Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saved by the Eclipse

Alright, fangirls, we're onto you.

Men everywhere have been scratching their head as to why an undead & obsessive 120-something-year-old without a pulse is an attractive suitor. And why, in the most obvious of horror-creature literary cliches, a lovelorn female protagonist suddenly caught in a love triangle between the creature-of-the-night vampire and moon-loving werewolf is something a) new and b) interesting.

Now, some men are proposing that women are a creature far more mysterious and peculiar than either werewolves OR vampires. But I think I have found a pattern of behavior that can explain the most recent craze that has absolutely nothing to do with horror mythology. It has to do with what makes a popular and obsession-worthy character for the female literary market without the stigma of a romance novel.

(Who wants to read a book with Fabio shirtless on the cover? Your mother, that's who. And that won't do.)

At their core, the characters in the latest fad can be understood by looking back at another craze that everyone was obsessively caught up in: Saved by the Bell.

Watch a TBS rerun of Saved by the Bell. I dare you. You'll watch, sit in a nostalgia-induced stupor and quickly start to ignore the part of your brain that is telling you that no... this show really isn't that good.


It's true. Admit it: Mr. Belding is cheesier than a Taco Bell Quesadilla. A.C. Slater has terrible hair. The jokes aren't really that funny, and they certainly are not timeless. And that "after-school special, lesson-learned" conclusion at the end of each episode is little more than a vapid, television-secluded, teachable moment existing only in an ethical vacuum that the characters will forget about the following episode.

(Actually, come to think of it, perhaps the show really IS a good interpretation of high school!)

But ongoing popularity insists that there is something special about Saved by the Bell, just the same as the Twilight book/film series. And if you take a close look at the characters of both shows, and you will see the similarities that elevate them to fangirl superstardom:

The Winner: A Shiny Bad Boy

Look at the two of these high school studs. Sure, one of them probably doesn't have a soul (and the other one is a vampire. ZING!). But they both glitter like a diamond in the sunlight. Each is a sweet "bad boy" who makes bad decisions but deep down has a redeemable heart. Both are shaped by their relationships with their lady lovers and find their true love. Also note the use of product in the hair, and the lack of a mullet.

At this point, I'm obligated to point out that Dorothy was lying when she said she loved Scarecrow most. She was absolutely having some sort of unholy affair with the Tin Man. The guy was looking for his HEART for God's sake. How could she resist knocking ruby boots with that kind of sensitivity?

The Loser: A Bad Hair Transformation

A word of warning to the world of men: there are some mistakes that the most reasonable woman will never forgive:

1. Forgetting her birthday
2. Forgetting your anniversary
3. Forgetting that anything that even flirts with being a mullet is off limits.

Sure, you can give yourself a new haircut, spend your days in the gym and become a glorified Adonis. Look at how both "Slater" and "Jacob" blossomed:

There are six packs, and then there are what those guys have now. They look like Hercules and Superman had a child with a Latino/Native American supermodel, and then were trained by Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa.

But you know what? Both these guys get beat out time and time again by their sparkley competition. Their previous hairstyle debacles weigh down their game like a pocket protector. No matter how well cut they are now, their Casanova days in a fictional universe will be an uphill climb. So what if they can beat the tar out of their pasty Anglo-Saxan competitor? So what if they are more sensitive (and only modestly more ambiguously gay?)

Being some embodiment of Death is fine, so long as you look good doing it. And bad hair and a tendency towards feral behavior will (like yourself) come back to bite you.

In Conclusion:

It will always pay to be "Meet Joe Black", not "Meet Joe Dirt."