Ever since last year’s reunion of British pop band S Club 7 we’ve been waiting for another big nostalgic event to come along and one-up it. Last night’s episode of The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon obliged by getting together five of the original cast members from early 1990s teen sitcom Saved by the Bell: Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen), Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), and Mr. Richard Belding (Dennis Haskins).
The sketch started out with Jimmy daydreaming about his high school days at Bayside High, when he had hair that made him a dead ringer for Mike Myers. One by one the Saved by the Bell cast members – none of whom seem to have aged very much in twenty years – arrived on the scene to raucous applause from the audience.
The humor in the sketch was almost exclusively made up of references that are likely to leave those who didn’t watch Saved by the Bell and haven’t been keeping up with The Tonight Show a little confused. To help out those people who want to be able to laugh along knowingly with their friends, here’s a handy guide to every reference made in the sketch:
- The “Save The Max” poster refers to the Bayside High gang’s efforts to raise $10,000 to keep their favorite diner open in season 2, episode 3.
- The “No Hope on Dope” poster is from season 3, episode 21, in which a famous movie star came to Bayside High to promote an anti-drug campaign, only to be found using drugs himself.
- The “Field Trip! White Water Rafting!!” poster is a nod to season 2, episode 15, “The Fabulous Belding Boys”, in which Mr. Belding was upstaged by his brother, Rod Belding, who offered to take the kids on a white water rafting trip and then bailed on them.
- Zack’s story of how he “woke up in the morning. The alarm gave out a warning…” is based on the lyrics to the show’s theme song.
- Slater ripping off his clothes to reveal a black leotard and dancing around is a historical reenactment.
- Mario Lopez was also a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, hence Zack joking about him “Dancing with the Dweebs.”
- Zack Morris’ giant ’90s cell phone made regular appearances in the show.
- Jimmy’s dream of being on Saturday Night Live is something that came true in the late nineties. His dream of going on a date with Nicole Kidman also happened, but it didn’t go well.
- “Jessie becoming a stripper” is a reference to Elizabeth Berkley’s starring role in Paul Verhoeven’s raunchy 1995 film Showgirls, which was also the movie that effectively killed Berkley’s career. No wonder she looks so annoyed.
- Jessie’s tragic rendition of “I’m so excited” was first seen in the season 2 episode “Jessie’s Song,” in which the character joined a singing group and got hooked on caffeine pills.
- Tiffani Thiessen really is pregnant, but the father is actually her husband Brady Smith. Sorry, Zack.
- “Time Out!” was one of Zack’s regular fourth wall-breaking exercises.
- Zack’s plan to run away and get married in Las Vegas is a reference to the series finale, “Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.” The Beverly Hills zip code is a reference to Thiessen’s role on Beverly Hills, 90210.
- Zack Attack is the name of Zack’s band, and the song being played is “Friends Forever.“
Two Saved by the Bell cast members that were notably absent from the reunion were Lark Voorhies, who played Lisa Turtle, and Dustin Diamond, who played Screech. Diamond has a pretty good excuse, though a rather disturbing one: he’s currently preparing to stand trial for allegedly stabbing a man in a Wisconsin bar. Voorhies, meanwhile, has mostly given up acting and in 2012 it emerged that she was possibly suffering from mental health issues.
[UPDATE: Voorhies’ publicist told E! Online that the former Saved by the Bell star, “would have loved to be part of the Jimmy Fallon skit (as she is a big fan of the show), however due to an intense work schedule she was not available.”]
Did you enjoy Jimmy Fallon’s trip back to Bayside High? Tell us what you thought of the reunion in the comments.