Proving that you can never know what films will eventually become cult classics, 1997’s Good Burger has proven surprisingly resistant to the ravages of time, with Ariana Grande singing its praises and Jimmy Fallon reuniting the cast just a few years ago.
Sweet and relentlessly manic, the film follows doofy fast food worker Ed (Kel Mitchell, reprising his popular All That character) and his co-worker Dexter (Kenan Thompson) as they try to save their restaurant from a takeover by a shady corporate chain. If you’ve ever wondered how the project came to be, you’re in luck—Complex just published an oral history of the movie with input from Mitchell, Thompson, director Brian Robbins, two of its writers, and Carmen Electra.
Foremost among the piece’s many revelations is that the movie was literally approved, prepped, filmed, and edited in just six months, which, depending on your enjoyment of the movie, explains either its amateurish slapdashery or joyful spontaneity.
Other amusing anecdotes include an alternate draft also starring Thompson’s Ishboo character from All That, as well as the absolutely unsurprising reveal that Tyler The Creator has a Good Burger poster hanging over his bed.
And then there’s the origins of Ed’s distinctive voice, which has since haunted Mitchell through nearly every phase of his career.
Brian Robbins: We thought we’d do a sketch about that guy at the fast food restaurant who’d be just like Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Kel’s basically doing Spicoli.
Kel Mitchell: I really liked Keanu Reeves, and he has that type of voice with “via con Dios” and all that, so I took it from there and watched a lot of Saved by the Bell and mixed those into this “dude” voice I would do all the time in [my hometown] Chicago for my friends.
Kel Mitchell: I used to love to go to the makeup and wardrobe room and add stuff to my characters. I walked into the hair room and found these Milli Vanilli/Brandy “I Wanna Be Down” braids.
There you have it: Sean Penn + Keanu Reeves + Saved By The Bell + Milli Vanilli = Ed.