Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The Jimmy Fallon Sketch

Jimmy Fallon had been hinting for years that he wanted to be the talk show host to bring the cast of Saved by the Bell back together for a reunion. He eventually got five of the seven cast members to agree, but, because two were holding out, it looked like he was giving up. When he aired a California Dreams reunion instead, it really looked like he was settling for another Peter Engel show over his dream of bringing our gang back together.

I have no doubt that part of this was due to the continued fallout following Behind the Bell as Dustin Diamond managed to piss off his former cast mates royally, to the point he was even excluded from a reunion photo shoot with People magazine. It definitely looked like Diamond was going to be the weakest link in preventing any sort of Saved by the Bell reunion.

Then, in 2015, just as Jimmy Fallon was settling into his new role on The Tonight Show, we were treated to  special Saved by the Bell sketch, starring the original cast. Okay, so it was actually starring only five of the seven original cast members, and Max and Tori are nowhere to be seen either, but it was a joyous event for Saved by the Bell fans who, once again, got to watch their favorite characters in action.

Screech and Lisa were nowhere to be seen, though. In Lark Voorhies’s case, I have no idea why she wasn’t invited to the reunion. Dustin Diamond, though, is obvious: it was the only way to get the other original cast members, who didn’t want to be in the same room as him. Diamond initially claimed he had been invited but declined. He later admitted he’d been snubbed, though, proving without a doubt that he’s willing to lie as much as needed to make Dustin Diamond look better.

The actual sketch is pretty simple. Jimmy Fallon remembers the days when he was a student at Bayside. With the Valentine’s Day dance coming up, Slater plans to take Jessie while Zack Morris is taking a very pregnant Kelly. But all is not well: Jimmy tells the gang he’s moving to New York to pursue his dream of being on Saturday Night Live and dating Nicole Kidman. The gang are dejected by this news and sing Zack Attack’s hit song “Friends Forever” to wish him goodbye and good luck.

What’s more impressive is the production of the entire thing. The hallway from Bayside looks perfect, nearly identical to the show. The clothes are spot on what were used in the show, and the props, down to the brick phones, are very believable as relics of the early nineties. Someone put a lot of love and care into making this sketch feel as close to the atmosphere of the original Saved by the Bell as possible, and it shows. This was something they easily could have skimped on and been forgiven, but they didn’t and it shows a level of professionalism I have to appreciate.

Even more than this, the little things they got right are just amazing. The scene opening music, use of the time out, and Zack Morris’s monologue are perfect. The inside jokes in the background like referencing the rafting trip from “The Fabulous Belding Boys” showed they actually knew what they were doing in recreating Saved by the Bell. And even the references to various episodes didn’t feel terribly forced. Okay, I have to admit, Jessie’s recreation of the freak out from “Jessie’s Song” felt a bit forced, but, other than that, it was great.

I have to admit, the cast looks great. Only Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Dennis Haskins look like they’ve aged at all since the original show. Seriously if Slater, Jessie, and Kelly were to film new episodes today in the costumes Jimmy Fallon provided, I could believe they were leftover episodes from the original series. They were that good. Either they haven’t aged a day or the make-up on The Tonight Show is able to perform minor miracles because it was such an amazing job making them all believable that I can’t praise it enough.

Reviews and buzz on the internet following the skit were overwhelmingly positive. Jimmy Fallon managed to create a tribute to a childhood favorite of many of his viewers without seeming patronizing or overly critical. That’s not an easy task, and this could have been horrible but I think it shows the depth of love that Fallon himself has for the show that it went so well. I have a feeling this is the closest we’ll ever get to an actual Saved by the Bell reunion unless Dustin Diamond manages to kiss ass enough to be invited. As such, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing at least part of the original cast in action again in the midst of doing this blog.

Breaking Belding & Better Reach Screech

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Breaking Belding is something I normally wouldn’t touch on this blog: basically an eight minute tribute to both Saved by the Bell and Breaking Bad, a mash up of the two series in an attempt to make you laugh. I didn’t laugh once during it, and I normally wouldn’t hold that against it being that it’s a well-intentioned fan film. After all, I’m not a huge fan of Breaking Bad, so maybe there’s something here that I’m not seeing.

But then I realized who was playing Screech in it:

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Yes, Dustin Diamond appears in this strange little film, meaning that it qualifies for the odds and ends of the post-The New Class era. I’m becoming convinced that Dustin Diamond will appear in just about anything that’s thrown at him to keep himself in the spotlight. If this was Dennis Haskins, I would say he was just being a nice guy. But, after having endured the horror that was Behind the Bell, I’m convinced that this is just Dustin Diamond keeping his ego alive that someone gives a shit about him.

Directed in 2013 by Sandeep Parikh, a guy I’ve never heard of but who’s apparently been in a bunch of shit I’ve also never heard of, and distributed by website The NerdistBreaking Belding recreates one of the scenes from the first episode of Breaking Bad. Whereas, in Breaking Bad, Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were in a RV in the desert making a batch of cocaine, Mr. Belding and Zack Morris are creating the world’s most pure batch of caffeine pills called Zack Attack. Like I said, I won’t fault them on the implausibility of this shit given it is just a loving fan film.

Basically, Max shows up and wants to arrest them but is distracting by Screech acting like a dumb ass. Then Lisa and Tori show up, guns a blazing, to try and steal the caffeine pills, but Slater blows them up before they can. Zack Morris uses a time out to save Mr. Belding and himself before the explosion and pulls Mr. Belding’s pants off in the process, driving off into the sunset. Yeah, it’s as weird as it sounds.

The whole cast is here, and I don’t get most of the Breaking Bad references. Max is a DEA agent who does magic. Screech is a lawyer. Kelly od’ed on caffeine pills. Jessie is an addict who takes Zack Attack. Slater is in a wheelchair for reasons I didn’t fully grasp. And Lisa and Tori are drug buyers. Like I said, I don’t get it, but I guess I’m not truly the target audience for this one, although there are in-jokes, like Zack Morris talking about delivering Little Zack and Jessie recreating the infamous freak-out scene from “Jessie’s Song.” And, of course, Zack Morris using a time out.

Other than Dustin Diamond, there are no actors of note in this, which is to be expected from a fan film. Some of the actors cast, though, are actually right on. Brendan Bradley as Zack Morris and Alicia Marie as Lisa are right on. Others not so much. Brian Palermo as Mr. Belding was pretty bad and wearing an obvious bald wig while I never would have guessed Todd Stashwick was playing Max if they hadn’t referenced him by name as the actor looked nothing like Max. I guess you can’t expect too much out of a fan film, but they had the budget to bring in Dustin Diamond so I have to expect at least a little better out of them.

And, I have to admit, Dustin Diamond isn’t annoying as shit in this as he doesn’t try to do some horrible The New Class high-pitched voice. He does come off as the douche he is playing a sleazy lawyer, which may be just as well. In any case, for once he isn’t the worst thing about something related to Saved by the Bell.

To promote the short film, there were also two commercials created for the fake spin-off, Better Reach Screech.

The first is Dustin Diamond advertising he’ll sue anyone, anytime and shit, which is quite ironic considering the pariah Dustin Diamond has made of himself.

The other basically just gives different examples of things you can sue for.

Like I say, these are definitely not my thing so don’t let me dissuade you if they sound interesting. If you enjoy both Saved by the Bell and Breaking Bad, you may want to check it out, and it’s only eight minutes of your life. The worst that will happen is you’ll have to watch Dustin Diamond briefly again.

Saved by the Belding

In 2010, two brothers, Matt and Scott Hamilton, directed a short fan film about a group of four friends who not only think Rod Belding, Mr. Belding’s irresponsible brother, is real, but that he didn’t actually stand up the Bayside students on their rafting trip for a girl, and actually had the flu as Mr. Belding told them. When I first about this short film, I thought it sounded intriguing and, at twenty-two minutes, wouldn’t take a long time to watch.

