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In the movie, mostly everyone is portrayed in a flattering light except for Diamond himself. In the book the cast is actually portrayed in a negative way, except Diamond shows himself as a bitter man that overcompensates in trying to make himself cool in a very “bro” way.
The most interesting character of the entire move is “Eric”, an aspiring actor that offers Diamond a drink from his flask while on break at the studio. The two become friends, as we see he is clearly a bad influence on him. It is ironic that this guy is portrayed as such a dynamic character with the most charisma. Perhaps it is just this particular actor (Manny Jacinto) stood out against the others with his better performance. The version of this guy in the book, Diamond absolutely hates him and specifically says he will not give him the satisfaction of naming him in the book, but calls him “Captain Duchenozzle”, but also in a bit of irony, calls him “Captain”. It is obvious that despite Diamond hating him, he had a certain hold or appeal over him. Perhaps it was the threesome he said they shared together. We learn in both stories that they smoke pot together and that Eric/”Captain” tapes Dustin in compromising situations. In the book, Diamond mentions “Captain” is a very prolific documentarian; Diamond and his dad went through a car trunk full of tapes trying to find incriminating footage on Diamond.
However, there are some major deviations. First timing, the movie only covers the original series, however, in the book, Diamond meets him after turning 18. This means that the events happened much later, while he was the version of Screech in Saved by the Bell The New Class (TNC). It seems Diamond gets into the alternative music scene with “Captain” by playing in a band together, and tells of an incident where he gets them a decent gig in Santa Barbara opening for NOFX. But it ends horrifically with Diamond getting a black eye from a thrown beer bottle on stage as his band members coldly played on. It was so bad he was rushed to the hospital and took a hypodermic needle to the eye to relieve the pressure. Doing some fact checking, there is a footnote in someone’s old online concert diary that mentions during the Extravaganza ‘96 (May 18, 1996 at the Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara) concert and incident:
Concert Diary “Moments before NOFX's set, Much, Screech of Saved By The Bell's band, played. They sucked, but it was reported that Screech got hit with a bottle and had to go to the hospital. Is that surreal or what? We actually saw Screech in the bleachers before the show, flanked by two chicks. I yelled "Screech is a pimp!" and he kinda looked and smiled. Weird."
Disclaimer: Since Diamond recanted the book and no one really believes anything he says, this part of the article is a tongue-in-cheek fictional spit-balling of a “who done it” and should not be taken seriously (more of a “SbtB TNC Nerds, Where are they Now?”). However, we are interested in actually knowing who the “Captain” is, so if you are out there and want to tell your side of the story, drop us a line here.
In the book he says the black eye happened on a Thursday before shooting, which necessitated a last-minute script change to explain why he had to wear an eye patch for the entire episode. See: The New Class Season 4, Episode 18: “Campaign Fever” . This factoid is confirmed in the season four (1996) episode of The New Class, puts a time-frame of approximately when we would find the extra that blackmailed him. However, the concert was on a Saturday, so it probably makes more sense this happened the week before taping. It was sometime after he turned 18 in January 1995 and sometime after May 1996 since they were still in a band together. Another tidbit is the actor was in the background, and with Diamond’s help, got a lucrative role with dialog. SbtB is notorious for not crediting actors, but TNC was a little better, so hopefully we can find this actor listed in IMDB. With these facts, we now have a list of the top 3 suspects.
One choice, floated elsewhere based on the race of the Lifetime TV actor, is ruled out based on the time-frame is the background character dubbed “Asian Chameleon” due to the time-frame involved.
Steve Matheson played a Ron, a nerd that was in quite a few episodes. He suddenly disappeared at the end of season 3. Since we are assuming “Captain” was still in the show in season 4, he is a less likely candidate. Unfortunately, none of the re-occurring background characters in the original show seemed to make it to TNC, which would have given the show some unconscious continuity.
Jeffrey Schecter played a nerd named Fuzzy. He was mainly credited for a respectable number of 7 episodes in season 4. He is currently co-starring in a Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. It’s not clear if he plays an instrument, but he does sing. Source: jeffreyschecter.com
Kevin Gardner played Milton, mainly in season 4, like Ron did. Also disappeared. Mentions "semi-automatic weapons" as his special skills. Source: kevingardner.net
TL;DR: Behind the Bell had too many intimate details, particularly about how the show was made and who was involved to be fabricated by a rogue ghost writer.
