“It’s Not Alright…” Teen Show Expose

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Those of us with a “1” and a “9” in our year of birth remember a time when channels weren’t as numerous as they are now. Growing up, my family had two televisions, a big one in the living room, and one in my parent’s bedroom. Coincidentally, those were the two room with A/C units. Curious… 😉

And Saturday mornings… kid time!! The only day during the week with cartoons. My parents usually slept in and I remember getting up, making a large bowl of sugar cereal and popping down in front of the TV for hours to watch my favorite cartoons. Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Pac Man, Zelda, Heathcliff and Jem. It was great. Because we played outside during the week, there were no complaints about three hours in front of the TV. *happy sigh*

One Saturday, my 10 am cartoons didn’t come on. Instead, some jazzy music introduced a new show: Saved By The Bell. It was live action, with cute kids learning lessons. I was hooked. It spoke to me at my level, something I hadn’t even realized I’d been craving until then.

SBTB became appointment TV. I grew with the show and never missed an episode. It would be a couple of years before it turned into the Saved By The Bell that most people remember.

I’m going to spare you my rant on how Lark Voorhies (Lisa), a beautiful black girl and an original cast member, even before Mark-Paul (Zach), ends up last in the credits and how she always ended up forcibly paired with the show’s “loser” Screech instead of Zach or Slater. And then, the one episode, where Zach and Lisa actually kiss and decide to have a relationship apparently ends that iteration of the show, because the next week we were introduced to a new girl, named Tori, who replaces both Kelly & Jessie and ends up in a relationship with Zach. No explanations, nothing. (And no internet to find out what happened.) But remember, I’m sparing you this rant.

What brought about these memories? Well, in 2009, Dustin Diamond, who played Screech, released a tell-all book about the show entitled, “Behind the Bell.” He now says it was written by a ghost writer who only talked to him once, and saw the final version as it went to press. Lifetime TV has made a movie based on the book called, “The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story” and it’s airing September 1.

I’ll watch the show–I gave it too many years of my childhood not to be curious about it–but a part of me hates how we have to ruin our illusions. We’ve lost the ability to lose ourselves in the story/experience. Now we have to see how the sausage is made.

Saved By The Bell spawned a whole host of copycats. In addition to SBTB: The New Class and SBTB: The College Years, there was also California Dreams and Hang Time.

Did you watch any of these? If so, what was your favorite? And what do you think of behind the scenes exposes? All for them or do you believe we should be left with some innocence intact?


Tracey Livesay’s debut novel, The Tycoon’s Socialite Bride, is available now from Entangled Publishing. She blogs here on the third Monday of every month. If you like the flavor she’s bringing, you can Like her Facebook page or check out her website.


3 thoughts on ““It’s Not Alright…” Teen Show Expose

  1. I almost don’t want to not mention what happened with Lisa and Zack, since you didn’t mention it. And yet I must, since it is part of the reason I write what I write.

    The trope you refer to, with Lisa and Screech ‘belonging together,’ is called Pair the Spares, and it’s designed to get the spares out of the way of the main characters. I hate it because, in addition to its being totally artificial, it encourages people to think that Pair the Spares is appropriate in real life. If you’ve ever been set up with someone ‘you have soooooo much in common with,’ you know what I mean.

    At least the two of them were together for a little while. I was absolutely terrified Zack would succumb to Screech’s insistence that Lisa belonged with him, but I don’t think that actually happened. Not that what *did* happen was any better.

    Anyway. I’m glad to have an opportunity not to vent about that. 🙂

  2. I’m a “bit” older, I guess, Tracey :-), but I remember my kids watching the second version of SBTB. I don’t remember enough about the details of the storyline to comment (or not!) about Lisa and Screech or Zack. But I agree with you that some things are just better left in the past, some secrets left UNshared. Great observations.

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