Happy Birthday, "Saved by the Bell!"

I was only six-years-old when Sam Bobrick’s Saved by the Bell made its television debut on August 20th, 1989—exactly 20 years ago today. But a few years after the show premiered, I caught it in syndication and instantly fell in love. It was clever, it taught me valuable life lessons and had tons of heart. Best of all, it was spit-your-juice-out-your-nose funny! To this day, it remains one of my all-time favorite shows, and I believe it showcased some of the best work from Mexican heartthrob Mario Lopez (now the host of Extra).

Lopez’s time on Saved by the Bell, playing the bonafide wrestle-maniac A.C. Slater, was well spent. Girls all over the world fell in love with his dimples and his chiseled body, but more importantly, Lopez showed the world that he could actually act. One of my favorite episodes was when it was revealed that A.C. is actually a Chicano, and that his father had changed his last name from Sanchez to Slater in order to get into the military academy decades earlier. When he finds out about his nationality, A.C. ditches his plans with Zack for the weekend, telling him he has to attend a Chicano Students Association meeting. Zack hysterically replies, “Can’t you be a Chicano next weekend?” I love that Mario got to talk about his Mexican pride (even if it was for just one episode). But that isn’t Mario’s only great scene. He has hundreds of them. In honor of the show’s 20th birthday today, and Mario’s brilliant work on the show, here are some of my favorite A.C. Slater (or should I say A.C. Sanchez?) moments on Saved by the Bell.

A.C. tries to get Kelly to agree to be his dance partner by showing her he’s a better dancer than Zack.

Slater tries to show Jesse he has a sensitive side by putting on a leotard and dancing around like a ballerina. What a way to say you’re sorry!

Wearing red shorts, a pink tank top and purple glasses, Slater dances with the guys at an all-male sleepover, while the girl’s laugh at them.

A.C. and Zack fight over a girl named Joanna, and their verbal altercation turns physical.

A cocky A.C. is surprised to find that no one digs his muscles when he shows them off in front of the entire school.

What are some of your favorite A.C. Slater moments on Saved by the Bell? Share your memories in the comments section!