“The seven-year-old inside of me was, ‘this is crazy,” admits developer of the “Saved by the Bell” revival, Tracey Wigfield. For our recent webchat, she continues, “It’s a surreal weird thing to grow up with something and then as an adult be in charge on set where you can be like, ‘Zack and Kelly kiss again.’ It’s too much power, it’s dangerous.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“Saved by the Bell” is a comedy series now streaming on Peacock. The original series, running from 1989-93 on NBC, told the story of a bunch of teenage rascals at Bayside High. The revival returns to the school in 2020 and centers on a new bunch of students, featuring some of the original cast, revealing where their adult characters are now. Wigfield, who has written on “30 Rock” and “The Mindy Project,” serves as executive producer and head writer on the series.
The writer explains, “The most important thing was striking the right tone. The original show I was a huge fan of, but it was a kid’s show. I really wanted my show to be an adult comedy that people my age who grew up with the show would like and enjoy.”
In the series, the closing of a disadvantaged school results in students busing to Bayside for their education. Wigfield says, “In the original show, Bayside is this all-American High School where the kids just get into hijinks and never have any actual problems. The funniest way to see a weird place like that is give it the context that the school is like this because it’s so privileged. The funniest way into that is through the POV of a kid whose life does have real problems, who can’t just prank their principal and blow off class. It was a really organic and funny way to view this weird world, and it makes the show open to all these conversations, that you would never expect from a ‘Saved by the Bell’ reboot; about education, class and race.”
Wigfield confesses, “I thought, ‘oh wouldn’t it be funny to go back and poke fun at the things we thought were OK to say.’ There were certainly enough of those, but it’s not just true of ‘Saved by the Bell.’ This is true of all shows, and this will be true of this show. I have a lot of sympathy and gratitude for the people who made the original show, and I hope the people who remake this show making fun of it in 20 years, have the same kind of empathy for me.”
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