For those of you who have been on the HelloGiggles train for awhile, you might know that I kind of, sort of love Saved By The Bell. A few years back, I recapped some of the most memorable episodes, and it was great to rewatch some of the classic moments of Bayside High for a reason.
The show aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993, and was a retooled version of the Disney Channel’s Good Morning Miss Bliss – in syndication, Miss Bliss episodes have been fully adopted under the Saved By The Bell name. Besides spawning a Zack Morris crush that plagued teens throughout the nation, the popularity of the show gave us two TV movies, a New Class, and a (kind of underrated) college spin-off.
So – what’s the cast doing today?
Mark-Paul Gosselar as Zack Morris
As a child, I honestly thought that Zack was a natural blonde. Because kids don’t dye their hair, right? Well, I was wrong. Terribly wrong.
Mark-Paul made a drastic career choice a few years after the show wrapped up, by portraying a college student who date-rapes his best friend’s sister at a fraternity party in the TV-movie She Cried No. Perhaps this amped-up dramatic role was a way for him to get his foot in the door with other projects – notably playing Detective John Clark in NYPD Blue from 2001 to 2005 as well as Jerry Kellerman in the 2008 show Raising the Bar. He’s currently in the show Franklin & Bash, which is on TNT. In 2011, he costarred with Amy Smart in the Christmas movie 12 Dates of Christmas, which was part of the ABC Family Channel “25 Days of Christmas”.
Mark-Paul split with his wife
Kelly Lisa Ann Russell in 2010 after 14 years of marriage and 2 children. Lisa Ann remarried Survivor host Jeff Probst later. (It’s kind of strange to think that dude with the dimples in khaki is the stepfather to the offspring of Zack Morris.) Mark-Paul remarried as well, and had a baby boy named Dekker Edward this September.
Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski
Known now as Tiffani Thiessen, playing the role of Kelly was this girl’s first acting role. Right after the show, she was cast to replace Shannen Doherty in 90210, and stayed on the show for four years. She’s no stranger to TV movies, but has taken on bigger projects as well. She had a role in the Pauly Shore movie Son In Law, was a recurring cast member in the TV show Two Guys and a Girl in 2000, and is currently playing Elizabeth Burke in the TV series White Collar.
Tiffani appeared with her husband Brady Smith on a 2009 episode of the reality show HGTV Design Star, which inspired the pair to start a nursery furniture line called PetitNest.
Dustin Diamond as Screech Powers
Here’s where things get depressing. By now, you’ve probably heard about the scandal and sadness that Screech has brought upon the world since the show ended, but let’s re-open this wound. Here’s one positive piece of news: Dustin was the child star who lasted on The Bell the longest, having appeared in every Bell-related TV show and movie since it all started.
Dustin started doing stand up comedy after the end of the show(s), and made a few cameos in movies as himself. Later, he hit up the reality TV circuit, joining the fifth season of Celebrity Fit Club as well as Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, which aired on CMT.
Now let’s talk about Behind The Bell. Because, yes – Screech wrote a tell-all book about the horrific things he saw behind the scenes. Guys, I read this book. Of course I read this book. And from the looks of it, even Diamond didn’t do a read-through after submitting the manuscript (he repeats full paragraphs, more than once!) Not only did he accuse his past co-stars of sleeping with each other, but he also said that drug use was rampant on set. He also claimed that he has had sex with 2,000 women, one of them NBC’s VP of children’s programming – Linda Mancuso, who unfortunately passed away in her 40’s – who was 18 years his senior. His main place to pick up chicks? Disneyland. Looks like Disney fans just couldn’t get enough of Screech. But the main thing one would learn from the tell-all is the fact that Dustin Diamond was (at the time) extremely bitter, and super capable of holding lifelong grudges.