‘Saved by the Bell’ Star Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Brutally Honest Podcast ‘Zack to the Future’ Dissects Each Episode

In 1989, NBC debuted a teen sitcom on Saturday mornings — a slot that had previously been reserved for kids’ cartoons. Although it was only on for four seasons, Saved by the Bell was an iconic part of a generation’s teen years. 

It’s been almost 30 years since Saved by the Bell went off the air, but fans still remember the characters vividly. And as it turns out, time hasn’t been very kind to all of them. The character of Zack Morris has come under some scrutiny in the last few years, and one of the people criticizing him is the actor that played him. 

Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris

Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zachary ‘Zack’ Morris on Saved By the Bell | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

As Screen Rant reports, Saved by the Bell followed the adventures of Zach, Kelly, Screech, Slater, Jessie, and Lisa as they made their way through high school at Bayside High. Zack, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, was generally seen as the group’s leader. With his blonde hair, crooked grin, and endless schemes, Zack was at the center of the jokes, stories, and lessons. 

The cast was very close during their years together, and fans have been excited to find out that some of them will appear in the upcoming reboot of the show. But in the years since the original aired, people have started looking at Zack in a different light. 

‘Zack Morris is Trash’

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In 2017, the comedy website Funny or Die began a web series delving into episodes of Saved by the Bell, and especially focusing on the antics of Zack. It turns out that Zack’s funny adventures aren’t quite as cute in 2020. 

The web series, called Zack Morris is Trash, plays short clips from different episodes, each with a voiceover explaining what was happening, what Zack was doing, and why it’s terrible. With titles like “The Time Zack Impersonated A Woman to Abuse His Best Friend,” the show takes a fresh and funny look at Zack’s behavior. And it’s not impressive. 

You might expect Gosselaar to find the web series eviscerating his best-known character offensive. However, as Yahoo Entertainment reports, he seems to wish he had thought of it first. “I would have been very proud of that take on it because I think that’s an original take,” he explained. 

But since he couldn’t come up with the idea first, he decided to start a project with Dashiell Driscoll, the creator of Zack Morris is Trash. This podcast is called Zack to the Future, and it requires him to actually watch the show that made him famous for the first time.

Gosselaar watches an episode of the show each week, then he and Driscoll discuss it on the podcast. Where possible, they involve other stars from the show. Although Gosselaar says it’s torturous to watch his young self perform, it’s also great to revisit the show.

The point of the podcast isn’t to make fun of the show; that’s taken care of on Zack Morris is Trash. But Saved by the Bell was a huge part of so many people’s lives, Gosselaar included, that spending a little time in Bayside High is fun. 

Life outside of Bayside High

Saved by the Bell
(l-r) Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle, Ed Alonzo as Max, Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski, Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zachary ‘Zack’ Morris, Dennis Haskins as Mr. Richard Belding, Elizabeth Berkley as Jessica ‘Jessie’ Myrtle Spano, Dustin Diamond as Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers, Mario López as Albert Clifford ‘A.C.’ Slater | NBCU Photo Bank

Despite the podcast and the fact that he’s reprising his old role in the new reboot, Gosselaar’s life hasn’t been about Saved by the Bell for a long time. According to Entertainment Weekly, after a brief run on a college-based runoff of the series, he moved on to try his hand at other roles.

He joined NYPD Blue in 2001, and he played Detective John Clark Jr. there for four years. He’s appeared in a number of other projects, including Commander In Chief, Raising the Bar, Franklin & Bash, and Pitch. Most recently, he’s starring in the ABC series Mixed-ish

People who enjoyed Saved by the Bell can tune in to Zack to the Future and experience two sides of Gosselaar. There’s the cocky kid he once played, and the grown man who can laugh along with everyone else at how ridiculous he was.