Mark-Paul Gosselaar “conflicted” over a season one Saved by the Bell episode

Zack Morris himself, Mark-Paul Gosselaar says a Saved by the Bell episode involving Lisa Turtle was a particularly “tough” one.

Last Updated on October 4, 2023

Saved by the Bell

As with so many shows and movies from decades ago, some storylines and plot points have become severely dated. Now, Saved by the Bell star Mark-Paul Gosselaar is acknowledging that some episodes of the teen sitcom probably shouldn’t have made it to production.

Appearing on the Boy Meets World rewatch podcast Pod Meets World –  hosted by Danielle Fishel, Will Friedle, and Rider Strong – Mark-Paul Gosselaar said, “There was one where I was basically whoring out Lisa Turtle…I charged people to kiss her without her consent. That was a tough one.” The episode in question is “The Lisa Card”, which was just the second episode aired.

On his own podcast, Zack to the Future, Mark-Paul Gosselaar previously said that the Saved by the Bell episode in question serves as an example of just the sort of material that wouldn’t fly today. “I feel a little conflicted by this particular episode. It wasn’t as carefree and innocent as the last episode, but maybe it’s because I’m watching it through these eyes and not the eyes of a 13-year-old or the audience that watched it back in the ’90s.” He added, “There are things in every single episode that we could pick out. At that point, you try not to be negative. It’s a watch party… It’s a tightrope walk. Overall, you try to be positive about the work and say, ‘That was a different time.’”

Like most shows of its time, Saved by the Bell had a number of scenarios that are dated or viewed to be offensive through a 21st-century lens: Zack dressing up as a Native American (with the intent to outline their importance), Zack bugging his female classmates’ bedroom, Zack using brainwashing techniques to land Kelly Kapowski, and – wait, this Zack Morris kid is a creep!

Similarly, Jennifer Aniston recently said that new generations watching Friends find the show offensive…maybe “smelly” is too harsh of a word for a cat?

Regardless of the cast’s participation in episodes that might contain various sensitivities, much of the main cast returned for the Saved by the Bell revival. That show lasted just two seasons, while the original Saved by the Bell lasted four.

Do you think the cited Saved by the Bell episodes could get made today on a major network? Give us your take below.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.