How Saved By The Bell's Mac Morris Actor Feels About Those 'Zack Or Jeff?' Paternity Theories

Like few TV revivals before it, Peacock's Saved by the Bell reimagining not only invokes the elements that made the original series enjoyable, but also expands upon them with sharp humor and topical storytelling. The new series should also win some kind of an award for all the amazing and clever callbacks to moments both big and small from the Saturday morning hit, even if one of those references sparked an amusing Internet debate over whether Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Zack Morris is the true biological father of Mitchell Hoog's Mac Morris.

Attentive viewers no doubt remember the moment in the season finale when Tiffany Thiessen's Kelly Morris (née Kapowski) answered her son Mac's father question by nervously saying, "You're not Jeff's," which was a reference to Patrick Muldoon's short-lived Saved by the Bell character Jeff Hunter. For those unaware, Jeff was briefly the manager of The Max who was arguably already too old for Kelly when she rebounded into his arms after breaking up with Zack. Though their relationship basically went nowhere after he was caught cheating on her with someone over 18, the name-check was enough to raise suspicions over whether or not she got back together with him long enough to get impregnated with his child. (A plot more suited for Muldoon's time on Days of Our Lives, no doubt.)

When CinemaBlend recently spoke with Saved by the Bell's new star Mitchell Hoog, I asked what he thought about the fan fervor surrounding potential questions about who his character Mac's real father is. Here's what the actor bemusedly told me:

You know, I read about that the other day, and I don't know what I think of it. I don't know if I am clueless on it because my whole imagination that I built with my mind was deconstructed within two sentences, or if it's a really good question to ponder. [Laughs.] I also think that within myself – meaning Mac – due to my dad being governor and the lack of his presence, inherently there is this kind of need for that answer. So I think that's really actually a good question to ponder, and an interesting conversation that's arising out of this.

Had Kelly's "Jeff" joke come up in an earlier episode, or with a different context, it might not have led quite as many fans to theorize how Mac might not be Zack's biological son. But Mac was rounding out a pretty interesting character journey as Saved by the Bell's first season came to a close, with his entire outlook on life having been affected by Daisy and the other Douglas High students. Mac eventually came to realize that even though his dad is a charismatic AF governor, Zack is also kind of a major flake, leaving Mac with unresolved feelings. It definitely wasn't the time for his shoulda-known-better mother to add fuel to the father fire by bringing up Jeff.

Speaking of that maternal figure, Kelly's longtime portrayer Tiffani Thiessen also shared her thoughts on the paternal debate, and didn't waste any breath on Jeff-related speculations. Here's how she put it to EW:

I promise you it's not Jeff. I mean, look at him! [Mac] looks exactly like Mark-Paul. It was such a good line to add in there, wasn't it? That's Tracey [Wigfield] for you. No way that could happen, it would kill everything. It's just a funny, really good line. It's those little lines that are just so great, but there's no way. Mac looks exactly like Zack. It's truly uncanny how they cast him. Mitchell is good, too. He's such a good actor. All of the kids in the cast are so talented.

I mean, even if Mac and Zack didn't share the same head of immaculately blonde hair – which was not easy for Mitchell Hoog to pull off at first – to assume that Jeff is Mac's father is to assume that someone as angelic and perfect as Kelly Kapowski would be capable of such an adulterous affair and subsequent scandal. #NotMyKelly!

Does all of that convince everyone, or are there still some fans who think that Jeff might have played a part in Mac's conception? Let us know in the poll below and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more exclusive Saved by the Bell coverage. When you're not rewatching the full season on Peacock, or one of the streaming service's other worthy originals, head to our 2021 Winter and Spring TV premiere schedule to see all the new and returning shows popping up in the near future.

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Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.