The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story (tv movie review)

As a kid, I was a big fan of Saved by the Bell. It’s one of those things I could never verbalize – I just liked that show. It never made me laugh, cry or… anything, really, but I watched the hell out of that show. I guess I just identified with the characters… also, me and my buddy spent a lot of time leering at Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, but… you know, fifth grade. What can I tell ya? Hence, Dr. Girlfriend and I watched Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story for nostalgia’s sake.

I don’t know what we expected… certainly not much from Lifetime. I guess we thought it would be silly, over the top and scandalous. It was, but not how I thought it would be.

I didn’t expect much in the way of laughs, and there’s not many. In an early audition scene, Dustin Diamond (played by Sam Kindseth) offers to run lines with another kid, who answers, "That’s not my process." That was awesome, but the comedy ends there. That’s fine – this is supposed to be a tell-all drama.

The problem is, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story isn’t a tell-all; there are illusions and half stories, but nothing ever gets truly fleshed out. For example, toward the end of the flick, someone tries to blackmail Dustin Diamond. You know how that turns out? Me neither, because it’s not in the movie.

On the other hand, I thought the actors did a fine job of portraying their real life counterparts. They did a nice job of evoking the characters while doing service to the actors who created them and simultaneously pleasing the audience with a pseudo impression – a tough balancing act, and thought they pulled it off nicely.

Ultimately, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story lacks insight, drama and character arcs. It’s mostly Dustin Diamond’s story, but even his arc kinda peters out. There’s setup, but no resolution – or totally unsatisfying resolution at best. I wouldn’t call it boring, but there aren’t a lot of reasons to watch this flick. Let’s say 3 out of 10 and hope maybe they make a better sequel tackling The College Years and The New Class.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on September 8, 2014, in movie review, tv review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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