After another lengthy absence due to busy-ness at work, an unfortunate late-summer cold and general procrastination, I’ve been awoken from my blogging hiatus by a presence so awful, so campy and so very, very lame that only a true child of the late ’80s/early ’90s could love it: the trailer for “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story,” airing on Lifetime on Sept. 1 (that sound you hear is me furiously adding it to my DVR recording schedule). It’s based on the bizarro memoir “Behind the Bell” by Dustin “Screech” Diamond, though Diamond has confessed that the book’s ghost writer fabricated a lot of its scandalous shenanigans, which means this movie is going to be even more of a mess. Don’t mind if I do!
That trailer truly has everything: Bad wigs. Bad acting. Production values that just scream “made in Canada for the tax incentives.” A fight scene that includes the line “I’m not Screech!” Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison.” EVERYTHING.
What is doesn’t have, however, are actors that look remotely like their real-life counterparts. Has the casting director even SEEN “Saved by the Bell?” Because the actor playing Zack is giving me more “Hitler Youth Cabbage Patch Doll” than “Mark-Paul Gosselaar.”
Lifetime better not do me wrong, because for me, and most people my age, “Saved by the Bell” is the ultimate high school show. I worshiped at the House of Bayside High when I was a kid, never missing the daily reruns on TBS from 5:05 to 6:05 p.m. (remember when TBS used to start all their shows five minutes late?) I had the board game, yearbook (with full-sized poster!) and watched the legendary TV movie “Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas” (it didn’t NOT make me cry).
But based on a clip that Lifetime recently released, it’s fairly clear that this will go down as one of the Best Lifetime TV Movies Ever, somewhere between “My Stepson, My Lover” and “Baby Monitor: Sound of Fear.”
When Mario Lopez started doing impromptu push-ups, drawing the ire of Dustin Diamond, I realized that this movie was doing the Lord’s work.
I’ll end by leaving you with this moment from the Peabody Award-winning episode “Jessie’s Song:”