Saved By The Bell and nerds

Timely, no?

In examining my childhood in therapy, I’d come to realize how much shows like Saved By the Bell and Family Matters scarred me.

But wait a minute. I thought Screech was their friend. It didn’t seem like it. It seemed like they kept Screech in the group for entertainment – their group’s personal court jester. Screech would do his nerdy stuff, and the normal teens would laugh or cringe or shake their heads in dismay at his cluelessness.
I was a social reject growing up, and I often created an imaginary clique to play with, the clique being very much like the SBTB group. One thing I remember well is that I always created my own designated nerd. I had assumed every group was supposed to have one; some freak that the rest of the group could unite against. It was especially important to create that misfit because then I wouldn’t have to be the misfit; I could be “normal” and able to fit in.

I was a nerd. And I didn’t want to be a nerd. I saw how nerds were treated on these shows. They constantly embarrassed themselves. They were cruelly rejected from many of the events that popular kids got to experience. People tried to avoid them and made excuses of why they couldn’t hang out. The only time popular kids wanted to do anything with them was if the nerds could do homework for them or something else servile and debasing.
It was okay for the normal kids to ridicule them behind their back or not invite them to parties. The nerds deserved it for being so weird. On those TV shows they didn’t even seem to be the same species as the “normal” kids. They weren’t fully human; they were only objects of humor and derision. How funny that Screech has a crush on Lisa; it’s like he thinks he can have relationships with normal people. No, it’s best that he stick with his own kind. (Nothing against Violet; but they treated her no better. One particular incident had the girls getting together. One of them makes a joke and they all laugh. When they hear Violet’s pig-snorting laugh, they stop and stare.)

I am so glad that mainstream media has done away with the super-nerd trope. There’s shows like The Big Bang Theory, but while they have annoying traits, there’s no denying that they are respectable human beings.

I’d hardly call Sheldon Cooper a respectable human being.

Something about being smart is not considered cool and clever. Thank goodness for shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock and movies like Sherlock Holmes, but even they are shown to be lonely and somewhat insufferable.

I definitely consider myself a nerd. I think there is something deeply wrong with us, that we think being smart is so horrible.

The real plight of the nerd is that they are usually so self-absorbed that they never stop and see that everyone else has a bunch of shit going on as well.

If you think about Penny is the “nerd” on BBT. She is the “outsider” of the group, different from the rest.

Well you should stop letting crap tv run your life. I mean if you’re going to let tv determine your feelings and self-worth, pick better quality tv.

For example, on Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (1989-93), the nerd friend Jerry was a valued teammate in the endless war against Principal Musso.

I fully endorse any pitting of saved by the bell. Although I admit I probably haven’t watched more than about 5 minutes at a time, all that I could handle before I got an unquenchable urge to punch Zack in the face.

On the good side, watching Real Genius provoked an intense emotional catharsis in my youth that I have never experienced with another movie. So the 80’s wasn’t all bad.

I disagree that being smart isn’t cool, Anaamika. Some of the coolest kids I knew in school were really smart.

I think nerdism is its own thing, that highly correlates with intelligence, but isn’t the same thing.

What I never understand is, why don’t the nerds just band together? That is what my kid does. In elementary, she had a tough time. But when she went to an Arts school for middle/high school, she found there are many other nerds who are into games and comics and creative writing and reading, and comic cons…They all hang out together and she just loves it. A whole big ol’ bunch of awkward, weird, nerdy kids, all being awkward and weird and nerdy together. I’ve never seen her so happy.

Moved to Cafe Society.

Screech wasn’t really the nerdiest nerd at Bayside. They also had those sort of background nerds with the white shirts and pocket protectors and 50’s glasses. Screech was more of a geek with his loud clothes and weird behavior.

To make that work, you need a sort of critical mass of nerds–a sufficient population to provide regular support to each other. In smaller schools, there often isn’t a large enough population to make it work. It’s not so different from any other specialized clique in that regard, but nerds tend to be a smaller percentage in any given population and, due to their general social traits, may need a larger critical number for the group to sustain itself. It may help to have an alpha nerd who is willing and able to stand up for the others to start things off.

A nerd herd can be an awful lot of fun once it gets going, though.

That’s awesome! :cool:

You need to be secure in your nerdiness before that happens though. You really need that one comfortable, kind of cool nerd that goes “yeah, I’m nerd and most of my friends are nerdy. So fucking what? We like science and comics and we’re awesome, go do whatever it is you do.”

Once you have one person who does that, it’s easier for the other nerds to band together and feel secure in it, because there’s always that one awesome person who will defend them. You really need someone to start it because, let’s face it, most nerds aren’t that confident.

Sure, but she gives as good as she gets, you know? While the nerds mock her for not knowing whether Greedo shot first, she mocks them right back for knowing that. She’s invited to their nerdy gatherings not in order to mock her but because they like her. And most importantly, she’s an equal or even a superior in terms of dating the guys.

I would like to point something out.

Urkel wasn’t mockable because he was smart. It’s not clear he was smarter than the average bear, actually.

He was mockable because he was annoying, selfish, egotistical, and a pushy demanding know-it-all.

if all you took from the portrayal of Urkel was the message “people hate him because he’s smart” I don’t think you were watching very closely. As already mentioned, I don’t recommend taking life lessons from extremely bad sitcoms, bit if you must, “social skills are important” is a far more accurate fit to the facts.

I went to a high school with 2,000 nerds, so, I can assure you it is possible to have smarts and social skills at the same time.

[QUOTE=Hello Again;16254908
Urkel wasn’t mockable because he was smart. It’s not clear he was smarter than the average bear, actually.

He was mockable because he was annoying, selfish, egotistical, and a pushy demanding know-it-all.

Steve was very smart, they made that pretty clear on the show. He also wasn’t selfish, egotistical or a pushy demanding know it all. He may have been the most annoying obnoxious person you were likely to meet, but he was also one of the nicest people around.

God help me for remembering this much SBTB but (as I recall) Zack and Screech were childhood friends. Zack didn’t hang out with Screech because he did silly nerd stuff, he hung out with Screech despite the silly nerd stuff because he still legitimately liked the guy even if they were maturing along different paths.

That is true, but Screech was a dweeb even in the Miss Bliss days.

Also, it’s definitely not a matter of smart or not. Jesse Spano was the smartest of the group (though Zach did outscore her by a lot on the SATs). Screech was awkward and unattractive. THAT’s the horrific lesson that SBTB teaches. It’s ok to be smart, I guess but definitely don’t be the skinny dweeby one with bad hair and cracking voice in a high school that boasts Kelly Kapowski and AC Slater.

Screech did barely edge Jesse out on GPA, though. I actually got the impression that Screech was smarter (He built himself a sentient robot for goodness sake!) but that grades just weren’t as important to him.

Zach’s SAT score was based on the idea that he had a lot of untapped potential, but didn’t put it towards schoolwork. School wasn’t a place to learn for him, but a social experiment. And he must have learned a lot, since he was able to learn to manipulate people’s perception of time with his “time out” thing.

Zach’s SAT episode was ridiculous, as he had recruiters from Harvard and Stanford actively chasing him for having a 1500 SAT score. Both of those schools could easily fill their entire freshmen class with 1500+ SAT students if they actually valued the SAT that much. Hell, Harvard rejected 2 of my classmates with perfect 1600s.

Realistically, if those schools would have been hounding anyone, it would have been Screech for building a robot with a functional AI. But I guess Zach is a special snowflake, so…

Incidentally, I did watch the crap out of this show growing up, but it was always a guilty pleasure. Even as a dumb middle schooler, I knew the show was stupid as all hell.