Hot Sundae, as seen on Saved by the Bell
Hot Sundae rose to fame during a particularly memorable SBTB episode. You know it, you love it, you reference it 934890385983 times come Midterms Week — I’m referring, of course, to the infamous Jessie Spano Caffeine Scare of 1990. So often, that admittedly awesome sound bite overshadows Hot Sundae: prolific girl group responsible for paving the way for acts like SWV, All Saints, and the Spice Girls. I went through a three-year Pointer Sisters phase after that episode, THAT’S HOW EXCITED I WAS. Hot Sundae was all about Sex (those leotards!), Drugs (those pills!) and Rock ‘n’ Roll (those hairstyles!) Like all Hot Sundae fans, I prayed for a follow up to “Go For It!” But alas, it never came. Another dream deferred.
Jesse and the Rippers, as seen on Full House
A band with indisputable longevity (some might say they have a shelf life of FOREVER), the Rippers made a career out of performing in the Tanner’s living room and covering the Beach Boys. Also Manfred Mann that one time. Okay, so maybe the Rippers didn’t contribute much by way of originality, but it’s not all for naught – we did get a shirtless John Stamos crooning “Forever” in a steamy video that would rival Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” were it not for all the close-up baby shots. Just kidding. “Wicked Game” is the sexiest video ever, by a mile. So sexy. Let’s watch it.
Jem and the Holograms, as seen on Jem and the Holograms
The Holograms as a unit were pretty cool (Shana, anyone?) but Jem was everything. The hair. The earrings. The lingerie-as-streetwear. My favorite Jem Jam has to be “The Real Me,” because who can’t relate to that? The only thing I don’t understand is how The Misfits were supposed to be legitimate competition for the Holograms. They were goddamn terrible. Pizzazz reminds me of Kim Cattrall in Mannequin, and that’s not a compliment.
California Dreams, as seen on California Dreams
Other than perpetuating the Black Guys Must Play the Drums stereotype, California Dreams was a kickass surf band. Swapping out members like Destiny’s Child didn’t deter them from playing one hell of a show (in that half-baked, Mickey Mouse Club dropout sort of way). Their most riveting performance, though, occurred on the Jimmy Fallon Show in 2010, when the cast members reunited to play the song they’re named after, “California Dreams.” It was glorious.
The Beets, as seen on Doug
The Beets had a really mature sound for a fictional cartoon band. Lets talk about their single, “Killer Tofu.” Could’ve been the lovechild of REM and the Police (or maybe Men Without Hats). But the most wonderful thing about The Beets was how they inspired Doug. It’s a special relationship one has with their favorite band. If you loved “Banging on a Trashcan” as much as I did, you have The Beets to thank for that.
Zack Attack, as seen on Saved by the Bell
We must not talk about Saved by the Bell’s contributions to fictional bands without mentioning Zack Attack and its corresponding episode, “Rockumentary.” Hosted by Casey Kasem, the episode features a Behind the Music dream sequence in which “the gang” and their band, Zack Attack, are at odds with Zack and his ego tripping. The friends quit Zack Attack and go off to do their own thing — Zack wears glitter and bangs his agent, Slater gets into motorcycle accidents, and Kelly plays a nun on TV (LOL Valerie Malone, that’s as close to god as you’re ever gonna get). Slater’s hospital stint makes Zack realize (both in the dream and IRL, upon waking up) that he’s a massive dick. At the end, the band reunites to sing “Friends Forever” because they are friends. Forever. Always, ‘til the end. Except Jessie, who’s not in that episode, and Kelly, who disappears for the entire last season and then reappears in time for graduation; also Screech, who wrote that god-awful tell-all book years after Mark Paul Gosselaar’s sex life became a non-issue. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER IS A MYTH, DIAMOND.
Mystik Spiral, as seen on Daria
Before the rise of “Tweemo Rock” (ala Death Cab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, etc.) girls were swooning over alt-rock bands like Mystik Spiral and guys like Trent Lane. Their tunes were rough around the edges, some of them laughably bad even, but what they lacked in talent they made up for in mystique. In one episode, Mystik Spiral is inexplicably booked to play cheerleader Brittany Taylor’s birthday party, possibly for no reason other than they’re hot (Brittany Taylor’s mom’s words, not mine) and they play a song called “Every Dog Has its Day,” the lyrics of which consist of dog symbolism and a series of barks and howls. Hawt.
2Ge+her, as seen on 2Ge+her
I know I’m not the only one who was stoked when 2Ge+her outlived their Made-for-MTV movie. Even as a bona fide *NSYNC fangirl (I cried at a concert, for chrissakes — a story for another time), the satire was too engaging to be ignored. And “U + Me = Us” is… kind of a good song? So is “The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (Is Getting Back Your Stuff)”? Their reign ended in 2001 due to Michael Cuccione (“QT”)’s untimely death, but their legacy lives on forever.