The Lifetime Channel aired a movie yesterday about the actors who played the main characters in “Saved ny the Bell,” the popular sitcom that ran on NBC from 1989 to 1993.
It was a fictional portrayal of the difficulties the child actors faced adjusting to their characters and dealing with one another in and out of the studio, all while coping with the immense popularity the show was experiencing nationwide.
That was probably the most interesting part of the movie — the casting. Not to see who was cast as who, but because I wanted to see how accurate they dressed the actors to resemble their characters. I’ll admit they did a decent job.
The male actors especially resembled Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez and Dustin Diamond, (Dylan Everett, Julian Works and Sam Kindseth, respectively) and the girl who played Lisa Turtle (Taylor Russell) was a dead ringer. The girl who played Tiffani Amber Thiesen (Alyssa Lynch) was pretty, but didn’t really look like Kelly Kapowski.
The movie, called The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, was loosely based on Diamond’s autobiography, which he later admitted was widely embellished. Still, Diamond served as an executive producer, and the movie was told through his perspective. Knowing that going in, I took the actual events of the movie with a grain of salt.
The film just wasn’t all that interesting. The dilemma was child actors dealing with sudden, nationwide popularity. And the hopeful actors’ biggest worry was that they’d be typecast for the rest of their life as these characters (which, they pretty much were.) These aren’t real-life dilemmas that you actually sympathize for.
And because it was a Lifetime movie, there had to be some overdramatic scenes and sexual tension thrown in, which, for the most part, came off as extremely awkward.
I did find out through Wikipedia, though, that Mark-Paul Gossalaar said he dated all three of the show’s leading ladies at some point during the filming. Way to go, Zack.
It really wasn’t that bad, but when a movie is solely relying on the success of its original inspiration to lure viewers, then it never really stood much of a chance to begin with.