Full disclosure here. We believe that Saved by the Bell is the greatest school-based comedy ever made. There was nothing better before it or during its run, and there’s been nothing even close to as good since. The cast was incredible, the stories ridiculous, and it had Kelly Kapowski. What more could a show want. It’s a program that just makes you feel good about life. A perfect way to start your day. There’s a story that on the set, the cast was not allowed to swear or do anything indecent because they wanted to maintain that idyllic atmosphere. Well, they certainly gave that to their audience. But, in the years since Saved by the Bell went off the air, some unsavory stories have emerged. Apparently, the cast weren’t exactly the angels we thought they were.
Even looking at it now, there is a clear divide among the cast members. Out of the main cast, Mark Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris), Tiffani Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), and Mario Lopez (AC Slater) all have had commendable careers. The others, Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle), Dustin Diamond (Screech), and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) weren’t so successful. From the good side, there hasn’t been a whole lot of negative talk. From the bad side, particularly from Diamond, there have been plenty of accusations and salacious rumors thrown around. Not everything on this list has been verified by more than one party, but it’s all come from someone on set. Hell, the show’s producer, Peter Engel, wrote a memoir called I Was Saved by the Bell: Stories of Life, Love, and Dreams That Do Come True that revealed some of the craziness that went on. Here are 16 Well-Kept Secrets About The Saved By The Bell Cast.
16. Mark Paul Gosselaar And Steroids
Every fan of the show noticed it. In between Saved by the Bell and The College Years, Zack got jacked. Throughout the entire run in high school, Slater was the muscle man and Zack was the smooth-talking ladies man. Well, it appeared as if Zack wanted to take on both roles in college, so he hit the gym hard. Maybe you were like us and assumed this was done without any help. But Diamond claims that everyone close to the group knew that Gosselaar was taking steroids. In his book, Diamond wrote of Gosselaar, “He suddenly exploded with manliness, loading 25 pounds of muscle on his once-scrawny frame in, oh, about a month.”
15. Screech’s Conquests
We all know that Dustin Diamond lies almost every other word out of his mouth, so we don’t believe his claims about the number of partners he’s had. In his book, Screech claims he bedded more than 2,000 women. Even if we assume that he started sleeping with women when he was 16 years old in 1993/1994, that would mean that by the time he wrote his book in 2009, he would have had to sleep with two women per week on average for 16 years. If he was a heartthrob, we could maybe see the truth behind this claim, but this is Screech we’re talking about here. We have a hard time believing he kissed 1,000 women on the cheek.
14. Dustin Diamond Had NBC’s VP
During the show’s run, the VP of children’s programming at NBC was Linda Mancuso. In Diamond’s book, there wasn’t really too much written about specific women that Screech had been with, except for one—Mancuso. That’s right, Mancuso got her very own chapter. It sounds like this was more of a fling too. Even though Mancuso was 18 years older than Diamond, he said that they were equals. It started off as friendship, but turned spicier when he got older. In 2003, Mancuso died from cancer at the age of 44. As sad as that is, we will never know if this claim was true at all. Once again, we have serious doubts.
13. Mario Lopez And Date R*pe
Just by looking at the guy, it would appear that AC Slater could get any girl he wanted with minimal effort. But if we’re to believe Screech, he needed more than effort to get some girls. Allegedly, Lopez got himself into big-time hot water when he was accused of s*xual assault not once, but twice. The first was in 1993, when an 18-year-old accused Lopez of date-raping her. The second victim came out shortly after allegations of that first account were made public. After the court proceedings, the case was thrown out due to a lack of evidence, but Diamond claims that NBC execs paid the woman some hush money. Diamond also claimed that Lopez was frequently aggressive and overly s*xual towards women on the set and struggled to accept the word “no” for an answer.
12. Saved By The Bell: The Musical
Even though the poor guy is still trying to get his Saved by the Bell musical made, Peter Engel will never get back what he once had in this gem of a show. Way back when the show was still on, Engel had written a musical of the show in an effort to get it on Broadway. Now, there is a musical going on called Bayside! The Musical! The unauthorized parody of Saved by the Bell, but this is different. This one’s been running for a few years and Dustin Diamond has even appeared in it, but Engel’s musical was to be serious or at least as serious as Saved by the Bell was. Well, Engel’s musical will surely never get off the ground, but if you ever want to see some of the fruits of Engel’s labor, then rewatch the episode “Rockumentary.” You know, the one with Zack Attack? That episode contains some of the stuff Engel had written for his doomed musical.
