When I was in sixth or seventh grade, one of the most popular shows watched by my age group was Saved by the Bell. Centered around Zack Morris and his zany group of friends, the show depicted high school as we were all sure it was going to be. Our principal would be our pal, we'd have an awesome restaurant hangout, and Casey Kasem or then-president of NBC Brandon Tartikoff would show up occasionally to share their wisdom with us. And if we struck oil on our football field, we knew better than to let some sleazy oil man come in and drill it and kill all our ducks.
Flash forward a couple years: high school was nothing like Saved by the Bell. Some major differences come to mind:
We never had a restaurant that was A) near enough to school to walk to when we did not have cars or B) that considered loitering high school students to be their favorite customers. Think about this for a second. The Max must be some kind of magical restaurant utopia. There were never any adults there and the kids never ordered food. Occasionally they ordered sodas, but more often than not they just showed up, zipped off a few one-liners, and then left. On the few occasions food was served, I never saw anyone ask for a check. No wonder there had to be so many telethons and dance-a-thons to save the Max - there's no way that place was making money. Which brings us to difference #2...
I never witnessed a single dance-off in high school. Ever. I would also like to add here that AC Slater was more willing than any guy I've ever met to wear spandex. And at dances, we did not do that weird shuffle-in-place-and-snap-your-fingers dance that seemed so popular on the show. Anyone who was planning on making that their signature move was probably very disappointed. And Casey Kasem NEVER showed up at my school.
No guy ever dressed up like a girl - at least, not as a serious "disguise" - and actually fooled anybody. Disguises in general were a very important part of the Bayside lifestyle. Zack had to dress up like a girl to find out how Kelly felt about him and also to help boost Screech's self-esteem. And Screech had to dress up like an alien to win the tabloid contest (boy, that sure backfired when the FBI showed up, didn't it?!) Not to mention when Screech had that awesome 90-year old man disguise to get into the club with his fake ID (by the way, did any of you guys have ID-forgery equipment in your school's photography lab?)
One man with no secretary can not oversee an entire school. This is perhaps one of SBTB's larger diversions from reality. I get the idea that Bayside was a fairly large school - however, if you wished to see Mr. Belding, you could simply walk into his office. The principals office at my school was actually a maze of offices - to get past the front desk meant getting past at least two admins and a couple of office aides. Then you had a couple layers of assistant principals and guidance councilors. I'm not even sure where our principal's actual office was. Mr. Belding was amazing in the fact that not only does he not need assistants or secretaries, but he personally knew every student in the school and was responsible for dispensing discipline and helpful advice. He was also able to MC at dance-a-thons and cram an entire student body's worth of files into one filing cabinet which he could then retrieve them from without even shuffling through the names. Hats off to you, Mr. Belding...although perhaps Bayside was smaller than I thought considering the same group of students were on every team, starred in every play, and participated in every activity.
Nobody ever got addicted to caffeine pills. This does not happen in real life, particularly on the eve of your big singing break at the Max. Also, if you do get addicted to caffeine pills, you probably do not have to spend time in bed recovering and your friends are most likely not going to visit you with flowers like you broke your leg or something. Even Dennis Haskins (that's Mr. Belding to you) was quoted on the E True Hollywood Story: Saved By the Bell as saying "that was the stupidest episode we ever did."
No one gets into Yale on the basis of high SAT scores alone. This does not happen. Period. Zack Morris never would have made it out of high school without multiple sessions of summer school. Also, if you got into Yale, why the hell would you end up at California State University or whatever it was on the College Years? That's right - the viewers thought it was a lame decision, too.
Happy New Year!
3 years ago