I think by the point we all know that the entertainment industry is pretty wild. With the way social media works now, we're privy to a lot of information we may not have heard back in the day. So have you ever wondered what it was like on set of some of your favorite shows from the 80s and 90s?
Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on Saved by the Bell, wrote a tell-all book called "Behind the Bell," in which he made some pretty bold claims about his cast mates. The thing is, Diamond later revealed that he didn't even write most of the book, and that a lot of the stories were fabricated. However, some of them seem like they definitely could have happened...
Take a read through some of the bigger accusations from Diamond's book, and decide for yourself which ones are true!
1. The cast became "incestuous."
According to the book, the cast members all eventually dated one another. Diamond said that Mario Lopez and Mark-Paul Gosselaar basically took turns dating each of their female co-stars, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, and Lark Voorhies. Diamond claimed he wasn't part of this romantic rotation, but that the cast would even have some...group activities.
"If Kelly [Tiffani Thiessen] was interested in Slater [Mario Lopez] one week, then backstage there was a lot going between them in Mario's room," Dustin said. "Then, if Jessie [Elizabeth Berkley] kisses Zack, then you know Elizabeth Berkley is going in Mark-Paul's room."
Part of this allegation was actually confirmed by Gosselaar. In 2009, he told People magazine that "All of us dated at one point or another - it was incestuous!"
2. Dustin Diamond peed in an extra's purse.
Diamond didn't just rip on his co-stars in his book. He made sure to tell some stories about himself, too. According to the actor, one of the extras on set embarrassed and belittled him in front of the rest of the cast, which he didn't take too kindly to. Instead of letting it go, Diamond found her purse and peed in it.
3. The set was very clean-cut and PG.
Even though the cast might have been participating in some R-rated activities during their down time, executive producer Peter Engel wanted to keep the set pretty clean. He had been heavily involved in the Hollywood party scene, and when he got himself clean he became a born-again Christian.
"Monday through Friday, I would wake up and smoke two joints, pop speed to get through work, snort a gram of cocaine, and take a handful of Quaaludes to fall asleep," Engel explained in his memoir.
Diamond wrote that there was no swearing allowed on set, and only the good parts of high school and youth were portrayed on the show, kind of like a utopian existence.
4. Dustin Diamond hid pictures of his genitals all over the set.
This claim didn't come from Diamond's book, admittedly, but since we're on the topic of secrets, Mario Lopez had one to share about his co-star. In Lopez's book "Just Between Us," he revealed that Diamond would often act out and pull pranks that had him fall out of favor with the rest of the cast. Diamond was younger than his co-stars, and he was often left out.
"Not everyone got along with Screech AKA Dustin Diamond. I did, but maybe I was the exception," Lopez wrote. "He was one of those dorky kids who thought it was hilarious to take Polaroids of his genitals and leave the photos all over the set."
5. Mario Lopez assaulted a woman.
This is a very serious claim, and one that shouldn't be joked about. But while it's easy to dismiss this as one of Diamond's lies, there's actually some evidence to corroborate the story.
According to Diamond, Lopez "lured [a woman] back to his pad... and [she] was forced to have sex against her will." In a 1993 article published by Variety, police admitted that there were accusations made by a woman against Lopez.
“What we have here, basically, is an allegation of date rape,” said police Detective John McAvenia.
After the first women came forward, another claimed that Lopez had raped her two years prior. However, there wasn't any evidence in either case to support the allegations according to law enforcement, and both cases were dropped. According to Diamond, the only reason charges were dropped is that NBC lawyers got involved in the case and paid the first woman $50,000 to keep her mouth shut.
6. Everyone loved Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
This really isn't that hard to believe, now is it? According to Diamond, absolutely everyone loved Gosselaar, but the issue is that it got to be too much. Diamond says that no matter what Gosselaar did, people followed him blindly. If he liked it, everyone liked it. It was as though no one had their own opinions, and this didn't sit well with Diamond.
