Anyone looking for a poster/trailer quote about Unauthorized: The Saved by the Bell Story, this one is for you…
“I’d call it garbage, but that would be unfair to garbage.”
It’s almost impossible to find out where to begin. This made-for-TV movie on Lifetime is based on a book Dustin Diamond (a.k.a. Screech) wrote. It’s two hours long, but with ample commercials, and when it’s over it’s hard to figure out what the heck the point was?
The movie gives some background on the concept of the show, and the original version Good Morning, Miss Bliss, but these scenes are just awful. They play out like a 10-year old wrote them. Essentially, every one of these scenes goes, “we have a problem”…wait 3 seconds…“here is the solution”. There is virtually no drama or suspense or comedy whatsoever. Most Saved by the Bell fans were probably at least hoping for some scandalous content, or at least more insight into some episodes, but alas there was none of that.
It was clear that the Unauthorized part of the title restricted them from even re-creating actual scenes from the show. So even when they showed them filming, there were just made up, with the one exception, sort of. The famous Jessie taking pills scene was re-created in a rehearsal offstage, which is probably the only way they could get around it.
The show didn’t dive much into the personal lives of characters, outside of a few small things here and there. And all of the rumored hooking up and love triangles seemed mostly absent. The closest drama came Screech’s drinking and drug problem, which seemed pretty tame compared to some of the stories that have gone around over the years.
Because this was based on Diamond’s book, it was told mostly from the perspective of the character playing Diamond. These stories were clearly written from the way he remembers them, and he certainly goes out of his way to try and make himself seem like the most sympathetic character. In reality though, he probably makes feel less sorry for him.
Diamond had the least success after Saved by the Bell, and he is pretty much the only one who hasn’t tried to greatly distance himself from the show. Because of that, he can make movies like this because no one else from the cast probably cares anymore.
This movie was poorly written, poorly acted and cheaply made. All of those things are probably true about most Lifetime movies. It’s very likely that most of the people watching this were seeing the first Lifetime movie of their lives1. So it’s likely that this was par for the course. But it is hard to imagine that even the biggest diehard Saved by the Bell fan could find this remotely worth their time.
- I am pretty sure I was [↩]