Reboot Lisa Turtle! Why the New ‘Saved by the Bell’ (And the Rest of Entertainment) Should Embrace Flaws and Bring Back Its Full Cast
Bayside High better brace itself. Its OG con artist, Zack Morris, plans to return to Saved by the Bell for a reboot of the iconic show. It’ll reunite the cast with a new storyline without the addition of Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle. Voorhies blames getting cut from the reboot on the stigma from her bipolar disorder. She also says her feelings are hurt she isn’t being invited to take part in the cast reunion.
Leaving Lisa out isn’t just mean, it sets a bad example for a show that always prided itself on the teachable moment. March 30 is World Bipolar Day, Voorhies struggles with it, owns it, and yet has been excluded from the reboot because of it. The producers on the reboot should rethink their decision to exclude Voorhies from the reboot and bring back the entire cast. Keep reading to find out why.
Photo: Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank (Getty Images)
Time out for ‘Saved By The Bell’: Why the ‘SBTB’ Reboot Won’t Work Now
It's Not a Reunion Without the Whole Cast
Anytime a show does a reboot using only parts of the original cast, it cheapens the efforts. Why the show worked to begin with is chemistry. The magic happens when those actors step into those roles. Selectively deciding which characters are worthy of being reprised is an insult to fans.
Lisa Turtle Deserves a Chance to Return to Bayside
Lisa Turtle isn't just the girl Screech had a crush on at Bayside High. She's an iconic African-American character on a cherished teen drama. What would it hurt to give her a minor storyline as a successful working mom who struggles with issues overcoming her mental illness?
Excluding Lisa Turtle Isn't Inclusive
The reboot actually centers on integrating students from low-income high schools to the best schools in the state, including good old Bayside High. It will also feature a trans character. Excluding Voorhies because she's struggled with mental illness doesn't support the inclusive storyline producers are peddling.
Representation Really Does Matter
Lisa Turtle was the definitive African-American character on Saved by the Bell. She even appeared in Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Cutting Lisa from the reboot erases a classic character so writers don't have to deal with the bigger backstory needed to explain what happened in the last 30 years.
Exclusionary Practices Have a Ripple Effect
When Jimmy Fallon "reunited" the cast, he did it without Lark Voorhies or Dustin Diamond. It also focused on the more attractive, more successful members of the OG cast like Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley, and Tiffani Thiessen. Excluding cast members for not having done better in their career or for having mental illness sends a distinct message to the general public: be perfect or else.
Drop the Stigma of Mental Illness
Nearly 1 in 25 people or 10 million American adults live with mental illness. Unfortunately for Voorhies, she's merely a statistic. But what about the other 10 million Americans with stories and struggles similar to hers?
Boycott Reunion Shows That Pick and Choose Cast Members
Look, we understand this reboot of a beloved teen show isn't anyone's priority. However, this is our chance to stage our very own "Donna Martin graduates" moment. Collectively, we can force reunion shows to include entire casts by staging our own "classroom walkout" by refusing to watch the finished product -- mostly because it's not finished if the entire cast isn't included.
Most Importantly, Give Audiences What They Want
The Friends reunion show was recently announced and includes the entire cast. However, if Matthew Perry's drug problem was still spiraling out of control, would producers have included him? We may never know. As the public, we choose where to put our money when it comes to what to watch. So how is it we aren't more vocal about what we want out of a reboot or a reunion show? It's not Friends without Chandler nor is Saved by the Bell complete without Lisa Turtle. Bring back Lisa Turtle! Give viewers what they want!
Saved by the Bell assembly: Cast Reunites on ‘The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon’
How do you feel about the decision to exclude Lisa Turtle from the ‘Saved by the Bell’ reboot? Let us know how you think this should have been handled in the comments!