Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story aired last night, and the reviews are in. And they are not good.
First, the good news: the hashtag #UnauthorizedSavedbytheBellStory was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter within minutes of the show’s beginning, according to The Washington Post. And while the Nielsen numbers aren’t in, as of this post, that does bode well for Lifetime.
That bad news is that the show failed to deliver on its promise of salacious behind-the-scenes drama, opting instead to focus on mundane cast issues that have probably happened on every teen show since the beginning of teen shows.
The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story purports to tell the behind-the-scenes story of the hit 90’s teen sitcom Saved By The Bell, and briefly touches upon its one-season spin-off, Saved By The Bell: The College Years. The show is largely based on actor Dustin Diamond’s (Screech) tell-all book, Behind The Bell. The problem is the cast and producers of Saved By The Bell – including Dustin Diamond himself, according to Entertainment Weekly – have all distanced themselves from the book. Which is odd, to say the least, since Dustin Diamond himself helped narrate the show and took a Producer credit.
The behind-the-scenes drama promised by Lifetime wasn’t all that dramatic. The cast didn’t all hate each other; in fact, most of the drama came from friction between the show’s cast and its producers. As the show became a success, the teen actors increasingly felt “trapped” by the squeaky-clean image they were expected to present to the Saturday-morning viewers, and tried to lobby the producers for more meaningful scripts. To an extent, they succeeded; a couple episodes of the show veered into Very Special Episode territory, like one episode dealing with the dangers of caffeine pills.
Despite hints of sexual tension between the boys and girls in the hormonal teen cast, nothing happened. As Variety writer Brian Lowry put it:
“As for the salacious stuff, it’s all inordinately tepid – nobody rounds first base.”
The most outrageous thing that’s purported to have happened behind the scenes of Saved By The Bell is Dustin Diamond showing up drunk to a promotional event in South Carolina. Actually, Dustin Diamond’s drinking problem was all too real, and unfortunately for him, post-Bell he devolved into typical ex-child-star problems: addiction, bankruptcy, becoming a laughingstock.
Did you enjoy The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story? Let us know below.
Image courtesy of: TV Rage