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ProFanity Presents: The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story

If you were of a certain age in the early ’90s, you undoubtedly watched Saved By The Bell. You had a preference between Zack Morris or AC Slater. You wanted to be either Kelly Kapowski, Jessie Spano, or Lisa Turtle. And you pitied Screech. We all pitied Screech. This Labor Day, Lifetime decided the only thing missing from our day of cook-outs and naps was an unauthorized look at the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the fictional Bayside High.

ProFanity Saved By The Bell Movie

And we were there for every moment of it. We tuned in and even live-tweeted it – though we refused to use their suggested #Unauthorized hashtag. Seriously, who’s running Lifetime’s social media efforts? That hashtag was horrible. Here’s what a few of the resident ProFans (Nina, Patti, and Robyn) had to say about the movie as they answered questions provided by ProFan John.

Nina

Do you know any more than you did before watching the movie?

I know that the ’90s fashion was worse than I remembered. As for everything else, I don’t know if what I know is actually true because this was based on Dustin Diamond’s book, and he could very well be full of shit. That said, I know that according to Diamond, for some reason, Mark-Paul Gosselaar had to dye his own roots. Really, NBC?

Zach Morris Dye Job

 

I know that Mario Lopez liked to drop and give us 20 for no fucking reason. I know that made Dustin Diamond want to prove that he too could do pushups and I know that really annoyed Mark-Paul for some reason. I know that the girls seemed to get along like sisters until Lark thought Tiffini-Amber was macking on her man, Mark-Paul.

And, unfortunately, I know that Tiffini-Amber and Mark-Paul actually had people call them by both names. And that’s just silly.

The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story

Did watching this make you long for the fashion of the early ’90s?

No. No. Not even a little bit. Elizabeth Berkley’s acid-washed jeans were SO tight and so high on her waist. And SO tight! I got a yeast infection just watching.

How close to the original cast was this cast? Are any of the actors in this movie better than the original cast member they’re playing?

I am so glad you asked this! It allows me to say something I wanted to say but was scared to because it’s kinda mean. The actresses playing Tiffani-Amber and Lark were so pretty. Like, prettier than the people they were portraying. But while Lark’s portrayer seemed to really nail Lisa Turtle’s movements and manner of speaking, the girl playing Tiffani-Amber didn’t seem to be trying. Why was she cast? Was it the mole? Did Tiffani-Amber have a mole?

The guy playing Mario Lopez nailed it if for no other reason than I wanted to choke him with my bare hands, much like I wanted to cause Lopez physical harm when I watched Saved By The Bell years ago. I have an irrational hate-on for that man.

Choose one: AC Slater or Zack Morris? Kelly Kapowski, Jessie Spano, or Lisa Turtle? Do any of your choices change after seeing this movie?

OMG! Zack for sure! Lisa, because black girl. Duh.

How come Screech isn’t an option? You ain’t shit for that, John.

Nope. They were portrayed exactly as I expected they were, even though I’m still skeptical since this is #Unauthorized and we’re taking Dustin Diamond’s word for it and really, what the hell has he been doing lately?

Hey, hey, hey, hey, what was going on there?

I don’t understand the question.

But I will use this space to say a few things:

  • How fucking hilarious was it at the end when Dustin Diamond froze the scene to tell us what became of his cast members? Lark “never stopped acting.” Huh? She didn’t? Elizabeth flopped in Showgirls but made a comeback and even “starred on Broadway.” Mario is the host of “Extra.” *snort*
  • So, the show only tackled “serious issues” like caffeine addiction because the girls on the show hounded the producers for about a year? The best part, though, was that Dustin Diamond was the only one who found Berkley’s “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so scared!” fucking hilarious.
  • That kid playing Dustin Diamond is his son, right?

Bonus question: What other series from the ’80s or ’90s should Lifetime tackle next?

Full House. You know all kinds of shit went down on that show. Also, Growing Pains.

P.S. I kinda loved this movie. Don’t judge me.


Patti

Do you know any more than you did before watching the movie?

Yes. There was A LOT I didn’t know. There’s more than I could ever list that I didn’t know. I’m not even sure how we survived without the internet back then.

Did watching this make you long for the fashion of the early ’90s?

HAHAHAHA! No. But it did make me long to make a sign that said “Zack rings my bell”.

How close to the original cast was this cast? Are any of the actors in this movie better than then original cast member they’re playing?

Lookswise, they were pretty close. Except for the guy who played Zack Morris. He looked like Corey Feldman in a bad wig. Did Mark-Paul Gosselaar really have hair like that? The acting was horrible. But on par for a Lifetime movie, I suppose. Overall, casting wasn’t too bad, but definitely not better than the original.

Zack Morris

Choose one: AC Slater or Zack Morris? Kelly Kapowski, Jessie Spano, or Lisa Turtle? Do any of your choices change after seeing this movie?

Zack Morris. Although, why wasn’t Screech an option? 3 cheers for Screech!
Lisa Turtle.

The movie doesn’t really change my opinion as they’re rooted 25 years deep, but… I can’t really deal with that Zack guy’s hair.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, what was going on there?

Teenage antics!

Bonus question: What other series from the ‘80s or ‘90s should Lifetime tackle next?

I hear the set of ALF was an awful place to be, so I’d like to see the truth in that all. Nell Carter had a lot of personal turmoil, so I’d also be interested in seeing a behind the scenes about Gimme a Break. Maybe some Full House. 90210. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Roseanne. Basically any show I liked I’d love to see, especially if there was turmoil.


Robyn

Do you know any more than you did before watching the movie?

Dustin Diamond had his own Tyler Durdin! The Rufio guy wasn’t real, right? I’m pretty sure no one else can see him, and Zack didn’t really even know who they were talking about at the end.

Did watching this make you long for the fashion of the early ’90s?

Isn’t it terrible and also fairly current? Sundresses with jean jackets and high-waisted shorts with crop tops. I feel like there was a historically inaccurate lack of scrunchies, though.

Saved By the Bell Story

How close to the original cast was this cast? Are any of the actors in this movie better than then original cast member they’re playing?

The girl playing Jessie is still light years ahead of Elizabeth Berkeley, and Zack’s wig should have gotten its own billing.

Choose one: AC Slater or Zack Morris? Kelly Kapowski, Jessie Spano, or Lisa Turtle? Do any of your choices change after seeing this movie?

Weren’t you paying attention? Saved by the Bell is nothing without Zack or Kelly! I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about Dustin Diamond before, but now he seems like a complete dick. We can assume that any scene he wasn’t present for was probably told to him anecdotally, right? And then he turned around and put it in his book. Dick.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, what was going on there?

Nothing. Nothing at all. This was the most boring expose I’ve ever seen. So you’re saying they were dating other teenagers and arguing with their parents?!? SCANDALOUS.

Bonus question: What other series from the ‘80s or ‘90s should Lifetime tackle next?

My first instinct is to say My So-Called Life, Felicity, or Dawson’s Creek, but I think they all deserve better than the Lifetime treatment. I also think nothing really nefarious happened behind the scenes on any of them. I absolutely would watch a Growing Pains unauthorized story. That show was as good then as Kirk Cameron is terrible now.


Got some really terrible TV movie you want us to watch? Send it to projectfandom@gmail.com and we may cover it for our next ProFanity feature.

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