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Zack Morris is a fictional character from the sitcoms Good Morning, Miss Bliss, Saved by the Bell, and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. He also makes a guest appearance in the spin-off series Saved by the Bell: The New Class. He is portrayed by Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Though the character appeared in several different television programs, Gosselaar made a concerted effort to keep the character fundamentally the same through its various incarnations.Contents
Set in a different continuity from the later series, Good Morning, Miss Bliss took place during Zack's eighth grade year at John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Screech and Lisa are two of Zack's friends in these episodes. Other friends that are regularly featured are Mikey Gonzalez, a close friend who is often involved in Zack's scheming, and Nikki Coleman, who often butts heads with Zack on many issues. His best friend Mikey is a good student and is often supportive of him, and helps him with schoolwork a lot. Mr. Belding was the principal of JFK Junior High, and often had to deal with problems Zack had caused. Zack's homeroom teacher and history teacher, Miss Carrie Bliss, also acts as a moral compass for Zack. In this series, Zack is already doing much of the scheming, betting, and manipulation for which he became known in the later series.High school and college years Academics
Zack demonstrates a flair for business throughout his teen years. However, in many subjects, notably history and literature, he is often seen receiving poor grades or displaying a lack of interest. Despite this, Zack achieves a very high score of 1502 on his SAT and gets accepted to Yale in his senior year. At the end of Saved by the Bell, Zack is planning on going to Yale. However, in Saved by the Bell: The College Years, we see Zack attending Cal U, along with Screech, Slater, who had originally planned on attending Iowa to join their wrestling program), and later on, Kelly, who joined the cast after the pilot episode. Their dorm was a suite, with the three guys in one room, three girls in another room and a common area in-between. The girls originally assigned to share the suite with them were Alex Tabor, an aspiring actress, Leslie Burke, the daughter of a major university donor and Danielle Marks, the daughter of a federal judge.
Danielle quickly transfers to a different school, allowing Kelly to move in after she is accepted into California University and put on the waiting list. Assigned to watch over Zack and his friends was Mike Rogers, a former football player for the San Francisco 49ers. He works as a resident adviser, while also working towards a graduate degree. Mike often steps in to keep Zack in line, while committing various cunning schemes reminiscent of the ones he concocted in high school. Other university faculty and staff that were regularly featured in "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" were Professor Jeremiah Lasky and Dean Susan McMann. Zack generally gets along well with Professor Lasky, with the exception of a short period where Professor Lasky dates Kelly, which upsets Zack because it makes him realize he still had feelings for her. Dean McMann, however, is a more authoritative figure for whom Zack often causes problems.Extracurricular activities
When Zack attended Bayside, he was a very involved student. Athletically, Zack participated in cross country, basketball, and track. He experienced some success in each of these sports. In ninth grade, Zack finished in third place at a cross country meet. He was one of Bayside's better basketball players, and it challenged the team when he sprained his knee in the locker room before a big game. When Zack was possibly not going to compete in a track meet, Mr. Belding and Zack's team members became discouraged because they thought there was no way they could win without Zack.
Zack is also very musically talented. He offered to play for free at a school dance so that more money could be spent on decorations. This line-up featured Zack as a main vocalist while playing guitar, Jessie as a featured vocalist, Lisa on bass guitar, Screech on keyboard, and Slater on drums. However, when Slater had to take over the lead vocals during the dance because Zack was outside talking to Kelly, when they broke up Ollie (a minor character on Saved by the Bell) took over on drums. Zack was also the lead singer of a 1950s-style doo-wop group, The Five Aces (a reference to the real-life group The Four Aces), that sang during a school sock hop. The other singers were Slater, Screech, Lisa, and Tori Scott, a student who transferred to Bayside during their senior year. He was also a member of the glee club for a short time.
Zack was also involved in various other activities throughout high school. He helped restart the school radio station, and hosted a radio-thon to save the local teen hangout. He created a carnival to raise money for a school ski trip, and helped with several dances. He was also a member of the school's Junior ROTC program, and together with Screech, ran the Yearbook committee to produce a video yearbook. At one point, Zack took over as manager of the school store, and is also on the student council.Breaking the fourth wall
In Saved by the Bell, Zack breaks the fourth wall on numerous occasions. During many episodes, he would introduce the episode, or speak his opinion on different topics, such as Slater, Kelly, etc. Usually when he is notably worried about something Zack says "Time Out", and make a motion with his hands similar to a basketball player requesting a time out from the referee, and everyone around him freezes. Immediately after, Zack usually offers his opinion, and says "Time In!" when he is finished, and the episode continues.
In "Video Yearbook," Zack uses his ability to stop time to alter the immediate future, when he "Times-Out", to avoid getting punched by Slater. Slater instead punches Mr. Belding because Zack moves out of the room, yet surprisingly none of the characters seem to notice when Zack suddenly disappears. When he "Times-Out" in this instance he also places a piece of paper between the lips of Kelly and a boy she is pretending to kiss.
In another episode, "Glee Club," Zack stops time to give Screech a cassette tape during a performance he was giving with the school choir. His power is able to selectively keep Screech unfrozen, much like Evie Garland's (from the television show Out of This World) ability to freeze and unfreeze time with hand gestures and selectively unfreeze individuals by tagging them.Other appearances
On June 8, 2009, Gosselaar appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as part of Fallon's long-running effort to reunite the cast of Saved by the Bell on his show in character as Zack Morris. In the interview, Zack explains that he relocated to Los Angeles and became an actor, assuming the stage name "Mark-Paul Gosselaar" because there was another Zack Morris already registered with the Screen Actors Guild. His marriage to Kelly also failed when she "moved to a different ZIP code" but that they remained on good terms. Zack engaged in several of his trademark bits such as calling "time out".
On November 6, 2016, Gosselaar voiced an animated version of Zack in the Family Guy episode "Chris Has Got a Date, Date, Date, Date, Date", parodying the scene in "Jessie's Song," where Jessie takes prescription drugs to stay awake for a performance.Critical analysis
Starting in October 2017, the character of Zack Morris has been the subject of a popular multi-season tongue-in-cheek critique by the Funny Or Die web series entitled Zack Morris is Trash. The series is freely available on YouTube.References