11. Max And NPH
Ed Alonzo was the man who played Max, the strange magician/owner of the Max from Saved by the Bell. Even poor Max wasn’t safe from Diamond’s scathing book as he spread some rumors about him too. In the book, Screech claims that Alonzo was in a more-than-friendly relationship with Neil Patrick Harris at the time. Well, these two are (or were) best friends in real life. They used to perform magic together and both kept magic as part of almost every character they’ve played in their careers. NPH addressed these accusations in his own autobiography, stating, “It’s a completely false story that propagates a vicious lie to the grand total of twenty-three people who buy his book, presumably ironically.”
10. AC Cheated On Kelly
It wasn’t just Dustin Diamond who resorted to spreading rumors about the cast. Peter Engel, the producer, got involved in these games as well in his book. When speaking about the ongoing relationships on set, Engel said of Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen, “They made it very clear that they were now in a relationship—holding hands, being cutesy, etc.” Then, he said, “He was in his dressing room, making out with an extra, and Tiffani came in, catching him red-handed…She was wearing his letter jacket and, in a rage, ripped it off and threw it at him. After that, she ran out.” The reason we struggle to believe this is true is because no man in his right mind would ever cheat on Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.
9. Slater’s Infidelity
We already learned that Lopez cheated on his co-star and then-girlfriend, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. Engel wrote about it and Lopez admitted to it in his biography. His excuse? “There was so much beauty everywhere and I had so much affection to share.” Right. But he’s changed, right? Nope. In 2004, Lopez got married to actress Ali Landry. This lasted all in two weeks because Lopez was caught cheating during his bachelor party. His excuse? He “got inebriated and a little too friendly with a young lady on spring break at one of the stops in some university party town.” He must have learned from this one though, right? Nope. His split from Dancing with the Stars co-star, Karina Smirnoff, also ended because he cheated. Now that Lopez is married again to Courtney Laine Mazza, he’s completely faithful. Probably.
8. Diamond’s Polaroids
In Mario Lopez’ book, Just Between Us, he told a few interesting stories about his time on Saved by the Bell. Most of it was positive, although he did say that Dustin Diamond was known for some gross pranks and behavior behind the scenes. “Not everyone got along with Screech a.k.a. Dustin Diamond,” he said. “I did, but maybe I was the exception. He was one of those dorky kids who thought it was hilarious to take Polaroids of his genitals and leave the photos all over the set.” Ew! Polaroids. For some reason, we are not shocked about this revelation.
7. Lark Voorhies And Pretty Much Everything
Now, we want to tread lightly here because we’re certain that Lark Voorhies is suffering from an illness even though she denies it. Her antics are just too off-the-wall not to be caused by something illness-related. It all kind of started after Voorhies started saying weird stuff and looking much differently. Her mother then came out and said Lark was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This made sense, but Lark denied it. Then, some craziness went down when Lark eloped with music producer Jimmy Green. Her mom made some serious accusations about the guy, but then it started to seem like maybe both mother and child suffered from an illness. Lark defended her husband publicly, then divorced him a few days later. Weird. There’s the social media stuff too. She made this big post about having Lupus. She made a big post about Bill Cosby. She made a big post about her ex, Martin Lawrence, and how he was abusive. Then, she blamed this all on hackers. Every single time. Maybe change your password, girl.
6. Dustin Diamond Does Hard Time
Even though he played one of the biggest dweebs on TV, in real life, Dustin Diamond is a hardened criminal. In 2014, even after he had apparently shed his disgraced star and bad boy image, Diamond was arrested for stabbing a guy. Honestly. Screech spent four months in jail after he was convicted of disorderly conduct and concealing a weapon. It took place in a bar on Christmas day when Diamond decided to celebrate the birth of Santa by stabbing a guy who insulted his girlfriend. The wounds on the man were not serious and Diamond said the stabbing itself was an accident; he was just trying to dissuade the other guys from taking it further. Yeah, stabbing them will do the trick.
