ByJess O'Kane, writer at
Big in Japan
Jess O'Kane

It's 1989 in Los Angeles, California. The wind's in your mullet, your jeans are scraping your ribs like they oughtta and The Fresh Prince is blasting on the stereo.

For puberty-suffering kids across the world, this was the image to aspire to. It was a world of freaks and geeks, inappropriate teacher crushes and hair so majestic it would make Ron Burgundy weep with jealousy.

This world had a bible. And its name was Saved By The Bell.

The pre-eminent high school sitcom turns a whopping 25 this week, and it's almost unbelievable how times have changed since its premiere in 1989: MJ died, Mark Wahlberg stopped attacking Vietnamese people, and people finally stopped backcombing. Long gone are the days where we could be taught lessons like this:


The SBTB cast, too, are almost unrecognisable from their heady days on prime time, when everyone old and young wanted to seduce them.

Let's take a tour through Bayside history to the present day:

1) Samuel "Screech" Powers (Dustin Diamond)

Screech was everybody's favourite geek on SBTB, with his adorable unrequited love for Lisa, outrageous dress sense and penchant for chess.

Since then

It turns out that Dustin Diamond hasn't really learned to let go. He's appeared in every incarnation of the show and every possible spin-off.

In 2009 he released a tell-all autobiography called Behind the Bell, in which he made some pretty dubious claims about himself and his co-stars, not limited to the fact that he's slept with 2,000 women.

I don't know about you, but there's only so much animal magnetism 90s has-been peen can generate.

Most recently, Diamond appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, becoming the fourth housemate to be evicted.

Biggest Career Killer

Directing the sex tape nobody needed to see: Screeched - Saved By The Smell.

Ninja Move

The no-homo side plank of terror:

2) A.C Slater (Mario Lopez)

Slater was the pretty-eyed jock with an army brat upbringing, whose constant bickering with feminist and ultimate girlfriend Jessie was the closest SBTB got to discussing gender politics.

Since then

Lopez has carved out a successful hosting and dancing career, appearing on Dancing With the Stars and hosting The X-Factor, Name Your Adventure and America's Best Dance Crew.

He's also authored three fitness books, and has his own line of men's underwear - because a jock should know all about crotch support.

Biggest career killer

That awkward moment when he was accused of date rape in 1993 - although he was cleared of all charges.

Ninja move

Sneak attack lycra reveal:

3) Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley)

The brainy feminist with an incredible collection of high-waisted jeans and scrunchies, Jessie was everyone's favourite know-it-all. Her on-off flirtation with Slater and addiction to caffeine pills made her the more sympathetic of the bunch.

Since then

True to form, Berkley's path has been a tale of natural ability undersold by poor casting choices. Namely, the disastrous decision to star in the incomprehensible Showgirls in 1995, which remains one of the worst-rated films of all time.

Since then, however, things have picked up, with rave reviews for her performance in Off-Broadway play Hurlyburly and guest appearances in CSI: Miami, Without a Trace and Law & Order.

Berkley also runs Ask-Elizabeth, a self-help program for young women.

Biggest career killer

Showgirls, naturally.

Ninja move

Intense caffeine breakdown disarmament:

4) Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar)

The original star of the show, Zack was the kid with the power to pause time, break the fourth wall and generally be a bit of a creeper - but it's okay! He's really cute with it. His romance with Kelly was the classic case of will-they-won't-they, with some awkward teen snogging thrown in.

Since then

Gosselaar has remained fairly successful on the TV circuit, starring in NYPD Blue and Franklin & Bash. He also appeared in Weeds, Men at Work and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.

He revealed in 2009 that he has at one time or another dated all the female stars of Saved By the Bell, confirming his status as a bonafide playa.

Biggest career killer

Actually nothing, save perhaps deciding not to continue bleaching his hair because it was totally quiche.

Ninja move


5) Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen)

She was the hottest thing on legs at Bayside High, with hair an army of ferrets couldn't recreate; Kelly was Zack's true love and star cheerleader. She was nice, which is...y'know, nice.

Since then

Thiessen went on to star in Beverly Hills, 90210 and White Collar, as well as reprising her role in the various SBTB spin-offs. Her career has since taken a nosedive, but she's developed a successful line of nursery furniture called PetitNest.

As well as a tumultuous relationship with 90210 co-star Brian Austin Green, Thiessen has had high-profile cat fights with Tori Spelling (who played Screech's one-time girlfriend on SBTB) and Jennie Garth.

Biggest career killer

Ditching that incredible mound of hair for a sensible barnet, and being inexplicably half-naked all the time.

Ninja move

Distracting hair whip:

6) Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies)

The rich girl of the group, Lisa Turtle was our style icon and the long-time crush of the hapless Screech, who never quite succeeded in wooing her.

Since then

Voorhies has avoided the SBTB gravy train, instead opting for various guest roles and the development of her own projects via her production company.

Her mental health issues have clouded her success, however, with her mother admitting that Voorhies is bipolar. Some odd public statements and a book entitled True Light with a comma after every word have continued to put the nail in the coffin.

Biggest career killer

Aside from her mental health issues, some pretty cringeworthy appearances in music videos like Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee" haven't done Voorhies any favors.

Ninja move

Poetic threats like this:


Which Saved by The Bell character would you be?


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