In another media effort to overturn the scientific concept of gender in the public arena, an upcoming retread of once-beloved ‘90s comedy series Saved By the Bell will feature a lead who is a trans activist, Deadline reports.
Josie Totah, who is male, will play Lexi, a “beautiful” and “sharp-tongued” cheerleader who is front and center in the high school comedy. As the most popular “girl” in school, Lexi could follow in the footsteps of fashionable Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) or peppy Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen). Totah is also a producer of the series.
In case anyone missed it, Totah, who previously starred on NBC’s Champions, came out as transgender in a 2018 essay for Time, having previously identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. In that essay, Totah wrote to a breathlessly waiting world that he was excited to announce his transition in part because now he can play roles that help him pretend to be female.
“I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play,” Totah wrote in Time. “And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world.”
It’s unclear if Lexi will be a cis or trans, but regardless, Totah’s casting is being called a big step for trans representation in media.
The new, gender-bending Saved By the Bell will stream on NBC’s upcoming platform, Peacock. It reunites Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkeley, who portrayed A.C. Slater and Jessie “I’m So Excited!” Spano. Though former SBTB star Mark-Paul Gosselaar hasn’t said if he will appear on the series, his character Zack Morris kicks off the action when an educational crisis forces him to send low-income students to high-performing institutions, like his alma mater Bayside High.