Entertainment

NBC Pardons Mario Lopez With ‘Saved By The Bell’ Reboot Soon After His Trans Children Comment Backlash

“Saved By the Bell” is getting a reboot with original castmembers Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley reprising their roles as Slater and Jessie. NBC Universal will air the series on their upcoming streaming service Peacock (yes, every network has got to have one now). The series will be written and executive produced by Tracey Wigfield. OG “Saved By the Bell” alumni, Peter Engel and Franco Bario will return as producers. 

This comes in the wake of NBC Universal announcing several rebooted series for Peacock including “Punky Brewster”which will star Soleil Moon Frye as a grownup version of the namesake, and a “Battlestar Galactica” reboot led by “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail. Peacock will roll out in April 2020 with over 15,000 hours of television. 

“Saved By the Bell”

No, the returning cast members won’t be playing students again, the rebooted plot is actually a bit more of the moment than that. NBC Universal’s logline for the series reads: 

“When California governor Zack Morris gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the highest performing schools in the state — including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the over-privileged Bayside kids a much needed and hilarious dose of reality.”

Yes, Zack Morris is governor. Instead of following a group of rich kids, we’ll be watching a group of outsiders checking the privilege of the elite. I like this premise as an update, although it was extremely subversive in the ’90s to have black, Latinx, and Asian American actors portray the elite in the first place. Have we forgotten that Lisa Turtle was originally supposed to be a white character until Lark Voorhies nailed the audition and snagged the part?

Fans want to know if Zack Morris is governor, does that mean Mark-Paul Gosselaar will be returning too? The Wrap spoke to Gosselaar’s representative, but they and NBC Universal did not want to comment. Interesting.

Mario Lopez says it’s a done deal

Lopez, who is 45 now, confirmed he will be reviving his role as A.C. Slater. He said he may even have a mullet again.

“The deal is being done,” he told Access Hollywood. “It’s gonna happen. We are going to be rebooting “Saved By the Bell” for the new NBC streaming platform. I might be bringing back the mullet.”

The Mexican American actor played Slater from 1989 to 1993 on “Saved By the Bell,” then reprised his role in “Saved By the Bell: The College Years” in 1994 for one season. 

Elizabeth Berkley reacted perfectly

“I’m so excited. You know I just can’t hide it,” Berkley wrote in a retweet. The tweet featured an old meme of Jessie’s character hopped on caffeine pills. The episode “Jessie’s Song” has become something of a phenomenon because of her over the top performance — and of course, people wondered if caffeine pills can cause erratic behavior? No. 

“The show itself just has a goodness and an innocence and I think, especially from the feedback we’re getting, doing a redo of the scene, it really brings people back to their childhood, when it was more simple and more easy,” Berkley told E! in 2013 when she appeared on “Dancing With The Stars.”

“You go through things in life and when you get reminded of that simple time, it brings about a sweetness.”

Did Jessie and Slater wed?

The reprisal of Lopez’s and Berkley’s roles has fans wondering if this means Jessie and Slater are married with children in the reboot. Sources are saying it will focus on them as new parents but no word if they will be parenting together. Although a fan favorite, the two were an odd couple with Slater cast as the brutish jock and Jessie the feminist overachiever. The two dated during the original series and while Zack is governor, NBC Universal hasn’t revealed what the pair will be doing. 

Yes, we’re an era of reboots

It’s hard to believe that “Saved By the Bell” first aired in 1989, the year I was born, but here I am an old millennial internet ghoul. The series comes in an era of what some might call “too many” reboots. However, with the number of scripted television series airing, services find reboots to be an easy solution in an increasingly competitive market. 

“Reboots and updates of beloved series remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming platforms look for proven intellectual property with a built-in audience in a bid to cut through a scripted landscape expected to top 500 originals in 2019,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.  

“The ‘Saved by the Bell’ sequel will make noise and likely help drive interest (and subscriptions) to NBC’s forthcoming service, which joins a wave of similar upcoming offerings from the likes of Disney, WarnerMedia, Apple and Viacom’s BET.”

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Who Is Alycia Pascual-Peña? Meet the Afro-Latina Starring in ‘Moxie’ and ‘Saved by the Bell’

Entertainment

Who Is Alycia Pascual-Peña? Meet the Afro-Latina Starring in ‘Moxie’ and ‘Saved by the Bell’

Photo via alyciadelsol/Instagram

In the past, Hollywood hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to portraying Afro-Latinos onscreen. Typically, Afro-Latino actors must check one box: African-American or Latino. But now, thanks to actors like Alycia Pascual-Peña, all that is changing.

Alycia Pascual-Peña is not a household name yet. But chances are, you’ve seen her pop up on your screen during in the past year.

