When the Bell goes Off: Lifetime’s worst yet

I’m calling it. No matter what else you watch on Lifetime Movie Network in the next 50 years, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story will be worse than it. I realize this is a bold assertion, as it takes into account not only past movies but those in the future.

Attempted Blogger and I formulated a plan fit for a Masters thesis in preparation for the viewing. I would write a post from the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen Saved by the Bell, and she would write one from the perspective of someone who has. So I made like Tinkerbell and hopped on a Peter Pan over to Springfield; the bus experience was a good one: expedient, convenient, and cheap; “will ride again.” I hope what I just did there with those semi- and regular colons is ok. I can’t let shit like that slide in my Saved by the Bell Master’s thesis.

I always do my Wiki-homework before watching any Lifetime movie, and was intimidated by SBTB’s meaty entry. The show ran from 1989-1993, which puts me at 10 years old at the end– the perfect time to be exposed through re-runs. But, like most trash I eschewed as a precocious child, it aired on NBC.

None of this made sense to 10-year-old Lena

To be fair, I was home-schooled at the time, and one of my many ideas of fun was to make druid garbs out of white sheets with my friend and go pretend we lived in the woods. I was a PBS kid to the bone.

You got it.

A quick scroll down the Wikipedia page gave the impression that this was a program about Jr. High School and these 6th graders were stunningly complicated, with each character having a thick paragraph containing information such as “At times, Kelly and Jessie argue due to their differences, such as Jessie believing that cheerleading is demeaning to women (although Jessie herself is a cheerleader in several episodes).” Don’t get me wrong, I read over a hundred Babysitters’ Club books, but SBTB was a soap opera. For pre-teens. Yawn city.

(of course every other child my age would have strongly disagreed with me and mocked me mercilessly when I said my favorite show was Nature with George Page. True story: I  was once bullied to tears after asserting that Vivaldi is better than NKOTB, so there is precedent.)

So, if the show is boring, it shouldn’t surprise you that a movie about a boring show would also be boring. Ever the optimist, I imagined that the movie would focus on the characters as adults in a where-are-they-now type situation. They could concoct some kind of adult love triangle and maybe even have slapping and/or kidnapping! Didn’t Screech release some pervy sex tape in real life? YES HE DID, LIFETIME. Actually, everything in Dustin Diamond’s Wikipedia page begs for a Lifetime movie. They made Screech the main character of the Unauthorized Story, but as a whiny kid whose only rebellious acts involve getting drunk and smoking a joint– not as an amateur pornstar/wrestlemania maniac! SMH, LMN.

AB and I slumped into the couch and doodled pictures of Screech and wrote down ridiculous quotes. She made the excellent point that the movie’s TV PG rating was a major constraint, but I can only remain disappointed in light of what could have been.

I guess the conclusion of my thesis is that it wasn’t worth writing a thesis about this movie and that it doesn’t matter whether I saw the original show or not because they both blow.


Because Attempted Blogger knows that “you can’t piss on hospitality”, she had a great bad movie picked out to watch in case SBTB proved disappointing: TROLL 2. I’m not going to say much more than it’s basically an hour and a half Are You Afraid of the Dark episode, and it contains the line quoted and linked to above which I will now say forever. And the word “troll” isn’t said in the entire movie. And there was no Troll 1.


  1. I’ll save my long-form comments for a full review, but you hit the nail on the head: this show was worthless. Lifetime couldn’t even make it interesting. Tons of 90s kids are gonna hate on me for this, but it’s true. The Babysitter’s Club books were at least a (formulaic) good time, and 90210 was “edgy” – but SBTB was pure cotton candy trash. I remember thinking I was too old for it when I was like, 8.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s