The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon had enjoyed an eventful visit to Los Angeles so far – they remade The Fresh Prince of Bel Air intro, they had Neil Young perform with “Neil Young” – but nothing prepared viewers for what was in store last night: A return to the hallowed halls of Saved By the Bell‘s Bayside High along with two-thirds of the original cast (plus a Mr. Belding cameo).
The awesomeness happens when Fallon casually tells his viewers that he went to high school in L.A. before the host is suddenly dropped, via flashback, into the SBTB set. Mark-Paul Gosselaar enters the frame – as the bleached-blonde hero of the show Zack Morris – and suddenly fans know what they’re in for.
One by one, the cast members appear in time-specific costume (and still looking great despite the show premiering nearly 25 years ago): Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater, Elizabeth Berkeley as Jessie Spano and (a very pregnant) Tiffani Theissen as Kelly Kapowski stuffed into an original Bayside cheerleader outfit. Even the principal Mr. Belding stops by to deliver a “Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?”
The segment itself is as funny as an original Saved By the Bell episode – “Who you taking to prom, preppies?” Slater asks Morris and Fallon – but it’s nice to see Slater and Spano recreate their most famous SBTB moments, including the former spontaneously bursting into ballet and the latter, in a speed-crazed meltdown, singing “I’m So Excited.”
We even get a Morris trademark “Time Out” when Kapowski breaks the news that she’s expecting. “On the downside, I’ll probably be grounded for life,” Morris says. “But on the plus side… I got Kelly Kapowski pregnant.” The trip back to Bayside ends with a sing-along of Zack Attack’s “Friends Forever,” but sadly no Lisa Turtle (and more predictably, no Screech.)
The Tonight Show went to great lengths to replicate the original SBTB set in painstaking detail – something the Lifetime biopic didn’t even attempt to do – from the ill-placed trash bin at the foot of the stairs to the inside joke posters that read “No Hope With Dope” and “Save the Max.”