Iconic ’90s sitcom Saved by the Bell star Mark-Paul Gosselaar dropped in this week on a popular rewatch podcast hosted by his fellow teen stars called Pod Meets World, in which Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong, and Will Friedle painstakingly pick through lighthearted episodes of their series Boy Meets World. And at one point, Gosselaar shared just how unsettling he’d found the project of revisiting his work on his own podcast, Zack to the Future.
“It was my idea to do this podcast, but I didn’t realize how torturous it would be for me to have to watch my work back because there’s nothing you can do,” Gosselaar lamented, adding that he realized “everyone else on the show was more talented than me, at least from my perspective.”
This is typical actor insecurity, but Gosselaar also touched on certain storylines from Saved by the Bell that he felt did not hold up.
“There was one [storyline] where I was basically whoring out [main character] Lisa Turtle, you know, to charge people to kiss her without her consent,” Gosselaar said. “God, that was a tough one, [and] we had to, you know, preface [talking about] the episode by saying, ‘We do not condone this, we’re here just to discuss it, but this is in the past.’”
Discussing that particular storyline from the first season of the show—in which Morris charges classmates $1 each to kiss his friend without her knowledge—on an episode of his own podcast, Gosselaar acknowledged that he was “conflicted” about acknowledging the “morally abhorrent or dated situations” from the show while also presenting a “celebration of Saved By The Bell.”
“The other one was where Zack Morris claimed that he was Native American,” Gosselaar said, adding that he had managed to completely block that episode from his memory. “You just kind of stumble into him and you go, ‘Oh gosh, yeah, [that’s] Zack Morris in a full headdress. So that was that was the one we had to be a little sensitive [about].”
“There are things in every single episode that we could pick out, and you find yourself at that point... trying not to be negative,” Gosselaar said. “It’s a watch party. People want you to celebrate the product. So yeah, it’s a tightrope. We are walking a tightrope.”
Those episodes, among many others, were previously examined by the brutally exhaustive web series “Zack Morris Is Trash” on Funny or Die.