Monday, July 07, 2008

Detention for Saved by the Bell

     So here I sit at my kitchen table, which is really in my living room, and I am watching Mike and Mike on TV, and they happened to mention Mike Golic's brother Bob, who acted briefly on Saved By the Bell: The College Years.  And that left me to wonder:  why did we ever think that Saved By the Bell was cool?  
     I watched Saved By the Bell all the time.  Even now, years after its heyday, if I happen to stumble upon it at 5 am on Tuesday morning on TBS or something I will watch as Zach, Slater, Jessie, Kelly, Lisa and Screech engaged in their assorted hijinks much to the chagrin of Mr. Belding.  Fantastic.  It seems cheesy now, but at the time it seemed totally cool.  But why?
     They very obviously live in some sort of fantasy land.  Because they were doing things that ordinary high schoolers didn't get a chance to do.  Let's be honest here.  Think of all the things that they did over their four years at Bayside (which by the way is about as generic a name for a high school as one can get).  Casey Kasem hosts a dance contest.  Zach and Screech make an acne cream.  They have runaway success selling friendship bracelets.  Zach puts subliminal messages on a tape so Kelly will ask him to a dance.  And that is only in the first season.  You can imagine how ridiculous it gets as you get into season four.  No high schoolers do that kind of stuff.  Honestly.  Borrow the principal's car without his knowledge, wreck it, and not spend a night in juvenile detention?  Not likely.  Break the school's video camera and never get a minute of detention?  Probably not going to happen.  Impersonate a potential West Point cadet in their interview with the local senator?  Yeah, I am pretty sure that that is a federal offense.  The point it this: high schoolers aren't doing this shit.  They are drinking Boone's Farm in the back of an '84 Camaro after the basketball game, or smoking cigarettes behind the tennis courts, way back behind the oak trees where the cops won't see you.  That is what high school kids are doing.
     Some of them are doing extra curricular activities.  But nobody covers the breadth and scope of the kids at Bayside.  Slater was a wrestler.  Everyone knows that.  But he also played football.  Zach was on the basketball team.  They all did yearbook, choir, drama, band, the girls were the only three cheerleaders, they ran the school store.  They were probably in Americorps too in the afternoon.  Bottom line is that these kids did WAY more than the average high schooler would EVER want to do.  A normal person would have to be doing lines every morning to keep up with that schedule.
     So in the end Saved By the Bell is awfully far fetched.  It's nothing like high school.  The relationships are nothing like those in real life.  I mean, come on, Lisa, Zach, and Screech were in Saved By the Bell when it was taking place at a middle school in Indiana.  Am I supposed to believe that they all just happened to move to the same neighborhood in LA at the same time?  Well I am not buying show, no I am not.  I am on to you.  I know that by putting Kelly in tight clothes you made a generation of males happy.  But that doesn't mean that you should be doing that.  Male happiness is not a big enough issue to be an excuse in an issue like this one.  
    So yeah, still wondering why Saved By the Bell was so great.  If you know, please let me know as well.  I am curious.  I have my top scientists looking into it and they have yet to find out.  So maybe you can help me figure this one out.  Because, the more I think about it, I keep ending up at the same conclusion: Saved By the Bell kind of sucked.

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