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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