The second season premiere of the "Saved by the Bell" reboot included a tribute to the late Dustin Diamond, who played Samuel "Screech" Powers in the original show.
Diamond, who died of lung cancer in February this year at 44, played the quirky best friend of Zack Morris' (played by Mark-Paul Harry Gosselaar) in the show. He also appeared in its spinoffs, "Good Morning, Miss Bliss," "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," and "Saved by the Bell: The College Years."
Entertainment Weekly reported that prior to his death, Diamond was “in talks” to return to the revival if it was renewed for a second season.
In the reboot's season 2 return, it is implied that Screech, who was living on the International Space Station with his robot Kevin, has passed away.
A.C. Slater, played by Mario Lopez, struggles to cope with the loss of his friend. His high school sweetheart Jessie, played by Elizabeth Berkley Warren, recommends talking through his feelings.
“This generation is just more emotionally mature than we were,” she says. “They get that there’s value in processing difficult things with other people. Doesn’t have to be a therapist, it can be a friend.”
Characters then gather at the Max to try "Screech's Spaghetti Burger," named in honor of their friend. Kevin also makes an appearance, and quips that he's "had some work done" over the past three decades. The gang raises their burgers in tribute to their friend's life.
"It's a little weird, but great," Slater says after taking a bite.
Lisa, played by Lark Voorhies, responds: "Kinda like Screech."
“To Screech,” Zack says, and they all raise their spaghetti burgers in a toast of sorts to their departed friend.
The episode then cuts to a compilation of Screech's iconic scenes from when the show originally aired from 1989 to 1993.
Screech remained a fan favorite long after the show went off the air, living on in goofy internet memes and the haze of millennial nostalgia. In recent years, Diamond spoke candidly about his professional setbacks and personal struggles, including legal troubles, painting a downcast portrait of life after youthful fame.
The reboot, which debuted it second season on Wednesday, is streaming on Peacock. (Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)