The Tori Paradox

Everyone knows what a Saved by the Bell geek I am. If you didn’t know that then did you really know me? I mean, come on. As much as I love the show there are a few things that bug me. The biggest thing is when the tough biker chick Tori came on the show and Kelly and Jessie disappeared. Now, the story behind the switch is that NBC wanted more episodes after the final season was filmed. Tiffany Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley, who played Kelly and Jessie, already committed to other things and didn’t want to film any more episodes. So what did the network do? They filmed additional episodes with a new girl, Tori, didn’t explain what happened to Jessie or Kelly, and stuck them in the middle of the last season. So in the last season we see Jessie and Kelly, then Tori, then Jessie and Kelly are back in time for graduation. This bugs me because there was no explanation and these episodes were clearly inferior. Then I started thinking, is an explanation really necessary?

I think back at my life. There are definitely times in my life when the friends I hung out with every day suddenly disappeared and I was no longer with them. Then all of the sudden, they’d be back in my life. This happened a lot in college, with both college friends and high school friends. The people I met while I was in college never knew my high school friends and I rarely, if ever, talked about my high school friends, just as the gang never talked about Jessie and Kelly when Tori came around. Then after college I started hanging out with some of my high school friends and some of my college friends disappeared. True, they were still in the same school on Saved by the Bell, but think about high school for a minute. It wasn’t that long ago. Weren’t there times when you stopped hanging with particular people, for no particular reason, then started hanging with them again? Maybe it was a busy semester for them, or you. Think about the people you’ve lost contact with and then later became best friends again. They are your Tori. Or you are theirs. Either way, while completely inferior to previous and later episodes, the Tori episodes actually do make sense. Even though Saved by the Bell is nowhere near real, that’s one part that is. Everyone has been a Tori or had Tori friends. You can sit there and watch episodes with Tori and not wonder where Kelly and Jessie are, just as you don’t always wonder where your lost friends went. So, no longer will I judge these episodes for the wool that NBC tried to pull over my eyes. I will judge them based on how good they actually were, which, except for the school song episode, they pretty much sucked.

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