This past week, People Magazine ran a cover story no less important than Rolling Stone‘s John and Yoko shot on the day he died, or Life Magazine‘s embryo-in-amniotic sac, and that cover was the Saved By The Bell cast reunion. National Geographic Afghani twelve year old be damned. This is historical relevance.
As beautiful and wondrous as it was, as much as it made us all ponder our own unique existence and purpose, there was one glaring omission: one Samuel “Screech” Powers.
To the person with knowledge of the SBTB cast’s latter-day careers, Dustin Diamond is a douchebag with a poo-involved sex-tape and a desperate need to be the shit-stirrer on D-grade reality shows who owes back taxes and is writing a memoir about his cast mates. So it’s no wonder that the rest of the cast most likely requested the lack of his presence. But to those without such knowledge, it looked like People Magazine was run by this chap.
Now I’m no Dustin Diamond fan, and I have a theory that Belding got a touch handsy with the ladies on-set, so I have no real problem with them being left out of the reunion reindeer games. But take a look at the before picture:
My god. Screech never existed at all. And LeAnn Rimes is a homewrecker. But mostly the Screech thing.
Was he a figment? A spectre? A vampire actually standing next to Lisa but unable to be captured on film?
The most important question is this: what does a Screechless Bayside look like?
The Top Four Changes to the Now Screech-Free Saved By The Bell-niverse
4. Kelly + Jeff the Pedo-Waiter = Tru Luv 4Ever, you guys
Kelly did not believe Zack when he warned her of Jeff’s wandering eye. But when Screech ever so tardishly slipped that Jeff was a cheater, Kelly believed. Had that not happened, she and Zack would not have gotten back together freshman year of college and would not have gotten married, also during their freshman year of college. So we’ll actually score that one in Screech’s column. This isn’t 7th Heaven, kids, this is Bayside, a sex-free universe. And if you’re not saving it, there’s no need waiting for it, and thus no need to marry so young. Advantage: Powers
3. Lisa could have lived her life harassment-free
Lisa’s entire high school experience was filled with Screech’s pathetic attempts to win her love. While she always returned his adoration with a poorly-devised quip and some act of violence, she also never had a lasting (a.k.a., more than one episode) boyfriend during the show’s run. It stands to reason that Screech actually managed to scare off other guys, turning Lisa into a good-time-Sheila, only worth of one date. What I’m saying is that Screech turned Lisa into a whore, like that Kathy Santoni (oops, that’s Full House). Sans Screech, maybe Lisa’s love with Jessie’s step-brother would have lasted longer, and he wouldn’t have died under mysterious circumstances, as I like to think happened with all the characters who were never seen or spoken again. Makes it all very Dexter.
2. Zubaz would have gone out of business far earlier
Seriously, I get that they were trying to show what wacky ill-advised fashion sense he had, but dear god, really people? Television sets of the ’90s were being color-corrected by the week because of the kid’s pants.
1. Belding would have had to find a real friend/been arrested for many things
This could go either way really. After Belding spent the entire run of the series desperately trying to befriend Zack and Slater, he finally had to realize that they would never love him like he loved them, so he did what any rational adult would; he offered the Assistant Principal position to a bumbling (read: functionally retarded) undergraduate whose voice has gotten less realistic and whose face has become progressively more distorted and terrifying.
In his position, Screech fucks shit up old school non-stop and is a general life-ruiner to the entire New Class. So is Belding. The kids basically teach themselves. Theory: Becky left him shortly after he forced her to name their child after the teen boy he obsessed over, so he took a turn for the drunk and crazy. Screech, due to the absence of any other reasonable adult anywhere, became his enabler. Had the basement of Bayside ever shown onscreen, I believe we would have seen many bodies.
People Magazine, for all its faults, finally did something wonderful; they gave us the gift of a World Without Screech. The kids made it to the U2 concert without running into those weird Candid Camera guys who they thought were murderers. They wouldn’t have been threatened with a lawsuit by the generic-TV-friendly-name-for-Betty Crocker. And we, the TV viewers, would have been the real winners.
Via con dios, el Screech. Via con dios right off our televisions. Power to the people.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at email@example.com.