It’s the unauthorized podcast of Lifetime’s Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Movie with Big Brother’s Eric Stein. Rob and Eric get back together after 2011’s legendary podcast, The Saved by the Bell Megacast to discsuss the made for TV movie.
The Unauthorized Podcast Recap of The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story
The great Eric Stein joined Rob to recap the terrifically terrible Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story. Back in 2011, the two did a Saved By The Bell podcast, so both were excited to discuss the kids from Bayside once again. Eric was chomping at the bit to discuss this horrible movie, thinking it was called unauthorized since no one from the show would dare sign off on this nonsense. Rob assumed that the movie was based off of the tell-all book Dustin Diamond wrote several years ago called “Dustin Diamond Behind the Bell”. Eric and Rob thought they could come up with a better script on the fly. Eric was supremely disappointed in this flop after seeing the failure of Bayside! The Musical a year ago.
Before jumping into the plot, Rob and Eric reviewed their thoughts about the casting. Rob thought they cast Dustin Diamond well, while Eric felt the actor playing Mark Paul Gosselaar was a cross between Cory Feldman and a werewolf. Eric was confused by how the Mark Paul character was calling a timeout to freeze the movie as himself, and not the Zack Morris character. He also wondered if the actor playing Dennis Haskins was doing a portrayal of him, or his character Mr. Belding. He thought the actor playing Mario Lopez was a reject from Menudo, who was quite possibly 4 foot 8 by Rob’s account.
In the first scene where Mark Paul Gosselaar calls time out, Dustin Diamond jumps in to let the movie viewers know that it will be his version of the story. Rob felt that this painted Dustin as a self important a-hole who, in his mind, was the underappreciated genius. Eric and Rob felt that the whole theme of the movie centered around Dustin Diamond’s struggle playing the jester instead of the cool kid, which neither of them thought should be something for him to complain about. Eric found it laughable that NBC president Brandon Tartikoff would allow a petulant Dustin Diamond to barge into his office and demand a better storyline for Screech.
Rob and Eric next discussed the movie’s portrayal of how they chose the actors for the show. They both found it interesting that the Lisa Turtle character was supposed to be a Jewish-American Princess. Eric thought the whole backstory to Lark Voorhies being skittish because she was a Jehovah Witness was a miss. Rob found it funny how Dustin Diamond made it seem like the Good Morning Miss Bliss days were how the show should have been, while the Saved By The Bell years were what ruined it. He felt that Dustin Diamond was an unreliable narrator, and that his account was not one that had the finger on the pulse of what happened.
They go on to discuss a few plot points. Rob thought the Dennis Haskins character was quite pervy when first meeting Hayley Mills. They both enjoyed when Mark Paul came to the defense of Dustin Diamond when he was goofing off at a table read, noting how there was no chance that really happened. Both Rob and Eric found it bizarre that Dustin Diamond’s dad was not more excited that his son had been on a Disney Channel show. They discussed the relationship between Mark Paul and Lark, which both felt was confusing and unexplained. Rob tied in the Survivor world by mentioning how Mark Paul Gosselaar’s ex-wife ended up remarried to Jeff Probst. Eric found the connection between 90210 and Saved By The Bell interesting, in that Jenny Garth was a finalist for the Kelly Kapowski role, Tori Spelling played Screech’s girlfriend Violet, and Tiffani Amber Thiessen went on to play a major role on 90210.
As they veer back into the plot, they wondered why the movie portrayed Mark Paul and Mario as best buds, when accounts had been that they had friction. They thought the dig at Mark Paul Gosselaar for dying his hair was gratuitous. Eric wondered if the show scenes were actually from the original show, since neither he nor Rob could recall Screech as Abraham Lincoln. They start to travel down a wormhole with an idea of an unauthorized movie about The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story, but Rob felt they had better move on before his head exploded (though they would revisit their script idea several times more, including Rob trying to plan a reunion roundtable with any cast and crew from the movie or the show). As their plot discussion rolled on, they dissected how so much of the story seems completely untrue, and how difficult it is to tell the difference between the personality of the actor and the character. Rob summed it up to lazy writing.
Next, they discuss a few of the scenes that paint the other teen actors as mean and dismissive of Dustin Diamond. Eric found the scene where Dustin hid the fake spider in a bowl ridiculous. Rob felt Dustin’s dream sequence where he had buff build and a hot tub full of girls poorly edited, while Eric found it sad, both for Dustin Diamond if he had that daydream, and for the writers of the movie for making such a bad scene. They skewered the scene where Mark Paul and Tiffani Amber practice kissing. They pointed out how out of place the scene where the cast is fighting with one another, when they seemingly got along at all other points. Rob found the scene where they rehearsed the “I’m so excited” part of the show to be the highlight of the movie.
They spend a few minutes discussing the character Eric the extra. They wondered how this random extra would be hanging out near the set of a hit show casually drinking out of a flask, ready to share with a 13 year old kid. Both found it more ludicrous a storyline than the Johnny Dakota episode on Saved By The Bell. Rob felt the scene where some kid heckling Dustin Diamond getting punched was another top scene of the movie. They noted that were that to have actually happened, it certainly would have made news. They both enjoyed the angry karate scene where Dustin swigs from his flask in the dojo after working out. Another favorite scene of Rob’s was the sequence where the show sends the actors to exotic locations except for Dustin Diamond, who was banished to a small town in South Carolina. That Dustin would be able to take along Eric the extra to this meet and greet was yet another implausible storyline. Next, Eric the extra has scored some pot for Dustin, who is smoking it while being videotaped. He decides to blackmail Dustin into getting a part on the show by threatening to release the video to the press. Eric wondered why the movie didn’t resolve that storyline, which caused Rob to assume that NBC had Eric the extra rubbed out.
They go on to discuss how little explanation the movie gives to so many of the scenes, particularly how it all played out when Tori replaced Kelly and Jesse in the show. Eric wondered why Tori wasn’t in the graduation episode, since they randomly plugged her into the middle of the season, then randomly plugged Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley back in with no explanation. They talked about the closing scene where Dustin talks about the careers of his fellow cast members after the show. Rob felt it an unnecessary dig at Elizabeth Berkley’s career; Eric pointed out how she has worked a lot more recently than Dustin Diamond. After going through some listener questions, they discussed what the next unauthorized movie should be, and thought 90210 would make a good one.
If you liked this podcast, you can hear Rob and Eric talk for three hours on their original Saved By The Bell podcast by going to robhasawebsite.com/sbtb
Special thanks to Mike Moore for this episode recap!
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