Even more fascinating is that these young filmmakers got Dennis Haskins and Ed Blatchford , who played Rod in the episode “The Fabulous Belding Boys,” involved (Blatchford even helped write and produce the short!). This was no small feat considering that, according to IMDB, the entire thing was shot on a budget of $3,000. I know Dennis Haskins has a reputation for being a really nice guy and supporting fans, but I figured there had to be something he and Blatchford saw in this project in order to get involved. After all, Blatchford basically came out of retirement to do the short; he hadn’t had a project in five years and hasn’t been in anything since.

Indeed, there was something to this neat little film.

The genesis for Saved by the Belding was actually the Hamilton brother’s previous short, 2009’s Lost Heroes: Rod Belding. Shot in the style of True Access HollywoodLost Heroes features interviews with four young men who believe Saved by the Bell was a documentary about the real life antics of Bayside High, and that Rod Belding was a real person who inspired them to greatness. The nine minute short posits that everything started going wrong at Bayside after Rod disappeared, including Jessie getting hooked on caffeine pills, Slater and Jessie breaking up, and Tori’s existence. (I know they got the timelines a bit wrong, but I forgive them for this because I genuinely laughed at this, and I would like to blame Screech being at Bayside during The New Class on Rod’s disappearance.

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This apparently lead them to expand the concept into the longer Saved by the Belding, shot in documentary style and following the action real time. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the Hamilton brothers have removed the short from their YouTube channel so all that is still online is the trailer. As such, I’ll be working from memory on the details. I hope one day they restore the full short so it can be appreciated by a wide audience.

The basic premise is that the four main interviewees from Lost Heroes are in a Rod Belding support group being lead by a psychologist who is a “Rodologist.” They are constantly at each other’s throats about whether Rod actually had the flu or not, and asides from the psychologist reveal he knows Rod Belding isn’t real, but realizes his patients aren’t getting anywhere with their therapy. As such, he decides to send them to California to find Rod Belding.

In California, they actually do find Ed Blatchford, who initially thinks, with the cameras around, they’re a crew from True Hollywood Story. Ed eventually figures out they’re not from the show, but still plays along, even letting them call him Ed and inviting them out for dinner.

But, at dinner, Ed runs into a female acquaintance in town for the night who wants to have some fun with ole’ Eddy. He decides to ditch the four, and Dennis Haskins randomly shows up for a recreation of the scene from “The Fabulous Belding Boys” where Mr. Belding chews out Rod for ditching the students as Ed basically takes the line of, “What the fuck are you doing, Dennis?” Instead of Zack Morris, this time one of the four overhears, and Dennis ends up having dinner with the four instead, with the one who overheard remarking, as before, they got the better Belding.

The short is magnificently shot, especially considering the budget they were working with. It could actually be believed that they were doing a documentary on four really naive kids who wanted to find the real Rod Belding. I can’t emphasize enough as well how awesome it is that both Haskins and Blatchford were so heavily involved in the project. It really is awesome that they support their fans so much they did this.

In the end, it’s a good-spirited send up of “The Fabulous Belding Boys” and Saved by the Bell in general. You can tell those involved in the making of the short are fans and having a lot of fun in the production. I have made my opinion abundantly clear on numerous occasions that I think “The Fabulous Belding Boys” is the best episode of the original class, so I think it’s great that the film picked this episode to do a parody of. I feel like, if they had focused on other episodes such as “Jessie’s Song” or “Running Zack,” it could have felt really overdone considering how cliche those episodes have become. But “The Fabulous Belding Boys” is just well known enough that the whole concept feels original, funny, and a little believable, since the inability to tell the difference between fiction and reality is a real mental condition.

The Hamilton brothers appear to have moved on to other ventures after directing just a few more shorts, which is a shame since they’re clearly talented. They each did a bit of work on legit documentaries, so it would be interesting to see what else they could do. And, hell, with their connections, maybe they could even do a send up to the horrible Lifetime biopic.

In any case, next week we’ll look at a second fan film, one I’m not as big a fan of.

Behind the Bell

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In 2009, Dustin Diamond published a tell-all book about Saved by the BellBehind the Bell was touted as the book that would give you all the juicy gossip behind the scenes and drop bombshells about what the cast was really like. In the end, the book actually damaged Dustin Diamond’s reputation and left most of his former cast mates refusing to speak to him or even appear publicly with him.

Diamond’s since went into full damage control, claiming that an unnamed and unspecified ghost writer wrote the entire thing and filled it with lies. He’s attempted to reconcile with the cast, and some, such as Dennis Haskins and Mario Lopez, seem to have accepted his apology. Others have not been so eager. He was even snubbed from the Jimmy Fallon skit.

I don’t believe Diamond for a second. I think he’s full of shit and thought that throwing his former cast mates under the bus would somehow jump start his career. After all, he was on The Howard Stern Show just before the release of the book bragging about his supposed truth bombs. I think when the entire project bit him in the ass, he suddenly realized he had to backpedal, and has been trying to resurrect his reputation ever since.

Naturally, the book is out of print, but I obtained a copy and decided to read it all the way through in order to tell you guys what I thought. Is the book as bad as critics claim? Let’s find out!

Introduction

The introduction is basically a few pages of Dustin Diamond talking about how shitty Hollywood is. He does take a moment to trash a former cast mate for the first time, in this case Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, saying Hollywood turned her into a whore. This sort of character assassination posing as gossip is a running theme of this book, as we’ll see.

Part 1: The Beginning

Dustin Diamond claims within the first part that he’s not trying to paint a woe is me portrait of his life on the Saved by the Bell set, but he sure does seem that way. What this section taught me is that he has no clue the meaning of the phrase, “If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.” The entire section is basically about how almost everyone in Dustin Diamond’s life was a meanie pants who wouldn’t let him play with the cool kids.

And, ironically, his reason for not liking many of them is because they acted like kids. Fred Savage once did something kid like on The Wonder Years, so he’s an asshole. Neil Patrick Harris had an ego like a kid who’s starring in one of television’s hottest shows. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen thought they were all great because the fans loved them. Really, he just goes on and on about how everybody was jerks.

Well, almost everybody. He seems to have been in love with Hayley Mills. And Brandon Tartikoff kissed his ass so he was okay with him. He seems to like Dennis Haskins even though he talks shit about his ability to get women. And he has sympathy for Lark Voorhies because he seems to think she was raped or abused or something.

Dustin Diamond is also a petty, petty man. He dedicates entire sections to hammering out old, petty grievances with each of the cast members, although much of his vitriol is directed at Mark-Paul. They each did him wrong so he’s going to get them back, including talking about a rape Mario Lopez supposedly committed and then NBC covered up, which makes me wonder why Mario’s not suing Dustin Diamond for libel instead of inviting him on Extra.

And the jealous talk about sex. To hear Dustin Diamond talk, everyone was fucking everyone except him, and isn’t it just too god damned bad he was left out. As if that’s enough, his section on Elizabeth Berkley is basically devoted to how she saw a picture of his penis once and how he got to see her naked long before Showgirls.

Remarkably, for a section called “The Beginning,” there is very little information on Dustin Diamond’s life before Saved by the Bell. What little he does give seems to be designed to paint himself in a good light as a kid who started from the bottom, unlike all those other child actors who…started from the bottom I guess.  He seems really in a hurry to trash his co-stars, so he doesn’t give much background.

Chronological errors in this section:

  • Dustin Diamond places the release of Showgirls in 1995, but says Elizabeth Berkley was still on the cast of Saved by the Bell after its release. He seems oblivious to the fact that The New Class was getting ready to start its third season by that point and Berkley left Saved by the Bell in 1992. Thus, everything he says about the reaction to Showgirls is a fucking lie.
  • He tries to insinuate Ed Alonzo and Neil Patrick Harris were fucking around. Neil Patrick Harris says this is years before he even knew Ed Alonzo.

His memory of Anthony Harrell’s siblings appearing on The New Class also doesn’t seem to be accurate as he claims they were playing a band that had just lost its singer and Eric filled in. In reality, Harrell’s siblings were playing Eric’s siblings.

Why is Dustin Diamond talking about Anthony Harrell in this section you ask? Because it’s Dustin Diamond and he can’t go two pages without a completely unrelated tangent. He’s just that horrible a writer.

