There’s no racism that can’t be solved by soda!
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Track team, running, racing, racism…
There’s a, thing, here. Like a joke. Except not funny. A pun!
Oh, god! The awkward humor in this story! It hurts! It hurts so bad! I actually had to pause the video and walk away for a bit a few times. I know that the awkwardness is supposed to be the source of the humor, but I can’t stand that type of humor. Especially when it’s done as terribly as in this episode.
Jessie is a good example of a guilt-ridden white liberal and why I can’t stand those kinds of people. They can be some of the most unintentionally condescending people you meet. And they’re so proud of themselves for being so humble.
I suppose this episode is a sign of the times when shows were trying to show that they cared about social issues, but usually handled them in a clumsy way. I mean, this is the same time period that gave us Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
In a way, it’s a little messed up but this was before 2017 where 90% of things were deemed offensive. LOL. I think this episode would have been fine (but still ridiculous because well… Saved by the Bell) if Zack wasn’t dressed up for his second presentation.
I don’t know, I think him dressing up might’ve been okay if they’d put some research into what various pieces of costumery were meant to signify and how to put them together. Like, the head dress which has to be earned to be worn, that’s a big iffy part of all of this. The root of this episode’s problems are A: It’s not funny (because it’s Saved by the Bell), and B: They didn’t try to make it remotely accurate or thought out…. because it’s saved by the bell.
Wow, just… holy crap. I remember some reviewer (can’t remember which) covered this show on kind of an overview of the series as a whole, and this was mentioned as one of the dumber and most accidentally racist aspects of it, but I had no idea. That stuff about what’s essentially Jessy trying to deal with ancestral white guilt is so badly mangled. And, wow, they really didn’t put any effort at all into researching actual any individual Native American cultures, huh? And the head dress, really?? I’m honestly pretty confused how they could fuck it up that bad considering the fact they had a legitimate Native American man in the episode and they could’ve just asked him and his family for some basic info so they didn’t come across as plain stupid. And I find it funny that his presentation is basically identical to the one they already did with him painting screech, just taking it dead-serious rather than hamming it up and stomping around, yet that’s supposed to be the big respectful version. For goodness’ sake, Power Rangers was doing a Native American episode at roughly the same time as this, and its writers actually bothered to look into things closely. I guess their hearts were in the right place? But the execution, damn, hahaha.
Then again, at least this wasn’t Star Trek: Voyager, which fucked up every single time it tried to bring in Chakotay’s supposed Native American ancestry. They didn’t even get a real Native American man to play Chakotay either, Robert Beltran’s ancestry was Mexican. They also got all their facts completely wrong from a charlatan who called himself “Jamake Highwater” conning people into thinking he was a Native American and a scholar in their history and culture, despite the fact he was not, in fact, Native American at all, his actual name was Gregory J. Markopoulos, and he had even less actual knowledge of the subject as this episode of Saved by the Bell. Thanks to their blunder of picking this idiot who was already proven to be a con artist at the time, Chakotay spent seven years being one of the most horrendously awful, racist characters on a terrible show when it came to mismatched nonsensical completely made-up bullshit. All that in an effort to make a positive role model for Native Americans. Congrats, worked out real well >.>
I agree with pretty much everything you said, save for one point. Being of Mexican descent, Robert Beltran almost certainly does have some Native American blood, since most Mexicans are “mestizos,” the product of interbreeding between Europeans and Native Americans. Granted, it’s something of a stretch to then cast him as a Native American, since the connection is tenuous at best, but at least there’s something there, which is more than I suspect there is for the actor playing Zack.
I wasn’t aware of the connection between Native Americans and Mexicans, but then I suppose it stands to reason there would be a link there given the continents involved. Though I do find it kinda funny that they picked a Poerto-Rican actor for Chakotay’s father, again instead of a Native American, and all the other folks from the expedition in that episode were white guys pretending to be Native American. Boy, for a group of people who apparently wanted to show how great the future was for Native American inclusion, it would’ve been nice if the Voyager staff had actually included some Native Americans in the cast, y’know? Like, even once? I’m sure they’re not hard to find, just go to the people who cast Northern Exposure, they had no problems at all finding dozens of actors who fit the role and ethnicity they were shooting for.
As for Zack, I looked into it, and it’s a funny thing; Zack’s actor, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, is of Jewish, German, Asian and Dutch ancestry. His ancestors come from almost everything except for Native American as is being peddled in this episode, which I find kind of hilarious, if sad.
There actually was a Native American character in the animated Star Trek series–Mister Walking Bear, who appeared in the episode “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth,” in which the Enterprise encounters a winged serpent creature named Kulkulkan who apparently once visited Earth and was a god to the Mayans. Walking Bear was a one-shot character, but still a more respectful representative of Native Americans than Chakotay, despite appearing more than two decades earlier. Of course, this might be because the writer of the episode, Russell Bates, was Native American himself.
Yeah I did know about that episode, thanks to SFDebris’ Trek reviews, who mentioned details about his creation. Kinda funny though that one of the many animation errors on TAS made him whiter than everyone else, but then he does spend most of his life in space, and we do know in the Trek universe there are people who were born on starships and view that as home, so I figured he just doesn’t see the sun much.
