Zack To The Future Podcast 13

Episode 13

The 13th Episode is entitled “The Election.” In the episode, Jessie is running for class president. Zack finds out the winner gets a trip to Washington DC and decides to run against her. He sabotages his own campaign when he hears the trip has been canceled. He wins anyway and find out the trip was never canceled. Feeling guilty, he concedes to Jesse.

We find out in this episode that Jessie’s Mom was an activist in the 60s and has inspired her daughter. Jessie wants to make a difference. This component of her character is established here and built upon in later episodes.

Dashiell Driscoll comments about a joke about Rosanne Barr skipping a meal. He says a joke about her weight wouldn’t fly today. We would more likely be joking about her political views. Then Dashiell comments on Mr. Dewy. The actor who played him was Patrick Thomas O’Brien. He was 40 years old when he made his appearance—younger than Mark-Paul Gosselaar is now. Mark-Paul comments on how odd it is to realize that he is older than both Belding and Dewy right now. Anyway, O’Brien made appearances in a lot of 90s shows, including the Gilmore Girls and Home Improvement.

Mark-Paul introduces the Podcast guest this week. His name is Reed Dickens. Dickens grew up in a small town along the Louisiana and Texas border. He was a young press aid who became Assistant Press Secretary. He worked in the Bush Administration. In 2004, he moved to California and started a company that dealt with Major League Baseball Supplies.

He and Mark-Paul both knew Vanessa Lachey. Lachey played his wife in the short lived Sitcom The Truth Be Told. When Mark-Paul started on the show Pitch, Lachey said he should given Dickens a call. Dickens was told that he was a Zack Morris type character when he was growing up and he was a huge fan of Saved By The Bell.

Anyway, Mark-Paul and Dickens were on a plane together. They didn’t speak until they were descending. Then Dickens mentioned he was a fan. Dickens gave Mark-Paul his card at the baggage claim and then Mark-Paul called him later. They have been friends since.

Dickens mentions how a savvy politician knows his audience. He needs to be reflective of current politics. Zack claiming that Jessie was going to take the pizza from the students was a savvy move. Dickens mentions how Nixon was a smart man, but not as savvy as JFK, which is why JFK won the election. People want to vote for the “cooler” candidate. Obama was cooler than Mitt Romney. Clinton was cool because he went on Arsenio Hall and played his Saxophone. He joked about the Kayne West and Taylor Swift Ticket. He was surprised when Kayne West actually decided to run. He talked about Plato and the late stages of the Republic turning to Democracy and the problem with Mob Mentality Ruling the day. Anyway, Dickens also talked about the popular vote vs the electoral college.

Back to the show though. Screech is doing a weird thing with his mouth. Mark-Paul noted the catcalls that Mario Lopez got when he entered the stage. They calked about the dialog about what would happen if women ruled the country. Slater replies, “Less violent and more color coordinated.” It sounds cute, but it is really representative of the sexism inherent in the character.

So when Slater puts Screech up against the locker. Screech info dumps. They also chat about how great it was that Dennis Haskins committed to the part in letting himself look so silly in the locker room. He is lifting weights with his belly sticking out! We move onto the Election Video. The narrator’s voice is the voice of none other than Don Barnhart the director. Mark-Paul noted that they used real photos for the montage. He also said that the photo of him with his mother should have clued in the fact that he is mixed race. He is part Asian, but most people don’t realize it. The dyed blond hair often helped disguise this fact.

Dickens added it is not a political ad that changes people’s minds. The substance doesn’t matter so much as how the video made them feel. He also talked about how campaigning was a totally different skill set than governing. The video Zack made convinces Kelly to vote for Jessie instead. Zack then tries to flip his stances and positions.

Mark-Paul talked about a pair of shoes sitting on his desk. The shoes were Vision Street-wear. Those shoes were a special Skateboarding brand that Mark-Paul was proud of. He used to skateboard.

Anyway, Kelly was the swing vote Zack wages a disinformation war against himself and all the bad press changes Kelly’s mind. She votes for Zack. And then when Zack wins, Zack demands a recount. This was not common practice. Most people didn’t know you could even do so until Gore V Bush in 2000. Dickens thinks we should be patient for the upcoming election in real life. We may have to wait and see who the House of Representatives choose in December.

