Throwback Thursday

Saved By the Bell Star: Jessie's Pill-Freakout Scene Hid a Sweet Secret

By now, Saved By the Bell‘s “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so… scared!” scene has been rerun — and lampooned — so often, you can probably recite it right along with Zack and poor, caffeine-pill addicted Jessie.

The exchange took place in“Jessie’s Song,” a Season 2 episode of the NBC teen sitcom in which Elizabeth Berkley’s character popped too many over-the-counter uppers in order to ace midterms and nail a musical performance by her newly formed girl group with Kelly and Lisa. Too many drugs + not enough sleep = a stressed-out Jessie collapsing in Zack’s arms, shouting the words to the song she and the girls were slated to sing.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar tells TVLine that the scene left a taste in his mouth… and that taste was cinnamon.

“Those caffeine bottles would be around for a couple of episodes afterwards, because they were a bunch of Red Hots,” the actor, who played Zack and now stars in Pitch, recalls. “So all of us would be eating them.”

As for the emotional interaction itself? “I look back on it now and I go, ‘Gosh, that was silly. I can’t believe we did that with a straight face,’ because I don’t know, as an actor, if I would be able to do that now with a straight face. But I don’t remember it being silly to us. I think we took it very seriously, and that’s why it sort of works.”

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4 Comments
  1. Daya says:

    Candy isn’t unusual when medicine is needed on television, though–one of the behind the scenes things for House said some of their pill bottles were filled with Sweet Tarts. Television alcohol is usually flat soda or iced tea…and vodka is surely just water. ;)

  2. Brandi says:

    I don’t think it was silly at the time. We are talking the late ’80’s very early 90’s. This show was aimed toward a really young audience. 90210 was kind of a breakout in teen drama stories back then. This, I think was just right for what they were doing on SBTB. Is it silly now, yes, but back then I don’t think it was.

  3. CourtTV says:

    I think it was originally supposed to be speed, a la Alex P. Keaton, but the network made them change it to caffeine pills. So if you would be acting that out with actually drugs, it would be more serious. But it is cringe worthy looking back.