We get it, Dustin Diamond: You hate how Saved by the Bell led to you being typecast for the rest of your sad little life. Producing a TV movie about how much that time sucked for you, though, was not the way to fix things.
As millions of Saved by the Bell fans sat around watching the supremely weird Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story single-handedly ruin our childhoods, there was only one thing we could assume: Dustin Diamond is still out for blood and Unauthorized was his revenge porn. Nearly every moment of the two-hour laughable drama seemed to be producer and former SBTB star Diamond’s attempt to either redeem himself or throw shade on his costars. The thing is: Anyone who knows Diamond’s story saw right through the attempts. And, after 120 minutes, we’re not sure anyone walked away with a changed opinion of the perpetual nerd. His try at slandering his costars and making himself out to be the hero flopped majorly. Case in point:
1) Diamond calling dibs on the “time-out”
Zack Morris’s (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) “time-out” segments were always beyond cheesy. But that doesn’t change how vital they were to the telling of the story. When Unauthorized starts out, Mark-Paul (Dylan Everett) goes to call time-out but is quickly overrun by Dustin (Sam Kindseth) in pure Kanye West fashion. Looks like the real Diamond is still salty over his lack of time-outs and narration while on the show. Poor little guy.
2) Hanging out with the exec’s daughter
We’re not sure what’s happening when Kindseth-as-Dustin hangs out with the little girl. Our best guess is that this is Diamond’s attempt to portray himself as a once incredibly kind kid. It just comes out a little, well, pedophile-ish.
3) All the producers’ and executives’ “notes” on the other actors
Every time we witnessed another cast mate audition and heard the execs discuss their options, we had two concerns. First, if this is supposed to be Diamond’s narration, why would he have any clue what they were talking about? Clearly he wouldn’t, which led us to our second point: This is all just his attempt to dwell on what was wrong with each of his costars, right?
4) Those times he stopped blaming his costars and started blaming his dad
Diamond’s dad may have been a huge jerk, but it seemed unnecessary to the storytelling. Just as unnecessary as learning that Gosselaar’s mom was Asian or Lark Voorhies was a Jehovah’s Witness.
5) The SBTB promo tour
After all these years, Diamond is still put off that his costars traveled far and wide while he hit the Carolinas? First, obviously the network was right to not trust you on an international trip. Second, you’ve no doubt been to Paris, London and New York City by now. Let it go, dude.
6) Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s tantrum
There’s no question in our minds that the only “acting” that was done in this TV movie was done by Everett in his role as Mark-Paul Gosselaar. His acting during Gosselaar’s tantrum, though, felt like overkill. As did the tantrum scene in general. Was Diamond implying that none of the other child/teen stars ever got into arguments over where their money was going? That seems hard to believe.
7) Mario Lopez forgetting his lines
Another instance of Diamond trying to make his costars look bad: Highlighting the time Mario Lopez (Julian Works) forgot his line. We’re by no means suggesting Lopez is a talented actor. We love him… but we like him best as a host: Grinning and schmoozing bigger celebs. We do, however, take issue with the fact that apparently the only time a line was forgotten was by Lopez. Seems unlikely.
8) The entire ending
The biggest WTF moment came at graduation time, though, and Diamond’s final time-out. First, we’re a little annoyed that the movie skimmed over the Tori episodes, their summer at the beach with Leah Remini and The College Years/Wedding. That wedding movie was classic. We also thought Diamond’s final rundown of “where are they now” felt a little prejudiced. In particular, he really played down Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley’s futures. Our best reasoning as to why: Diamond must still be hurt by the fact that he never got to hook up with them.
Was The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Movie the tell-all we’d been waiting for? Not quite. There was plenty of gossip and dirt and it might have all been true. However, real SBTB fans know of Diamond’s hostility toward his costars and that time in his life, which makes the whole thing feel like gossip from one seriously bitter and unreliable source. We expected nothing less than exactly the kind of schmacting the kid actors delivered. However, we’d love to see a movie that isn’t headed by the show’s most vocally annoyed star. Until then, we’re left unsatisfied.