At the close of the episode we have a tender moment between Zack and Jessie. Zack resigns and lets her have the Presidency. Zack often behaves badly, but he does feel remorse. He is not a total jerk.

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Zack To The Future Podcast Episode 11& 12

Zack To The Future

Episodes 11&12

Episode 11 was entitled “The Friendship Business.” Special Guest Star for the Podcast was Saved By The Bell Writer Bennett Tramer. He wrote “The Gift” and “Friendship Business” among others. He worked with Peter Engle on the 1985 movie Poison Ivy with Michael J Fox. There had been a writer’s strike for 6 months and he was glad to get a gig writing for Saved by The Bell when it was over.

They discussed how the opening song changed. It was sung by Michael Damien, a soap opera star, but then it was sung by someone else later. They also discussed how Saved By The Bell was shot in a linear fashion, but was not aired as such.

Peter Engle had a short attention span and didn’t like to have scenes over 6 pages. He would often cut lines that the writers were thought were important. However, the scene usually worked fine without the lines. Engle used to tell the writers “No baby steps.”

Mr. Tuttle was played by Jack Angelos, who signed their checks. Angelos was an accomplished actor and debater. He guest starred in like 5 or 6 episodes. His first reading was kind of flat, but then they told him to be himself and he brought a lot of energy to the role.

They discussed the background actors. Alan was the heavy kid who asked when were they going to eat. There was a black kid with a uniquely deep voice. There was a tall girl with glasses. The main nerd named Poindexter was William Joseph Barker.

In the Fuzzy Pink Fantasy bit we see some Background Magazines in Frames on Belding’s Wall. These magazines now sit in Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s storage unit. He didn’t really know where they came from or their significance for Saved By The Bell until he watched this episode. Tramer talked about how wonderful Dennis Haskins was and how his relationship with the kids reminded him of Sargent Bilko.

Mark-Paul commented on how wonderful Dustin Diamond’s Robin Leech impression was. The show reference shady business ethics and looked down on corrupt big businesses. There was a mention of George Bush and Dan Quail. Mark-Paul said he saw Zack as a Republican and Jesse as Democrat. The writers referred to Jesse as a “Sensitive Marshmallow,” similar to the term “Liberal Snowflake” today.

They talked about how $100 in an envelope seemed like a bit much for High School Students. It seemed unlikely that a teacher would be able to invest in their businesses like that. Anyway, they went from Friendship Bracelets to Buddy Bands to Love Cuffs. Dashiell commented on how the Love Cuffs sounded like something you bought an an adult sex shop. So, the gang’s friendship was almost ruined over bad business, but was rescued by Kelly’s golden heart. The theme of Friends Forever creeps up in the Behind the Music episode later on, so there was some continuity.

Bennett Tramer talked about how the child or teen stars were respectful and successful because they all had wonderful parents. He asked Mark-Paul to give his regards to his mother Paula. Tramer said one of the reasons that Mar-Paul had gotten the role of Zack Morris was because he was considered, ‘Inherently likable.” Mark-Paul also talked about how he wasn’t comfortable as a comedic actor. He prefers drama to comedy. In fact, he’d done the dramatic movie Necessary Parties before the Saved By The Bell premier on NBC and really enjoyed it.

Episode 12 was titled “The Mamas and The Papas.” It was taken from the famous 60s quartet with Mama Cass, Michelle and John Phillips. This episode is about a Home Economics type Social Experiment where students pretend to be married and have children.

Dashiell Driscoll brings up the Peter Engle Show California Dreams (September 12, 1992 to December 14, 1996.) The title of the show comes from the hit song by the Mamas and The Papas. The Peter Engle show was patterned after Saved By The Bell, except the kids all sang. It was supposed to spawn hit singles, but didn’t. Although the show continued, the songs weren’t hits and the musical format was dropped.

Anyway, Mark-Paul pointed out the use of Chyrons or Titles on Screen. It is a similar thing to the pink fuzzy fantasies and other gimmicks. Don’t think they ever used this particular style or method in any other episode. The producers seem to be throwing jokes and things against the wall to see what stuck. Chyrons were not one of the things that stuck.

Dashiell Driscoll talks about how the episode is what they call a Bottle Episode. They have used up their budget and have to save money by limiting locations to one or two sets and eliminating background actors. This episode mostly takes place in the single classroom. There is a brief scene in Lisa’s bedroom and a finale in The Max, but that is it.

