Home > TV > From Saved by the Bell to High School Musical: one degree of separation

From Saved by the Bell to High School Musical: one degree of separation

In my last post, I described how High School Musical (HSM) is taking the grand tradition of Saved by the Bell, adding some music and jazzing it up. Granted, I don’t believe any teen dramatic performance will ever be as stunningly craptacular as Saved by the Bell (SBTB). But, HSM is moderately enjoyable, even though it lacks a certain something… like the comedic stylings of Screech or the horrid acting skills of Elizabeth Berkeley.

While watching HSM, I did notice one character that looked vaguely familiar. It was the guy who played the main male character’s dad and the coach of the school’s basketball team. The had just enough acting chops to hang in with the HSM cast (translation: not much). So, naturally, I began to think, “I wonder if this dude was ever on SBTB?”

Finally, it came to me… it was the same guy who played a ranch hand or something on an episode of Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Yep, after the kids graduated from Bayside High, Screech came back to serve as the assistant principal under the expert tutelage of Principal Belding. The actor in question – the incomparable Bart Johnson – has also taken some turns on such great shows like Sunset Beach and Thunder Alley (in which he played “Buzzard Boy”). But I’m one of 4-5 people in the world that know him from his SBTB appearance.

Again, I’ll defer all of my SBTB comments to a later date. But if you ask why follow this horrid show and its assorted spin-offs, think about it… OK, the show did give us Dustin Diamond, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Mario Lopez. SBTB also jump-started the career of Scott Wolf. Tara Reid. Leah Remini. Pete Sampras’ wife. Tori Spelling. By the way, those all came from memory. That’s what you call “functionally retarded.”

But wow… That’s a murderer’s row of bad acting. My affection for SBTB seems a bit absurd and sad. And to that, I’d say… guilty. I’ll still write more about it later, though. Because I can… and I’m typically running short of topics.

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