5. Dustin Diamond’s Home Movie
Dustin Diamond has done a lot of things that he wishes he could erase and forget about. The s*x tape he made might be the main culprit. This tape was obviously fake. We all knew that from the start but no one could prove it until Diamond himself finally admitted it. When talking about his reasons for doing it, Diamond said, “Paris Hilton came out with one. My buddy and I were sitting on the couch and her video came on the news, and they were saying that it was confirmed that she had business relations with this video and was making money off of each one sold. They said it was rumored that she made $14 million in revenue from that. So my friend said, ‘Damn, buddy! A Screech video’s gotta be worth at least a million!’ I was like, ‘You know, you might be right!’ I put the thing together. I got a stunt wang. I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to really put myself out there. So I got a stunt person to come in.” Not your best idea, Screech. It took his already bad image and made it even worse. Paris Hilton and Screech are not equals in the land of nudity. Not close, in fact.
4. The Love-In
When asked about the relationships that went on during the Saved by the Bell years, Mark Paul Gosselaar said, “All of us dated at one point or another, it was incestuous.” It appears that he is right. The first relationship on set was between Gosselaar and Lark Voorhies. They dated for three years. Then, the merry-go-round began. According to Dustin Diamond, both Gosselaar and Lopez slept with all three of the main cast females (Thiessen, Voorhies, and Berkley). He wrote, “If Kelly was interested in Slater [on the show] one week, then backstage there was a lot going between them in Mario’s room… Then, if Jessie kisses Zack, then you know Elizabeth Berkley is going in Mark-Paul’s room.” You know what they say, art imitates life.
3. Kelly And Johnny Dakota
You remember Johnny Dakota? He was that amazing actor that all the women loved in Saved by the Bell. He and a crew came to Bayside High to shoot an anti-drug spot, and they wanted some of the local kids to star in it. Obviously, Johnny picked Kelly as one of the stars and as his girlfriend because she was the hottest thing on the face of the Earth. The two even dated for about 11 minutes of screen time in the show until Johnny smoked pot at a party and everyone realized what a disgusting scumbag he was. Well, according to Dustin Diamond, Tiffani Thiessen and the actor who played Johnny, Eddie Garcia, were actually dating in real life as well. Diamond claims that during this time, Thiessen was cheating on Garcia with both Mark Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez. No wonder the poor guy took a hit from that joint. He was trying to blow off some steam.
2. Jesse Spano Wasn’t Hooked On Caffeine
The episode with Jessie Spano’s caffeine pill addiction is one of the most iconic episodes in TV history. It is amazing and we will never forget Spano singing “I’m so excited” and then breaking down from her crippling three-day addiction. We can laugh now, but originally, the episode was pretty edgy. Originally, however, it was supposed to much crazier. Engel had planned for Spano to be addicted to speed. Now that would have been nuts! In his book, Engel wrote of the decision to alter it, saying, “[the network] told us caffeine pills would get a green light. So we compromised. We kept the episode virtually the same, but swapped out the speed. I wasn’t pleased about it—after all, the average caffeine pill was the equivalent of a cup of coffee, if that, so we might as well have had Jessie get addicted to earl grey, or breaking into the Max to snort coffee grounds. But hey, we had to start somewhere.”
1. Peter Engel Joins In
We know that everyone dated everyone and this has been verified by several of the cast members, but Dustin Diamond being Dustin Diamond took those stories even further. He claimed, through insinuation, that even the producer, Peter Engel, would get involved with the cast. He basically wrote that Engel engaged in a threesome with Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar in his office without ever saying it explicitly. Now, obviously, those are some attractive young people, but why the hell would they want Engel? They were already rich and famous. It wasn’t like he could have sunk their careers.
This is what was written, “[Gosselaar] started getting called to [Engel]’s office for long meetings…and closed the door behind him. Which was weird…because typically Peter kept his office door open… [Thiessen] also began to be summoned upstairs for long, closed-door meetings… then, both [Gosselaar] and [Thiessen] were called together into [Engel]’s inner sanctuary for another mystery marathon behind closed doors… [Gosselaar] and I were selected to go on a Paris [publicity] trip together… lo and behold, [Thiessen] pitched a b**ch. She went up to [Engel]’s office for another hours-long, closed-door meeting, and when she re-emerged it was suddenly her and [Gosselaar] now making the trip… [Thiessen] wasn’t even supposed to be around for The College Years… all of a sudden, she’s locked again in those troubling closed-door meetings in [Engel]’s office and, voila, she’s off to college with the guys. From then on the show’s writing became all about Zack and Kelly.”
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