Mark-Paul points out the same creepy doll in Lisa’s bedroom that appears in both Jesse and Kelly’s bedrooms. Dashiell and Mark-Paul talk about Home Economics classes. Neither one of them took Home Ec. Mark-Paul said that his kids have a FACS class or Family and Consumer Science Class and he thought it was a good idea. The guys agree learning to cook and sew is good for both boys and girls. Mark-Paul lamented having to teach Breckin Myers some basic bachelor skills.

Anyway, Mark-Paul noted that Zack and Kelly get married for the Social Experiment. Zack is desperately trying to “fuck Kelly.” Oddly enough, Mark-Paul was still a virgin at 15 or 16. Dashiell seems to think that this whole marriage experiment was ripped from the movie Grease 2 since he’d never heard of it being done in real life.

Driscoll points out that Zack Morris mentioned watching The Brady Bunch and The F Troop. He thinks perhaps Zack is a fan of Nick at Nite. Driscoll used to watch that as well, but got thrown for a loop when they replaced Lassie and Leave It To Beaver and The Mary Tyler Moore Show with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He felt officially old when they switched over to that show.

Driscoll and Mark-Paul debate on rather Slater and Jessie ever kiss on screen or not. They can’t remember. Then Driscoll was once again bothered by Ed Alonzo’s use of live poultry for his magic tricks in a restaurant. That has to be a health code violation. Then Mark-Paul mentions how Zack and Kelly are about to kiss at the end and Belding “The Big Bopper” Cock-blocks Zack.

They end the podcast by talking about how Zack and Kelly get married at the end of the series. There is the movie Wedding in Vegas, which was really filmed in Vegas. Mark-Paul remembers the big OJ Simpson car chase being on TV while they were filming the Wedding in Vegas movie.

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Zack To The Future Episodes 9&10

Zack To The Future Blog

Episodes 9 &10

Episode 9 is entitled “Pinned to The Mat.” Dashiell Driscoll opens the podcast with a couple of corrections. Mark-Paul Gosselaar joked that he didn’t make mistakes. Anyway,, it was Ms. Simpson, not Mrs. Simpson and there is a Burbank, Illinois as well as a one Burbank, California.

The episode is all about Career week. Zack has a bet that Slater will beat Needick in a Wrestling match, but Slater quits Wrestling to do some cooking. Dashiell and Mark-Paul discuss rather Career week is a thing in schools. They don’t think it is, at least not like the one Bayside has anyway.

There was a long discussion about the dirt bike that was shown in the fantasy sequence. Mark-Paul explained he riding since he was 3 years old and racing since he was 5. His older brother works on dirt bikes. His brother was the mechanic for Ricky Carmichael and Ricky Carmichael had two perfect seasons, which is unheard of. So the 125 CC engine should have been an 80 CC. They talked about the cheesy outfit he war and how it was generic. In real life, he would have been showing off people who sponsored him or people he supported, like Oakley Sunglasses. He rides Honda, so the bike should have been a Honda.

Slamming Slater is the best they could come up with with a wrestling nickname? And why would Belding immediately go to a 50 year old basketball player? Basketball players generally retire before 40 years old. Dashiell and Mark-Paul guessed it was only in there for the joke. Lark’s joke that she laughed at was cute. She said, “I’ll design your briefs” and giggles.

Zack and Screech were supposed to be pretending to ride a dirt bike in locker room, but it was a Harley he was pretending to ride. Doubling down and cruising for chicks is something you’d do on a motorcycle, not a dirt bike. Mark-Paul Gosselaar got a Harley for his 16th Birthday. His Dad co-signed for it. It was a 1990 FR2 100. He crashed it twice. The first time was on Sunset Strip. The second time was on Piquito Moss with Lark Vorhees. He wasn’t moving yet when Lark jumped on and he tipped it over. Embarrassing. Thankfully, that was all before Camera Phones and Social Media!

Mark-Paul wasn’t supposed to be riding motorcycles while working, but he did. He got caught when he pulled up to Steven Bochco at a stoplight. Bochco called him into the office and scolded him.

