When Jimmy Fallon took over the late-night desk at NBC, he had one goal in mind: To reunite the cast of Saved by the Bell for the show’s 20th anniversary. He kicked off the campaign with an online petition and a promise from school principal Mr. Belding (aka Dennis Haskins) that he was on board.
A few weeks later, Fallon held a mock telethon to raise interest in the Saved by the Bell scheme, and Mario Lopez dropped by to say he, too, was in. But the real coup came last night, thanks to a visit by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, aka Zack Morris (or should that be the other way around?).
Gosselaar’s appearance had fans everywhere checking their calendars. There was no way this guy was 20 years older; as a matter of fact, he looked like he’d just walked off the set of Saved by the Bell.
Zack explained that, since leaving Bayside High, he’d become an actor, and due to SAG regulations, had to change his name so as not to conflict with another performer. Now he’s calling himself Mark-Paul Gosselaar and he’s starring in the new TNT legal drama Raising the Bar.
Fallon, acting appropriately incredulous in the face of these claims, gave up the fight when Zack whipped out his massive “portable” phone to take a call from “Jessie” (Elizabeth Berkley). After a brief chat, she and Zack both agreed to be a part of Fallon’s class reunion. Then, Zack took the stage to perform his Zack Attack hit, Friends Forever.
Appearing on a talk show completely in character to promote a totally unrelated TV show was a risky move for everyone involved, but the risk has paid off in buzz. In an interview, Gosselaar admitted that Fallon wasn’t for the idea and wanted him to drop character by the end — but Gosselaar wanted to stick it out. Gosselaar said that, as nervous as he was to step out in front of that live audience, in the end it was nice to play that sweet, happy, naÃ¯ve guy if only for 10 more minutes.