If confession is good for the soul, here’s a blast of Multidimensional Cellular Healing (MCh): I’ve yet to make it through a Satyajit Ray film, but I’ve seen and own DVD copies of all seven seasons of Saved by the Bell.
That includes The College Years, The New Class, two made-for-TV features, and listening to every word of show developer/executive producer Peter “Der Viser” Engel’s nasally DVD commentary tracks. “Wow!” Engel exclaims, his eyes moving across the scripted ad libs. “How about that Lisa Turtle? She sure knows how to get the best of Screech Powers.” What insight! What savoir faire!
Why would anyone want to watch impoverished Indian children suffer endlessly when there are good times to be had at Bayside High School and The Max? SBTB was the best Saturday morning hangover cure known to humankind. Forget what I had smoked, snorted, threw back, or ingested the night before: The bell of my body clock’s alarm was set to give out a warning every Saturday morning at 9:58 am. No matter the condition, I told myself, “Put your mind to it; go for it” as I broke a sweat crawling from the bedroom to the living room Trinitron. Screech was the caffeinated hair of the dog that bit me. One 30-minute fix, and I was ready to greet the day.
Camp is not made, it’s born, and anyone who intentionally sets out to make a bad movie (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Myra Breckinridge, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra), is wasting our time.
Does anyone think on-the-skids noir-master John Brahm turned to Dana Andrews on the set of Hot Rods to Hell and whispered, “Here’s your motivation: You’re a dialogue-slurring, washed-up movie star — so deep into the bottle that you need a board up the back of your shirt to keep you from tipping forward while seated — who’s signed on for a punks-with-trunks hot-rod picture starring opposite a gang of terrorizing, albeit spotlessly well-groomed, teenagers in their twenties.” Of course not! He just called “Action!” and let the magic begin.
The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story: Sneak Peek
The announcement that production was underway on a Lifetime Channel biopic caught me off guard. Should I be so excited or so scared? Everything about the original Saved by the Bell remains perfect. It’s perfectly cast, perfectly written, perfectly staged, perfectly lit, and perfectly awful. This is one soufflé that won’t be reheated.
Who cares what went on behind the scenes, particularly in light of Dustin “Screech” Diamond’s scandalous-sounding tell-all autobiography. Say what you will about the Bayside’s comic relief turned porn actor, but short of giving Screech’s corpse the El Cid treatment on Bayside Beach, Diamond (and his season six and seven paramour, Dennis “Mr. Belding” Haskins) was prescient enough to ride to glory through all of the show’s various incarnations.
As if by way of compensation for another Jerry Lewis-less Labor Day, director Jason Lapeyre’s Lifetime Channel biopic, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, will belabor this year’s celebration on Monday, September 1. NoDoz is optional.