So I Watched Lifetime’s Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story
I was 5 in 1990 when Saved by the Bell got its start and I haven’t seen too many behind-the-scenes specials on it. I’ve watched (and continue to watch) reruns of SBTB throughout the years and like many 80s kids, I’m a huge fan of the kids of Bayside High. This is why some of the background stuff from the poorly done and barely tolerable Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story on Lifetime was new to me.
The movie was based on Dustin Diamond’s tell-all book “Behind the Bells” which he later distanced himself from. But Dustin was also credited as an Executive Producer for this “story” and it was narrated by teenage version of him. So his fingerprints were all over it and we could all tell because he tried to make “I was a victim” fetch happen throughout the 2 hours. I’m not sure if we were supposed to walk away liking the man who plays Screech more but if that was the point, it failed successfully.
Saved by the Bell was originally a show called “Good Morning Miss Bliss” and it was about the teachers. After one terrible season, that got cancelled but NBC wanted to try it out by focusing on the students. Screech and Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), and Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies).were the originals from the Miss Bliss show and they brought them back. They added AC Slater (Mario Lopez), Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) and Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen).
What happens when you have 6 teenagers working closely together? Hormones, drama, ego, immaturity, dating, heartbreak and basically mini high school. However, this movie did a terrible job of telling the story of the behind the scenes cohesively. It just jumped from one thing to another. At one point, it was showing us the relationship between Mark and Lark. Then it mentioned that she was a Jehovah’s Witness so she couldn’t date and then we barely saw them together again. How did their friendship change? What was the real fallout? WE DIDN’T KNOW.
We learned that Mario Lopez was basically AC Slater in real life (ladies man who loved wrestling and was really BFFs with Mark). Elizabeth and Tiffani-Amber convinced the producers to tackle tougher subjects (like the infamous pill popping episode). Tiffani and Mark had some relationship but we wouldn’t know about we saw two hasty scenes about them flirting. And Dustin’s first kiss ever was on the show; it was with Tori Spelling.
The movie spent a lot of time showing us how “weird” Dustin felt as the the youngest and the geekiest. We find out that his downward spiral was cause by some unnamed Asian sidekick who introduced him to alcohol and then MARREJOOANA. When they sent the rest of the cast to Miami, NYC and Paris, he was sent to South Carolina for an appearance, #RandomAsianSidekick got him wasted and Dustin almost got fired.
As he was getting really outta control, he got in to an altercation with some dude who insulted him in public and punched him out.
This is how you know Dustin is behind this. That tough guy scene. He was like “Hey. Tell people I punched someone. SHOW IT!” Bless his heart.
The movie wrapped with the scene where they all graduated from Bayside High, with updates on what everyone else went on to do. Yes, that terrible College Years season. Dustin’s epilogue didn’t end with the fact that he went on to do a bad porno.
What’s sad is that Dustin Diamond can’t even make himself likeable, even through his own eyes. Damb. Even though he tried to show how they all treated him like the red-headed stepchild with lice and foot & mouth disease.
The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story was pretty bad. No one should pat themselves on the back for this flick.
The only reason I could even deal was that I was watching it with my Twitfam and they make anything fun with their snark. The story was disjointed, it told us nothing we didn’t kinda know before about the dynamics in the background and it wasn’t even well-acted. It didn’t spill much tea so I was all thirsty. It was supposed to be a “tell-all” but they told a bold-faced lie.
Then, the boy playing Mark-Paul Gosselaar was rocking the most pitiful yellow hairhat. I don’t even want to call it blonde. It was just sad boots on his head and I wondered why the props department (yes, because surely it wasn’t hair) had him out there so bogus.
Lifetime had a strategy meeting for 2014. The strategy: bad biopics that we’d shade watch and tweet. SUPER SMART. Because I might be watching the Whitney Houston biopic just to make fun of fake Bobby Brown’s bad wig. Oh and shoutout to the fact that they picked the official hashtag #Unauthorized for the movie. I rebelled and used #UnauthorizedSBTBStory because just #Unauthorized said nothing about what we were all tweeting about. Their Twitter account messaged me back with “Long story” when I asked why they picked that tag. Chile, ok.
All I walked away with was the need for there to be a Poor Dustin Tumblr. That’s even more needed than the Poor Michelle one.
Did y’all watch the movie? Whatchu think?