Part II: How the Magic Happened—A Week in the Life of SBTB

This may end up being my favorite section of the book as it’s one of the few where I can actually believe half the shit Dustin Diamond says. As the title would suggest, Dustin Diamond takes you through the work week and explains what it was like to work for a television show. It’s actually quite fascinating and I quite enjoyed picturing what it must be like to be a star week in and out.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean it’s all good. He takes the time to give more subtle jabs at Mario Lopez, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Fred Savage, and Neil Patrick Harris. Oddly enough, after accusing them all of being assholes for doing stupid shit, he brags about peeing in an extra’s purse and putting a bottle of Ex-lax in a member of the crew’s drink–or, more precisely, his drink he knew the crew member would steal.

Interesting enough, Diamond claims that “Slater’s Friend” is the least-aired episode of the series. He says even all the cast and he were unable to shoot the episode without laughing every few minutes because it was so ridiculous. I get the out of season episodes are bad, but I didn’t think “Slater’s Friend” was worse than, say, “Screech’s Birthday” or “The Babysitters.”

And it wouldn’t be Dustin Diamond if he weren’t bragging about his prowess with the ladies which, at this point, is beginning to just sound pathetic. He brags about getting audience members and extras to do shit with him and then tries to justify why he’s not a loser at it like Mario Lopez. How noble of him.

In the end, the theme of this section is, “Look, ma, I’m a real actor and all professional like and shit!”

Part III: Famous as Shit

So we went from the best part of the book to the worst. I swear to god, part three spends a large chunk of its time talking about girls Dustin Diamond has fucked. Like seriously, he keeps referring to his penis as a monster and talking in the most sexist terms possible about how much he enjoyed fucking all these girls. Seriously, all the shit he talks about regarding other people, and he brags about picking up foreign girls at Disneyland who recognize him from Saved by the Bell and fucking them.

I feel dirty.

On top of that, he’s turning out to be one of the most sexist guys I’ve ever encountered. Seriously, these girls were nothing but props to him, living, breathing sex dolls, and he has the gall to talk smack about Mark-Paul and Mario fucking around. Seriously, does he have no semblance of measure? He’s making himself out to be such a fucking asshole I don’t even have words.

Perhaps the chapter in this section that nauseated me more than any was him bragging about an affair with Linda Mancuso, who was VP of children’s programming at NBC. You can tell he’s doing his damndest to try to write an erotic account of his time with her, but it just comes off like someone who has no clue what sex or romance is. What’s worse, Mancuso died in 2003, so there’s no way she can defend herself against Dustin Diamond’s bullshit.

His timeline is completely off for his relationship with Mancuso as well. He claims he was fucking her while Saved by the Bell was still going on, but then he says he got his driver’s license shortly before he had sex with her for the first time. If he was eleven when Good Morning, Miss Bliss started, Dustin Diamond would not have turned sixteen until either The College Years or the second season of The New Class.

But, seriously, he wants you to think he fucked all kinds of extras and an executive at NBC.

There’s also a chapter about how he was pissed that Tiffani-Amber Thiessen went to Paris with Mark-Paul instead of him (boo hoo) and one about a violent stalker who tried to set his house on fire, forcing him to move in with the Thiessen family for protection. Perhaps the most bizarre, and infuriating, chapter was a random account of his misadventures with cats and how he seriously brags that he shot his neighbor’s cat with a BB gun to scare it away from messing with his cats. I really have no idea what it had to do with anything else in the book at all other than to further illustrate how fucked up Dustin Diamond is.

By the time I got to the second to last chapter, I was seriously wondering why I was now reading Dustin Diamond brag about all the celebrities he’s met. No, really, that’s the entirety of the second to last chapter. But there are no words for the final chapter, his account of how an extra used him and tried to blackmail him and sue NBC.

Like the previous sections, there are random tangents that have nothing to do with anything, like Mark-Paul urinating in public and Sidney Sharron, the set teacher, having to get him out of it when a police officer witnessed it, and Dustin Diamond’s history with marijuana. There’s also a bizarre account of him getting drunk the night before a promotional appearance in South Carolina and claiming that it was such a disaster the local affiliate dropped Saved by the Bell after that. I need proof of this story actually happening since I find it hard to believe that wouldn’t have made the tabloids.

This section should have been titled, “Hey, guys, I’m cool! Please believe me! I’m cool!” I feel a little sick to my stomach after reading it, and it was the longest section in the book. Dustin Diamond claims everyone else were such huge jerks. Maybe they were. But he’s the biggest of them all and dares to point fingers when all fingers should be pointing at him.

Part IV: The Denouncement

This is a weird section. Diamond has the expected, obligatory chapters on The College Years and The New Class. Yet he talks very little about those shows in their respective chapters. In fact, he really only gives two brief vignettes from The College Years before going off on a tangent about Mark-Paul injuring himself while training for Circus of the Stars and then giving his own woe-is-me story about how he got injured playing at a concert.

There’s no real analysis of why The College Years failed other than Drew Carey and some critics hated it and how pissed off Diamond was that Tiffani-Amber wiggled her way into it. What’s worse, the entire last part of that chapter is all about the final season of the original Saved by the Bell. Yeah, Diamond can’t even stay on topic for a chapter. He talks about the graduation episode and the Tori episodes and continue spewing bullshit about his imaginary timeline for Showgirls. Not only that, he claims Tiffani-Amber joined the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 immediately after she quit Saved by the Bell, apparently forgetting he was just fucking complaining about her joining The College Years!

He also talks a bit about Wedding in Las Vegas so he can take the opportunity to brag about fucking a Vegas showgirl, the classy guy he is, and accuses Mark-Paul of taking steroids during The College Years. As if that’s not enough, he randomly decides to talk about how Tori Spelling had no boobs in those years and wanted to fuck Mark-Paul, apparently jealous she didn’t want him in real life.

For The New Class, he mostly complains that Brett Dewey was purposely making homoerotic scenes for Mr. Belding and Screech while getting dates very wrong. For instance, he claims that Richard Lee Jackson replaced Robert Sutherland Telfer for season two, even when a photo in his own book clearly shows Christian Oliver in the blonde lead role for the second season. He also claims he grew his hair out into a curly Afro during the final season to divorce himself from the Screech character, even though that was seasons four and five and he was back to short hair for seasons six and seven.

Yeah, he claims that he grew his hair out and did the horrible Screech voice because he thought that would allow future casting directors to separate Dustin Diamond from Screech and not typecast him. He must have been a fucking moron if he really thought that.

He doesn’t get very much into his post-The New Class career. He devotes a chapter to complaining that Hollywood screwed him over because the live action Scooby-Doo movie was his idea and he wanted to play Shaggy and fuck Matthew Lillard and all that shit. He talks about doing stand-up on the college circuit and about how he moved to Wisconsin. He waxes poetic about his messed-up childhood and reveals that his parents squandered most of his money; as a result, he’s not on speaking terms with his father. And he talks about his reality show days, claiming he’s not really an asshole, but it was another role he was playing.

Perhaps the most hypocritical part of the book, though, is when Dustin Diamond complains about people labeling other people based on roles, like how Screech was a nerd. I say it’s hypocritical because he spends most of the book labeling his co-stars and other random celebrities who caught his ire. So, fuck you, Dustin Diamond. Fuck you.

Epilogue

After spending nearly three-hundred pages talking shit and whining, Dustin Diamond switches to philosopher in the last few pages and talks about how, despite everything, he misses playing Screech, but will fight anyone who talks shit to him. Yeah, I think that’s where some of your legal trouble has come from. In the end, it’s an attempt to justify some of the pretentiousness of the rest of the book, and falls completely flat.

My Thoughts

One Amazon reviewer made the claim that this book is basically Dustin Diamond pleading with you, the reader, to think he’s cool. I’m tempted to agree, but I think it’s more than that. Imagine you walked into a bar and saw a drunk Dustin Diamond. You decide you want to speak to this guy who was on one of your favorite shows as a kid, and you ask him what it was like to do Saved by the Bell. This book is the drunken ramblings that follow as Diamond talks shit about everything that comes to his mind.

