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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Timeout! It's the return of Zack freakin' Morris

It says along the right rail that my guilty pleasure is "Saved by the Bell," but honestly, that's misleading. I have no problem defending my love of "SBTB" to anyone. In fact, I've engaged in spirited arguments with fellow pop culture aficionados about how, in my humble estimation, the show is actually funny -- even as I continue to bask in its inherent cheesiness as an adult.

So yes, I know that the same actor on "SBTB" played both Ox and Scud. I know that Helen Billingham was the name of the Stansbury recruiter who had the audacity to reject Jessica Mertyl Spano's impeccable credentials (she did kinda tank the SAT, though. I mean, it's the Harvard of the West). I even recently identified the actor who played Zack's dad, Derek Morris, in an erectile dysfunction ad.

Yes, I'm proud of these things.

This is why you'll have to forgive me for geeking out HARD when Mark-Paul Gosselaar played along with Jimmy Fallon's childhood kick by assuming the identity of one, Zachary Morris, on last night's show.

Now, I've never been a huge Fallon fan. But now ... now I feel like we could be brothers. Because dude is a hardcore "SBTB" junkie. And if I wasn't convinced of that after he had Dennis "Mr. Belding" Haskins (who, ahem, I've interviewed ...) on the show during his first week of "Late Night," it's readily apparent from the below clip that Fallon is a Bayside Glee Club geek of Violet Ann Bickerstaff proportions.

Like, we're talking Academic Bowl levels of "SBTB" knowledge from Fallon. Even with a talented staff of writers, you can't fake the love he showed for the Bayside gang. Dude is sporting some serious Zackosity.

Anyway, "SBTB" fans: you have to watch the following clip. It's chock full of obscure bits of Bayside High trivia. And the end is an absolute treat. All I can tell you is that I had "Friends Forever" in my head all freakin' day ... and yeah, giant cell phone gag. Never. Gets. Old.

Also, how much credit do you have to give Gosselaar for being cool about the whole bit? The guy is an established actor on a hit show, TNT's "Raising the Bar," yet instead of going in for the standard interview, he brings Morris out of the archives for a killer spot alongside The Roots. I mean, Screech can't even handle being called Screech. Yet Gosselaar is game for a role he played as a zit-faced teenager? Yeah, I'm totally watching "Raising the Bar" now. Mark-Paul ... you have earned this writer's loyalty for life. You could commit double murder and I'd hold up a handmade sign saying "I Back Zack" at your trial. That's how much respect you nabbed, Preppy.

Oh, and one more thing. MJ, do you think it's a coincidence that Fallon is doing this for Zack "The Legend" Morris and not Cory Matthews? Yeah, that's what I thought.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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I had read about this SBTB reunion on CNNSI of all places. That was probably one of the greatest guest appearances I have seen in long long time. That was simply hilarious and that MPG went balls out in the role of Zack for that long was fantastic. I was thinking, Fallon needs him to sign an album cover or something ala VH1's bands Reunited and then he drags out the paper cutouts. Classic!

By Blogger Antony, At June 10, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

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