Show: Saved by the Bell
Character: Lisa Turtle
Actor: Lark Voorhies
Basically: Simply put, Lisa Turtle is the rich girl/fashion whore of this “typical” high school friend group and moonlights as the token black girl at Bayside. (Fun fact: Lisa was originally written as a JAP, but after seeing Lark’s audition, she was cast instead). She’s like, the president of the Fashion Club, the victim of Screech’s stalking and a member of the hottest girl group ever, Hot Sundae. She spends her spare time at the mall or at the Max, avoiding Screech’s advances and getting herself caught up in the sidelines of whatever scheme Zack is trying to pull off. Her outfits are OVER THE TOP awesome and usually feature neon as well as matching vests and/or jackets. She’s a big fan of the mall, and HATES when her favorite cosmetics are discontinued.
A Little Love for Lisa: I would venture to guess that I have seen EVERY episode of SBTB about a dozen times. And never during those thousands of hours did I understand why the character of Lisa Turtle was so downplayed. First of all, she’s an ORIGINAL classmate. She was there, in Indiana, with Nikki and Mikey and Miss Bliss, meaning she’s Zack’s oldest and dearest friend (in addition to Screech, who is obviously a pity friend), yet she remains so two-dimensional. Oohh, Jessie gets a drug problem and Kelly has issues at home, Lisa? Uhh, how about she sprains her ankle kicking a TV screen when a commercial (what commercial advertises discontinued products anyway?) informs her of her favorite product going off the market? Now, I’ll be the first to admit that SBTB is pretty much the antithesis of DEEP, but come on, can’t we give Lisa a story line that isn’t totally hare-brained? For example, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Lark was if not the prettiest of the three girls (Lisa, Kelly, Jessie) then at least not the third prettiest. Combine that with her zest for parties (specifically of the toga variety), her cutting edge fashion sense and her bank account and she’s clearly the coolest kid at that school. I mean, what’s Kelly got that Lisa doesn’t have? And Jessie? Her Z. Cavaricci’s are just too much to handle. All Lisa gets is one kiss with Zack, that he failed to mention to anyone (apart from Screech who saw it) or ever bring up again, and that lame, brainy cardigan clad black guy (from the date auction) who hates all her puns.
Favorites: Well, how about I mention for the third time in as many paragraphs, The Sprain dance? Again, I feel like this is a perfect example of the man trying to keep Lisa down. Any excuse for Slater to dance, but as soon as Lisa get the opportunity, writers break an appendage (maybe Lark really can’t dance, however, I think her appearance in numerous R&B videos would likely disprove that claim). How about when Lisa goes nuts with her father’s credit card and the gang helps her sell a bunch of her finest fashion pieces? I don’t really care about the plot of this one at all, I’ve just always loved that Zack makes that button that opens up all the lockers to display Lisa’s stuff and that the other students are throwing cash at the gang for this second-hand crap. Belding’s coming, close em up! And let’s not forget that when the gang sets up Jessie’s new stepbrother, who takes over her room by hanging a Misfits poster on the wall, it is Lisa who wrecks Belding’s shiny red convertible, forcing the kids to fix it before Belding finds out, a foreshadowing of DUI’s to come, specifically the episode in which a half drunk Lisa lets a drunk enough Zack drive her parent’s Mercedes, right into a telephone pole.
As for my favorite Lisa line, I’m going to go with: If you don’t get ridda Linda, I’m gonna throw her out the winda.