It’s not a book, really. I’ve read plenty of great biographies and memoirs. This is not one of them. It really has no cohesive structure, and can’t even be said to be chronological considering he seems to write this stream of thought, complete with confusing and boring tangents as well as enough sexism to make me think Dustin Diamond was taking cues from Bill Cosby.

The entire book is about how the cool kids didn’t let Dustin Diamond play with their toys, and now he, a man in his thirties at the time, is pissed and wants to get back at them. It comes off as a pathetic attempt to cash in on his washed-up celebrity status.

What’s worse, the book doesn’t seem to have been edited or even proofread before publication. There are horrible line breaks where there should be none, random repeats of paragraphs, and misspellings all over the place. The book is of such low quality I’m honestly surprised it got published.

This book makes me hate Dustin Diamond. I don’t believe for a second he didn’t write this, and he’s just such an asshole. His high profile run-ins with the law since publication of Behind the Bell seem to confirm this. In any case, I have no sympathy for him and the consequences of publishing this piece of trash. He made his bed. Now he’s sleeping in it.

Who Shrunk Saturday Morning?

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I feel like kids these days are deprived in a way. With 24/7 access to cartoons and other children’s programming via cable, they have no idea how big of a deal Saturday mornings once were for the big three (later four and then five) networks and their cartoons. They were damned competitive. What many forget is that, for many years, the networks aired half-hour preview specials showing all the new and returning shows in an effort to convince kids to give their loyalty to their network for the season. Yeah, there was rarely any switching between networks. If you failed to keep a young viewer for a full program, you were screwed. I remember watching these specials, deciding all serious like what cartoons I would watch that year.

1989’s Who Shrunk Saturday Morning? was NBC’s second-to-last Saturday morning preview show. They would do one more in 1991 before the mostly-Peter Engel produced TNBC shows bumped all NBC’s cartoons off the air. This one was, ironically hosted by the cast of the series that would eventually lead to the death of cartoons on NBC, Saved by the Bell, thus why we’re here today. So what happens in this bizarre little short? Why, I’m glad you asked! Let’s find out!

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We open in Bayside’s classroom to find Slater, Kelly, Jessie, and Lisa delivering some exposition about how there’s a truant officer looking for Zack Morris. Yeah, there’s actually a very thin plot to this thing, even though there’s not a single laugh to be had, despite the fact that would have been the best advertisement for Peter Engel’s new show. There’s shocked to discover Zack Morris and Screech on the television in the middle of a laser tag arena.

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Turns out Zack Morris and Screech can hear every word they’re saying, and Zack Morris says Screech hit them with his shrinking machine, which naturally somehow put them inside every television in the world at the same time. It’s sad when this is already making the leaps of logic on the series proper look reasonable by comparison. Jessie, the supposedly smart one, says she doesn’t know how they’re pulling this off, but they better get their asses to Bayside because being inside the television is no reason to be absent from school. Screech tells the rest of the gang they just need to go to his house and hit the reverse button on the shrinking machine. Slater and Lisa decide to take on the task and head to Screech’s house.

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In Screech’s basement, Slater and Lisa discover the machine shooting a laser at Screech’s television. Slater tells Lisa to stand clear of the beam while he looks for the switch, which she automatically interprets to mean wave your hand in front of the beam like a dumb ass. Slater jumps in, trying to keep her from shrinking…

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…and soon Slater and Lisa find themselves sucked into the world of the Lite Bright, too.

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As they contemplate how they’re going to get out of wherever the hell they are, they discover their first guest, ALF, who tells them they’re in Saturday Morning Land. Not thinking anything of randomly meeting ALF, they ask him how to get the hell out, and, instead of answering their question, airs some clip from his new cartoon, ALF Tales, because that was really helpful to their situation.

The gang are impressed, so ALF shows them another clip and then tells them they need to search out the Master Programmer as the gang whine about the possibility of getting kicked out of school and shit, because that’s their biggest problem right now.

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ALF sends them on their way along a Tron dance floor to find the Master Programmer.

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They soon meet the Micro Machines guy, who’s apparently just there because they thought the kids would mistakenly believe he’s a main character in something this year. He’s some kind of circuit maker who fits people in their show slots or some shit, and, when he discovers they’re not in a show, tells them to leave the Master Programmer alone, and then disappears in the world’s stupidest cameo.

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Back at Bayside, we’re introduced to the truant officer, Marsha Warfield, who apparently wants to sick some vicious dogs on the gang or some shit. In two hours, she tells Kelly and Jessie the rest of the gang will be on permanent detention if they aren’t back. I’m not so sure what’s magical about the two hours, but I guess they thought it would create some fake tension. If anything, this is reminding me of one of the truths I’ve discovered in reviewing twelve years worth of this franchise: Bayside’s faculty are always insane.

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Back in the television, the rest of the gang discover a really shoddily constructed Japanese shrine containing a glowing orb with a voice Slater identifies as Mr. Miyagi. Sure doesn’t sound like Mr. Miyagi to me. He’s here to introduce us to the short-lived Karate Kid cartoon. Yeah, it only lasted thirteen episodes because it was shit. After his promotional indulgence, Mr. Miyagi gives them the helpful advice to follow the path they are on and they will be rewarded. I want to know what the hell kind of drugs the writers were on to equate Mr. Miyagi with a glowing orb.

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They soon find their way to a big doorway with a smoke machine attached, which Zack Morris, Slater, and Lisa go through to find themselves in the land of the Smurfs. (Screech apparently doesn’t like Smurfs because their homoerotic tendencies make him feel funny inside.) Papa Smurf gives us a preview of what the new season has in store for the Smurfs involving dinosaurs, and I love how they don’t question where Papa Smurf’s disembodied voice is coming from.

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They soon find themselves at Camp Candy, where they meet John Candy himself and are, unfortunately, rejoined by Screech, who I guess was just off masturbating in a corner while the rest were visiting the Smurfs. John Candy gives a preview of Camp Candy, but I can’t help but think during this segment how much I miss having John Candy in the world. If this special reminds me of nothing else, it’s that John Candy kicked ass!

Screech wants to stay behind at Camp Candy, but John Candy doesn’t want someone who’s going to grow up to be such a dumb ass in his cartoon. He sends them on their way to go back home, but tells them the Master Programmer is stressed because he’s missing a show for Saturday morning.

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Soon they find their way to a bad eighties video, where there are signs pointing to, ironically, lots of NBC prime time shows, including ALFCheersNight CourtThe Cosby Show, and Unsolved Mysteries. You know, back when NBC actually had prime time shows worth watching. I’m not sure why these are here if it’s Saturday Morning Land, but I’m sure very little thought was put into the logic of how this world works.

The Micro Machines guy shows up again and tells them to use their imagination about what kinds of things they’d like to see on Saturday morning, so Screech uses his imagination, and I half expected to see a Mr. Belding porno come up on screen.

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Instead, he leads them to a giant Nintendo joystick where, you guessed it, a preview for Captain N and the Game Masters, one of Nintendo’s first forays into horrible adaptations of its intellectual properties, comes on.

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Back at Bayside, Kelly and Jessie watch the rest at the Alvin and the Chipmunks house, where the Chipmunks do their usual horrible covers of an old sixties song. Yeah, I can’t understand what  ever saw in that show.

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Marsha Warfield comes along and mercifully turns off the Chipmunks’ screeching, asking what the fuck that was. She reminds Kelly and Jessie the rest of the gang have five minutes to make it back before they’re in trouble, in case anyone was actually invested in the plot of this thing.

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Back in the TV, Zack Morris and company discover the Master Programmer watching the Saturday morning cartoons on a bunch of monitors for some reason.

