Lifetime's new "Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story" made-for-TV movie debuted to jeers and ridicule from critics and laypersons alike upon its Monday premiere, with much hateful ink spilled across entertainment columns and Twitter.
Based on the tell-all book "Behind the Bell" by Dustin Diamond, who played Screech, fans expected a salacious, behind-the-scenes look at a young Hollywood cast that defined a generation, but were left instead with "bad acting, wooden dialogue, elementary plotting, and impotent dramatic tension," as The Daily Beast put it
"Listen, there’s not a person with an IQ higher than a potato chip’s who would believe that any of these tales [from the book] are true, especially after Diamond has repeatedly refuted them himself," wrote the Beast's Kevin Fallon.
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"But still, the idea of seeing them play out in a TV movie was incredibly enticing to those obsessed with 'Saved by the Bell' and suckers for guilty pleasure trash TV."
Unfortunately for fans, the movie, executive produced by Diamond, didn't even rise to the level of good trash, a feat most recently epitomized by the Syfy network's "Sharknado" — an item of worship for kitsch-lovers everywhere.
A.V. Club critic Pilot Viruet wrote
that, "If Dustin Diamond's autobiography is to be believed, 'Saved by the Bell' was apparently rife with this sort of drama, the movie skips over most of it and becomes boring. Lifetime waters down everything significantly and turns a gleeful hate-watch into a yawn-inducing mess."
Likewise, TV Guide writer Robyn Ross lamented
the wasted opportunity of a film.
"While we had hoped for more juicy and gossipy tidbits about one of television's most iconic shows, instead viewers got a sad story of a kid who just wanted to fit in and a cheesy made-for-TV movie that seemed more parody than biopic," she wrote.
Fans on Twitter also seemed to be angered by the film, and Mario Lopez himself (aka A.C. Slater) even responded to a fan's Tweet asking if the film was a waste of time with a resounding "Yes."
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