BAKERSFEILD, Calif. (KGET) — Josie Totah and Alycia Pascual- Peña were not even born when the original “Saved by the Bell” launched in 1989. They still had not been born when it ended in 1993 or the spinoff series “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” came and went.
Thanks to the series continuing to be rerun through the years, the two stars of the new version of “Saved by the Bell” that airs on Peacock were well aware of the antics of the students at Bayside High before that started their own TV hijinks.
The second season of the new “Saved by the Bell” is now available through the streaming service.
Pascual- Peña knows that it is ironic that although the original “Saved by the Bell” was before her time, she was very familiar with the show.
“I had a strict mama and at one point in my life I was only allowed to watch TV on the weekends so that was what was on in the mornings on weekends,” Pascual- Peña says. “I was pretty familiar with the show.
“Then when we all became a cast, we got together as a ‘Saved by the Bell’ family and watched some of the old episodes together.”
Totah became aware of what she calls “this iconic show” through watching the reruns. That gave Totah a complete understanding of the cultural impact the show has had.
The second season of “Saved by the Bell” has students and faculty at Bayside High getting ready to compete in the Southern California School Spirit Competition. Daisy (Haskiri Velazquez) is determined not to get sidetracked to be the top student but gets distracted when a cute new student is elected student council vice president.
As for the two actors, Pascual-Peña sees her character of Aisha desperately looking for a new outlet for her energy after football is canceled while Totah’s Lexi continues to be the center of the social world at the school while dealing with some new feelings.
Totah compares returning to the series for a second season to going back to school after a summer break. She knows exactly how that feels as Totah is balancing going to college while continuing to act.
“It feels like I was starting my senior year of college and my sophomore year of ‘Save by the Bell.’ It very much felt like that environment getting to come back for a second year,” Totah says. “We get to see all of our classmates and get into all of those hijinks we love doing.”
Totah has mixed school and work all of her life. She had a recurring role on the Disney Channel series “Jessie” and a supporting role on the ABC comedy “Back in the Game.” Totah’s other credits include “Other People” and “Champions.”
Pascual-Peña is grateful to get the chance to play the role for another season. She knows through her years of acting that a second season is never a given.
“It was great to get to come back and do these stories that we love to do. In this second season, you learn a lot more about each one of the characters,” Pascual-Peña says. “Season one established who each one of the characters but in season two we really got to dive into who they are at Bayside. What they love. Who they love.”
The love element Pascual-Peña mentions is big in this second season for both of their characters. They won’t talk about what affairs of the heart unfold this year but do say that love will be a big part of the lives of their characters.
While dealing with love will be an element, it won’t be the only thing. Both Totah and Pascual-Peña play characters who are fiercely strong in very different ways. They are both proud of the fact they are playing strong female characters.
Totah says, “The writers do such a great job of making these characters so three-dimensional, multi-layered people. Getting to play characters that are so developed is very fun and a privilege.”
The new series is giving the two young actors the chance to work with many of the original cast members. Those who opted to return to Bayside High include: Elizabeth Berkley Lauren as Jessie Spano; Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater; Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris; Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski and Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle.
Totah is convinced that some of the funniest scenes in the series are those when original cast members and the next generation work together. It helps that the original cast members have been so open to working with the new actors that Totah sees going to work as “having a party.”
A second season of the party that is “Saved by the Bell” is happening now.