The teens at Bayside High School- Zack, Lisa, Slater, Jessie, Kelly, and Screech- took Saturday morning TV by storm in the early 1990s, scoring the highest weekend ratings. But what most 80s kids, like myself, get to see is the behind-the-scene story about the actors from NBC’s Saved by the Bell.
On Saturday night Lifetime TV premiered a biopic called “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story”. The story, narrated and told by Dustin Diamond (Screech), revealed some untold myths about the seven-member cast. The only person who seemed to be left untouched was Dennis Haskins, who played Bayside principal, Mr. Belding.
As the youngest cast member, Diamond was bold enough to dish everything in a 2009 book entitled “Behind The Bell’, in which he recanted most of the claims in a 2013 interview in OWN’s “Where Are They Now?” Diamond’s version of the Saved By the Bell story and the book was the basis of this 2-hour unapproved account.
Despite the controversy, the movie depicted Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morrris) as an egotistical brat who played Lark Vorrhies for Tiffani Amber Thessen (and occasionally dyed his hair blonde). Mario Lopez was a juvenile gigolo and hot heat head. And the girls, Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Lark Voorhies, and Elizabeth Berekley were catty and childish.
Diamond’s account made everyone out to be the bad guy by showing how the rest of the cast members alienated him. The movie did show Diamond’s own weaknesses of substance abuse and peer pressure creating resentment and bitterness towards the show.
Lifetime TV has to chill with the biopics. They are getting a tad bit cheesy and predictable. The woman’s network is to biopics what Maury Povich is to paternity tests. It’s getting old! It’s now at the point where even the most proactive and juicy celebrity stories are being casted away (literally) with mediocre wannabes and juvenile script writing.
The TV network is slated to release two highly anticipated biopics about Whitney Houston and Aaliyah. “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B”, which will be released later this year, received a lot of flak for the actors who were selected to play the deceased singer, her ex-husband R. Kelly, her music gal pal, Missy Elliot, and close friend and producer, Timbaland. On the other hand, Lifetime has been keeping a low profile for Whitney Houston’s self-titled biopic, which will not be released until next year.
The movie’s unofficial soundtrack was inappropriate but dope, including classics “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe, and “Word Up” by Cameo.
The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story will re-air this weekend leading up to the world premiere of “The Brittany Murphy Story” on September 6.