Thursday, August 12, 2010

Saved by the Bell

Take a cast of attractive but ethnically different teenagers, assign them socially different roles, match them all up into boy-girl relationships, add a wholesome, unrealistic, yet socially relevant view of a high school, some corny dialogue, dorky 90's outfits, and top it all off with a moral or a life lesson at the end. The result is Saved by the Bell.

This show ran from 1989 to 1993. After that, it ran for another season under another name, Saved by the Bell: The College Years . To give you an idea of how wholesome this show was, it's rated Y7. This is Disney Channel before there was Disney Channel, but so much better.

On the top is Zach Morris, the star of the show who narrates to the audience. He's a troublemaker in the class clown kind of way. Next to him is his girlfriend and eventually his wife, the popular cheerleader Kelly Kapowski. Under them are AC Slater and Jessie Spano. Slater is a stereotypical jock on the wrestling team. Jessie is his girlfriend for most of the series, and she's the type-A, OCD overachiever. Next is Screech, the weird, annoying kid, socially awkward kid. He always had a crush on Lisa Turtle, the last in the picture. She was the princess of the group, the kind of character that complains when her nail breaks. She usually made fun of Screech who took her mocking as a sign of affection.

This show is dorky retro gold. All the characters are stand-up citizens, rejecting bullying, smoking, drinking, and pretty much any issue where teenagers should just say no. They have their disagreements, misunderstandings, and they make their mistakes, but in the end, friendship reigns over all else.

But of course, the cast of the show is not as wholesome as the characters they play. Dustin Diamond, the actor who played Screech, sold out his old friends and published their secrets in a book called Behind the Bell. It looks to me like an attempt to break free of the Screech image. I didn't read it, but in this article listing the main points of the book, he asserts that he "has a large penis and has used it to have sex with more than 2,000 women, most of whom he picked up at Disneyland."

A little farfetched? I think so.

After the end of "Saved by the Bell," all these stars dove into roles to counter their goody-two-shoes images. Sadly, none of them got very far. My favorite blog out there, Children of the Nineties, posted "The Stars of Saved by the Bell: Where are they Now?" From Tiffani-Amber Theissen's bad girl role in 90210 to Elizabeth Berkley's dive into the unecessarily graphic NC-17 Showgirls, these actors didn't waste time trying to reverse the effects of SBTB on their images. Mark-Paul Gosselaar did a made-for-TV movie called She Cried No where he date rapes Candace Cameron (Full House's DJ Tanner). The whole movie is on You Tube.

When you watch Zach Morris rape DJ Tanner, your illusions are shattered forever.

Speaking of date rape, check out number two on Dustin Diamond's tell-all. Shocking. I thought Mario, the one who ended up being an announcer on E!, was straighter than the rest of them. Looks like Lark Voorhies (Lisa) was the most normal of everyone.

Another revelation, number four on the list, was that the cast was actually smoking weed in their dressing rooms while filming the "No Hope with Dope" episode. The first part of that episode is posted below.

The guy who played Johnny Dakota, the actor in the episode booked to do the "No Hope with Dope" commercial, was caught by the gang at a party smoking weed. This resulted in them all losing their admiration for him and the crew getting to do the commercial instead. The funny thing is that in real life, according to Diamond, he was the most "steadfast dude you'd ever want to meet." I don't know how much of his accusations are true and how much is fabricated for the shock factor, but it's not too far off. Most is just normal teenagers with too much freedom doing stupid things.

The No Hope with Dope commercial straight from the show. At least you know these guys were really acting.

This show may be an illusion, but it's a very entertaining one. I think this show should go on Nick at Nite. It's like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Pure 90s gold.



  1. OMG! I read the exact same post at Children of The Nineties! I LOVE that blog! Anyway, I'm pretty shocked by all of the things they've allegedly done and actually done. I would be even more shocked if I had actually watched the show. Now more than ever I find it weird that certain dear relative of mine has a crush on Mario Lopez.

  2. Haha you know how usually people always use "Bob Saget" when they need a random name? Like "Who ate my cookie?" "Bob Saget." Well I always use Mario Lopez as my random name haha
    Children of the Nineties is awesome