At some point every Saved by the Bell fan has to decide where their allegiance lies: Are they Malibu Sands or Hawaiian Style ? It’s one of those pop culture debates that’s the most fun to have because both summers had no bearing on anything (in Bayside or life), and those who would seriously argue otherwise probably belong in the same category as fans giving poor Mark-Paul Gosselaar a hard time for conceding the series was “not a great show.” At the same time, we have to give SBTB credit for exploring summer vacation — a storyline TV shows have historically bypassed — even if one of the major plot points in both runs was Slater’s abs.
It’s probably a good thing the summers of our favorite characters were never made into full-length films à la Hawaiian Style, because, as the law of television time-jump dictates, nothing of real consequence happens during this season (unless of course you’re watching HBO). Still, there are those characters whose lives we can’t but help wish we’d seen more of over break, and so, we came up with a list. We hope you’ll add the summers you always longed to see (and that may or may not have driven you to write pages of fanfic under an undisclosed pen name) in the comments, because at the risk of sounding like your mom on the first day of camp, we always love hearing from you.
Freaks and Geeks: Lindsay’s trip with Kim and the Deadheads
Earlier this year series creator Paul Feig told the A.V. Club that he has no regrets over the series finale, and we have to agree Freaks and Geeks ended perfectly. That said, we can’t help but selfishly wish we could have seen Lindsay traversing the country in that VW with Kim Kelly and her new Deadhead friends. Some of the best moments in Freaks and Geeks were a function of the music (see: laser dome, the Homecoming dance, and unlikely character bonding), and we can only begin to fathom what the show would have done with a Grateful Dead concert.
At last year’s PaleyFest reunion panel Apatow revealed Lindsay’s journey would have ended with a bad acid trip, which we like to imagine as the denouement of an incredible summer that was always doomed to end in heartbreak, as so many coming-of-age stories do.
The Office: When Jim and Pam finally start dating/the one time there was a summer internship program
There are actually two summers of The Office we would have liked to see. First there was the break between Seasons 3 and 4, when Pam and Jim go on their official first date. We always felt sort of cheated that we didn’t get to see how it played out after all the build-up (it must have been incredibly awkward, but sweet, right?). Then there are the Dunder Mifflin summer interns, who we only get to see on their last day in the show’s Season 6 premiere (and in which they incite a pretty hilarious plotline that involves Michael outing Stanley’s infidelity and Pam’s pregnancy). In the episode we learn that their duties included listening to Kelly Kapoor cry while handing her tissues (see above), as well as un-arranging and then rearranging Kevin’s files. We would have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the other assignments delegated to them during the summer, and the snarky commentary they surely made about their supervisors during lunch break.
Gossip Girl: (Spotted!) S & B’s summer in Paris
At the beginning of Season 4 we got a glimpse of Serena’s foray into bohemianism (i.e. painting hot nude French men), the interior of Musée d’Orsay, and the ill-fated Prince Louis plot line, before the show whisked us back to NYC. That said, we confess that for completely superficial reasons we would have liked to see just a few more episodes of the girls’ summer vacation. Gossip Girl is the type of show that makes even New Yorkers fantasize about NYC for its fabulous locations, fashion, and cameos, and we wouldn’t have minded indulging in a similar treatment of Paris.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: All the summers combined
From the early summers when nothing happened in Sunnydale for no explicable reason (and Buffy had the luxury to spend the entire break shopping in LA) to later years when Giles goes all “Dumbledore” on Willow during her stay with him on the English countryside, we always longed to see more of the characters’ downtime, when they were acting liking normal teenagers. The show obviously would have been nothing without all the slaying and villain takedowns, but we only cared about the gang’s success because they were actual friends, dealing with all the complications real groups have. Which is why we would have gladly watched more episodes of Willow and Xander playing “guess that movie line” (and saying the uncensored things friends say when they’re alone) while tending to a slow summer of slayer duty.
30 Rock: Jack’s adventures in Washington/Kenneth at the Beiijing Olympics
Based on what little we saw, we think we would have enjoyed more of Jack’s summer trying to get fired from his post in the Bush administration (and eventually hooking up with Vice President Cheney) so that he could return to GE. As an added bonus this would have surely entailed more Liz/Jack long distance phone calls, where their mentor/mentee chemistry is impeccable. Further, we’d like to know what happened to Kenneth Parcell at the Beiijing Olympics that summer; the only clue was the very last scene of Season 2, which revealed him in bed, clad only in a robe and his page badge, with an attractive Chinese woman who said she liked him for his “two healthy kidneys” (according to the Wikipedia translation) before two henchmen stormed in with guns.
Meanwhile, Frank played Tracy’s porn video game straight through the entire summer — no questions there.
Community: Biology 101, re-do
For the record, we thought Community’s three-episode season finale was close to perfect. But if we were given the chance (say, in some alternate timeline) to ask questions about the the group’s stint in summer school, which took place in between this season’s penultimate episode and its final one, they’d be: What happened to Chang and his minions after their downfall? How did Greendale rebuild, and what costume changes were involved? Did Britta write to Troy at A/C school? Who taught Biology 101 (the second time)? And what’s summer school like?
The O.C.: Luke and Seth’s summer in Portland
At the end of one drama-packed first season, a nearly suicidal Seth Cohen took off on his boat “Summer Breeze,” unable to bear the thought of living in the O.C. without his best friend Ryan, who left to support Theresa, the mother of his unborn child. Fast forward to the beginning of Season 2, when we learned Seth’s voyage was cut short (he ran out of snacks) and re-routed by way of a Greyhound local to Portland, where he shacked up with reformed bully Luke Ward for the summer. We realize The O.C. only had room for one odd-couple bromance, but we grew rather fond of Luke as he became less stereotypical jock and more human (even if he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed), and would have enjoyed seeing this unlikely friendship blossom. At the least we would have liked some hint as to what these two talked about all summer.
Felicity: Ben and Felicity’s road trip
The end of Felicity’s first year of college came down to the inevitable: a good ol’-fashioned love-triangle standoff! Her options (which in voiceover she made clear were not dictated by male pressure, but only herself) were either to drive cross-country with Ben or join Noel in Berlin. When she returned for her sophomore year at the beginning of next season we learned she chose Ben, but not much more (except for the fact they didn’t have sex, thanks to the prodding of her roommate Meghan). Interestingly enough there is a book about this very summer entitled Felicity: Summer , but the author re-imagined Felicity with Noel, so no help there.
Dawson’s Creek: Joey and Pacey’s summer on “True Love”… while somewhere Dawson cried
In the Season 3 finale of the WB‘s other hit soap of the late ’90s/early aughts, another infamous love triangle came to a head, and needless to say, the bad boy won again. If you recall, Joey left Dawson sobbing on a dock to spend the summer sailing the Keys with his best friend. And when the new couple returned to Capeside at the beginning of Season 4, the rest of gang wanted to know one thing: Did they or didn’t they? They didn’t, which is why we’re still dying to know what they were doing those three months.
Seinfeld: “The Summer of George”
In the premiere of Seinfeld’s final season we learned that during “The Summer of George” — one of the most infamous summers in TV history — the gang (minus Elaine) sported mustaches to take “a vacation from themselves.” We’re fully aware that a running mustache gag can only go so far, but we would have liked to see more strategic facial hair for, we’ll say, the sake of continuity.