Tumblr summed up in a single episode.
Good god I hated Screech.
The actor was terrible, and the whole brainy nerd who could build robots but was dumb as oatmeal was already tired by the 90s, yet somehow lived on in Screech and Steve Urkel for years. At least Jaleel White had basic comic timing and a knack for physical comedy despite the idiotic way his character was written. Dustin Diamond was a stand out bad actor on a show filled with mediocre actors.
However, Alison brings up an interesting angle here: Screech’s idiocy coming off as sarcastic – What if Screech was really a bully or psycho that has all the beautiful popular teens terrified or blackmailed and he is cruel and mocking of them while sponging off their wealth and popularity?
You know those Garfield cartoons where either all of Garfield’s thought bubbles are removed, or Garfield is removed entirely?
Imagine Saved by the Bell clips where Screech’s lines are somehow altered or given a laughtrack/audience groan cue to make his lines actually come off as intended to be bitingly sarcastic and mocking instead of eye-rolling stupid.
Phelous…fire up the editing software and make it happen!
The thing that I hated the most about Screech was how inconsistently his character was written. Initially, Screech was one of the smartest kids in school , but then the shows’ writers decided to focus almost exclusively on Screech being a dork by making him incapable of grasping even the simplest of concepts, yet he was still able to build sentient robots and the like. In the last episode, the writers decided to elevate Zack’s godly status even further by indicating that he possessed genius level intelligence with off-the-charts SAT scores rather than Screech. So it wasn’t enough that Zack was the coolest kid in Bayside High, he had to be the smartest too? Later on, Screech would suffer the ultimate indignity by returning on “Saved By the Bell: The New Class” as a teacher’s assistant rather than going on to become a 20 something tech billionaire or a captain of industry.
Steve Urkel was nails-across-a-chalkboard annoying, but at the very least his character was consistently smart.
BTW, I hated how the nerds on this show were depicted as being stereotypical Poindexters with thick framed, taped glasses, collared shirts buttoned all the way to the top, pocket protectors, high water pants, saddle shoes, etc. Heaven forbid there be a nerd who was worthy of hanging with the “cool” kids. Just because a kid possesses above average intelligence, that doesn’t mean that they have to dress like dorks. Smart kids like to wear t-shirts and cool sneakers also. Just once I’d like to see a kid genius on a kidcom who wears cool clothes, has friends and a social life.
If I could, I’d give Goldstar’s and Jon Protagonist’s posts 1000 likes.
But then how will kids learn to pigeonhole people if characters are more than just their stereotype?
Shit like this is why I avoided all sitcoms and never stopped watching cartoons as a kid.
I’m more related to the Nez Perce, even if I was adopted into the tribe. My grandfather used to preach at Lapwai United Methodist Church on the Nez Perce reservation near Lapwai Idaho and was appointed an honorary member of the tribe who in turn adoped me into the tribe. I used to go to church there when he preached, I still get the churches newsletter in the mail every month and even have a picture my grandmother painted of the church. The Nez Perce mainly lived in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, not California. You can really tell that the show writers didn’t do much research on local Native American Tribes. Especially since the Nez Perce didn’t really wear ornaments like the headdress.
This whole self hatred of slave owning ancestors pisses me off. My ancestors owned and sold slaves, and I don’t real give a fuck. It was a different time, and it’s over.
My ancestors WERE slaves, and while I’m not going to go so far as to say that I don’t give an F about it, I agree that that ugly period in history is over and I’m not going to irrationally hold a grudge against my Caucasian neighbors because of it. Everyone who were or owned slaves are now deceased, and both sides need to move on from it. To the Southerners who still go around waving Confederate flags, I say the same thing that they say to the other side after this election: you lost, get over it.
To quote Morgan Freeman: “If you really want to put an end to racism, stop talking about race.”
Also, so few white people were actually wealthy enough to own slaves. The idiots defending the confederacy were more than likely the descendants of the fools that lived in generational poverty because so much labor could be done at literal slave wages.
Of course they never really put all that together. Those same people yell about foreigners taking all their jobs. I guess it’s okay as long as the underclass gets no pay or human rights instead of just poverty wages and risk of being deported.
I’ll never understand this mindset.
Okay, just checked to make sure what I said before was accurate, but indeed, the guy who plays “Chief Henry” in this episode is absolutely Native American. Specifically, Chirichacua Apache.
So lemme get this straight, they had a genuine, actual Native American man, who easily could’ve told them anything they needed to know ahead of time to get this accurate and not insulting, and it didn’t even occur to them to try asking him a single damn thing?! Ughhhhh….
Ugh, we owned those same tomahawks growing up…
What if you’re adopted or just don’t have any information on your family? Do you automatically fail that project?
Man, it was a simpler time. A time when people could get away with this stuff via the excuses of lack of resources or “dumbing it down” for a kid audience. Today’s kids cartoons (the ones for older kids, anyway) can be pretty thought-provoking and smart. I like to think it’s because we’re the generation that grew up with Saved By The Bell and want to do better, lol…