“I’m so excited!” Elizabeth Berkley says the Saved by the Bell reboot pays tribute to the original series with one major Easter egg.
On Monday, August 10, a trailer for the Peacock original series dropped ahead of its upcoming debut on the streaming platform. While discussing the revival during Peacock’s CTAM virtual press tour, Berkley, 48, dished on how the new characters are honoring the show’s now-iconic caffeine pill story line.
“There’s a great episode that really pays homage to that moment where Jessie still has some interesting feelings still about that time. And, of course, one of the most-loved episodes is the ‘I’m so excited caffeine pill’ episode,” the actress, who is reprising her role as Jessie Spano, said. “To this day, people come up to me and say those three words … There are a few ways that [writer] Tracey [Wigfield] brilliantly embedded that. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
The teaser shows Berkley’s character, who now acts as the guidance counselor at Bayside High, rushing up to a student in the hallways to prevent him from giving a friend pills to “increase productivity” while the Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited” plays in the background.
“Are those caffeine pills?” she asks. “At first, they’re so exciting. Then it gets even more exciting but after that it gets so scary, and in the end, you ruin your girl group’s shot at a recording contract.”
The moment is a clear reference to the 1990 episode of the coming-of-age sitcom during which Jessie turns to caffeine pills to manage her packed schedule. Her subsequent breakdown has become one of the show’s most memorable moments.
“Today, when I meet fans of the show, ‘Jessie’s Song’ is almost always the episode that comes up first. It made a big impression on them,” Saved by the Bell executive producer Peter Engel wrote in his 2016 memoir. “What fans don’t know is that, when I originally wrote the episode with Tom Tenowich, Jessie was hooked on speed, not caffeine pills. But Standards and Practices, the censorial department of NBC, vetoed it, saying speed was too serious for Saturday mornings.”
Though Engel, 60, and his team wanted to start tackling “more important issues” on the series, the network wouldn’t budge. Despite the change in substance, the scene still made a major impact on young viewers.
“During the taping, the live audience was absorbed like never before. Kids were sitting on the edges of their seats. Many of them were tearing up,” Engel wrote. “No one was making programming for kids like that at the time. … And I’m still, to this day, proud to have my name on that episode.”
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