Radical dudes, Lifetime went after some big fish this time. Some big, famous, heretofore thought untouchable fish. This is some Woodward and Bernstein level shit guys, so buckle up. Because it’s “The Unauthorized* Saved By The Bell Story.”
This movie is based on a book that Screech wrote. A book that Screech wrote. I had no idea that Screech could read, let alone write an entire book of lies. Why should I believe anything that comes out of this face:
I will be referring to everyone by their SBTB character name, because I had to do 3 shots of Jameys after finding that picture to quiet my rage, and I don’t need to complicate things. Let’s go!!
The movie opens, as all truly glamorous movies do, in Cincinnati. The cast members of SBTB are anxious as they’re being driven to a fan meet and greet – what if no one shows? What if they get canceled? What if Lisa Turtle grows up and angers a gypsy, who takes the details of her face away one piece at a time???
Anyhoodles, all their pussy-ass worrying was for naught, because they pull up to a gaggle of screaming fans and step out to sign autographs and touch boobs. Then Zack turns to break the fourth wall with his patented time-out, giving the extras behind him plenty of time to be terrible at freezing, which was their only job.
But oh ho! This isn’t Zack’s story to tell! It’s Screech’s! And the really gangly spaz we’ve got playing him pushes Zack aside and gets to narrating.
We go back in time and see the kids auditioning for the show, and Zack and Lisa are making googly eyes at each other. Wait, what? Did they date? For real? How did I miss that in the 90s? Probably all the moonshine I was making/drinking in middle school. Sweet Ozarks Ovaltine. Mmmmm.
So the show is picked up, and dropped, and picked up again by the very new and hip Disney Channel. In the early years, it was actually called “Good Morning Miss Bliss”, and was supposed to star HAYLEY MILLS. Of the original “Parent Trap” fame, AKA a movie I was unhealthily obsessed with as a child. I prayed that my parents would get divorced so my sister and I could pull some of those wacky and adorable shenanigans to get them back together. Never mind that my sister and I aren’t twins. Or that my parents actually did get divorced later on and it wasn’t as funny as that British trickster had me believe.
The show runs for a few months, but then is canceled. Screech is especially devastated, as his Dad hates him (rightly so) and everyone at school thinks he’s a dillweed. But then the network execs revamp the show and decide to make it all about the kids. But they’ll need more kids! Bring in some Kellys and Slaters and Jesses at once!
Oh my glob, at an audition Jesse mentions to Kelly that she looooves to dance. And it’s like, WE KNOW – YOU DANCED ALL THROUGH THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME:
With the 6 leads booked, they get to filming. Screech sees his bromance with Zack slipping away as handsomer dudes like Slater and Mr. Belding come around to talk about cars and pogs or whatever. But there are bigger problems – namely that all the kids are terrible actors. Lisa can’t project, Slater forgets his lines, and Zack isn’t even a real blonde!!
But it all magically comes together, just in time for the critics to eviscerate them. Sad cast is sad.
Screech pleads with the execs to make his character more likable, but they’re like, “Have you even seen your face, though? Go look in a mirror. Go ahead. We’ll wait.”
But then – the ratings went up! Waaaaay up! And we’re back in Cincinnati, in the opening scene. The gang is getting mobbed by their fans, proving once again that frenzied teenage girls are the world’s deadliest predators. Two girls even attack Zack and rip the jacket from his body- and the arms from his torso, if this publicity still is to be believed:
Zack is dating Lisa, but also making out with Kelly “for the show”. Slater is using his new-found stardom to bang groupies on the set. Jesse is mainlining caffeine pills so she can focus her efforts on finding the world’s largest hair bow. And Screech is scaring wardrobe people with fake spiders, and the audience of this movie with his one-on-ones with the camera.
More photo shoots and success!
But there’s a sinister cloud hanging over the set, and I don’t just mean Mr. Belding and his fucking arm cross. Screech feels unappreciated, Lisa is mad at Kelly for flirting with Zack, and Jesse and Slater are dating maybe? And then things get even more intense when they decide to start bringing SERIOUS STORYLINES into the mix. And which serious storyline do they tackle first? Come on, do you even have to ask?
During the table read for this episode, Screech busts out laughing at how dramatic they’re making caffeine pills out to be. After being run out of the room by his more intense colleagues, he gets his first taste of vodka courtesy of a rando extra. And the music is so intense, and now *I’m* the Screech because I’m yelling “It’s just VODKA, why all the dramatics??”
Oh, I’ll tell you why. He’s changing, man – and it’s not just the booze. Or is it? It might just be the booze. The booze and the ancient art of KA RA TE.
He punches a dude out for calling him Screech and then gets drunk on a press junket in SC. This is the most I’ve ever liked Screech – why can’t he always be this fun?
Kelly and Jesse decide they’ve had enough of the show, and are ready to move on to the careers they’ll barely have past Bayside. OK, BYE-EEEEEEEE! ** Zack buys a motorcycle, Slater keeps on fuckin’, and Screech gets blackmailed by that vodka-toting extra who was his only friend.
Then it’s time for them to graduate from high school. Kelly and Jesse come back, because what else do they have going on? There’s this weird montage of them receiving their diplomas on the show intercut with clips from earlier in the movie. I’m sure it’s supposed to make us feel all nostalgic, but instead I’m just annoyed that this movie isn’t going to dive into the College Years. Screech wraps it up for us with one more time-out and gives a 5 second rundown of where everyone’s been since the show wrapped. He mentions “Showgirls” in a derisive tone, because he is a small and petty creature.
And that’s a wrap! A very suspect summary of one of my childhood’s most beloved sitcoms, told from the point of view of the least likable person involved. I’m worried about what kind of precedent this movie could set….
*Emphasis Planet Earth’s
** Shout-out to Jen