For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved Saved By The Bell. Sure there are detractors who will say the show is “lame” and “predictable” and “an inaccurate depiction of high school” and “in one episode, the Bayside gang makes a documentary in which they were inexplicably able to film dream sequences.” And while all that’s true, I never felt ashamed for liking it.
Well, that all changed recently, as my fandom overpowered my better judgment, causing me to spend money on Behind The Bell the behind-the-scenes tell all by Dustin Diamond, known to SBTB fans as Samuel “Screech” Powers. Not only is this the worst book I have ever read, it’s the only published work of any kind that has ever caused me to feel intense envy for the illiterate.
Basically all you need to know about this book is that the actor who played Screech hated his cast mates as well as many other aspects of the Hollywood life and decided to exact his revenge by writing this torturous excuse of a memoir.
The only thing I had really heard about Behind The Bell prior to reading it was that it was put together very unprofessionally, and this is true. There are spelling and punctuation errors throughout, even a couple instances where entire paragraphs are repeated. It turns out being Dustin Diamond’s buddy who got a B+ during one semester of 10th grade English doesn’t qualify you to edit a book.
While that would annoy several people to no end, it’s far from my biggest gripe (I can hardly guarantee this review will be without grammatical errors). The problem is everything else about this book is horrendous to The Max.
From what I can tell, Diamond doesn’t possess one solitary shred of self-awareness. If he did, surely he’d realize it’s hypocritical to bash a promiscuous Mario “A(lbert)C(lifford) Slater” Lopez’s “cheesy game” only to turn around and brag about using his celebrity status to allegedly sleep with 2,000 women. Or that maybe it’s difficult to sympathize with his personal struggles as a child star after he’s taken a hatchet to his cast mates who may very well have been feeling the same way he was.
The awfulness doesn’t end there. His discussion of how the show was made is mind-numbing, his endless supply of nauseating dick jokes are unfunny and instantly tiresome, and his attempts to name drop celebrities he knows are just embarrassing (for those of you wondering, actor Jeremy Jones is a douche, while Jaleel “Steve Urkel/Stephon Ur-kell” White is cool).
Even after evaluating all that garbage, we still haven’t gotten to the biggest problem, which is that there isn’t any realm of any universe where this book needs to exist. As I stated above, I am as big a Saved By The Bell as there has ever been. I’ve skipped school to watch episodes I’ve seen dozens of times, written little in jokes for newspapers articles (I’m a sportwriter) and even written a play where a guy is able to use his SBTB knowledge to prevent an airline hijacking (clearly I possess the artistic merit to criticize others).
And yet, just because I love the show doesn’t mean I’m not aware of its shortcomings. It’s not like The Simpsons or Seinfeld where I truly cherish the hours I’ve spent watching. It’s a guilty pleasure, and even when I do find someone who can discuss episodes with me in great detail, at one point or another we have to stop and make light of what dorks we are.
Therefore, I found it hard to care that Daimond thought Mark-Paul Gosselaar was stupid for hating A Nightmare On Elm Street because of Freddy Krueger’s sweater, or that Tifffani-Amber Theissen was dating the actor who played Johnny Dakota who caught her fucking Mario Lopez, thus causing a stir on the set of the “No Hope With Dope” episode. Even I feel sorry for anyone who finds this information useful or entertaining.
Like the infant intrigued to discover if an electrical outlet is edible, I’m afraid my purchase of this book was a catastrophic result of my curiosity getting the best of me. In fact, if there were ever a reason to hope for an up-kick in infant mortality rates, preventing Behind The Bell from potentially reaching future generations would be as good of one as there has ever been.
I don’t care how much you love Saved By The Bell, there is no reason to read this book, and I would just assume mona-lala-lala than so much as read a single paragraph of it again.
Final Score: 0.002/10 (Someone should wave a skunk in front it).