Wow… he really doesn’t talk like that all the time…

Star Dates, Episode 2
Featuring: Dustin Diamond (aka Screech from Saved by the Bell)

Star Dates’ premise is to combine the show Blind Date, Elimidate, Disgusting Date, and any other dating show you can think of. The twist here is to set up dates between a B list actor and a normal (read: not famous, but probably trying to be) citizen. Jordan Black hosts, and brings a healthy supply of sarcasm to the task.

The “Celebrity”

Dustin Diamond is best known for his portrayal of Screech Powers on the long running syndication show, Saved by the Bell, and all of it’s progeny, including Saved by the Bell - Hawaiian Style, Saved by the Bell – The College Years, Saved by the Bell – Wedding in Las Vegas, and of course Saved by the Bell - The New Class. I was disappointed that financing fell through for Saved by the Bell - The Exciting Years.

All in all, Diamond has made quite a successful career for himself playing the Screech role. I hadn’t realized the show had been that popular, though I would credit Tiffany Amber-Theissen and Elizabeth Berkley for that success.

Right now, you are probably thinking to yourself, “Gee Bill, you would have to be a remarkable thespian to perform in the wide range of roles that he was called upon for in those shows.”, and you would be right!... If we were talking about someone else…

No, for his several years of service to the franchise, Diamond pretty much didn’t develop his character beyond choosing a new tacky tie and suspenders each season. That’s okay though, as he will be retiring on residuals while smart-alek’s like me are trying to keep warm sewing Enron stock certificates into blankets.

Remarkably, Diamond’s career DID begin with his role as Screech, but not officially on Saved by the Bell. Apparently USA Network takes the blame for introducing this program to our televisions when they debuted a show called Good Morning Miss Bliss in 1987. The show is now referred to as Saved by the Bell – The Junior High Years, by the purists who follow the franchise and attend the many regional conventions… well… I am guessing there must be regional conventions…

He got his indoctrination into annoying voice mastery with his minor role in Big Top Pee-Wee, and I sincerely hope he didn’t get his introduction into anything else as a result of his time with Paul Rubens.

Like most Hollywood celebrities, Diamond does not want to be typecast as a geek forever, and you have to admire his misguided attempts to escape that label. He wrote, produced, and directed himself in Dustin Diamond Teaches Chess… He has also made several guest appearances in shows such as Celebrity Boxing 2, where he defeated Ron "Horshack" Palillo, and in Wrestlemania 2000 where he was the Blue Meanie’s tag team partner… gosh, way to break out of that perceived geeky-ness there Dustin…

Lately Diamond has been performing stand up comedy and playing bass, with his band, Salty the Pocket Knife. Now, the 25 year old actor is bringing his impressive sexual magnetism to Star Dates… and whom shall he be dating?

The “Normal” Folks

Tawny is a 23 year old who hails from Orange County in Southern California. She is a tall blonde who is really quite attractive. As with many young women in the Hollywood area, Tawny is a Model… uhm, Waitress, who is a self described party girl. She freely admits that she knows she has “got it” and she intends to “flaunt it”, because she never knows when her looks will go away.

Robin is 27 and from Texas. Robin is a very big woman at 6’ and 185lbs, but that is muscle weight I assure you, for she is currently ranked #3 in the world in competitive bodybuilding. I don’t know who does the ranking for that sort of thing, but I am not going to be the one who asks that question as Robin has a remarkably deep voice for a woman, has one of those Pat-like names that can apply to a man or a woman, can bench a clean 250lbs, and squat well over 300lbs. That my friends, is nature’s warning sign to tread lightly… pay heed… pay heed…

Based upon what we know of our competitors, you can place your bets now for whom Dustin seemed to connect with, and you might be surprised at the results…

Date #1 – Tawny

Tawny is waiting for Jordan in the hotel lobby. She is wearing a white tank-top-tie-around-type thingy and the proverbial painted on jeans. Now her outfit pretty much lets us know that she has quite a nicely proportioned figure, but in case you aren’t one for the subtleties of life, the producers prove this fact to us by cutting to multiple pool exit shots of Tawny in the grandest imitation of the way Erin was treated on Survivor.

Jordan conducts the now familiar envelope ceremony and reveals to Tawny who her date is going to be. She immediately recognizes Screech from the headshot. While she was a avid watcher of the show, and in fact confesses to still watching the reruns today, Tawny does admit that she didn’t find Screech all that attractive a character.

In an ominous bit of foreshadowing, Dustin lets us know that he has had his fill of partying in life and he feels old. Whereas Tawny has let us know at every opportunity that she is a party girl, and looking to do more of that.

Dustin picks up Tawny with Jordan driving the Escalade as usual. Tawny seems more comfortable now that she has seen a more mature version of Dustin in person. In the car, she immediately lets us know that she is glad that she wasn’t matched up with some boring pretty boy afraid to have fun.

Dustin sees the Freudian aspects of that comment and playfully remarks that he is sure glad he is an exciting pretty boy. He then notes that he is not going to be getting any pretty boy roles in the future, and is more likely slated to play Prison B**ch #3 on Oz.

