Elizabeth Berkley, who plays Jessie Spano in ‘Saved by the Bell,’ speculates her character’s future with A.C. Slater after a ‘fun’ table read for Season 2 of the reboot. She also shares details about her new charity partnership!
“Jessie and Slater…I think there’s always those embers burning beneath the surface. Even if they’ve taken different paths,” Elizabeth Berkley confesses in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. But does this mean the high school frenemies-to-lovers, who are now co-workers at Bayside High in the Saved by the Bell reboot, have a chance at romantically reuniting as well in the revival’s second season? Elizabeth gave her honest thoughts on that as well, while promoting her new partnership with Walgreens to promote Red Nose Day, a campaign that is accepting donations here (and through the My Walgreens app and inside the retailer’s stores) to address the needs of children in poverty. The campaign runs up until May 31, and Elizabeth says that “one hundred percent of the donations are going back to help the cause.”
“There’s just, you know — sometimes in life — there’s that person that you still have that connection and you saw a little bit of that toward the end of the season,” Elizabeth teased, in regards to whether Jessie and Slater will ever romantically reunite. She added, “So I’m curious to see where that goes too. I know a lot and then there are things that I don’t know yet.”
Yes, Jessie Spano was still a married woman when Season 1 of the Peacock reboot wrapped in November of 2020. However, one huge moment indicated that things could be changing in Jessie’s personal life. The OG character, who now works as a guidance counselor at Bayside High, finally stood up to her “narcissistic, fake-woke, dreamcatcher, tattoo-having, homemade-jerky-smelling dumba–” husband, Rene (Jessie’s words, not ours). “I like where she’s going,” Elizabeth said, in regards to this jaw-dropping scene and her character’s future in Season 2.
“As a producer also of the show, I’ve been privy to the storylines,” Elizabeth continued. “Before hearing them out loud in the scripts. But I’m really liking the direction our writers are taking [Jessie]…I think fans will be happy, I hope they’ll be happy, but I think they will. I don’t want to give anything away.”
However, Elizabeth was already happy with the development a “grown-up” Jessie was given in Season 1. It wasn’t far off from the personal and professional growth Elizabeth experienced herself by running self esteem workshops through Ask Elizabeth since the late aughts, long after the original Saved by the Bell series concluded in 1993 (and the college spin-off series in 1994). The workshops bring girls in grades six to 12 a “safe space to feel heard and to know that they’re not alone,” and by sharing this “collective experience,” the young participants find there’s “a way to learn from each other and hold each other up and share wisdom, even certain things that we may hold shame around that we think we’re the only ones kind of navigating,” Elizabeth said.
Given this workshop work Elizabeth has taken on in addition to acting and producing, she thought Jessie’s new role as a guidance counselor at Bayside High was “so perfect” when it was pitched to her by the reboot’s showrunner, Tracy Wigfield. “It was kind of this perfect marriage of, you know, childhood Jessie, grown-up Jessie, and really reflecting in our culture today, kind of what a lot of the kids are doing as advocates, which is so amazing…Using their voice, and being a megaphone for things that matter,” Elizabeth said, referring to the fact that Jessie was a proud feminist and activist — even when it wasn’t necessarily popular to be one — in the late ’80s/early ’90s setting of the original series.
While Jessie settles into this new role and “direction” going into Season 2, Elizabeth is also ecstatic to be on the same set with Mario Lopez (who plays A.C. Slater), Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zac Morris), Tiffani Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski) and Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) all these years later. “It’s really the best. It’s like being home…there’s a comfort and an ease and support,” Elizabeth gushed about the cast reunion, after just getting back from a “very, very fun” table read for Season 2 with the cast hours before this interview.
While Walgreens isn’t giving out red noses this year, you can try on a digital red nose by donating to Red Nose Day — just like Elizabeth Berkley did above! [Instagram/@elizabethberkley]
“Whenever [the original stars are] there, I just — I crack up because honestly, as we’re reading through the scripts, I know how it’s going to come out of their mouth before they say it. And it makes me laugh because they’re so talented,” Elizabeth explained. “And when you know someone so well, you can already hear it in your head. And we just we were laughing so hard [at the table read]. It was really fun.” You can expect to join in on the laughter when Season 2 comes out, as we keep dreaming of Jessie and Slater to finally be together!