Like most dudes, I skipped my grandpa’s wake on Monday to watch Lifetime’s Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story. (In my defense, this was on my calendar months ago and the wake was sort of a last-minute thing.) Plus, I had a burning question that needed answering: …the fuck was up with the Tori episodes?
This question, like many others, would go frustratingly unanswered. Lifetime BRIEFLY touched on the events that lead to losing Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley. But who gives a shit about the actors? I need to know what happened to their characters.
Here are some questions that, to this day, no one from Bayside has answered:
Where exactly were Kelly and Jessie for 10 episodes?
Kelly and Jessie were gone one day AND NO ONE SAID A WORD. As a general rule of friendship, when one-third of your crew goes missing for 10 weeks, you ask questions. Questions like, “Wow, where is this person?” and “Hmm … do we think this person is safe right now?” Any viewer with an ounce of empathy would expect all 10 of the next episodes to revolve around the girls’ disappearance. Nope. We don’t even get a raised eyebrow. I wanted just ONE SCENE where Kelly and Jessie’s parents hold a press conference imploring their captors to extend the ransom deadline. And then the episode can go right back to writing a school graduation song — which was clearly the bigger problem at the time.
Do the writers hold us in that low of regard? Did they think maybe we wouldn’t notice? I’d have settled for even TWO LINES of dialogue just to show they knew we knew.
Zack: Wow. Sucks that our friends died.
THERE. That’s all I needed.
But Kelly and Jessie’s absence raised another question:
Why aren’t we more suspicious of Tori?
The same day your two friends go missing, this biker chick happens to enroll at Bayside? It’s a fucking month before graduation. This doesn’t happen in real life. Any parent who cares the least bit about their child would not uproot them to a new high school for just 30 days. (If you’re reading this and your parents have done this to you, here’s a link to more information on Legal Emancipation. You have a very strong case.)
Why aren’t we more dubious of Tori’s motives? She shows up outta nowhere and ingrains herself into the most popular group at Bayside Day 1. Sure, she’s pretty, but that still wouldn’t happen. If I were Slater (and god willing one day I will be) I’d be like,“Sorry, but this friend group hasn’t let anyone in in three-and-a-half years so it’d be in poor taste to the rest of the student body if we accepted you as one of our own.” Yes, they did that ONCE with Stacy Carosi but it was summer and her Dad owned a beach house. And then if I were Slater, I’d also be like, “Weird timing you show up the same day our friends disappear, especially since you kinda look like both of them put together.” That is basically the plot of Single While Female so, as a viewer, I’m left to assume Kelly and Jessie are locked in Tori’s basement. Frightened. Alone. Maybe practicing kissing to keep warm. I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here.
Biker jacket is the UNIVERSAL SYMBOL for bad guy. Lisa, why aren’t you more wary of this girl?! Speaking of…
Lisa Turtle, you’re a bad fucking friend.
This isn’t an unanswered question so much as it’s just something that needs to be said. You have two female friends on this entire Earth and don’t shed a single tear for them. Even an acquaintance would hang a flyer or light a candle. How ‘bout asking Zack to borrow his gigantic phone and put a call in to the police? Nope. You’re just like, “Oh wow, guess I’m the most popular girl in school now. That’s cool.” You also flock to Tori like a moth to a flame. You two in cahoots?
And back to Tori…
WHERE DOES SHE GO?!
Tori, like Kelly and Jessie before her, disappears. She’s never seen or mentioned again for the rest of the series. Um, Mr. Belding, three of your prettiest girls have gone missing in the past two months. Maybe it’s time for an assembly?
I, again, would have accepted even the flimsiest of logic from the writers. Just so I knew they respected me. We’ve already established Tori’s parents are selfish, impulsive monsters so I’d totally buy that she moved again and she’s at another new school for senior year.
Zack: Crazy that Tori’s at Valley now for the last two hours of high school. I wish her well.
Sure, that line’s not gonna win you an Emmy, but it’s something. It at least acknowledges Tori was here and now she’s not. Bringing us back to…
Lisa Turtle, you’re a bad fucking friend.
Sorry, I know we covered this already but now Tori is missing and you AGAIN say nothing. I know it’s senior year and you’ve got college to worry about but this is your third friend’s unexplained disappearance. God help the person who ever lists Lisa Turtle as their Emergency Contact. “Oh, Mike? Yeah he’s fine, I just saw him 10 weeks ago.”
Not to mention Kelly and Jessie are back now and you’re not even like, “Oh, how was being sold into sex slavery? I missed you.” And don’t think I forgot you made out with Zack before your fashion show. I’m sure you neglected to mention that to Kelly.
Speaking of Kelly and Jessie being back…
WHY DID NO ONE CARE THAT KELLY AND JESSIE WERE BACK?!
Here’s the thing. If we hung out almost every day for three-and-a-half years and you went away for 10 weeks, when you returned I’d be like, “Hey, how was the past 70 days?” On Mondays I ask my coworkers how their weekends were and I hate every person in this office. These are your FRIENDS. Did the gang think it was none of their business? Even if they weren’t concerned for their well being you think they’d at least ask out of idle curiosity.
Slater: Hey, where were you guys for all of March, April, and some of May?
Jessie: Horse Camp.
Perfect dialogue and I wrote that in two seconds.
Zack Morris lost his shit when a duck got caught in an oil spill but when his soon-to-be-fiancée fell off the face of the Earth he didn’t even notice. I love animals too but that’s seriously fucked up.
This all leads up to the final unanswered question:
Lifetime’s Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, why don’t you take a hike?
Come back when you’ve got some answers. In the meantime, I’ll be watching the Miss Bliss episodes. (Seriously, where the fuck is Miss Bliss?)