By Susannah Clark
Congratulations on surviving your first few days. Before you embark upon the rest of the “best four years of your life,” it is my duty to warn you about “The College Years” syndrome.
“Saved by the Bell,” the teen comedy from the early 90’s, still rules Saturday mornings in syndication today. Pre-teens and twenty-somethings alike can relate to the one-dimensional characters, didactic plot-lines and social problems that can be solved in a 22-minute timeframe. Not to mention A.C. Slater’s wrestling uniform.
After four seasons of outwitting Mr. Belding and subliminal public service announcements, the cast of “Saved by the Bell” finally graduated in 1994, making way for the quagmire that was “The College Years.”
“Saved by the Bell: The College Years” lasted for one painstaking season. Four of the main characters just-so-happen to attend the same college, and interact with several new characters, including their dorm advisor who also happens to be a former professional football player. There were no lockers for Screech to be stuffed in and the chemistry between characters deteriorated. Needless to say, “Saved by the Bell’s” wacky “be yourself and accept everyone” motif did not translate into the oversexed party scene that is dorm life.
Graduates of Bayside High School are not the only TV idols to suffer from the dangers of higher education. When TV characters enter college, writers struggle to maintain attachments and draw out ongoing plotlines in an attempt to preserve the magic that once was. In “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” the main character’s aunts both get jobs at the university she attends. In “Sister Sister,” Tia and Tamera live in the same dorm room. And of course, “Boy Meets World’s” Corey and Topanga get married in college.
College should not be an extension of high school. In reality, your new professor will not be Mr. Feeny.
For the next four years, you should take on a new role: make new friends, date new people, pull pranks on the dean, not the principal. Don’t go home on the weekends; instead, create new sets. Rather than milking your teenage years until they spoil, put them away to be preserved as “Wonder Years.”
Even while NBC was promoting “The College Years,” the cameras were still rolling for “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.” Life goes on. The “OC” may be over, but “Greek,” ABC family’s new hit series about college life, is all geared up for its second season.
Move on, freshmen. The finale has aired and all cliffhangers are addressed. It’s time now to change the channel and start a new series. Leave high school to the New Class.