Thiessen all grown up (Oct 26 2009)

original source

Tiffani Thiessen feels closer to her character in White Collar than to any other character she has played.

Closer than Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills 90210? Closer than Kelly Kapowski on Saved By The Bell?

Seemingly preposterous but true, Thiessen insisted.

"I like that I'm playing my age. I like that I'm playing a married woman. I like that I'm playing successful and smart, and all those things I want to be as a woman," said Thiessen, whose new series, White Collar, debuts Friday on Bravo.

"I am married. I am 35. A lot of people forget, because I've been doing this for so long, that I'm 35."

OK, wait a darn minute. The still ludicrously attractive Thiessen isn't 19 any more?

"Exactly," she said with a laugh. "Which hey, you know, if people want to think that, I don't have a problem with it."

Thiessen actually was 15 when Saved By The Bell hit the airwaves in 1989. She joined the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 in 1994.

But now Thiessen has moved from the classroom and the Peach Pit into the adult world of white-collar crime.

White Collar, which originates on the USA network, centres on the relationship between con artist Neal Caffrey (played by Matt Bomer) and FBI agent Peter Burke (played by Tim DeKay). Thiessen plays Peter's wife, Elizabeth, a high-status event planner with a keen intuition of her own.

"She's really the perfect wife," Thiessen said.

Historically perfect.

"I told Tiffani to take a look at Abigail Adams (played by Laura Linney) in the John Adams mini-series," said Jeff Eastin, the creator of White Collar.

"What I loved about Abigail Adams in that show was you had someone who was incredibly supportive of her husband but was a really strong person in her own right. That was sort of the catalyst to start moulding Elizabeth."

Now that the door to the past has been opened, what does Thiessen think of the endless pop-culture fascination with Saved By The Bell?

"I don't understand it, really," Thiessen said. "I do find it crazy."

Earlier this year, Jimmy Fallon tried to organize a Saved By The Bell reunion on his late-night show. That led to a hilarious video by Thiessen on the Funny or Die website, in which she claimed to be too busy, for numerous bizarre reasons.

The Saved By The Bell cast did gather for a People magazine cover story last August.

"I've been in this business too long to say never, but as of right now, no," said Thiessen, referring to the likelihood of a full-blown TV reunion.

"I'd be risking putting my foot in my mouth if I were to say never, and six months from now we're all on the show. But I honestly don't know (why Saved By The Bell lives on). I really have no clue.

"I can't believe it has been 20 years. It makes me feel very old. I don't like that."

Tiffani Thiessen sure doesn't look old. Reunion or no reunion, that's something to Screech about.