T: I am going in on this fairly blind folks. As a preface, Saved by the Bell was like the number one show for me. Sure I watched Full House and Boy Meets World and the ilk, but nothing really compared to SBTB. I remember watching it before I went to school in the morning and then again at night. It got to the point where I knew exactly which episode it was just by the first 5 seconds of the opening scene. I once taped (on a cassette) the school song and tried to convince our chorus teacher to let us sing it for our 8th grade graduation (I convinced her to let us sing Seasons of Love from Rent instead). It was the first show that I was every obsessed with and probably the reason why I’m obsessed with TV now. That being said, I hold SBTB and its cast/characters in a special pedestal in my heart, so I’m taking this entire movie with a grain of salt.
T: Ah yes, the movie starts out in Cincinnati, Ohio, where every great story about 90s teen idols begin.
M: These children look like a pack of college kids dressed as Saved By The Bell characters for Halloween. It’s like the Garbage Pail Kids when you’re expecting Cabbage Patch, or that weird baby with the unibrow who’s Maggie’s nemesis on The Simpsons.
T: The kid playing Zack has the DUMBEST face and I’m already annoyed with him. He looks like he’s 10. And The dude playing Mario Lopez is way too ethnic. Yeah, I said it.
I’m gonna start counting the number of times I say ‘I can’t’ outloud to myself whilst watching this trainwreck. (1).
M: FAKE ZACK CALLS A TIME OUT. I’m sort of obsessed with this movie already.
T: Baby Zack’s IRL time-out only works within the walls of Bayside, duh. Uh ‘Dustin Diamond’ just stole BZ’s thunder by taking control of his time-out. (2)
Hold up – Dustin Diamond was a legit executive producer on this? I know it’s based on his book, it makes sense, but my best guess is that he just tried to make everyone else except ‘DD’ look like shit.
M: Fake Steve Buscemi (okay, a man with deep-set eyes) says they need to set the show in the Midwest, although there’s never been a show set in Indiana before. See, 2014 is all about sitcoms set in Indiana, but the late 80s and early 90s were very Southern California-centric. That’s why everyone was so into L.A. Looks.
[Kids, L.A. Looks was hairgel that every early 90s teen used, and it looked like Aloe Vera. This has been a message from C+S Cares, a social outreach ministry where we teach teenagers what the 90s were like.]
T: So apparently BZ/Mark Paul Gosselaar had the hots for Lark Vorhees from the beginning? Relatedly, this is what Lark looks like when she goes to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.
Was it really necessary to point out that MPG is part Indonesian? And that DD commented on his hair?
M: Fake Hayley Mills has major 2014 hair. Inaccurate.
T: True story: My first introduction to Hayley Mills was via Good Morning, Miss Bliss, so I’m probably one of the only few people that doesn’t correlate her with The Parent Trap.
M: The adults in the futuristic office discussing SBTB are so stupid. Like, an unlikely level of stupid. They don’t believe that kids would rather watch a show about kids instead of teachers. They exposition that there has never been a live-action show starring kids before. But even in the 50s and 60s … Mickey Mouse Club? Leave It To Beaver? Lassie? Okay, I guess the last one was mostly the dog.
They also gloss over the existence/firing of Mickey and Girl Mickey. Those kids from Good Morning Miss Bliss? And the girl freed the frogs from the science lab? That might have been Jessie, actually.
T: No, I think it was Nikki (Girl Mickey). Can’t remember Mickey’s real name. Too lazy/don’t care enough to look up.
[ M: Laterblog: I googled it in the morning. Mikey and Nikki. Yeah, I’m just going to keep calling them Mickey.]
T: DD comes into rehearsal lit’rally acting like a quacking duck and everyone – everyone thinks it’s hilarious. Even the dude playing Mr. Belding. BZ/MPG says, ‘He’s awesome!’ about DD. I feel like that sentiment’s not going to last throughout the movie…
M: At what age, if you’re saddled with a name like “Tiffani Amber,” do you say screw it and just introduce yourself as Tiffani? Evidently older than “Tiffani Amber” is here.
T: The original title of SBTB was apparently ‘When the Bell Rings’, which is very similar to ‘As the Bell Rings’, a short (like 5 minute interstitials) on the Disney Channel like 7 years ago. The show was actually kind of similar to SBTB, and took place entirely in a school hallway, starring pre-Demi Lovato Demi Lovato and the white kid in MKTO. I may have been obsessed with this one song, because I am 12 years old.
This blonde casting bitch is really into racial profiling. First she wanted to adhere to Lisa as a ‘Jewish American Princess’ and now AC Slater turns out to be Latino and not Italian.
M: “It’s a comedy about kids, how much range do you need?” LOTS. Tons.
T: Since when was the SBTB casting room Mad Men in 1989?
If I’ve learned anything from this movie so far is that DD’s dad was a real asshole and cared a lot about his car’s mileage.