The rest of the discussion was about the layout of the sound-stage. From left to right we had The Max, The Locker Room and Bathroom, Belding’s Office, The Classroom. Mark-Paul couldn’t remember if the Gym was the same room as the classroom or a different set next to it.

Dashiell Driscoll mentioned that Bunny Summers, who played the jazzy Home Economics Teacher, also was in Big Top Pee Wee. Dustin Diamond was also in Big Top Pee Wee.

Episode 10 is called “Beauty and the Screech.” The first thing Mark-Paul and Dashiell Driscoll did was introduced their guest Matt Pace. Matt Pace has written a book entitled Zack Morris lied 329 Times. In this particular episode, Zack Morris only lied once.

The plot revolves around a couple of free George Michael Tickets that Kelly won. She wasn’t allowed to go to the concert unless she brought up her Science Grade though. Zack gets Screech to to tutor her, thus forging an unlikely friendship—at least temporarily. Dashiell notes that Zack was probably rich and could have afforded to purchase tickets of his own, but he seems reliant on using Kelly’s free tickets to go to the concert. The tickets are merely a plot devise it seems.

Mark-Paul doesn’t really remember filming this episode either, but he enjoyed the chemistry between Kelly and Screech. It was an unusually sweet episode. Mark-Paul watched the show with his 16 year old son. His son commented on the sweet gesture Screech made in pushing Kelly’s hair back for her. Mark-Paul noticed his hair wasn’t as poofy in this one, leading him to believe it was filmed before episode 9. He mentions the twins in the background again and that they had a couple of lines.

Dashiell Driscoll mentioned that the science teacher Dr. Mertz was played by Avery Schrieber, who was famous for doing the Doritos commercials in the 70s and 80s. He also brings up that Screech’s ALF joke was like the 3rd one in 10 episodes, which seems excessive. The Challenge joke also seemed a bit premature. There is a George and Barbara Bush joke as well, which goes over okay.

Mark-Paul noticed the Astronaut suite that Screech wore and commented on how Dustin Diamond probably had the most costumes out of all of them. Mark-Paul hates going in for fittings. He said he would act for free, but that he would charge people do fittings for outfits. He guesses it is because things rarely fit right on him. For this episode, he noticed his shoes were too dirty. It is ironic, since he complained about them being too clean in the first episode.

Dashiell comments on the continuity of the in-jokes they made in the episode. Someone commented on how Kelly could wear a pizza on her head and everyone would copy her. In the fantasy sequence, she is wearing a pizza on her head and pulls it off.

In the end Kelly and Screech realize they have very little in common and should go back to not being friends. Screech comments, “Every Ice Cream Cone Has It’s Last Lick.” That is a reference to Poison’s hit song, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.” It was a clever play on words. Kelly decides to give her George Michael Tickets to Slater and Zack. Zack comments that he is on the rebound. This seems predatory to Dashiell. Dashiell also commented on how Casey Kasem refused to speak the name of a particular George Michael song called, “I Want Your Sex.” He thought it was too vulgar. Although, the song was tame by today’s standards.

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Zack To The Future Episodes 7&8

Zack To The Future

Episodes 7&8

Episode 7 was entitled “The Substitute.” This was the 7thEpisode to air, not necessarily the 7th one shot. The special guest this week were the twins that appeared in numerous episodes, including this one. The casting call went out for identical twins to play the Zeffirelli Twins. Jennifer and Allison were the the only twins who showed up, so they got the job. They worked off and on for about two seasons. They were 21 years old at the time, so they were older than most of the cast. The twins thought the stars of the show were very professional for as young as they were.

Dashiell Driscoll noticed that a guy with a skateboard appeared in this episode and another episode. Interestingly, in this episode, the skateboard is used to help their English Teacher Mrs. Simpson get home after she throws out her back.

Hank Straton, who played the Substitute Tony, was also on an episodes of NYPD Blue with Mark-Paul. Dashiell Driscoll wasn’t sure if they shared any screen time though. Mark-Paul Gosselaar thought it was weird that the substitute didn’t put a stop to the crushes by reminding the girls he was an adult and they were all way too young for him. In fact, Gosselaar said the dude reminded him of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho (as played by Christian Bale). The actress the guys hired had also acted in the movie Heathers.