Summary: A loose review of the Lifetime TV Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, the Behind the Bell book, and speculation on which extra blackmailed Dustin Diamond on Saved by the Bell The New Class.
Dustin Diamond was listed as an executive producer for the movie and I had some time recently to read the actual book and while either work have very little to do with one another, there was one part of the story that was in common that converged as an interesting point of analysis: Who was the dude who was blackmailing Dustin Diamond and bilked him from thousands of dollars by convincing him to cosign a car loan? Not that anyone really cares, but since the guy was an extra on the show, it seemed like this cold case could potentially be solved by putting together the mix of random details from the TV show and the book.
Before we get into the blackmailer, let’s get into the backstory. The major consensus from reviews, is the Lifetime movie is a very bland look into the behind the scenes history of the series and the major cast members. I agree with the consensus, not really being able to say whether I liked it or not, since it did not invoke much of an emotional response. However, the most interesting aspect of the movie is how it plays into Dustin Diamond’s latest narrative (spin) about the show and his relationship with his former castmates.
In interviews before the “Unauthorized” story aired, Diamond has recanted the stories in “Behind the Bell”, claiming it was written by a ghost writer that filled-in many gaps from just a couple hours of interviews. Diamond recently said in an interview with Mario Lopez, “I wanted to write a book about my life… I was supposed to talk to a ghostwriter for 40 hours total. I talked to a guy for 90 minutes total… another two weeks go by, and I get something in the mail, I get a copy of the book… They fabricated a whole bunch of stuff… I kind of super railroaded on that.” The book was published by Transit Publishing, a now defunct company that was based in Montreal. The company head Pierre Turgeon was contacted for any comment on these claims, but did not respond. Diamond also now frequently claims he used a stunt peen / body double during the filming of his first sex tape “Saved by the Smell”. This change in tone came before the Christmas stabbing incident.
While now the credibility of the entire book is in question, albeit in a new way, if you actually read the book, it is extremely difficult to believe that the highly detailed stories about his childhood and show production could have been completely fabricated since they correlate well with various statements that have been made over years. For example, if you listen to the Saved by the Bell DVD commentary, you will find Dustin Diamond has an unusually good memory for details and names of people and other associations which Dennis Hakins even praises him for. Many articles on the internet that mention the book are just rehashing some basic opinions of the book without reading it; it is actually an interesting read about the production of a beloved show, if you ignore the obvious attempts to cast the more popular actors in a negative light.
Perhaps Diamond is settling down and re-evaluating how he had viewed and publicly dealt with being on the show as the comic relief character “Screech” and how his path up to now has not been as gilded as his Bayside classmates. This movie comes across as an olive branch to make up for the negative consequences from the book. While most of the cast, at least publicly ignored it, Lark Voorhies acknowledged it was an accurate portrayal of herself.
However, the timing of the recanting and this movie has unfortunately come too late. The cast has repeatedly had to field questions about the book in interviews with even their friends defending them. The major issue is he recanted in a way that he took no responsibility for his actions, and due to many inconsistencies in his narrative over years he has lost complete credibility. Diamond along with Lark Voorhies was cut-off from the much celebrated Tonight Show reunion with the cast and he most likely remains a major roadblock to having an official reunion show that fans hope will happen.
Summary: This Thursday (12am EST / 11PM CT / 9pm PST) [live session is over] we have a special guest Tanara Kuranov, who runs the Youtube video game review channel under the name Gamer Mouse. He has been reviewing games on the channel for about 3 years in a unique style that covers many old titles for vintage Macintosh systems, including the black and white (monochrome) era.
The project is clearly for the love of the games and I enjoy the humor and animated graphics that he adds to set his reviews apart from others. Reviews often alternate between color and monochrome views of the games seamlessly to give the viewer a feel for how the games can look under the two settings. The original monochrome Macintoshes launched in 1984 and went through several models, with many staying in service up to the mid to late nineties. These machines coexisted along with the newer color models that many may remember from their old school computer lab. Gamer Mouse also reviews retro games for other systems and consoles and more recent games.
We will be premiering a live Q&A format here on the forum, so please feel free to join in on the conversation and ask in an actively moderated session by the forum staff.
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TanaraKuranov
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