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The Real Reason Max Disappeared On Saved By The Bell

There are few programs of the era that encapsulate the aesthetic of teenage life in the early '90s better than Saved by the Bell. Sam Bobrick's young adult sitcom ran for 86 episodes across four seasons, and left a lasting impression on the folks who grew up watching it. While characters like Screech (Dustin Diamond) and Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) live on in pop culture, other characters — such as Ed Alonzo's Max — didn't have that same staying power.

For those who don't recall, Max was the eccentric cafe owner who appeared throughout the first season and on one episodes of the second. He typically turned up at the cast's main off-campus hangout, The Max, where he'd offer the kids advice about issues of the day: drugs, pollution — you name it. He accompanied his words of wisdom with various magic tricks, because it was the '90s and of course he did. 

Despite his positive presence on the show, Alonzo didn't get to play the character for very long. Between seasons 1 and 2, he only appeared on around 20 episodes before performing his last vanishing act. The show never offered any explanation for his departure, and the story moved on without him for the rest of its run. Here's the story behind the disappearance.

Max didn't fit Saved by the Bell's creative direction

In many ways, Saved by the Bell wasn't in its final form during its earlier seasons. It started out as a series entitled Good Morning, Miss Bliss, starring Hayley Mills as the titular high school teacher (via Screen Rant). The show ran from 1987-1989 underperforming all the way until it was repackaged into Saved by the Bell. Even though NBC picked up the new version for a full season, it had to work out a few kinks in its presentation. Unfortunately for Max, the polishing process sanded off all remnants of the zany local magician full of sage advice.

It was a great idea, in theory, to include an older character to provide real-life advice to the younger viewers and characters now and again. However, the problem lay in the fact that Saved by the Bell's audience wasn't children but teens, and they didn't want a goofy magician to teach them life lessons mid-scene. The show still addressed some serious issues, but it found more seamless ways to do it without Max cutting in with a block of didactic exposition. His shtick wasn't right for the tone the showrunners were looking for, so they cut him out early on in the process of making season 2.

Ed Alonzo will not return as Max for the Saved By The Bell revival

With the streaming wars raging on all fronts, NBCUniversal is officially throwing their hat in the ring with their new service, Peacock. One of its heavy-hitters, as far as original content goes, will be the long-planned Saved by the Bell revival, a project that reunites much of the original cast including Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley and more. Tracey Wigfield will head the series, which will also include the children of the original characters attending Bayside High as their parents did three decades ago.

Unsurprisingly, Ed Alonzo is not on the cast list for Peacock's Saved by the Bell revival. This updated, modern take on the show is a sequel to the original, rather than a proper reboot. If a magician who named a restaurant after himself didn't work 30 years ago, it certainly won't work in 2020. If it's any consolation, he isn't the only one Wigfield excluded from the series; fan-favorite Screech won't be returning, either. Dustin Diamond's innumerable personal and legal troubles kept him off NBCUniversal's call sheet — a much more serious offense than being out of sync with Saved by the Bell's creative direction.