Tawny is indeed a drinker, for she begins with multiple beers on the way to their first dating activity. Further, she offers to do shots of Tequila on command. Liquid courage thus supplied, she confesses to Dustin several things about herself…

Spot Quiz! What is the proudest moment of her life?

a) Saving an abandoned animal and nursing it back to full health
b) Caring for her convalescent mother
c) Building homes for Habitat for Humanity
d) Saving up enough money to pay for her own boob job

The answer is of course, D!

What activities has she engaged in?

a) Nude modeling
b) “Showered” with two other woman and a guy
c) Routinely staying up all night drinking and partying
d) All of the above

Once again, the answer is D!

Their first stop is an exercise in dipping strawberries in chocolate. Dustin seems to be enjoying himself and he is quite a good conversationalist. However, soon they run out of strawberries to dip, and they are ready to move on.

Dustin asks Tawny, what she would like to do next, and he suggests they go play pool (no… not play in the pool… jeez Wayner!). Tawny, ever true to form suggests that they drink!

They proceed to a rather upscale pool hall and commence the consumption of several gallons of beer. It is pretty obvious that Tawny is quite drunk at this point and having a good time. Dustin seems to be playing along, but it comes across as more of a sarcastic joking type treatment of his date.

From here, they leave for the hotel… or the HO-tel as Jordan refers to it. It is really difficult to follow the end of this date, for the producers cut to a nighttime shot of Tawny in the hot tub, but Dustin isn’t present, and she is asking the cameras to go away so Dustin will come back.

Then they cut to a scene in the lobby of the hotel where the couple is discussing the challenges inherent in a long distance relationship, and they part with a kiss. Finally, Tawny and Jordan confess that Dustin snuck in a make-out session with Tawny in the bathroom while she was getting into her swimsuit.

We honestly can’t tell what all went on, but it appears that Dustin is now as familiar with Tawny as was her photographer…

Date#2 – Robin

Jordan meets up with Robin who is wearing a very tight half cut workout shirt and sweatshirt, and shorts in which the seams are hanging on for dear life. This is a classic example of clothes some people should not wear… But, I will need to edit that out later, for I am scared of Robin…

She knows of Screech and is laughing hysterically at the thought of dating him. Being the trooper she is (or was… perhaps The Smoking Gun can help us with this…) she is looking forward to the evening.

Dustin and Robin meet up, and after a few awkward moments, begin to communicate quite well. He asks her about her start into bodybuilding, and makes several funny references to enjoying a date with her, because he can let her walk out in front and he will feel protected. For Robin’s part, she gets his humor, and seems to be warming up to him.

Side Comment – At this point, I should note that I went into this episode with a perception that Dustin was going to be an annoying geek, and by now I have seen that he is actually quite funny, intelligent, well balanced, and frankly a guy I would hang out with… but not in a prison sort of way…

They go to Gold Gym, which is apparently where Robin spends the vast majority of her life. Robin walks him through a workout, and introduces him to the equipment and how to use it. She comments that it was refreshing to see a man who wasn’t afraid to let her teach him something… sadly, or perhaps fortunately… this is not foreshadowing.

They have a pull-up contest, and Dustin cranks out 10. Robin could clearly do quite a few more than that, but she points out that it is never a good idea to rub it in to your opponent, and she stops at 12. It’s just that kind of caring and sharing that is going to keep these two lovebirds together for a long time.

Their workout complete, the couple heads for the door and dinner… I am now hoping that they will shower and change clothes before that dinner…

In confessionals, Robin has now completed her 180-degree shift in opinion. She feels that there might well be a chance for romance between her and Dustin, and it definitely comes across in a way that indicates she would like that romance to occur. Dustin on the other hand, confesses that he is attracted to her intelligence and confidence, and that too comes across in a way that would imply that he is looking to get to know here better.

At dinner, Dustin completes the transition into becoming Robin’s boy toy when he allows her to order for him. It seems that Dustin flunked out of kindergarten when they held the identification of common foods lesson, as he has mistaken the chicken for fish.

Nothing funny really happens during this dinner. It appears to be a classic example of two people wanting to get to know each other, and their conversation is focused as such.

Back at the hotel, they agree to make an early night of it as both of them need to catch planes in the morning. Lest you think a blow-off has occurred, they both exchange phone numbers, and make multiple references to when they will get together again. I believe that they will indeed do that.

It is an interesting case study to compare Dustin in the two dates. He was a good companion in both of them, but he clearly saw Tawny as a fun toy, and Robin as a fun person. So, much like in a good Jerry Springer episode, we too have learned something valuable…

Next Week:

Star Dates introduces the first episode to include a woman as the celebrity, and who would be more appropriate for that role than Jill Whelen. Yes, the little girl from The Love Boat. I am hoping that their dates occur on a cruise ship with Issac behind the bar.

You know, most people don’t even realize that one of Teri Hatcher’s first roles was as a Love Boat Mermaid…but I digress. Until next week…

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