Alycia Pascual-Peña starred in 2020’s “Saved By the Bell” reboot as the fun-loving Aisha Garcia. Now, she’s starring in the hit Netflix movie, “Moxie”.

A quick Google search of Alycia Pascual-Peña will return a list of auto-filled questions. “What is Alycia Pascual-Peña’s ethnicity?” “What is Alycia Pascual-Peña’s age?” Obviously, people are curious about the 21-year-old actress of Dominican descent. And with good reason. Alycia Pascual-Peña is different.

The two major roles that Alycia has starred in in the last year have been Afro-Latina characters. But the writers didn’t originally create the roles that way. In fact, her “Saved by the Bell” character was re-written to be Latina when producers overheard her speaking Spanish on set.

“[The roles] simply became that because I was a part of projects that really respected my voice and committed themselves to portraying diverse multi-dimensional women,” she recently told PopSugar.

Yes Alycia’s presence in Hollywood has created more Afro-Latina characters on screen. But there is still work to do.

Alycia Pascual-Peña is blunt about how few roles there are out there specifically written for people like her. “Typically as an Afro-Latina, I can still firmly say within my years acting…I’ve only seen about two roles that specifically asked for an Afro-Latina,” she revealed to PopSugar.

This phenomenon is frustrating. And because of this reality, many Afro-Latina actresses like Zoë Saldaña, Rosario Dawson, and Gina Torres have their Latino identities erased on screen. Often, Hollywood forces Afro-Latina actresses to play stereotypes of what they believe Black women are.

As an Afro-Latina in Hollywood, Alycia knows how harmful these generalizations are.

“For so long, people [have] wanted me to pick what I ‘truly’ am because they want me to fit in one box,” she told Teen Vogue.

“I’ve had to be resilient. There have been moments where I felt like there is no space for me in this industry, because, still to this day, there are no roles written for Afro-Latinos.”

Alycia Pascual-Peña hopes that she’ll be able to nudge the entertainment industry towards more inclusive storytelling.

“I’m praying to see more stories that include Afro-Latinas and be respected for our complexity and our community,” she recently said.

And in her Teen Vogue interview, she revealed that she has bigger plans that transcend acting. “It’s always been a goal to write and produce because, at the end of the day, they’re the ones who have the jurisdiction of really navigating where the stories go,” she said.

“I want to tell nuanced stories about Afro-Latina women. We have to make a way for ourselves.”

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We’re Finally Getting a First Look at What the Disney+ ‘Proud Family’ Reboot Will Look Like

Entertainment

We’re Finally Getting a First Look at What the Disney+ ‘Proud Family’ Reboot Will Look Like

Photo via Disney+

In case you haven’t heard, The Proud Family–the classic cartoon of the early 2000s–is being rebooted on Disney+. And before you get worried, the characters will be voiced by the original cast. Obviously, we’re also hoping that the original theme song remains (you can’t beat early-aughts Destiny’s Child).

The original animated series was trailblazing for having a young Black girl, Penny Proud, as its main character–a rarity at the time. Also, the rest of the characters were, refreshingly, almost all people of color.

Last week, Disney+ revealed a first look at the new series, which will be called “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder”.

The first look trailer gave fans a look at what the creators have called the new “family tree”. The rebooted cast will be full of old favorites–like Dijonay Jones and Zoey Howzer.

In addition, the show will not be leaving out the Prouds’ next-door neighbors and frenemies, the Boulevardez family. That means we’ll be seeing a lot more of Felix, Sunset, and Lacienega Boulevardez. (Fun fact: Felix Boulevardez was voiced by Carlos Mencia–no word yet on whether the comedian will be returning for the reboot.)

One of the most exciting additions to the cast of characters is a character named Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins, voiced by Keke Palmer.

According to reports, Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins is the adopted daughter of a mixed race family. Moreover, Maya will also be both “woke” and an activist who “isn’t afraid to use her voice for good.” Sounds very 2021.

Naturally, the Twitterverse has quite a lot to say about the “Proud Family” reboot.

Although most people roll their eyes at the news of a reboot, in this case, the general reception to “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” was positive.

This person is happy that they didn’t completely switch up the animation style of the original show.

We’re glad that the new show is sticking to hand-drawn animation. We’re also glad that the characters don’t look radically different.

This person was glad that there is a reboot that has non-white characters as the protagonists.

Unfortunately, a lot of the projects that are currently being rebooted are shows from a bygone era where non-white people were rarely center stage.

This person is stoked that the series’ creators decided to stick with the original voice actors–with the added benefit of Keke Palmer.

Yes, the woman who voices Sunset Boulevardez (Maria Canals-Barrera) also played Theresa Russo on “Wizards of Waverly Place” and Demi Lovato’s mom on “Camp Rock“.

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