Growing up, I always counted on watching Saved By The Bell reruns on TBS when I came home from school. Sure, the cast moved on from the show when it ended in 1993 (and The College Years in 1994), but no one moved on as fiercely as Elizabeth Berkeley (who played the uptight and ambitious Jessie Spano), who starred in the famously raunchy movie Showgirls. But really, the halls of Bayside will live on forever and that's why I think Showgirls is a sequel to Saved By The Bell . Stay with me on this and think about it, because there's a lot of supporting evidence — or just really convenient ways for me make Las Vegas showgirl Nomi Malone fit into the SBTB universe.
The Bayside High gang always consisted of Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), Screech Powers (Dustin Diamond), and Jessie — well, until there were those weird episodes in the final season where Jessie and Kelly disappeared and Tori (Leanna Creel) rode in on her motorcycle. I used to think of them as the alternate universe SBTB episodes, but really, it makes sense if you think about it. Kelly (and Thiessen) had gone on to shatter her good girl image in Beverly Hills 90210 as a girl named Valarie Malone, sewed her wild oats, and then settled down to marry Zack. As for Jessie, well, things at college turned out to be rougher than she imagined...
Life At Columbia University
At the end of the series, Jessie was excited to be headed to Columbia University in New York City. It wasn't her beloved Stanford (or Stainsbury, for that matter), but she was thrilled to be joining the Ivy League in the Big Apple. Plus, Lisa was a train ride away at FIT. Sure, it seemed perfect. But in reality, Jessie put a ton of pressure on herself to choose the right major — first she wanted to study political science, then pre-law, pre-med, American Studies, biology, chemistry, and too many more. Her academic adviser told her to chill, but naturally, Jessie didn't.
Lonely In The City
She also had trouble loosening up and making new friends on the East Coast. Lisa was too busy thriving in the fashion world to hang out with Jessie, who would just stress out too much when they did get together. The real kicker for Jessie, though, was when she found out Slater was moving on with other girls. During a long distance phone call, Kelly let slip that A.C. started dating some girl named Alex Taber — and as you can imagine, Jessie didn't take it well at all.
Caffeine Pill Relapse
So Jessie turns to her one major vice — no, not bossing people around — but caffeine pills. But since this is college, she soon discovers Adderall and Coke. For awhile, things are better — she had the trill of being so excited and so scared. She's meeting new people who share her interest in pills and powder, attends parties around the city, and even starts sleeping with her RA and her dealer.
Kicked Out Of Columbia
Alas, the party ends. By the end of her first semester as a freshman, Jessie realizes she spent a lot of money on drugs, racked up some pretty large credit card bills on several pieces of plastic, failed most of her classes, and her RA busts her two-timing him with her dealer in a very compromising position. Jessie gets kicked out of the dorms and gets placed on academic probation. Feeling like a complete failure, she decides to use the remainder of her money to board a Greyhound bus home.
Viva Las Vegas
During the long-ass bus ride, Jessie dreams up a new future for herself. Maybe she's tired of always being the smart and studious one. Perhaps she wants to be wild, unpredictable, and just a little stupid for once in her life. Why does she always have to have all the answers? As luck would have it, the bus breaks down as soon as it crosses into Nevada. Jessie decides to hitchhike and most notably, change her name and attitude. She now wants to go by Nomi Malone.
Cue the beginning of Showgirls.
And That Explains Her Appearance In Saved By The Bell: Wedding In Las Vegas
I always wondered why Jessie randomly showed up at toward the end of the TV movie, just in time for Zack and Kelly's wedding in Las Vegas in really thick eyeliner. And it's because Jessie had become Nomi in Las Vegas, but decided to drop the act for a few hours to resume life as Jessie, you know, just for a little bit. Her "flight from New York" excuse is a big ol' lie.
And there you have it.
Images: NBC/United Artists/Mallory Carra/Bustle; NBC/Mallory Carra/Bustle (2); Mallory Carra/Bustle; yahooentertainment/Tumblr