The star and dad of three opened up about parenting during the pandemic, what fans can expect from the Saved by the Bell reboot, and good, old-fashioned '80s nostalgia.

By Maressa Brown
September 23, 2020
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Mario Lopez
Credit: Mario Lopez

Throwback Thursdays and reboots of beloved TV shows have been popular for a while now, but they seem especially called for this year as families are a little more nostalgic for the days gone by. That's why Mario Lopez couldn't be more psyched to host General Mills Presents: The Ultimate Saturday Morning Drive-In on October 3.

The upcoming special streaming event, featuring cartoon classics, will pay tribute to the cereals and entertainment that Millennials loved when they were kids. At the same time, he's preparing to premiere a much-anticipated reboot of Saved by the Bell that's sure to please OG and new fans alike.

Parents.com caught up with the dad of three about his nostalgic, entertaining projects coming down the pike and parenting during a pandemic.

Sharing Saved by the Bell With His Kids

Saturday mornings spent eating cereal and watching TV is a tradition parents who grew up in the '80s might try to pass onto their kids. Lopez, who played A.C. Slater on the original Saved by the Bell, is no different.

"Saved by the Bell used to be on Saturday mornings," says Lopez, dad to Gia, 10, Dominic, 7, and Santino, 14 months. "I've introduced that to my kids, and so far they don't love seeing Dad so much. They're not frequent viewers. Maybe that will change with the reboot—we'll see."

What Fans Can Expect From the Reboot

Lopez says fans who grew up watching Slater and the whole Bayside gang will be pleased with the new Peacock reboot. "There is a lot of nostalgia and nods to the show of yesteryear, but at the same time, we've got a cool new cast, awesome showrunner, and so hopefully people will check it out and dig it," he shares. "It's very well-written."

Lopez also enjoyed his time on the set of the first season, noting, "The whole experience was great. We were making a lot of TikTok dances with the kids, and they were keeping me hip."

The Stresses of Fatherhood During the Pandemic

Like many parents, Lopez has experienced various pros and cons of staying home during the COVID-19 crisis. "I love all the extra quality time to spend with my family, especially having a baby, it's really nice," says Lopez. "But at the same time, ironically, I haven't stopped—I've been just as busy, if not busier."

The most challenging aspect has been dealing with Gia and Dominic's return to online learning. "Turns out, I'm an awful teacher," says Lopez. "And they miss their friends and school, so hopefully, the end is in sight."

Nonetheless, the Access Hollywood co-host notes that the challenges presented by distance learning and raising a baby during the pandemic has brought him closer to his wife, Courtney. "It's been a team effort trying to handle these kids," he says. "I've been blessed with a great wife."

And while he admits he might rely on Google more than ever, this tough time has helped him learn about himself as a dad. Lopez reveals, "I'm a lot more patient than I thought, which I think that comes from the love you have for your kids."