7. Cincinnati loved the show.
Obviously places other than Cincinnati loved Saved by the Bell, but there was something about the show that really struck a chord with the city in Ohio. In the documentary based off Diamond's book, called Unauthorized, there are clips of a meet and greet at a Cincinnati shopping mall where Mario Lopez is asked to autograph a fan's pregnant belly, and Gosselaar literally has his clothes ripped off him by fans. There was a basically a full-blown riot right there in Cincinnati, something that didn't happen anywhere else they went.
8. The cast isolated Dustin Diamond.
Like Lopez mentioned in his book, not everyone got along with Diamond, and this is something he knew. From the way Diamond spoke about his time on Saved by the Bell in his book, it was clear that he knew he was an outcast and not very well liked by his cast members. The group worked together for five years, but even to this day you can tell that the other actors have remained closer with each other than they have with Diamond.
9. The cast was able to control the direction of the show.
According to Diamond, the actors were able to manipulate the writers and showrunners to take the storylines in directions they wanted. They acted like sort of a package deal. If one actor wanted things to change in the script, the rest of them would essentially join forces until their demands were met. Apparently, the decision to have Jessie be addicted to caffeine pills was a request from Elizabeth Berkley, who wanted the show to cover more mature topics.
10. Dustin Diamond had a drinking problem.
Diamond obviously had his struggles, but an extra only identified as "Eric" made things even more difficult. It was Eric who gave Diamond his first sip of alcohol on set, and from there the actor began relying heavily on alcohol. At one point, Diamond showed up to a Saved by the Bell scheduled appearance completely drunk, and things got so bad the event almost had to be cancelled.
Eric caused some further issues for Diamond when he filmed the actor smoking weed, and then used that footage to blackmail diamond for more roles on the show.
11. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen dated a lot of co-stars.
It sounds like Diamond had a bone to pick with Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, because she was one of the main targets in his book. Diamond alleges that when Thiessen was dating Eddie Garcia, who guest starred on the show, she was also hooking up with Mario Lopez and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. He claims she would go back and forth between everyone's dressing rooms trying to be sneaky, but eventually Garcias caught her and broke up with her.
12. Playing a nerd took a toll on Diamond's well-being.
It's hard to feel for someone who made a fortune playing a character on a TV show, but according to Diamond, playing the nerd on an extremely popular show does a lot of mental damage. Throughout the series, Screech was often the punchline of jokes, was left out of any romantic storylines, and usually ends up sad and alone. Over time, these "losses" for the character started to affect Diamond personally.
Throughout his book, Diamond makes a point of explaining that he's not as nerdy as his character was, and often took shots at his other co-stars about their popularity.
13. Dustin Diamond slept with over 2,000 women.
This claim is a little harder to verify, but Diamond alleges that he slept with over 2,000 women, all thanks to being a TV star. The actor explained that he would just go to Disneyland and walk around until girls recognized him. Even if he wasn't the most popular character on the show, he was still a TV star.
"People don't realize that Disneyland in the early '90s was the perfect place to meet and hook up with chicks," Diamond wrote in his book.
He claimed that the "Haunted Mansion" ride was the best because it was nine minutes long and completely dark.
14. Writers tried to couple up Mr. Belding and Screech.
Diamond wrote that during Saved By the Bell: The New Class, he believed that the writers were trying to destroy his character. The show ran from 1993 to 2000, and he claimed that the show was trying to make Mr. Belding and Screech a couple. There would be scenes where the two would star into each other's eyes longingly. Diamond believed the writers were doing this because they didn't like him at all, and wanted to ruin the character he was known for.
15. Mark-Paul Gosselaar was on Steroids.
This is another one of the claims that can't be corroborated, but Diamond alleges that Mark-Paul Gosselaar took steroids while they filmed Saved by the Bell: The College Years.
"He suddenly exploded with manliness, loading 25 pounds of muscle on his once-scrawny frame in, oh, about a month," said Diamond.
Of course, this could have had to do with the actors all growing up and nature taking its course. Mark-Paul Gosselaar never addressed these rumors specifically, but he did comment on the book as a whole.
"Everything that I've heard about his book is negative and I don't remember those things," he said. "My experience on the show was very positive and that's why when people say, ‘Oh, you don't like talking about it.' It's like, No, I don't mind talking about it, I just don't really remember that time, and also everything I do remember was extremely positive."