'Saved by the Bell' And 'Showgirls' Exist In The Same Universe
Saved by the Bell, the series about a group of high school students (that also invented the greatest superpower ever), was revived in 2020 as a surprisingly self-aware comedy about a new generation of idiot kids. Interestingly, they also brought back the original cast as main and supporting characters. Well, except for Dustin Diamond’s Screech, who wasn’t invited to Season 1 (probably on account of going on record to call his costar Mark-Paul Gosselaar a “bitch,” admitting to pissing in the bag of a Saved by the Bell extra who angered him, and referring to shooting the original show in different locations as “subsidized trips to Assylvania.”), while his absence from Season 2 had an even sadder explanation.
And speaking of sad and uncomfortably sexual things: Showgirls, the “erotic” drama directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Saved by the Bell’s Jessie Spano as a Las Vegas stripper.
Wait, that’s not right. “Jessie” didn’t play a stripper. It was the actor behind the character, Elizabeth Berkley. Sorry for the confusion. It’s just that whenever people criticize Showgirls, they tend to bring up how weird it was seeing Berkley go from portraying such a wholesome character to someone as provocative as Nomi in Showgirls. Because a lot of people are stupid and don’t understand how acting works and have also clearly forgotten the episode where Jessie gets hooked on “caffeine” pills.
Thankfully, the writers of the Saved by the Bell revival are not the reason why Nigerian Prince scammers and psychics continue to exist. They understand the wild concept of an actor playing two different characters and are so fine with the SbtB and Showgirls connection, they decided to link their universes together. In the Season 2 episode “Wrestling with the Future,” Jessie, who’s now a guidance counselor at her old school, tries to seduce a fireman… using pole-dancing moves she learned during “that couple of months spent in Las Vegas.” Then, to really hammer in that, oh yeah, they’re going there, the writers had Jessie’s friends dress her up in a costume clearly paying homage to Nomi Malone, with the cowboy hat and tiger-print shirt and all.
So, yeah, it’s official now. Canonically, after college, Jessie Spano hitchhiked to Las Vegas and got robbed, did some stripping, Tonya Harding-ing, and rapist-punching, before returning home and becoming a suburban mom. And that’s obviously hilarious, but we can go weirder. What if ALL Elizabeth Berkley productions are connected this way?
Some links will be harder to justify than others; still, I’m willing to dedicate my life to somehow shoehorning Black Widow (not the one you’re thinking of) into this crazy character’s biography. Why? Because the idea of Jessie Spano being a serial killer is a) the best and b) the perfect set-up for establishing her as Zack Morris’ nemesis, the original show’s resident psycho, who wouldn’t be too happy about the competition. Let’s do it. Let’s enter … the Elizabeth Berkley-verse.
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Top Image: NBC