It's time to continue our reviews of the characters of Saved By The Bell. We've already hit Slater and Lisa, uncovering the truth behind Slater's multiple hidden talents and the reasons behind Lisa being, ultimately, uninteresting.
But now it's time to take a look at the character I've been looking forward to discussing the most - Jessie Spanno.
Jessie is a *legend* between my sister and I. It was hard to tell if Elizabeth Berkeley was either drugged up all the time, or just a really bad actress. Either way, her ridiculousness has etched a special place in our hearts. A place usually dedicated to quirky showtunes and old Coca Cola commercials.
Jessie: At A Glance -
Jessie, for all intentive purposes, was the most attractive of the three girls. Sure, Kelly would be ideal for classic backseat sex. She was the right height and she definitely had a look that begged you to chop off her head when you were done. But, in all seriousness, I always thought Jessie was the prettiest. It's unfortunate that in her later years her skin would turn green, otherwise she might be a hot commodity.
Her role on Saved By The Bell was pretty simple - very intelligent feminazi who had more convictions than strands of hair. Basically, Jessie was the smart one. And the one who complained the most. Since most people on Saved By The Bell made statements that a five year old could negate, Jessie had a lot to say.
As far as relationships go, Jessie hooked up with Slater. And as we touched on in the Slater review, the relationship only went as far as lovers spats and maybe two kisses throughout their seemingly-forever tenure and boy/girlfriends. As Lisa once said, there's no one else these two would rather disagree with. So they seemed like the perfect couple. Problem was, the only times they acted like a couple was when there was a school dance. Conveniently, there seemed to be one every other weekend at Bayside.
Jessie was also pretty contradictory. In several episodes, she made negative comments about cheerleaders. Ironically, Jessie appeared as a cheerleader in at least four episodes. No one ever explained it, but Jessie did look a little guilty.
But the reason I love Jessie, is because deep down...she's a nutball. Seriously, all the classic SBTB moments are of a result of hideously overacted lines by Jess. I've linked to this before, but it bears repeating. Jessie may very well have the best line, ever, on any television series. Trust me when I say you've never heard anything like this. It all started when Jessie got hooked on caffiene pills. When Zack confronted her about it conflicting with her dance routine, Jessie went insane. Now, I don't mean she got a little upset....she went insane. This clip is *legendary* amongst my group - it's something that links us all together, something we all turn to when we need to break the ice after not seeing each other for awhile.
Now tell me something...doesn't that seem a little dramatic for someone on caffiene pills? I've been hooked on much worse, and my biggest outburst was a two-second stream of obscentities over not being able to get rabbit hair off my shirt. But this? Christ...you'd think this clip would be from a girl who just found out she had breast, lung, and tongue cancer, two dead parents, and a rejected loan request. No folks...it's just caffiene pills.
Jessie is my hero!
Now, let's go over Jessie's glorious stats...
SAT Score -- Jessie fucked up! Her SAT score was too low to get into her choice college of Stanford. However, she did take pleasure in the fact that she did better than Kelly and Lisa. She came in second only to Zack, who conveniently scored better than most Harvard applicants on the test.
Worst Line Ever -- Jessie had a ton of them. We already mentioned her worst line ever up above, but there were certainly others. Any jokes involving pigs and/or oinking with Slater were pretty bad, but I can sum it up best by telling you that you could probably laugh at the stupidity of everything she said if you tried hard enough.
The Belding Connection -- Slater didn't have much of a relationship either with Mr. B. He liked her since she was so active in school, but I don't think he ever met with her parents on the show. Coincidentally, did Jessie's parents ever appear on the show? I really can't remember. All I know is that she had this awesome giant teddy bear on her bed, and she used to have very odd dream sequences. I mean, really odd dream sequences. That wasn't caffiene pills...it was obviously acid.
So where's Elizabeth Berkeley now? Probably hiding in shame after the Showgirls movie. I remember Roger Ebert's review of that flick - the fat slob actually said that Liz wasn't attractive enough for the role. Can you imagine hearing that? You do a movie that entails you dancing around completely naked for the world to see...this is your first real movie role...and one of the biggest reviewers around (both figuratively and literally) basically says you're too ugly to pull it off.
Well screw you Roger Ebert - it's not Liz's fault she was too stupid to actually read the script before signing on to do the movie. It's all that acid she did back on SBTB. Besides, who is Roger to talk about looks? He looks like a cross between a pumpkin, a pedophile, and a really avant garde drawing that this homeless guy sold me for a buck once. Talk about glass houses...
Truly, Jessie was the glue that held Saved by the Bell together. Perhaps her overacting was to make up for some of her compatriots underacting. Kelly would utter no more than three lines per episode, and you usually had to crank the TV up to 50 to hear it. Lisa wasn't too inspired either. So basically, the only girl with any real merit on the show was Jessie. And what's a bad sitcom without a girl with real merit? A really bad sitcom. Thanks to Jessie, we didn't cross that line.