This first table read is already a mess. DD realizes everyone is starting to get along without him and he even has to sit next to Dennis Haskins (Belding) because it’s the only seat left.
The Executive Producer Peter Engel tells the gang that they need to keep their relationships professional, but Mario Lopez apparently didn’t get the memo. He also didn’t get the memo that he doesn’t need to dress up like his character at the table read.
UH OH MPG AND LARK ARE HOLDING HANDS UNDER THE TABLE! And by hands, I mean Lark offered her pinky, and MPG is grasping it with his hand.
I have a problem with this set. Mainly because it’s NOTHING like the real one.
M: Fake Bayside is probably the worst casting yet. It looks like a Disney Channel Original Series set.
M: Now the kids exposit about their talents, interests, and ethnic backgrounds. God. There is nothing more insufferable than someone full of hope and promise telling you what they’re good at.
T: Kelly was urged to talk about her beauty pageant days (Miss Bayside?) and Elizabeth talked about how she’s a dancer. Mario said he was too, and she replied, ‘YOU’RE a dancer?’ and Mario was all, ‘You tell me’ and I legit had to stop to gather myself because, second hand embarrassment. (4)
The people in the live studio audience are definitely not wearing 90s fashion. Who dressed them? I WANT MORE SCRUNCHIES.
M: Wardrobe moment: Lisa’s outfit and hair look so accurate, and Slater has a good jheri curl mullet and crop top, but they’re trying to make Kelly look too “normal” – I think I’ve seen her outfit at Target, and her 90s bangs are M.I.A.
T: But really, was it because the real SBTB set has some kind of copyright on it because this re-creation is not the same.
M: Jessie says she won’t celebrate President’s Day until there is a woman president. And then she calls Slater a chauvinist. Ah, yes. Jessie Spano was probably the first introduction most millennials had to feminism, and she was also awful. Whenever a 20-something celebrity does that “I’m not a feminist but…” thing, I think: Oh. You’re thinking of Jessie Spano. We have Beyonce now. /90s history from C+S Cares.
T: … so BZ is actually a good actor as Zack, but not as MPG. He belongs on the Disney Channel. Or on Degrassi. Which he was.
M: Fake Lark Voorhies mentions church – everyone know she’s a Jehovah’s Witness? If Lisa Turtle showed up my door with religious literature, I would actually let her in instead of pretending not to be home – but only so I could pepper her with questions about SBTB.
M: Fake Steve Buscemi is on the phone calling Seinfeld “too Jewish.”
We learn that SBTB’s popularity spread by word of mouth. At this time that meant ACTUAL WORDS out of HUMAN MOUTHS, not texting or tumbling or instafacing. Remember when the only phone you had was attached to the wall, and you couldn’t stay on it too long because your stupid brother would pick up one of the other phones in the house and listen in?
T: Among those doing the whole grassroots thing were these girls:
M: Sometimes Fake Mario Lopez sounds like somebody doing an impression of Aziz Ansari.
T: We’re back to Cincinnati, which is weird because the flashback should’ve ended with this scene at the end… or at least that’s what a good script would do.
The girls run into teen fans while shopping, and one of them says she was inspired by Kelly to break up with her BF because she knew he was lying. This inspired the actresses to pitch more serious subjects – THERE’S NO HOPE WITH DOPE?!?!?
DD recalls Mario inviting rando fan girls to the stage for a tour then promptly making out with them, as DD creepily looks on. Honestly the worst part of this is that DD is a voyeur.
And THEN he has a daydream JUST LIKE IN THE SHOW. And his daydream makes him look like Stretch Armstrong in a hot tub with bikini-clad ladies. (5)
So this movie makes it look like MPG and Lark were dating for pretty much the entire series. I thought they all dated each other? I mean except for DD. He dated no one.
M: Fake Mark Paul Gosselaar tries to talk up birthdays to Fake Lark Voorhies. And all of us watching who know 2 things about Jehovah’s Witnesses are screaming “nooo!” like he’s walking alone down a dark hallway in a horror movie. Don’t do it, Fake Mark Paul!
T: LARK VORHEES WAS/IS A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS?
MPG and Elizabeth are having a heart-to-heart about his not-real GF Lark and it’s actually really touching. I hope this happened IRL. They’d be like Jessie and Zack BFFs for real!
MPG and TAT rehearsing their kissing scene. Bring on the LULZ
Um my DVR just did this really weird thing where it stopped after an hour of recording and played a promo for the movie then continued where it left off, but stopped recording after a minute? And then the final hour started as a “separate program”? IDK if that even makes sense but basically I just missed 15 minutes AND DOES TIME WARNER CABLE NOT UNDERSTAND THIS MOVIE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME??
M: Seriously, did they buy all of Fake Tiffani’s clothes at Forever 21 last week, because that’s what it looks like.
T: “The networks didn’t kill us but the hormones might.” – something said in the promo by anon bc MY DVR CUT OFF
M: I’ll say it. If Lifetime sold the soundtrack to this movie, I’d buy it.
