TV and Movies

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).

unauthorized saved-by-the-bell lifetime

Dustin can’t even get no love in the poster for the movie he’s EP of. All the way in the back like an afterthought. Poor Dustin.

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.

cut it out saved by the bell

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.

pat on the back saved by the bell

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?

Previous post

LA, Johannesburg, DC, NYC and More: My Fall Travel Schedule

Next post

Whose Regretful Tattoo Is This?


  1. September 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I just wanna know why we didn’t see any of AC’s “sweet” dance moves. His entire dance montage in “The Max” is legendary. LOL. Oh well

  2. Sheletha
    September 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    and I’m strangely looking forward to the Brittney Murphy movie too

  3. September 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    But did you see the commercial for the upcoming Brittney Murphy movie? I’m sick to my stomach thinking how terrible that one will be, and how they’re capitalizing off that poor girl’s death smh

  4. Des
    September 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I only watched about an hour of it and DVR’d the rest. It was pretty boring, and the actress who played Lark/Lisa was slowly punching my childhood in the face. Granted, all the depictions were pretty kale-tastingly bad, but hers was the one I was most aversed to because she was my fave on the show.

    I didn’t read the book but I heard that Dustin wrote Mario Lopez raped some girl while on the show and the NBC producers quietly paid the victim off. And Dustin also how all Tiffani, Elizabeth, and Lark slept with Mark and Marioat different points throughout tho series. He even alleged that Mark and Tiffani had threesomes with the executive producer, Peter Engall, more than once. Again, I didn’t read the book so I don’t know if these scandals was really there. But they sure would have made this bone-dry movie a little bit more interesting.

    • IfYouEverComeBack
      September 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Well according to Dustin, his Ghost Writer took a lot of liberties with what he told him/her and most of the book is pure BS. Not sure if it’s true or if he’s just trying to save face, but that’s his side of the story.

  5. LeAnna
    September 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I tried to watch the movie. I really did. But I missed the first 15 minutes and then could not get through more than 10 minutes of it. While I was an adult when the show started (obviously still am an adult) I didn’t mind it and would watch it on Saturdays… I don’t know. If the worse things that happen behind the scenes were smoking dope, etc., drinking, (in other words, typical teenage stuff that me and most of my friends were doing in the 70’s) then it was a yawn fest before it even started. Sad commentary actually that something like those things I listed would be so normal as to be boring. Meanwhile, yes, the other part of the reason I switched channels was because it seemed disjointed and left me asking more questions…

  6. Patrice
    September 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I want to know why they totally failed to mention that Mario Lopez was famous from his Menudo days. He wasn’t in the original group but def like second generation and had an established fan base from that time. Shade from Dustin Diamond for leaving out that factoid.

    • yeahtam
      September 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Maybe they left it out because Mario Lopez was never,ever a member of Menudo…

      • TGaines
        September 2, 2014 at 7:08 pm

        Cosign. Every little Latino cutie wasn’t in Menudo. To break other false dreams, no members of DeBarge. They aren’t even Latino.

  7. Des
    September 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Sorry for all the typos. Typing on my phone under my desk at work is never a good look. Lol

  8. September 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t even finish the movie. I watched 30 minutes of it and then turned it off after yelling at the TV, “this is just terrible!” I grew up on Saved By the Bell. I was five also when Good Morning Miss Bliss aired, but I had a brother who was eleven years older than me so I watched it with him. SBTB is a part of my childhood, and this movie is just ridiculous. They’re going to be showing the Brittany Murphy movie next, and then my beloved Whitney. Lifetime is trying it. They need to go back to their movies with Patti Duke and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. Those movies were Gold!

  9. September 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I watched Houdini instead, then turned to SBTB for the encore. I’m so mad that I risked my job and stayed up late for that nonsense! What was the point of any of that? Oooh Lark and Mark Paul held hands under the table?! SCANDAL! I’m sorry, but this movie looked like it was put on by a high schooler who kind of maybe had heard something about some people you might know.

    • KP
      September 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      “I’m so mad that I risked my job and stayed up late for that nonsense!”

      I LOL’d at that part!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Monique
    September 2, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I didn’t watch it but as a SBTB nut…I plan on watching it. I also want to point out that Lark was on the Good Morning Miss Bliss show along with Screech and Zach…She started from the beginning just like they did.

  11. KathyMo
    September 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I remember “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” but I remember it from NBC, although Play Screech said it was on Disney. It was pretty cute. Lisa Turtle was an original on that too.

    This show was a mess. I watched it from beginning to end and my belly hurt every time they showed Play Zack and that Peanuts hair and Play Slater being super douche. By the first commercial break it was clear that Play Screech was butt hurt because Play Zack wasn’t his friend friend anymore.

    Do you plan on watching Brittany Murphy’s story this Saturday?

  12. September 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    You failed to mention the “freeze/still shots” where the extras moved and blinked as well as the generated fake muscle body hey put on Screech in his cheesy daydream about getting into a hot tub with girls.

  13. RaeJ
    September 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I watched and I’m still confused about the purpose. I do not feel as though I know anything that was behind the scenes of that show. If they ever do a behind the scenes of Beverly Hills, 90210 Lifetime does not need to go near it.

  14. howlingbanshee
    September 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I never knew the name of the SBTB high school. Now my mind done pictured the SBTB crew singing a “Bayside” version of the Eastside High school song from Lean on Me.
    “Fair Bayyy siiiiiiiiiiide” …and of course I pictured Screech trying to do the “Praise thy name, praise thy naaaame”…bless his heart.

  15. A Anthony
    September 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Girl this joint was dry as the desert. I mean, I watched until the end because I thought it would get super juicy, but nah, not at all. I was over it an hour in to it.

  16. Milaxx
    September 2, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I bet the hashtag was NBC’s fault. They squashed a lot of stuff like Screech’s suspenders and Lisa’s hats. I think that’s why we only saw a rehearsal of the “I’m so excited!” Scene and not a recreation of the set . NBC basically trademarked everthing they could.

  17. milaxx
    September 2, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Just had to repost your fake new post. Folks post Mr. Belding killed in a car crash. FB needs that satire button.

  18. September 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    According to his own autobiography, Dustin Diamond was a complete douche to his coworkers and made their lives a living hell:

  19. JustMarsha
    September 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I recorded and then watched it late that evening. For whatever reason, I was done when fake screech interrupted fake Zacks time out at the very beginning. But I watched the entire train wreck anyway. The acting was horrible, and the story was worse than reading Shades of Gray!!! It took everything in me not to smash toss something at the tv. Total waste of time!!!

  20. Christina
    September 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I’m a real fan. The show originally aired on Disney as a vehicle for Haley Mills- the Parent Trap and Pollyana actress. The three originals were really young then and it was a middle school. There was a boy who looked a little like Slater and some other girl-Nikki.
    I haven’t watched it, but I did DVR it for later consumption.

  21. Corey
    September 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I couldn’t believe I watched the whole thing. For starters, why was the cast all mini-versions? Couldn’t get over that. When it was time to graduate they looked 12. The real cast was grown and sexy. Also, using phrases like “that’s what she said” and “douche bag” were terrible because no one was saying that in the 90s! Not to mention the lack of feathering on TAT’s hair?!? Oh and that racist exec… What was her deal? One thing I did like we’re some of the girls’ outfits, would wear a few of those pieces today! All in all, poor attempt and I don’t sympathize with Dustin Diamond. However, still looking forward to the other upcoming Lifetime biopics, can’t help myself!

  22. Pretty Legit
    September 6, 2014 at 11:32 am

    The Sharknado of Lifetime Movie Network.