Mark-Paul discussed how after the initial seven episodes, he and the other cast members were sent home. He returned to Hart High in Valencia, California. He had the regular High School experience for a bit, but then they put him in a special trailer next to the school because he was in and out of school so much due to work.

Gosselaar also noticed his hairstyle changed. This episode was shot after they came back from a break. His hair is fluffy. The girls had fluffier hair as well. He doesn’t remember much about the episode, but he didn’t like his shitty Shakespearean or English Accent.

Episode 8 is titled Cream For A Day. It is about how Screech accidentally discovers a zit cream that ultimately turns people’s face maroon. Dashiell Driscoll notes the adult joke of Acne-Glasnost. He had to look Glasnost up to see what it meant. It had to do with government transparency in Russia, but he guessed the writers were alluding to the fact Russia wasn’t transparent. Mark-Paul guessed he said the joke without really getting it at the time.

For this podcast Nikki Glaser was the guest star. She is a comedian who has her own Netflix special. She also has been a guest on the Howard Stern show and had small parts in the movies Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar didn’t really remember the episode, but he does remember being very self conscious and struggling with acne. He suffered from the horrible cystic acne into adulthood. His self-conscious is why he refused to watch episodes of Saved By The Bell until this podcast. He watches them and feels his performance is cringe-worthy. He pointed out his big bangs. He mentioned a joke Slater makes about killing a mouse to get his hairstyle. Mark-Paul revealed he used to style his hair over a visor. He didn’t care about his clothes or anything, but for some reason his was picky about his hair. He always prefers to style his own hair for a show.

Nikki Glaser talked about how she watched Saved By The Bell as a teenager and how she watched it before coming onto the podcast. She was staying with her Mom and Dad in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father didn’t remember the show, but her mother did. Her mother said the kids were all “good little actors.” Nikki also mentioned how Saved By The Bell defined nerd culture for her. She said she had a retainer growing up up, but didn’t have her name on it like the TV nerds.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar commented that although he never had braces, he did have a purple retainer. He said he isn’t a fan of the color purple, so he must not have been the one to pick out the retainer. Mark-Paul also commented on how Dustin’s Diamond’s Dad, Mark Diamond, was the Chemistry teacher. (No mention of how weird it was for Freshman to take such an advanced class as Chemistry). He also mentioned how he used to play video games with Dustin and his Dad Mark. It was on a Neo Geo Console.

Nikki complained about how, as a teenager, she was told zits happened because you ate greasy food , ate too much chocolate or touched your face. She was never taught it was due to hormones and other issues. She also made a comment on how cute it was that Screech named his zit Murray. She said she had a spider in her bathroom and she named it and became friends with it. It took the fear or the the power away by naming it. Mark-Paul joked he’d heard that they had good weed in Missouri—as if you had to be high to name your spider.

Apparently, Crater-face Coulburn was played by Scott Foltz. He was a one and done character. Charlie Coulburn’s laugh was based off of Robert Carradine from Revenge of the Nerds. They also mentioned the Jason Bateman name drop and how it was surprisingly still relevant. Nikki liked the disappointment Screech had over finding out ALF was a puppet.

Mar-Paul Gosselaar commented on how he and Mario Lopez were fans of the Fat Boys and they were trying to imitate them when they did the whole beat box thing at the Max.

Nikki confessed she didn’t have a boyfriend in High School and wondered if Mark-Paul Gosselaar had. Mark-Paul said he didn’t really date in High School either. He had like one girlfriend for a short time and they didn’t even really kiss. He wasn’t really serious with anyone until he met his first wife Lisa Russell.

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Zack To The Future Podcast Episode 6

Zack To The Future

Highlights From The Podcast

Episodes 6

Episode six was entitled “Aloha Slater.” It was actually the 7th one they shot and was the final episode ordered by NBC. Peter Engle wrote in his book how he went to Tartikoff and begged for more episodes. He won out and got 13 more for the season. In any case, Mark Swerdlick directed the episode. Swerdlick had previously directed the 1987 movie Can’t Buy Me Love.

Mario Lopez joined in the call. He recalled it being odd that he wore his wrestling uniform for the whole episode. He also brought up how Slater was supposed to be an Italian kid or street punk modeled after Vinnie Barbarino from the TV Show Welcome Back Kotter. Instead, they got an athletic Latino.

