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I’m So Excited: When Saved by the Bell Tackled the Caffeine Pill Issue

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In the Saved by the Bell universe, Jessie Spano is the one Bayside Tiger you’d always want in your corner. Intelligent, ambitious, and driven, Jessie was also an outspoken liberal and feminist. And in “Jessie’s Song,” a season two episode that premiered on November 3, 1990, she was—at least for a brief moment—a singing-and-dancing caffeine pill addict.

While other teen sitcoms were courting controversy with storylines that dabbled in sex, drugs, and alcoholism, Saved by the Bell kept to its relatively family-friendly mandate (it did air as part of the Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup, after all) by opting to make Jessie’s drug of choice the kind you could buy over the counter at any pharmacy or grocery store—just a few shelves away from the Flintstones Vitamins. But that didn’t mean that actress Elizabeth Berkley couldn’t make it totally over-the-top.

In a 2009 interview with People, Berkley admitted that the episode—in which the stress of balancing schoolwork with her band, Hot Sundae (repeat: Hot Sundae) becomes too much for Jessie (a.k.a. “Mama”) to handle—is her favorite memory from the show. “It was so extreme,” said Berkley. “We made a music video; we were thrilled!”

Back in 2015, for the 25th anniversary of “Jessie’s Song,” Thrillist attempted to corral some of the episode’s key participants into a conversation about its impact, but only director Don Barnhart—who helmed more than 200 episodes of the show—participated. And admitted that, even a quarter-century later, the episode still makes him somewhat emotional.

“I had to keep holding [Elizabeth] back, because when we got to Wednesday or Thursday [rehearsals], she was ready to let it go,” recalled Barnhart. “I had to hold her back so that when she got to Friday, it was a fresh, tearful scene. As a matter of fact, just talking about it 25 years later, I get a little choked up about it.”

For Berkley, actions speak louder than words. Though she did not participate in Thrillist’s attempted oral history, she has shown her appreciation (and sense of humor) about “Jessie’s Song,” most in 2013, when she recreated the scene as part of a routine on Dancing With the Stars. She then teased the line as part of a Saved by the Bell reunion on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She’s about to lose control and we think she likes it.

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This Harry Potter Candle Melts to Reveal Your Hogwarts House—and Smells Amazing
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Warner Bros.

As it gets darker and colder outside, the thought of lighting a candle in your room and curling up with a good book becomes more appealing. A sorting hat candle from the Muggle Library Candles Etsy store makes the perfect companion to whatever Harry Potter book you happen to be re-reading for the hundredth time this season. According to the Cleveland news outlet WKYC, the candle slowly reveals your Hogwarts house as it burns.

From the outside, the item looks like a normal white candle. But when lit, the outer layer of plain wax melts away, allowing the colorful interior to poke through. The candles come in one of four concealed colors: red for Gryffindor, blue for Ravenclaw, yellow for Hufflepuff, and green for Slytherin. The only way to know which house you’re destined to match with is by purchasing a candle and putting it to use. According to the label, the scent evokes “excitement, fear, and nervousness.” The smell can also be described as lemon with sandalwood, vanilla, and patchouli.

Due to its viral popularity, the Fort Worth, Texas-based Etsy store has put all orders on hold while working to get its current batch of shipments out to customers. You can follow Muggle Library Candles on Instagram for updates on the sorting candle, as well as other Harry Potter-themed candles in their repertoire, like parseltongue and free elf.

[h/t WKYC]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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