3.29.2011

Life After the Bell: Samuel "Screech" Powers

Continuing my examination of what happened to the characters of Saved by the Bell once the lights turned off.




People have commented that my series on Saved by the Bell Characters has been pretty morbid, and to be honest I have to agree. I'm not sure why they turn out that way either. It's not like they're well-researched, re-written manuscripts. The creative process tends to be, "Oh shit, I haven't updated my blog in like three months. Let's see, uh, I can do another Life after the Bell. Fuck it." So obviously there is some weird darkness yearning to crawl out of my mind and inflict itself on the world, but if you know me you probably knew that already. The point I want to get across with this little expository paragraph is that nothing I could come up with would ever match the horror that is life for Dustin Diamond, aka the dude who played Screech. Guy is a straight train wreck and, from the personality he projects whenever a camera's on him, a complete shit head deserving of his misfortune. Anyway, this isn't about him. It's about Screech. But just know that Dustin Diamond sucks, and feel free to research that further on your own time...


Of all the Bayside gang, Samuel "Screech" Powers probably took graduation the hardest; mostly because he was such an insufferable douche bag that the only way he could maintain any sort of human contact was to remain in Zack's sphere of influence and be used for his occasional scientific insight. Sure he feigned ignorance or nonchalance about his social standing, but Screech could plainly see he was socially repellent to everyone he encountered. The one girl in high school who had shown him the slightest interest, Violet Ann Bickerstaff, he had dropped like a bad habit for not even a fleeting chance with Lisa Turtle.

Screech would later learn his obsession with Lisa and his social inadequacies were caused by high-functioning autism, a diagnosis he would receive through low-cost psychological evaluations courtesy of his college. After graduating college in the Top 2% of his class Screech found himself chronically unemployed and unable to get a foot in the door anywhere due to his crippling social inadequacy and tendency towards horrible gaffes in sensitive social situations. The worst was an interview with a biotech lab in Cupertino when the oil-reducing bacteria he had genetically engineered were somehow released and infected his own digestive system, causing him to inadvertently shit himself mid-interview.


He slunk back to Bayside where his mother secured him an apartment in an assisted living facility for the developmentally disabled. Eventually word got back to Mr. Belding, through students snickering at "the gangly retard taking notes on squirrels in the courtyard" and the beleaguered principal offered Screech a job out of pity. Powers quickly blossomed under Belding's tutelage and seemed to make progress in his social development, although he never could overcome his accident-prone nature.


Eventually the school board would call for Screech's immediate resignation after allegations surfaced that he had maintained an inappropriate relationship with a special needs student named Rosita. Screech would further complicate matters by taking his time to speak at the disciplinary hearing by espousing his love for Rosita, demanding that "just because she has the mental capacity of a 10 year old doesn't mean she can't fall in love." His additional evidence that Rosita's sexual prowess belied her maturity did not help matters. He refused to resign, resting his hopes on longtime friend Mr. Belding. He was dumbstruck and betrayed when Belding sadly explained that the school board's ruling was final and he had to let Screech go, and that he didn't agree with the relationship either.


Rosita's legal guardians stepped in and filed a restraining order against Screech, citing his previous obsession with Lisa Turtle. The mention of her name resurrected a longtime focus he had tried for years to bury. He began stalking her on the periphery, occasionally showing up at her clothing store or "accidentally" running into her at the mall. Long since desensitized to Screech's antics, neither Lisa nor her then-boyfriend-now-husband Frank were able to connect the dots about coming home to find the garage door open once a month or so. Nothing was ever missing or out of place, and though Lisa could swear some of her older, more broken in underwear were missing, she couldn't be 100% sure she hadn't just thrown them away after a particularly heavy period. Meanwhile Screech worked feverishly on his "Turtle Quilt," a horrible patchwork of huge, stained, ballooning Hanes for Ladies underwear.


One dreary afternoon in February Screech ran into Slater while walking through MacArthur Park. Their talk turned to high school, and what they'd been doing since then. Screech felt the familiar flush of shame on his cheeks when Slater couldn't help but explode in laughter in his face when he mentioned his position as Assistant Principal at Bayside. When Slater mentioned Violet, and his violent sexual conquest of her, something in Screech snapped.


He made his way back home, formulating a plan. They would all pay. All the Slaters and Zacks and everyone else who'd ever mocked him or ignored him or shamed him for being different. Screech began building an explosive device. Utilizing his extensive chemical engineering knowledge he was able to formulate a new explosive compound several orders of magnitude stronger than military grade C4. He reached out to Zack one final time in the hopes of luring the blonde bomber into the blast radius by entertaining Morris's idea for "one epic final prank." Screech played along because it benefited his interests to disgrace his former boss, Mr. Belding.


After hanging a horrific allegation of child molestation on Belding which ruined his life and would lead to his eventual suicide, Zack agreed to meet Screech at Torn Violet, formerly The Max, for a celebratory burger. Screech brought his explosive device, concealed in a rented delivery van, with a remote detonator in hand and pithy one liner burned into his brain. He would park near the entrance, walk in and locate Zack, shout his epithet, and detonate.


Unfortunately, in typical Screech fashion, the plot backfired. A loose wire broke free after the van hit a pothole, causing premature detonation of the explosive. Screech only had a fraction of a second to be blinded by the incredible flash; he never even felt the heat before the blast wave ripped his body apart. The resulting crater was the size of a city block. Years later a park has been commissioned over the site and a memorial to the 132 victims has been erected. The US Government used the incident to increase its encroachment on civil liberties in the interest of security. The chemical explosive was retro-engineered and is currently in use by the US Military in Afghanistan.


Screech's funeral was a small, private affair attended only by his parents and one uncle. Lisa Turtle sent a small bouquet. After several incidences of vandalism his body was disinterred and moved to an undisclosed location where it remains to this day, unmarked and unvisited.

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