On the surface, Saved by the Bell looked like any other teen sitcom. The story revolved around Zack Morris, a privileged teen living in California, and his high school friends. There were some odd elements of the show when you think about it, though. In fact, when you look at it from a slightly different angle, there is plenty of evidence to suggest Saved by the Bell was a depiction of a fantasy world created by Zack.
Zack Morris was originally a middle school student in Indiana before he popped up in California
Saved by the Bell technically premiered in 1989. Two years prior, Zack Morris was in a different show. Good Morning, Miss Bliss premiered in 1989 and followed Zack, along with Screech Powers and Lisa Turtle, through middle school in Indianapolis. The series, which had a heavier focus on Ms. Bliss than the students, was deemed a failure and canceled.
When Zack resurfaced, a lot had changed about his life. He had left Indianapolis behind and moved to California. Screech and Lisa were there, too, but he added new friends to his group. Zack, who had divorced parents and a brother in Good Morning, Ms. Bliss, was suddenly an only child with married parents who were wealthy.
Zack’s markedly different life can be explained by a network simply recycling a character into a new show. Still, it could also be explained as Zack, the Indiana teen, dreaming up a much more interesting life than his reality. It would explain why his two best friends followed him to California, at the very least.
Zack Morris was able to stop time in ‘Saved by the Bell’
During Saved by the Bell’s run, Zack was clearly the show’s main character. His ability to stop time and speak directly to the audience proves that. The production team’s decision to allow Zack to break the fourth wall was certainly an interesting one. That odd style choice could be a hint that Saved by the Bell occurred entirely in Zack’s mind.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar doesn’t agree. The actor who spent years playing Zack once discussed his character’s time-stopping ability. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Gosselaar revealed that Saved by the Bell stole the idea from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In the flick, Ferris can stop time and address the audience directly. Gosselaar revealed that much of his inspiration for Zack came from the 1980s cult classic.
Zack never seemed to get in trouble for behaviors that would get most people expelled
Zack was a pretty wild teen. He constantly pushed boundaries, took strange risks, and failed to take his school responsibilities seriously. Some of Zack’s behaviors went way past teen rebellion and should have gotten him expelled from Bayside High. Zack’s punishments, however, were never all that serious.
Nothing really happened when he took pictures of his classmates in swimsuits and sold them as a calendar. Mr. Belding mostly ignored the time Zack crashed caused a car accident with the drivers’ education car, and he disregarded all of the rumors Zack started about his classmates. It seems possible that Zack lived in a world mostly devoid of consequences because it was all a fantasy.
Tiffani Thiessen thinks ‘Saved by the Bell’ could have been Zack’s dream world, too
Fans of Saved by the Bell aren’t the only ones buying into the theory that Zack imagined everything that happened. Tiffani Thiessen, the actor who portrayed Kelly Kapowski for the entirety of the series, thinks it’s a solid theory. In 2016, Thiessen sat down for an interview with the Huffington Post and offered her analysis on the theory.
Thiessen said Zack’s ability to stop time sells her on the idea. Everything else, surely, can be explained away. His ability to make everyone around him stop moving so he can chat with the camera, though, is awfully supernatural. Since the interview, Thiessen has reprised her role as Kelly in the Saved by the Bell reboot. In the reboot, Zack is married to Kelly, the girl of his dreams, has a son, and is the governor of California. Could the reboot be a continuation of Zack’s fantasy world? It would have to be.