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Turns out he’s Sherman Hemsley, who was relevant again for a short time due to starring in a NBC sitcom again. Sherman tells them he’ll send them back to Bayside, but only if they agree to be in the missing television show. The others think that’s a great idea but wonder what they’d look like as a silly, nonsensical sitcom, and he shows them clips from their own show. I wonder if these things actually happened to the gang at this point, or if he’s predicting the future? That’s pretty freaky if we’re finding out Sherman Hemsley is psychic. He sends them back and, as much as I wish he’d keep Screech so The New Class had never happened, sends him along with them.
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Back at Bayside, Marsha Warfield’s excited that she’s going to get to enforce her arbitrary rules against the gang, but then they pop back into existence out of thin air before her very eyes just before the bell rings, because, get it, they were saved by the bell! Isn’t that a hilarious in joke? Laugh damn it! It took the writers a whole five minutes to think that one up! And our special ends with no one questioning the nature of their reality now that they know Saturday morning shows exist in their universe, controlled by Sherman Hemsley and the Micro Machines guy.

After reviewing the shitty New Class for so long, it was nice to see the original Saved by the Bell gang in action again, especially looking so young and full of life. Even Screech is his much more tolerable and younger self. This special raises so many questions, though. Were the gang self-aware they’re a badly written television series all along?

In any case, we now know why Marsha Warfield came to Thanksgiving at Cal U: to finally get her revenge on Zack Morris for the humiliation of not being able to punish him for truancy even though he was truant.

The New Class: The Ten Worst Episodes

Last year, I concluded my reviews of the original class by counting down the best and worst episodes from the three series featuring them. I knew, from the beginning, I wanted to give that sort of treatment for The New Class as well. The problem is there’s only two episodes from this series I actually like. “What’s the Problem?” from season three is actually a very well written episode and the highlight of the series for me, proving the writers could pull off very special episodes, while season seven’s “A Mall Shook Up” is just so ridiculous and over the top that I put it in the “so bad it’s good” category.

So, suffice it to say, there won’t be a top ten best episodes list for this series. If you want to know about the episodes I liked, go read the individual reviews. What may be an even more difficult challenge, though, is narrowing down the ten worst episodes of this god forsaken series, considering almost every episode is horrible and unwatchable. With that in mind, here are my picks for the ten worst episodes of The New Class!


Number 10: Season 1, Episode 3: “A Kicking Weasel”

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Overall, season one wasn’t terrible, especially compared to what came after, but this one grates on my nerves for some reason. It really feels like the writers don’t understand how football work and that field goals are a relatively minor part of the game, something even I, as a non-football fan, knows. Being able to kick the ball really high, in itself, would not have gotten Weasel on the football team, and it certainly wouldn’t have made him a star player.

That alone wouldn’t have been enough to get this episode on the list, but combine that with the fact the producers didn’t even bother to try to make Weasel look like he could kick the ball. Seriously, watch the attached video clip: he basically kicks the ball across the set, not at the angle shown.  A pretty lazy episode from  pretty lazy season of the show.

Number 9: Season 2, Episode 20: “Drinking 101”

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The New Class was at its worst when it was being preach and shit, and this episode is no exception. Alcohol is the devil’s brew, and don’t you forget it! It might make you brain dead like Tommy D and make you want to drive a snowmobile drunkenly and shit! Combine that with the horrible subplot about Mr. Belding spraining his ankle by tripping over some skis and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty horrible episode.

It certainly doesn’t help that Brian is the voice of reason in this episode. I swear, he makes me want to punch his face with every succeeding scene. The reason this isn’t higher on the list is because, unlike some of the other episodes on the list, this one actually does seem like it’s trying, even if it’s written by people who have probably never taken a drink in their lives.

Number 8: Season 7, Episode 9: “Party Animals”

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Speaking of drinking, let’s put another horrible anti-alcohol episode on this list. I swear, this episode is like a caricature of what the producers think teenagers are like drunk. Everyone peer pressures Katie into drinking when she doesn’t want to, and she ends up being an asshole to everyone. But it’s okay because she and Nicky promise they won’t ever drink again, not even when they go off to college, a promise I bet they broke within like five minutes of arrival.

The episode doesn’t even feel like it’s trying, and all consequences are shown off-screen. In the end, the only reasons given for not drinking are that underage drinking is illegal and you might act like a jerk. So I guess if you’re twenty-one and you know you’re not an angry or sarcastic drunk, it’s okay, which I’m sure is not the message Peter Engel was going for, but it is the message that came across. It’s like he has no idea why actual teenagers drink.

Number 7: Season 3, Episode 16: “Screech’s Millions”

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Every Screech-centric episode of the series was bad, but this one is just terrible. Screech thinks he’s won a $2 million lottery and, not knowing the value of money, decides he can afford to retire now in his early twenties. Of course, the predictable result is that Screech only got four out of five of the numbers but, in the meantime, the gang take advantage of him while Mr. Belding finally fires him, only to rehire him before the end because Screech is very sorry!

This episode just makes me question why Screech is trusted with anything, and was one of the early examples of him really abusing his authority and crossing boundaries with students. But the really unfortunate thing is that Mr. Belding set a precedent that, as long as you’re sorry for your incompetence, he’ll hire you back every time. Yeah, administrator of the year right there.

Number 6: Season 3, Episode 23: “No Smoking”

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Nobody wanted to see The New Class take on teen smoking, and this episode didn’t disappoint in its incompetence. Lindsay and Tommy D take up smoking and, in the end, the only consequences are their friends act like little assholes, Tommy D can’t play football, and Lindsay sets a dress on fire through her napalm-filled cigarette, getting fired. Apparently cigarettes ruin your life almost instantly.

What this episode taught me is that Peter Engel doesn’t understand why kids get started smoking, and, so, we get a mess of an episode giving reasons for smoking no kid I’ve ever met would give. The only redeeming value of this episode is that, while everyone’s a little asshole to Lindsay for smoking, no one gives a shit about Tommy D, leading me to believe they’d just as soon see him dead as well.

Number 5: Season 2, Episode 15: “A Perfect Lindsay”

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Lindsay sure was in some pretty bad very special episodes. In this one, she becomes anorexic in a matter of days to the point that she has to be checked into a treatment facility. What pissed me off about this one when I reviewed it was that they took a very serious issue that many teenagers in the show’s demographic actually face and turned it into a caricature.

Really, you don’t become anorexic in a week. It’s a long-term problem that calls for long-term solutions, and doesn’t happen just from skipping some meals for a few days. This one could have been good in the hands of a good writer, but, alas, the writers on this show aren’t good so they weren’t ever going to produce the sort of treatment of eating disorders teenagers need to see.

Number 4: Season 3, Episode 9: “Boundaries”

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When I reviewed “A Perfect Lindsay,” I was convinced that no other very special episode would piss me off more than it did. I was wrong. “Boundaries” is an episode that wants to talk about the very real problem of sexual assault on college campuses, but doesn’t have the guts to get beyond forced kissing. While forced kissing is technically sexual assault, there are much worse issues that could have been tackled in this episode and weren’t.

But that’s not why this episode pisses me off so. Forced kissing is often used as a comedic device within Peter Engel’s shows. But to use it as a comedic device within an episode about how forced kissing is sexual assault is hypocritical beyond believe. I just can’t believe that no one in the writers, cast, director, or producers spoke up and said, “Hey, aren’t we being just a little hypocritical here?” It just angers me beyond belief.

Number 3: Season 4, Episode 26: “Fire at the Max, Part 2”

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Most of the time, clip show episodes don’t qualify for these lists, but this one is a very special exception.  See, they burned down The Max, an iconic symbol of the Saved by the Bell franchise, in the first episode, set up a conflict with Ryan feeling responsible and with the owner deciding not to rebuild, and then concluded it with a god damned clip show episode centered on memories of The Max. Ryan’s conflict only gets a couple minutes of screen time and The Max is saved because everyone loves it so.

Even worse, they wasted a cameo from Slater, the last time an original series cast member other than Mr. Belding or Screech would appear, by having him show up just to introduce more clips. The writers of this episode just don’t seem to get that, while burning down The Max is not necessarily a bad idea for an episode, you have to conclude the story with the respect it deserves and not just end on a god damned clip show episode.