Similarly, Lisa Turtle was originally imagined as a spoiled Jewish Princess instead of a black or African American fashion plate.

Driscoll brought up the love triangle between Zack, Kelly and Slater. Mark-Paul Gosselaar commented that he didn’t see how Zack ended up with Kelly when Slater was the whole package. Not only was Slater good looking, but he was athletic and talented.

It was noted that Dustin Diamond’s father, Mark Diamond, played the Study Hall teacher in this episode. Screech also makes a reference to the Smurfs and ALF. Interestingly, Saved By The Bell aired after the Smurfs and before ALF in the Saturday morning lineup.

Mark-Paul noticed the hallway lockers changed from Red to Orange. Perhaps it was a note from the producers to brighten things up or change things around. No one knows. Driscoll noticed that trophy case appears in one episode and is never seen again. And there doesn’t seem to be a teacher’s lounge or administration office next to the Principal. All we ever get Belding’s Office. Mark-Paul added how Dennis Hoskins had to have his pencils all lined up in the office. It was his quirk or OCD and Mark-Paul liked to mess up the pencils just be jerk.

The Graffiti on the bathroom walls had been removed. In an earlier episode it has said Mark + Sue. He wanted to know who it referred to. Was it a producers and production assistant or Mark Diamond and the production assistant.

Anyway, Kelly volunteered to go to Hawaii with Slater. Turns out, she had an Uncle in Hawaii. And later, there is a whole movie where the gang vacations in Hawaii at the Uncle’s hotel.

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Zack To The Future Podcast Episode 5

Zack To The Future

Highlights From The Podcast

Episodes 5

The fifth episode to air was called “Screech’s Woman.” The first few podcasts were from his trailer on the set of the Saved by the Bell Reboot. This one is from Gosselaar’s home gym, which he had built for himself when he was cast in the TV Show Pitch. It helped him get in shape for the role.

Gosselaar made a note that he was playing a video game at The Max at the beginning of the episode. The video games didn’t work. In fact, nothing at The Max worked. The phone, the jukebox and the video games were all unplugged.

There was some commentary on Dustin Diamond’s physical comedy and how he wouldn’t be allowed to endanger himself as much if it were filmed today. Gosselaar talked about how the lockers on the set generally didn’t have locks on them. But one time he stuff Diamond into a locker that actually locked. Diamond was pissed when he finally was let out.

It seems that Gosselaar, Lopez and Diamond were typical boys on set. They would shove each other pretty hard when the scene called for it and tried to inflict pain on each other. They had contests. One such contest involved seeing who could spray the breath freshener under their tongue the most. The freshener stung, so it was a challenge.

Elizabeth Berkeley got the giggles during this episode. She nearly broke character a couple of times. I guess she got a kick out of Mark-Paul having to cross dress for the episode.

On a more personal note, the razor Jesse handed him reminded him of something that happened off set. Gosselaar remembered going to a Summer Boot Camp in Harlingen, Texas. For a while he wanted to go into the Marine Corp when he graduated High School. Anyway, he went for two weeks with a note from his Mom about not being forced to shave. At that point, he hadn’t started shaving his face. He was a late bloomer and it was embarrassing to have to have to explain he was an actor and needed to put off shaving for as long as possible. He did pretty well in camp and only had to do a few extra push-up. In a later episodes when they have a ROTC experience, his fellow cast members were irritated with him for telling them they weren’t marching right and squaring their corners.

At the end of the podcast, Gosselaar draw a connection between dressing up as Bambi and the 1982 movie Tootsie, staring Dustin Hoffman.

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Zack To The Future Podcast 3&4

Zack To The Future

Highlights of Podcast Episodes 3&4

The third episode of Saved by the Bell to air was called “The Gift.” It aired on a Friday night apparently. The first thing that popped to Gosselaar’s mind was the long and boring process of having his naturally brown hair dyed blond for the show.

Driscoll noted how much gambling went on at Bayside. It seemed like a bit much or overly dramatic for teenagers. How did they not get caught? Gosselaar mentioned that is was ironic how much Zack loved to gamble, because in real life, he doesn’t like to gamble. He admitted he has gambled away a thousand or so dollars over his adult life, but never saw the thrill in it. He’d rather keep his money and spend it on something else. He does or did play Texas Hold Em Poker with friend or whatever sometimes, but it was always for really low stakes.

