The Saved By The Bell Episode That Mark-Paul Gosselaar Apologizes For

We've all done things that we regret, correct? From relationships to dinner choices to hair styles, life is not always meant to take the most ideal route, something fully understood by Saved by the Bell star Mark-Paul Gosselaar, whose hairdos as Zack Morris are incapable of inspiring remorse. There's one particular episode of the high school comedy that doesn't sit so well with him, 1990's "Running Zack," and he gave an amusing apology for it in a recent interview.

The one part of the episode - well, there's probably more parts - that I think specifically deserves an 'I'm Sorry About That': He gives a - I'm doing this in air quotes - 'presentation' that consists of putting war paint on Screech and giving him a toy tomahawk - and he has Screech stagger around and grunt at people. Zack doesn't get in trouble for this completely racist presentation, and the only punishment is he'll have to skip the big track meet if he doesn't take the project seriously. . . . On the plus side, Zack takes his ancestry seriously and gives another 'presentation.' Of course, he gets into full Native American costume with face paint and a headdress.That's another 'I'm Sorry' moment.

Pat yourself on the back if you are the kind of Saved by the Bell fanatic that already had it in mind that "Running Zack" would be the episode in question. (Incidentally, patting one's back qualifies as a dance contest entry at The Max.) And note that Mark-Paul Gosselaar wasn't randomly and arbitrarily issuing an apology for the episode, as this was a segment of an EW interview called "Watch This/Sorry About That," for which he got to promote his current work on Fox's well-received drama Pitch by balancing it with a pop culture blight from his past. He could have said ALL KINDS of things, given all that was seen during Saved by the Bell's run (as well as other parts of his career), but this was a solid answer.

saved by the bell

"Running Zack" obviously wasn't the greatest episode of Saved by the Bell, and everything came across as super hokey even without thinking of the inherent cultural insensitivity. (Saturday mornings have not always been the best times for children to get "messages.") It's perhaps most notable for featuring one of the final performances from veteran Native American actor Dehl Berti, who died in 1991. Berti was solid as usual, though he did die in the episode, as Gosselaar put it, "without explanation." Thank goodness they didn't go full-face with the makeup or anything, and Screech wasn't wearing a Washington Redskins jersey; Dustin Diamond has gone on to do other not so great things.

Saved by the Bell fans are going to relive another one of that show's worst moments, which also happens to be one of its best, when Mark-Paul Gosselaar makes an appearance in animated form on Family Guy. The scene being recreated is, of course, the one where Jessie goes nutso on caffeine pills and gives The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited" a musical ad-lib on par with "More cowbell." Magic.

A Saved by the Bell reunion outside the realm of late night talk shows (such as this one) just isn't going to be in the cards, which is probably fine, since an adult Zack Morris likely wouldn't be any better at nailing life. But you can still catch Mark-Paul Gosselaar on Pitch on Thursday nights on Fox.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.