Number 2: Season 2, Episode 26: “Goodbye Bayside, Part 2”

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Perhaps the most pointless episode of the series, there’s really no reason for its existence other than to give a reason for Zack Morris, Slater, and Lisa to make cameos. The entire first half is almost a scene-by-scene rerun of the first part except that, because Mr. Belding is present this time, they figure out who the big bad capitalist was horny for. The second part is basically a lame excuse for the cameos except to establish that the woman the capitalist was horny for is Zack Morris’s aunt.

This episode could have easily been concluded in one part and, at the time, I thought it was the worst episode of the series. While it may have been up to that point, unfortunately,  there was one episode that ended up being worse. Much, much worse.

Number 1: Season 5, Episode 24: “Into the Woods”

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I knew from the first time watching this episode it was going to make this list. I also knew that it was going to go down as the worst episode unless there was a particularly bad episode in the final two seasons. Fortunately, there was not, but I still have the memory of this shitty episode stuck in my brain.

The entire wilderness survival arc was a bad idea from the beginning, but this episode just drug on and on and on. On top of it, Maria is completely insufferable this episode as she whines and complains about the outdoors and, for once, Screech is not the most annoying character of the episode, although his subplot about looking for a bird with Mr. Belding was pretty damned bad in itself.

In the end, I have no sympathy for anyone in this episode, and the events would have lead to a major lawsuit for Bayside as both Ryan and Maria’s parents sued the fuck out of them for letting two teenagers journey through the outdoors without adult supervision. Between that and the amount of money Screech has to be costing the school, it’s a wonder they can even afford to keep the lights on.


Well, there it is: my ranking of the ten worst episodes of The New Class! Feel free to disagree with me in the comments below, especially if you feel I left off an especially bad episode of this really terrible series. And tune in Monday for one final look back at The New Class before I try to forget I ever watched this series through years of intensive therapy!

Who’s Useless: A Ranking of The New Class’s Characters

A while back, I received an intriguing request in a comment: would I do a ranking of characters from The New Class in terms of best to worse? I decided back then that this would be one of my final articles on the show as it really will be the best way to look back on the many, many characters we’ve been exposed to on this show over the years.

I’m ranking from best to worse, so number one is my favorite while number seventeen is my least favorite. Also, I’m not including Mr. Belding or Screech on this list as I will be dealing with them at another time. So, without further adieu, here’s my ranking! Please, feel free to disagree with my reasoning in the comments!

1. Scott

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I’ve maintained since the beginning that Scott should have never been fired after the first season. I don’t know why on Earth you’d fire the only character who received any semblance of character development the first season, but they did, and the show suffered for it. Scott was witty, sneaky, and conniving. Towards the end of the season, he even starts developing a conscience for all the shit he does to try to steal Lindsay from Tommy D, and there’s even hints of possible growing feelings with Megan and Rachel. But, after only thirteen episodes, Scott was exiled without even a proper goodbye. What would The New Class have been like with more Scott episodes? I’d like to think it would be an improvement over the boring episodes we got near the end of the series and a huge improvement over his successor.

2. Maria

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Maria showed so much promise, especially in seasons three and four. She was at her best when she was single and acting as one of the leaders of the group. She was feisty, quick-witted, and not a direct replacement for Megan, and, though underused and underdeveloped in her early appearances, was always someone I looked forward to seeing on screen as Samantha Becker was one of the best actresses on the show. I can’t quite put her at number one because her character suffered so much during her relationships with Nicky and Tony, but, all in all, I like Maria and am glad she got to be on the show until the end, even if it meant she was in high school for five years.

3. Ryan

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If ever there was a character who could have saved this show for me after the abominable season two, it was Ryan. I commented early in his run that he was like Scott 2.0 for me, and I stand by that: it felt like the producers were trying to fix the screw up they made with Brian, and thought, “Why don’t we just get someone to play Scott again?” Ryan brought so much to the show, especially in season three, and made me feel like the show had a leading man again. Unfortunately, the longer he was on the show, the more his character suffered in the hands of incompetent writers who had no idea what to do with him other than have him date more girls. But I can forgive these flaws as Ryan brought something back to the show that was sorely missing for me during the final two seasons after his departure.

4. Megan

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Let me make this abundantly clear: Bianca Lawson was too good for this shit storm of a show, and good for her for abandoning it after only two seasons. Of all the characters with untapped potential, Megan probably ranks up there near the top as she really never achieves much on this show other than being a lust object for Weasel and Bobby. But it says something about the level of acting Lawson brought to this role that, despite the horrible underdevelopment of the character, she was the one I felt the most sad about leaving in the entire run of the show. We’ll never know what could have happened with her character in the hands of a competent writer, but it’s no surprise that Lawson has gone on to be, perhaps, the most successful former cast member after her run on this show.

5. Lindsay

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I never disliked Lindsay; I just always felt like she was a very poor woman’s Kelly Kapowski. But Lindsay existed for two reasons: to be a love interest for Scott and to date Tommy D. With both of those reasons gone by the end of season two, her character suffered as the writers realized they were going to have to do actual stuff with her now, and they never quite figured out how to develop her in the third season. But she was never a bad character; just chronically underused and underdeveloped.

6. Nicky

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Nicky could have been a much better character, but all he got for most of his existence was NEW YORK and the odd sport that was convienent to that week’s plot. Still, he wasn’t a terrible character, and he was a huge improvement over Tommy D, so I can’t rank him too far down. I just wish most of his personality hadn’t been derived from the girls he dated. If they’d drawn out the rivalry between Ryan and him, he could have been so much more interesting.

7. Rachel

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Despite being badly written and acted, I can’t hate Rachel too much. After all, she got some great moments in season three (along with, admitedly, some terrible ones). And that’s the problem with Rachel as a character: she was at her best when she was single. When she was dating someone, she was completely at the whim of whatever they were doing that week. Because she had some pretty terrible moments in season two, I can’t rank her any closer to the top.

8. Katie

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I just found Katie to be completely bland. Whatever personality she had was stolen from the plot of the week or based on her relationship with Nicky, and it was hard to be interested in her most weeks. Still, she’s not terrible and, other than usually being the one to be too preachy, she wasn’t usually a terrible character.

9. Eric

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Eric was definitely the best of the four characters fulfilling the former Screech role. Still, that doesn’t say much considering he was up against Weasel, Bobby, and R.J. The problem with Eric is he was at his best when they were letting him do his thing with music. He was at his worst when they were trying to make him athletic and shit. Still, Eric was often the most disposable of the characters, especially during seasons four and five, so I can’t really place him much higher.

10. Liz

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It might surprise some people I didn’t place Liz lower, and the reason is simple: she didn’t annoy the shit out of me like many in the bottom seven. Sure, she may have been dull as rocks and had next to no personality, but at least I didn’t cringe every time she was on screen. And, on this show, that’s a huge accomplishment in my book.

11. Weasel

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Okay, so let’s face it: Isaac Lidsky may have accomplished some amazing things in real life, but he couldn’t act to save his life and, as a replacement Screech, Weasel definitely feel flat. Weasel had all the characteristics of Screech from the original series, so there was never any guessing what he would do. Combine that with Lidsky’s poor acting and you get a recipe for my first entry in the bottom seven.

12. Tommy D

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It’s no secret to regular readers I hated Tommy D. How did they take a bland greaser character who hated sports from the first season and turn him into a stupid jock in seasons two and three? It was horrible. Combine that with the fact Tommy D really had no purpose on the show after he broke up with Lindsay and you’ll get that he was a terrible character all around. He could have been saved through a rivalry with Ryan, but the writers were anxious to resolve that and get him back to his idiotic status quo.

13. Bobby

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The writers didn’t seem to know what they were doing with Bobby. One minute he’d be the smooth, street wise character that would later find fruition in Eric. The next, they were trying to make him a geek in the vein of Screech and Weasel. The latter failed horribly, as did Megan’s supposed repulsion to him for no other reason than the script called for it. Which is sad, because I could have actually seen potential for Bobby, thus why he’s not further down on this list.

