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|First appearance||"Summer Love" (Good Morning, Miss Bliss)|
|Last appearance||"Goodbye Bayside Part 2" (Saved by the Bell: The New Class)|
|Created by||Sam Bobrick|
|Portrayed by||Mark-Paul Gosselaar|
|Family||Melanie Rhonda Morris (mother)
Derek Morris (father)
Peter Morris (single father in Good Morning, Miss Bliss)
|Spouse(s)||Kelly Kapowski (1994-present)|
Zachary "Zack" Morris is a fictional character from the sitcoms Good Morning, Miss Bliss; Saved by the Bell; Saved by the Bell: The College Years; and Saved by the Bell: The New Class. He was 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.
Junior high and Miss Bliss
Set in a different continuity from the later series (though later added to the syndication package), the one season of the sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss took place during Zack's eighth grade year at John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indianapolis, Indiana (Saved by the Bell is set in California). 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 butted heads with Zack on many issues. His best friend Mikey was a good student and was often supportive of him, and helped 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 helped provide a moral compass for Zack.
In this series, Zack was already doing much of the scheming, betting, and manipulation for which he became known in the later series. Examples include selling the stock the students had bought as a class project and investing the money in potatoes, setting rats loose in the school in order to get a test postponed, using a relationship between his father and Miss Bliss to get out of doing homework, betting Nikki that he could kiss a rock star who was coming to the school, and getting Screech to write his history report by promising a date with Lisa, even though all he actually does is write love letters to Lisa from a secret admirer, on Screech's behalf.
High school and college years
Zack demonstrated a flair for business throughout his teen years (Saved by the Bell). However, in many subjects (notably history and literature), he is often seen receiving poor grades or displaying lack of interest. And it has to be mentioned that he outclassed Jessie in "The Election" for student president another area he demonstrated his natural talent for leadership.
Despite this, Zack achieved a very high score of 1502 on his SAT and got 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 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 university donor) and Danielle Marks (the daughter of a federal judge).
Danielle quickly transferred to a different school. This allowed Kelly to move in after she was accepted from California University's waiting list. Screech met with Kelly, and he suggested that she move in to the suite. Assigned to watch over Zack and his friends was Mike Rogers, a former football player for the San Francisco 49ers. He worked as a resident adviser, while also working towards a graduate degree. Mike often had to keep Zack in line, since Zack was still up to many of his high school tricks. Generally though, Mike and Zack got along well.
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 got along well with Professor Lasky, with the exception of a short period where Professor Lasky was dating Kelly, which upset Zack because he realized he still had feelings for her. Dean McMann, however, was a more authoritative figure for whom Zack often caused problems.
Zack was a particularly involved high school student. Athletically, Zack participated in cross country, basketball, and track. He has experienced some success in each of these sports. In 9th grade, Zack finished in 3rd place at a cross country meet. He was one of Bayside's better basketball players, and it hurt 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 were downtrodden because they thought there was no way they could win without Zack. Despite this success, Zack sometimes felt athletically overshadowed by Slater, who was the star of the school's football and wrestling teams. While working at the Malibu Sands Beach Club, Zack mentions that Slater is, "All-City in four sports."
Zack was also very musically talented. He was the lead singer and lead guitar player for a band called Zack Attack (in a dream). The other members were Kelly (vocals), Lisa (bass guitar), Slater (drums), and Screech (Keyboard). While this band never achieved the success that it did in Zack's dreams, it was good enough to get paid to play at local events. Zack Attack, however, offered to play for free at a school dance so that more money could be spent on decorations. This line-up featured Zack on vocals and guitar, Jessie on vocals, 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 senior year). He was also a member of the glee club for a short time. He could also play the trombone.
Zack was also involved in various other activities throughout high school. He helped restart the school radio station, and hosted a radiothon to save The Max (a hangout that appears regularly in the show). He spearheaded a carnival to raise money for a school ski trip, and helped sponsor countless dances. He was also a member of the school's JROTC program, and together with Screech, ran the Year Book committee to produce a video-Year Book. At one point, Zack takes over as manager of the school store, and is also on the student council.
Throughout the series, Zack is shown as an avid proposition bettor who often makes bets with Slater on the fate of his schemes. Zack also occasionally placed bets with students of Bayside's rival school, Valley. He has gambled on football, chess, the future, whether he could skip school, and even on the day that Mr. Belding's baby would be born. However, when Zack went to Las Vegas to marry Kelly, he was not seen gambling (the reason being he was only 19 at the time and in Las Vegas one must be 21 to gamble).
Throughout most of high school, Zack is not seen holding any jobs, unlike some of his classmates. However, during one summer, Zack worked at The Malibu Sands Beach Club with his friends. He also worked voluntarily at a Hawaiian Hotel during two weeks off of BaySide as Staff in order to save Kelly Kapowski's grandfather's hotel that was being struck hard by a rival hotel who wanted to buy the property. During college, Zack is seen working at the cafeteria in the student commons, in order to raise money for a trip he had promised as a prize in a raffle contest that was designed to get students to fill out a survey.
Zack is often erroneously cited as the first television character to carry a cell phone (Joey from Bread had one). The term "Zack Morris phone" has since become a colloquial term for any large, old-fashioned cell phone.
Breaking the fourth wall
In Saved by the Bell, Zack broke 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. Perhaps the most popular times Zack broke the Fourth Wall was when he would take a "Time Out." Usually when he was notably worried about something (such as Slater getting a car to impress Kelly) Zack would say "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 would freeze. Then, Zack would offer his opinion, and when he was finished, he would say "Time In", and the episode would continue.
In one episode, Zack used his ability to stop time to alter the immediate future, when he "Timed-Out", to avoid getting punched by Slater. Slater instead punched Mr. Belding because Zack moved out of the way, bizarrely implying that this was more than a mere artistic touch and actually some sort of supernatural power. When he "Timed-Out" in this instance he also placed a piece of paper between the lips of Kelly and a boy she was pretending to kiss.
In another notable episode, Zack stops time to give Screech a cassette tape during a performance he was giving with the school choir. His power was 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.
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 what happened to him after college: 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.
- "Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Teen Star of Nbc's Saved by the Bell Learns That Fame Takes a Toll". People. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- "Zack And Kelly Tie The Knot In Finale". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Gosselaar, Mark-Paul (2008-10-15). "Catching Up With...". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
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