Mark-Paul Gosselaar looks back on Saved by the bell stories he wishes had turned out differently.
In Sunday’s episode The floor meets the world podcast, the actor spoke with A boy meets the world stars Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle about the “difficult” plot of the first season involving the character of Lisa Turtle, his co-star Lark Voorhies.
The actor, who played Zack Morris on the ’90s sitcom, recalled the episode “The Lisa Card,” in which Lisa panicked after going over her father’s credit card limit. In an effort to get the money back, Zack charged the boys in his class $1 each to kiss her “without her consent.”
“I basically fucked Lisa Turtle,” he said The floor meets the world hosts. “I was charging people to kiss her without her consent. That was hard.”
He was rescued by Bell’s Lark Voorhies. Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank Mark-Paul Gosselaar says re-watching old episodes that saved the bell ‘kind of excruciating’
The star noted that they felt the need to include a disclaimer at the beginning of the podcast episode that says, “We don’t condone this. We’re just here to talk about it.”
He also addressed another problematic story that made him feel uneasy. In the Season 3 episode “Running Zack”, his character claimed to be Native American and appeared wearing a traditional headdress.
“Seeing Zack Morris with a full headpiece … we had to be a little sensitive about that,” the actor said. “There are things you just wouldn’t record today.”
The cast of ‘Saved by the Bell’, including Elizabeth Berkley, Lark Voorhies, Mario Lopez, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Dustin Diamond and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. The cast of ‘Saved by the Bell’: Where are they now?
This is not the first time that Gosselaar has spoken about Saved by the bell stories that haven’t aged so well.
In a 2020 episode of his own Rewatch Podcast. Zack to the Future — co-hosted by Dashiell Driscoll, who was a writer on the Peacock reboot at the time — said he felt “conflicted” about the Lisa episode.
Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie Spano, Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zachary ‘Zack’ Morris, Lark Voorhies as Lisa Turtle in “Saved by the Bell”.
Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank
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“It wasn’t as carefree and innocent as in the last episode,” he said at the time. “But maybe that’s because I’m looking at it through these eyes, not through the eyes of a 13-year-old or an audience that saw it in the ’90s.”
He also admitted, “We’re not going to say we don’t see some of the morally repugnant or antiquated situations and responses to certain things.”
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All four seasons Saved by the bell are available to stream on Amazon Prime and Apple TV. Seasons 1 and 2 of Saved by the bell The 2020 reboot can be streamed on Peacock.