Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Saved By the Bell’ Skit Takes the Internet By Storm; Alex Israel Inspired by Zack Morris and Friends

The cast of Saved by the Bell reunites on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Photo: NBC.
The cast of Saved by the Bell reunites on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Photo: NBC.

Jimmy Fallon’s Saved By the Bell skit on last night’s The Tonight Show skit has unleashed a wave of Zack Morris–related nostalgia across the Internet. Reuniting five of the series’ original cast members in a spot-on recreation of a Bayside High hallway, the short scene transported viewers of a certain age back to their early ’90s childhoods.

The actors slipped seamlessly into their old hairstyles and costumes—save for Kelly Kapowski, thanks to Tiffani-Amber Thiessen’s pregnacy, and a notably heavier Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins). As A.C. Slater, Mario Lopez showed off balletic moves from Dancing with the Stars, and Elizabeth Berkley’s Jessie Spano recreated her iconic caffeine pill–induced “I’m so scared” meltdown. Who’s to say a Twin Peaks–style rebirth is out of the question?

The appeal of Saved By the Bell is easy to underestimate, but as the response to Fallon’s bit demonstrates, the show still exerts a pull on its fans. Among them is Los Angeles–based artist Alex Israel, who in 2013 penned a column for Art in America, citing the series as a source of inspiration, stemming from a childhood spent daydreaming about what life would be like at Bayside High.

By the time he was really in high school, though, Israel had outgrown the show. “I couldn’t stomach the direct-to-camera monologues, the corny moralizing, or the Day-Glo colors,” he wrote. “I believed I had left Saved by the Bell behind.”

That all changed, though, with a chance encounter at the gym with cast member Berkley. The two became friends, and Israel’s memories of happy hours watching the Bayside High gang came flooding back.

Israel began embracing the show’s campy aesthetic in his artwork, “from the opening credits’ poppy squiggles, buoyant comic-book graphics, and infectious jingle, to Zack’s color-blocked Jams and Maui & Sons outfits.”

Maybe the show isn’t as removed from our present moment as you might think.

Watch the Tonight Show‘s Saved By the Bell Skit:

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