T: I’d buy anything with Bell Biv DeVoe’s ‘Poison’ on it.
T: I picked back up where everyone is sitting except Elizabeth and Zack and Mario calls DD dumb and he storms out? WHAT HAPPENNEDDDD?? WERE STEROIDS INVOLVED??
M: A teen tells Fake Screech “it gets easier” after he spits out whatever was in the flask he just swigged. “It gets easier” was the proto-version of “it gets better,” when teen were taught to drink to forget their troubles instead of waiting them out like they do now.
T: Some muscley Azn dude sitting outside the studio offers DD his first swig of vodka out of a flask.
M: Screech’s flask is back. Bad news. Alcohol is the gateway drug to substances like caffeine pills. By the way, caffeine pills look like a real blast on this show.
M: Is this squirrelly 90s boy a secret ghost who shows up when Dustin Diamond needs a drink? How is he EVERYWHERE? I think I just guessed the plot twist, guys.
T: Really? Malibu Sands gets like a 2 minute scene? And it includes a crop top-wearing Slater and a crew who didn’t dress up for a movie set in 1991.
“Then I guess we’re just as fake as Zack and Kelly” Lark is PISSED that MPG was out photographed with TAT.
Guys, I’m pretty sure this movie theater DD is at where he beats a kid up for calling him Screech is like minutes from my apartment. Going tomorrow to see if there’s a marker commemorating the scene.
DD practicing his karate is only making me think of Ross Geller.
LOLZ @ TAT and MPG getting to go to Paris to promote the show while DD is forced to go to Spartanburg, South Carolina.
But really who is this Azn enabler that’s suddenly become DD’s BFF????
Peter tells DD that “IT WAS A BIG DEAL” that he was drunk at the fan signing, and again, because this is how my brain works, it reminded me of this
“I got wasted and I got laid!” DD stop. No one wants to hear this. especially your father. (6)
Cut to TAT and MPG having dinner in Paris and being offered wine. Does everyone become an alcoholic? JK MPG just spit his red wine back into the glass.
M: Fake Kapowski just called Saved By The Bell “Bell.” Just about every play I’ve been in has been reduced to a single word by the cast and crew, and you know what? It sounds stupid. If you have enough time to introduce yourself as “Tiffani Amber,” you have enough time to call it Saved By The Bell.
T: “What’s Saved by the Bell without Zack and Kelly?” – MPG. Um, Zack and Tori? Duh.
Speaking of Tori, is she gonna show up? I’d much rather it end like how I’ve been telling myself it ended, with Kelly and Jessie graduating with the rest of the gang.
DD describes the last season of SBTB “a mess” and described Leanna Creel as “tough girl Tori”. I imagine if Tori were real, she would be living in Provincetown with her wife of 10 years, one of the girl twins that was always an extra at Bayside. They ride bikes together.
Yeah, the Azn enabler is clearly just an actor trying to be on the show. And he recorded DD smoking pot, and threatens to blackmail him if he doesn’t get him a bigger part than an extra.
Fake Spano says that she’s up for a film role. SHOWGIRLS. Right?
Fake Screech is beating up his Booze Ghost. How about less of this subplot, more of that time they worked at Carosi’s resort with the white and teal uniforms? Or the time the lizard died? I’ve liked this movie, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also been 2 hrs of missed opportunities.
T: Since TAT and Elizabeth decided to not renew their contracts for all of season 4, they “leave” and come back for the final episode where they all graduate. It’s actually really tender to see them all back together. Also tender: MPG and DD having a moment together where MPG apologizes for being a stupid kid. I appreciate this conversation was put in the movie, because it doesn’t make it look like they were all “against” DD.
Yeah, it’s got to be a trademark situation because I’m so annoyed the set doesn’t look anything like the real graduation set. Also they’re showing mini montages of each character before they cross the stage from that happened in the movie and it’s really not necessary.
GUYS IN THE 15 MINUTES MY DVR SKIPPED, I MISSED “I’M SO EXCITED” WTF
M: They’re all dressed for graduation, and I swear to God if they waste this opportunity to sing Friends Forever I will be livid. I mean unless Zack Attack still has the rights to it.
T: DD does one final Time-out and walks around describing what each actor did next. And shades the hell out of Elizabeth/Showgirls, IMO. Also, they’re not good at standing still because Elizabeth was just shaking her hand like it was a nervous tick.
Alas, it ends with an oblig throwing of the caps up in the air and an end credit card that reads “The End…ish” DD says SBTB: The College Years didn’t last long because no one wants to see them grow up – I disagree. I liked the College Years and S2G I still have my VHS of when I taped the SBTB: Wedding in Las Vegas TV special somewhere.
I feel gypped they didn’t sing Friends Forever, so just pretend the movie ended with this, and a good Casey Kasem (RIP) sign-off.