14. Vicki

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Vicky was probably the most original member of the first season cast, which is a sad indictment for the originality of this show. She’s obviously taking all the worst qualities from Alex of The College Years, and she seems to exist for no other reason than to act stupid and get horny for Scott. No episodes revolved around her, and she was the first character who made me want to punch the screen every time she came on.

15. R.J.

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R.J was barely a character. Sure, he had a couple (horrible) episodes center around him, but most of the time his sole purpose for existing was to serve as a pawn in some wacky scheme that Ryan or Screech were putting on. He was instantly forgettable when he left the show, and even the other characters didn’t give a shit about him when they mourned Lindsay and Tommy D’s departure but were completely silent about R.J. It makes me wonder if the writers even forgot he existed in between seasons.

16. Tony

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This may be my most controversial ranking on this list because I’m not putting Tony at the bottom. Sure, he was a horribly weak character and Tom Wade Huntington couldn’t act to save his life, but at least I could laugh at how ludicrous a character Tony was on occasion. Of course, most of the time he was just terrible and I questioned why he was even on the show except to give Maria something to do during the last two seasons, so, yeah, he deserves to be near the bottom.

17. Brian

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Have I mentioned before how much I hate Fake-Swiss Brian? If not, let me tell you: I hated him! If Vicki made me want to punch the screen every time she was on, Brian made me want to gouge my eyes and ears out. He has no redeeming value and existed solely for the purpose of sexing Rachel up.  Season two felt like the longest of the seven to me just because I had to see his stupid face week after week, and I was so relieved to see him depart, even if I had to be reminded he existed in a couple of later clip show episodes. Peter Engel claims he had no faith in the first season cast. If Brian was his way of making up for it, he sure had no fucking clue what makes a compelling, interesting, and likeable character, and created a one-dimensional guy whose sole purpose in life is to break up Rachel and her boyfriend. Really, after that he had no real purpose on the show other than to have a sister of the wrong accent to break up Tommy D and Lindsay. Good riddance to bad rubbish and let us never speak of him again.

Saved by the Bell #1.8 (Roar Comics)

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Our comic opens with the gang excited as hell about the upcoming holidays, so much so that Zack Morris appears to have become one of the Walking Dead. They’re all psyched about Lisa’s annual New Years Eve party as well, except for Jessie, who’s psyched to study for an Algebra final because her characterization is such that she wouldn’t know fun if it kicked her in the ass, or in the form of caffeine pills.

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They’re having so much fun talking about shit that Mr. Belding decides to walk straight up and personally remind them that deposits for the freshman ski trip are due tomorrow since I guess Lisa’s stupid party was so exciting it made them forget about a school trip.

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Zack Morris decides that he’s going to finally advance his story line in this comic to full on love interest on the ski trip while Slater declares, “Nu uh!” Also, out of context, someone who knew nothing about Saved by the Bell might think Zack Morris and Slate are fighting over Screech in this panel. I swear the thought of thi is going to give me nightmares.

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But it turns out that no one’s asking Kelly out on the ski trip since the writers remembered she’s poor and shit. Zack Morris and Slater each offer to pay for her, but she turns them both down, not because of the obvious mass amount of fucking that would be required in exchange, but because of supposed pride and shit.

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But that’s not stopping Zack Morris. The next day, he tries to sell Kelly Kapowski calendars that I guess he printed at home on his inkjet printer to raise money for Kelly since there’s nothing that says, “I love you,” like selling a bunch of pictures of a person without their permission. Also, at a dollar a calendar, Zack Morris better plan on selling a hell of a lot of calendars.

Alas, though, this is the one time it’s convenient for students to actually care about Jessie’s shit as she’s convinced everyone to donate all their money to make poor kids’ Christmas wishes come true or some shit. I don’t know. It all smells of contrivance to me. Jessie suggests that Zack Morris crowd source ideas for raising money. Now, to me, this would mean getting on Twitter or Facebook and asking people for ideas.

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Zack Morris interprets this to mean, “Go to The Max and have Screech develop a shitty web site where people can submit their ideas.” Screech has solved the problem of how to get people to actually go to the web site by stealing everything from Bayside’s lost and found to offer as prizes for the best ideas, and get ready for meta nostalgic reference in 5…4…3…2…1…

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Haha, it’s funny because Zack Morris is famous for having a brick cell phone in the series! Get it? Most clever reference ever!

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What’s worse, Screech tries to give Lisa a hat that once belonged to a girl who had lice, and I’m confused why such a hat is in lost and found if it has a tag in it with the owner’s name in it. In any case, she tells him to disappear, and I wish he’d taken her up on this at this point in the series as it would have saved me from six years of his idiocy on The New Class.

Jessie tells Zack Morris her cousin got shit donated from businesses, and I’m not sure why she didn’t just say this in the first place. He heads off to the mall to put his plan into motion.

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Zack Morris’s plan is to go to Mr. Moody’s store and convince him that he’s a filmmaker making a film about skiing zombies or some shit. As such, Mr. Moody should donate lots of clothes to Zack Morris that will be worn in the film and pay for the “transportation fees.” Mr. Moody doesn’t believe Zack Morris at first, but relents when he sees a picture of Kelly because it makes his pants excited. He agrees to the plan, and Zack Morris rushes back to Bayside before he runs out of time in one days since a lot of shit has happened today.

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Kelly doesn’t much like the idea of lying to Mr. Moody, but suggests Zack Morris could film a web commercial for Moody and that would make taking all this shit okay. Zack Morris goes to tell Mr. Moody while Kelly gets the same dead look in her eye that makes me think maybe they should just go ahead and shoot the skiing zombie movie after all.

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And I guess Mr. Moody agrees with this shitty plan because we immediately go to the ski slopes, where Screech is being a moron as usual and skiing down a slope beyond his ability. Soon he finds himself careening out of control, and I can only hope for the best: that I’ll soon be put out of my misery with him.

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Zack Morris films the web commercial as Slater rushes in to try and disrupt shit between Zack Morris and Kelly. He gets snow all over him as a result and goes back to the lodge to dry off and curse the evil Slater for his cock blocking ways while Kelly goes to ski a little.

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A random girl spots Kelly in a Moody’s sweater and just happens by some contrivance to be Mr. Moody’s daughter, who wants Kelly to be a model for their catalog. I’m really confused why Mr. Moody didn’t ask this of her but whatever.

Meanwhile, the rest of the gang decide not to tell Mr. Belding that Screech is missing because I guess they’re hoping he dies, too.

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At the ski lodge, Kelly thanks Zack Morris for making this all possible, but drops the bad news on him that she now has to work New Year’s Eve for the photo shoot because I guess lots of catalog photo shoots happen randomly on holidays. She says she has to leave immediately and asks Zack Morris to tell everyone good bye for her as Zack Morris looks frustrated that he cock blocked himself.

The next day, Mr. Belding finally figures out Screech is missing and, unfortunately, sends the ski patrol out to look for him. Lisa goes to pose for a photo with a giant snowball…

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…and our comic, and volume one, ends with Screech popping out of the snowball, scaring the shit out of Lisa at the awful sight appearing before her eyes. NO! I call bullshit! Screech overnight in a giant snowball would surely kill him! You must go back and retcon Screech as being dead from this! Let’s start a change.org petition to make it happen!

Saved by the Bell #1.7 (Roar Comics)

SBTB 7-1

I have two questions about the cover: where did they get a bucket they could swim in and when did Lisa get into parkour? It’s the only way I can think of for her to avoid the laws of gravity so much she’s avoiding falling off as she one hand balances! Also, Kevin, could you pull that hose a little tighter please? It’s not quite choking Screech yet!

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Our comic opens with Mr. Belding coming in to inform the gang that Bayside is going through one of its biweekly budget crises due to the constant trips students get to go on. As a result, the school doesn’t have the money to upgrade the computer lab from the old Apple IIes the school is still using.

Mr. Belding’s solution is to recruit the students to put on fundraisers, with a $1,000 gift certificate to the mall for the winner, because they can afford expensive gift certificates, just not new computers. How are they fundraising? However the hell they want, of course! I guess that means Screech is heading for the street corner in his drag!

