Internalizing Narratives and the Saved by the Bell Cast

I moved a lot as a kid and later as a young adult. Everywhere that I went seemed to have a superficial expectation of what social group I was supposed to fit into because of how I looked. These days I've worn enough styles to know that appearances have nothing to do with a person's true self. Still, that's a lesson that many may have missed and I am always sad when I see stereotypes being enforced or impressed upon anyone by others. This societal expectation of looks linking to social placement is present in both hidden and even obvious places. This is why I can find no better example than the actors who played characters on the show Saved by the Bell to prove my point. It would seem that to this day that the cast has lived out their on-screen assigned personas, either that or the show had the best casting director in the history of the industry. Here is my theory.


Look no further than the actor Dustin Diamond who played Screech. He was younger than his co-stars, smaller and played the nerd. After long enough of playing this role, it was as if the cast began to see him as only that. No matter how much Diamond bucked his assigned image later in life, the cast continued to dump on him as if he really were the bullied kid he played. His character assignment did not make him who he was but did affect how others saw him. Some might even argue that Mario Lopez is still the fitness buff and Mark Gosselaar is still considered the suave male from the personas that they played. It is as if the part became who they were as people even off-screen. The female cast members though were far less likely to continue on with the fictionalized characters that they played in their personal lives, at least to those on the outside looking in. This might be because males tend to engage in more hazing behaviors than females typically.


Growing up and being told you are something can shape the way you and the world see you. There is more to a person than being defined by clothing and assumptions, but tell that to a person who has been type-cast in their own life, you'll probably get a sarcastic response. This only proves how much influence we have on each other. When you tell a person the sky is a little purple whether it is or not, they will likely strain to see the purple and may go as far as to convince themselves that the sky is purple. The same logic goes to how people are viewed by others for the purposes of this fan theory.


There is more to life than being painted into a part and typecasting can exist for anyone who has been pegged into a hole. The problem is that the people around you might not be so willing to accept this logic. For Dustin Diamond, I believe that the supporting cast will always see him as his character and not as the person who he is, barring possibly Mario Lopez who has publicly been more obliging toward him. Maybe Mark Gosselaar has such a strong influence over the other women from the show that his word goes. Maybe it is that Diamond is as unlikeable as he is made out to be. There is definitely more than is shown that's for sure. What I do hope is that everyone can self check from time to time about how they treat others. Are we assuming a person's character based on our assumptions about them? Are you trying to understand who they are or jumping to conclusions? Tell me what you think in the site forums and as always. Let Your Inner Shut In Totally Wig Out!