As a child who lived and breathed in the ’90s, I watched Saved by the Bell religiously. I obsessed over Zack, Slater, Screech, Kelly, Jessie and Lisa. I would’ve killed to grab a soda at the Max. I even had a soft spot for Mr. Belding — a man, in retrospect, who may have needed a few more boundaries between him and his students. I remember watching each and every episode and wishing that I could not only get to high school faster, but specifically to Bayside High. If I could get there, everything would be perfect. Amazing. Magical. I might even get to touch one of those newfangled cellular phones that Zack lugged around. When the show went off the air, I obviously stopped watching. But I never stopped fantasizing about it.
Until I rewatched it again this past year. Um, guys, we need to sit down and have a talky-talk. While I think every single person on that show probably qualifies for a diagnosis, Zack Morris is our most serious case. Maybe it’s the amount of Lifetime movies I’ve watched between the ’90s and now or maybe it’s fact that I’m 20 years older, but I’m 96% sure that Zack Morris is a sociopath. And in honor of Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s return to TV tonight on his show Franklin & Bash, I only think it’s fair that we discuss it right now.
So let’s go through the standard sociopath red flags (ripped from the pages of the DSM-IV) and see just how many match up to Zack. Oh what’s that? All of them. That’s right ladies. Your first crush is literally crazy.
1. “Repeated acts that could lead to arrest”
It’s high school. So let’s switch out arrest with detention. Didn’t Zack Morris practically live in detention. Oh you want to stick to things that could lead to arrest? Okay, let’s talk about the time he made Screech bug Kelly’s sleepover. I think spying classifies as something that could generally lead to arrest. Also I don’t think the cops would be too pleased to see his life-size pull-down poster of the Kellster.
2. ”Conning for pleasure or profit, repeated lying, or the use of aliases”
Hmmm, while there are so many incidents to choose from, I do especially love the time he tried to make everyone fall in love with him by using subliminal messages. In that case he conned purely for pleasure. Okay fine, we can also talk about the time he catfished Screech by pretending to be a blazer-wearing woman named Bambi.
3. ”Failure to plan ahead or being impulsive”
Let’s talk about Zack’s wedding weekend. And how he decided to race his car so fast that he ended up getting arrested and thrown in jail. Great way to kick off a marriage! Let’s file that racing decision under “being impulsive” as well as “failure to plan ahead.”
4. ”Repeated assaults on others”
Remember that summer that Zack worked at the Malibu Sands Beach Club and sold Mrs. King mayonnaise sunscreen AND GOT ATTACKED BY SEAGULLS. Sure it wasn’t a repeated attach on Mrs. King, but why Zack, why??
5. “Reckless when it comes to their or others safety”
See everything he ever did to his alleged best friend Screech. Notice I said “did to” and not “did for.” As far as that friendship went, it was pretty, pretty far from reciprocal. On a side note, I hope in some alternate universe he’s getting massive amounts of therapy. Between Zack and Lisa, he probably has a few confidence issues.
6. ”Poor work behavior or failure to honor financial obligations”
How many times did Zack talk about cheating off nerds throughout the years? Let me count in my head real fast. Oh approximately one billion times. Why study when you can just use everyone else around you?
7. “Rationalizing the pain they inflict on others”
He needed to rationalize the pain he inflicted on other so often that he actually learned how to stop time on the reg to explain himself to us. Of course he never apologized. He just informed us why he needed to do what he did. Spoiler alert: his reasoning never quite added up.