Thursday, 12 May 2011
All I wanted to do was sit back and enjoy a little late night TV. The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, a little bit of Just for Laughs, Hoarders on A&E. But what do I discover while browsing through the cable listings? Deja View has mucked around with my beloved 1:00 AM spot! I'd grown used to staying up late over the past few weeks and soaking in a little nostalgia with the Saved by the Bell gang while the rest of the world lay sleeping.
But what's this I find? Bell's been replaced by — of all things — The Facts of Life? Really? The Facts of Life? Christ.
"The girls all meet boys during spring break in Florida." That sounds absolutely riveting. Granted, Saved by the Bell's plot lines were nearly as bad. Screech's forgotten birthday, culminating in a super secret party in Mr. Belding's office? (Get it? Bell-ding?) The dance competition episode, full of painfully choreographed fifteen-second dance numbers? That summer series spent at Malibu Sands? Blech. At least that last one had the girl from King of Queens in it, and she's hot.
On that note, let me state for the record that I'd take Kelly Kapowski and Jessie Spano over The Facts of Life's square-shouldered, bouffant-haired dogs any day of the week.
Except the tall, dark-haired one. She makes me feel dirty...In a good way. But to my knowledge she never pursued a modelling career, at least not one of any importance. (Read: no bikini pictures.) Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, meanwhile, seems not to have been shy about showing off her, umm, assets, even back during the Saved by the Bell days, when the photoshoots were less revealing but still laced with sex appeal. Even the show itself, full of clumsy gags and cringe-worthy acting as it was, was entirely comprised of plots pieced together with the sole purpose of getting Kelly into as many situations where bouncing around in a plunging neckline or a flitting about in tight pair of short-shorts was duly required.
And we were the humble beneficiaries. Matched perhaps only by the Pink Ranger in terms of sheer animal magnetism, Kelly was undoubtedly one of the queens of early-'90s kids' TV. These shows, among others, were pretty obviously created and marketed with children and early teens in mind, and yet sex still formed a sizeable part of the proceedings. Would Saved by the Bell have been as successful if Zack's main squeeze hadn't been a 5'5 brunette with a rockin' chest and a penchant for bending forwards at every opportune moment?
Granted, sex appeal in Power Rangers seems to have played less of a role. Still, I vividly remember possessing a Power Rangers fan magazine that, among action shots of Rita's Putty goons evaporating after kicks to the chest, featured a three-page Pink Ranger spread — my first ever pin-up. Not to mention the only instance, as for as I know, that my childhood self developed a crush on a fictional character. April O'Neil was smokin' hot, obviously, but for some reason I was so made that a real, live human female was more desirable to my young mind than one animated by a team of middle-aged men holed up in a shack somewhere in South Korea.
That's not to denigrate those who found themselves taken by April O'Neil's exaggeratedly buxom figure. It seems to have been a common enough occurance, and a quick Google search confirms that, for a great many seemingly normal adults, the fascination didn't fade with the realization that real women could do things April O'Neil never would.
And by that I mean spread out over some rocks in a see-through tank top and smile suggestively at a leering photographer. Damn, Kelly! Where've you been since my junior high days? Had you worn (or, umm, not worn) such things on Saved by the Bell, I may never have given you up for Shannon Elizabeth's Nadia from American Pie. Why didn't you follow Jessica Spano's footsteps and star in a reckless, racy romp like Showgirls?
Coda: at this junction I would very much like to post a pic of Elizabeth Berkley from said movie, except that I can't find one where she isn't licking a stripper pole while totally nude, or fondling a co-star while totally nude. Or making out in an outdoor swimming pool while totally nude. Man, that was a great movie.