Zack Morris initially isn’t excited by the work until he hears of the gift certificate and suddenly he’s all about helping Bayside make up its horrible spending habits.

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At The Max, we find out it’s going to be a boys verses girls story as the two argue who’s better at thinking up ways to raise money to support Mr. Belding’s meth habit and Zack Morris really wants an “X Station,” because I guess they were scared of being sued by Sony and Microsoft if they used the name of a real product, much like “Stansbury.”

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But, back at Bayside, Screech has an idea: they’ll program the AI Screech invented to do people’s chores and charge them for it. Since Kevin’s only programmed with free will when it’s convenient to the script, it’ll work out perfectly and nothing can possibly go wrong!

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Meanwhile the girls are washing cars, which they’re finding very hard to do, especially with Jessie lecturing people on their use of SUVs, because feminism and shit. They’re not doing so well and things get worse when Slater comes around to brag about how good the guys are doing, even using Kevin to wash cars. Kelly gets the idea that they need to wear bikinis so men can come and oogle their lady parts, and Jessie’s initially against it because feminism and shit again until she hears Slater bragging…

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…and she’s ready to be objectified. The girls are now killing the boys and getting so much business they have to reschedule some people for later. Slater mentions it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, and this gives Zack Morris an idea.

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Since all adults in the Saved by the Bell universe are idiots, Zack Morris somehow gets a hold of all the girls’ contacts and calls them to inform them they’re rescheduled for the next day. Now the girls have no business! Whatever shall they do!

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Well, word soon reaches the girls that the boys are cheating, so they put on their thinking hats as Zack listens in. Jessie declares she has a way to play dirty, too.

Zack Morris is now paranoid as my neighbor down the street who thinks JFK is still alive and reports to the others that the girls are up to something. This leads to him spending all his time watching for how they’ll get revenge instead of focusing on his own fundraising efforts.

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But we soon discover that Kevin isn’t waterproof, and water coming off a roof soon scrambles Kevin’s circuits, because that’s really what happens if you throw water on a computer. Kevin starts fucking up all the chores he’s been sent to do and people want their money back. Though the paranoid Zack Morris assumes the girls sabotaged Kevin somehow, he’s not worried, as he says they still have enough money to win, and the girls aren’t doing shit in the rain.

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Mr. Belding walks by, saying he’s on his way to the girls’ fundraising run at the track.

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Yeah, turns out the girls, in just a few hours, raised pledges for a mud run so guys could oogle their lady bits in the mud. Yeah, I don’t buy it, but this is the franchise where Screech invented artificial intelligence and once gained psychic powers from being struck by lightning but no one bats an eye so I’ll run with it.

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Mr. Belding announces that the girls won the contest by $20. Jessie wants to donate their prize to charity. Um, what charity are you going to donate a mall gift certificate to? UNICEF going to go on a shopping spree at Old Navy for third world orphans?

Zack Morris can’t believe he lost as cheaters always win! Just ask the players in the Deflategate scandal!

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And our comic ends with a still-malfunctioning Kevin trying to murder Screech. Yes, Kevin! Go! Go! Kill! Kill!

Saved by the Bell #1.6 (Roar Comics)

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Ah, time for another of Roar Comics’ modern day adaptations, and it looks to be talking about Kelly’s singing career. I wonder if this will be the Kelly who sucks ass at singing or the one who sings for Zack Attack?

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We open in the hallway to discover that Bayside is a lot busier than we were ever lead to believe on the show. Hell, there are students everywhere, and apparently a football game going on as well. Naturally, there are no adults in sight to keep order so shit’s out of control. Some things never change, no matter what version of this franchise you’re watching.

In any case, Kelly tells the gang there’s going to be auditions for America’s Next Pop Diva, because using American Idol‘s name in this could have gotten Roar Comics sued. Lisa loves looking at the hot guys on it while Jessie’s all, “Feminism! Other things straw feminists say! Reality shows teach kids all you need to do in life to get ahead is have luck!”

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Kelly wants to audition so Slater convinces her to sing something. She sings a line from The Star Spangled Banner, and here’s the problem with using this plot for the comic: we can’t hear Kelly sing so we have to take the characters’ words for it whether she was good or not. Screech mumbles she sucks ass but Zack Morris thinks Kelly was super awesome. You really need to know about the characters from the show here to get this. After all, who are you going to believe: the complete moron or the lecherous asshole who wants to fuck Kelly?

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At the auditions, Screech brings along Kevin to cheer Kelly on by explaining her music doesn’t suck ass. Once again, do we believe the complete idiot?

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Some producers for the show spot Screech and Kevin and instantly think they have ratings gold, even though this is a song about singing. Rather than being amazed that a complete moron built artificial intelligence and they haven’t heard about it on the news, they want to know whether Kevin can sing. Screech says he programmed Kevin with lots of songs, and I sure hope they’re all sung in that monotone from the show.

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Screech demonstrates how Kevin can both sing and dance, and I have to admit: this is my favorite panel in the comic: getting to see Kevin whack the shit out of Screech, simply because I enjoy seeing Screech in as much pain as possible.

Kelly’s pissed as the producers take Screech and Kevin through to the front of the line while ignoring her because they must have watched reruns on MTV to see how much she sucks ass at singing.

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In the audition, Screech demonstrates how Kevin can do any dance style stereotypically, including this version of what Screech believes is hip hop. So, if Kevin is wearing pants here, does that mean most of the time he’s flashing us? Oh, the questions of artificial intelligence!

The producers send Screech home for the day, telling him to come back tomorrow for a follow-up audition. But the producer conspires with the cameraman to get a clip up on the web by the end of the day, saying they’re going to make it go viral. Number one, that would be the job of your editor, not the cameraman. Number two, do you even know how the internet works?

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Apparently not because, back at Bayside, Mr. Belding’s seen the clip of Screech because he frequents YouTube rather than controlling misbehavior in the hallways and loves how awesome that is because Mr. Belding is easily impressed. Kevin and he are offered a record deal, which makes me wonder why he still needs to go on this show then, and Zack Morris wants to be his manager because it’s Zack Morris and shit. What else is he going to do. Also, I’m a bit creeped out that Screech is naming random stars after Lisa. I’m telling you: stalker behavior!

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Back at the auditions, Kelly is turned away because plot and the producer reveals that they don’t really give a shit whether someone can actually sing or not. No, what they care about is singing, so they’ve got stupid acts lined up like a guy raised by monkeys, conjoined twins, and a girl who lives on a school bus. Hey, they all sound like better musical acts than Silento!

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Zack Morris gets Screech and Kevin to print out a fake bio for Kelly to impress the producer, implying she’s raising a baby in prison and shit, which he believes because of the rule that adults are idiots in this universe unless it’s convenient to the plot.

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He brings her in for an audition and everyone wants to hear all about life in prison because prisons frequently let prisoners out to audition for shitty reality shows. He even brings her baby brother in to act as her baby and she gets pissed as she realizes he did something that should be completely predictable coming from Zack Morris.

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The judges tell Kelly she sucks ass as a singer, and she gets pissed off and tells them to fuck off because she’s going to be on 90210 and shit.

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At The Max, Jessie and Lisa confirm that Kelly sucks ass as a singer in this universe and suggest Kelly should get revenge against Zack Morris. She’s hesitant at first until he comes in cocky and arrogant, selling free tickets to see Screech and Kevin.

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Her brilliant plan is to give lots of people Zack Morris’s card as an agent so they’ll go see him to try and hire him, which seems stupid for the purposes of revenge since that’s actually helping him make more money. It works, though, and he closes his manager business because that was apparently a subplot.

The next day, Screech fires Zack Morris as manager, saying Kevin went on to the next round without him.

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And our comic ends with Kevin channeling Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey as he plans to murder anyone who gets in his way of winning the competition. SCREECH, GET IN KEVIN’S WAY! QUICK! That way Roar Comics will never have to do a The New Class comic!

This one didn’t quite measure up to the last issue. The plot is all over the place. Nothing seems to have been resolved and nobody learned a lesson. Let’s hope this a fluke and not a sign of things to come.