For fans of particular TV shows, Wikis are a means of making sure everything you love about a series is out there for the world to discover. It helps others learn about the show, while simultaneously providing a wealth of detail you may have overlooked. And while messing with Wikipedia is kind of annoying in general, what’s happening to the Saved By The Bell Wiki is a thing of genuine beauty. Some good samaritan has taken it upon themselves to start improving the show by making it the darkest, most existential howl of despair ever seen in a multi-cam teen sitcom. It starts in little ways: For example, in the description page for the season one episode “Screech’s Woman,” everything is normal, right until you hit the bottom of the page, where the “Quotes” section lists a single sample:
Screech: I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing.
Truly, the character of Screech is Saved By The Bell’s sentient heart of darkness. Or at least he would be, if it didn’t turn out the show itself was descending into despair. Just take a look at the sample quotes from “Save The Max,” the third episode of season two:
Max: To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul - would you understand why that’s much harder?
Screech: OK, guess if this is the sound of Kelly reaching climax or the death rattle of eight-year-old Anthony Shandling asphyxiating.
A truly unnerving exchange. Of course, at this point you might start to get a little curious, and return to the top to read the episode summary a bit more closely. (Also, given the transient nature of Wiki disruptions, we started taking screenshots for posterity.)
All bets are now off. Saved By The Bell has reached deep into America’s soul. Perhaps we have merely blocked all these episodes from memory, trying futilely to cling to the brief moments of levity between the endless gloom? After all, that’s the only explanation for why we’ve all forgotten the heart-stopping “A Thanksgiving Story”:
We can’t even begin to summon the mentally blocked traumatic encounter we must have had with the episode “Wedding Plans”:
We highly recommend heading over there and taking a look around. There are magical surprises on nearly every page, transforming Saved By The Bell from a milquetoast groaner of a sitcom to one of the most challenging modernist works of art ever produced in America. Ask not for whom the bell tolls—it tolls for Screech, not me.