon was having a Saved By The Bell reunion on The Tonight Show tonight, which you can watch right here below!
With Fallon hosting his show all this week at Universal Studios Hollywood, he took time before welcoming A-list guests like Vin Diesel, Carl Reiner, and LA’s own Kobe Bryant to reminisce about his High School days in sunny southern California. We are then transported to where else, but Bayside High where young Jimmy is greeted by Zack Morris, (a 41-year-old Mark Paul Gosselaar!). Zack was late because he “got to corner right in time to see the bus fly by…”
They are soon interrupted by AC Slater (yep, Mario Lopez looking not a day older than he did back in the early 90s), who introduced his date to the Valentine’s Dance… yep, you guessed it, Jesse Spano aka Elizabeth Berkley. The skit runs 5-minutes and yet manages to hit all the right nostalgia buttons. There’s the phones, the lockers, Slater dancing in a full body leotard (looking incredible for almost 42), posters saying “no hope in dope,” and when Jimmy explains to the gang that he’s moving to New York to become a standup comic, SNL member, TV host, and date Nicole Kidman (a running gag on Fallon’s show stemming from an awkward and funny interview with the Oscar-winning actress), Jesse gets so excited, so excited… so scared (you’ll remember this from that very special episode of Saved By The Bell). There’s a cameo from Dennis Haskins‘ Mr. Belding and of course, Bayside’s “It-girl” Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, or as she’s known now, Tiffani Thiessen), who shows off her pregnancy belly and forces Zack to take his trademark “time out.”
The actors reprising their roles from over 20 years ago don’t miss a beat and make the old jokes seem fresh and add some hilarious self-deprecating humor (yes, there IS a Showgirls reference). Only Screech and Lisa Turtle are absent, but the chemistry shown by the participating actors is palpable and helps explain why an entire generation dreamed of getting out of school early to head to the Max.
As a kid who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s, this was like re-living my childhood. I had a doofy ear-to-ear smile for the entire skit and Fallon continues to own late night TV by pulling out amazing acts like this that appeal to his massive fan base. This inspired me to spend this weekend watching one of my holiday gifts from my wife, the entire series of Saved By The Bell: The Complete Series DVD.
Earlier this evening, Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez posted some behind-the-scenes photos of the event to their Instagram accounts. Check out their posts here below.