Gosselaar noted that Lopez didn’t hit his mark and overshadowed him in one particular shot. He also noticed several instances where Dustin Diamond almost broke character. As an adult, these technical aspects jump out at him the most. Gosselaar felt like the writers were taking inspiration from Ferris Bueller Day’s Off, particularly with the cell phone call in the bathroom to Belding and the teacher Mr. Testaverde.

The most memorable thing about the episode, however, was the teacher Mr. Testaverde He was played John Moschitta Jr. Moschitta is known as the world’s fastest talker and has over 100 micromachines commercials under his belt. He also did some voice acting in the Transformer cartoons.

Driscoll notes how the writers seemed to be obsessed with both Elvis and Germany. No idea why though. In any case, there were references to both in this episode. The trivia bit for the episode wast that the janitor or electrician in the episode was played by Roger Reinhart. Reinhart went on to become a well known casting director for Divesek Casting.

The fourth episode was entitled, “Fatal Distraction.” It was a reference to the very adult film Fatal Attraction. Zack comes in disguised as a Sheikh. Gosselaar said he didn’t have much of a frame of reference other than Hulk Hogan’s Iron Shield character.

Much of the conversation was joking around between Mark-Paul Gosselaar and his Franklin and Bash co-star Breckin Meyer. There was a discussion at the end about Rhonda Robustelli who was played by Kristen Kemp. They got Kemp on the phone at the end of the podcast. Although Gosselaar has no memory of this episode, Kemp remembers her time on the show fondly. Other than being tall, she was not like her character at all. She is currently working in Real Estate.

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Zack To The Future Podcast

Zack To The Future: Highlights From The Podcast

Episodes 1 &2

Mark-Paul Gosselaar claims he hasn’t watched an episode of Saved by the Bell since it ended in 1994. Whenever he has been asked about his memories of filming the teen show he says he doesn’t remember anything about it really. In an effort to jog his memory, he reached out to Dashiell Driscoll. Driscoll is famous for his “Zack Morris is Trash” YouTube videos and a self-appointed expert on all things Saved by the Bell. Together, Driscoll and Gosselaar are hosting a podcast (August 2020) called Zack to the Future. Each week they watch a new episode and dissect it.

Driscoll reminded Gosselaar and the audience that the first episode that aired was “Dancing At The Max.” There was a pilot episode that aired as Episode 15. “Dancing At The Max” premiered on Sunday night after Family Ties on August 20, 1989. The Second episode aired on Saturday, August 21, 1989.

Gosselaar commented on the cartoonish nature of the show and how they often had famous voice actors as extras or as the teachers. In fact, Gosselaar first commercial was for the 80s Cartoon The Smurfs. He also mentioned how Lopez and Berkeley were trained dancers, but he was not. He had been very self-conscious about dancing on camera. He mentioned looking up to Elizabeth Berkeley at the time because she was older than him. He talked about his first kiss being on screen as well, but during Good Morning Miss Bliss. His kiss with the teen rocker Stevie was his first kiss in real life.

In the Second Podcast they discussed the Episode “The Lisa Card.” Both Driscoll and Gosselaar commented on the fact that there were some moments in the episode that were outdated and would have been deemed inappropriate today.

Driscoll mentions that in Peter Engle’s book I Was Saved By The Bell, that Lark Vorhees was on the verge of being fired. She hadn’t gone over well or had done a bad taping. Tartikoff wanted her gone, but Engle kept her. Then she had an episode that was Lisa Centered and proved herself worthy. She was kept on after that.

Gosselaar remembered the time outs where he would break the fourth wall and talk to the audience or camera. It made him extremely anxious do the TTCs, as he called them. (Talk To The Camera.) He liked doing the fantasy bubbles because they were often pre-taped and not done before an audience. Gosselaar also recalled going to Ed Debevic’s on Fridays after they taped the show. Ed Debevic’s was a 50s themed diner. He would often see Chad Allen there. He also mentioned going to The Sizzler with his mother after he had a full day of auditions, but that was before Saved by The Bell. Gosselaar, apparently gets car sick and The Sizzler on Highland was a reward for tolerating the long day of driving around LA.

Anyway, at the end of the episode, Elizabeth Berkeley joined them on the phone and added in a few of her memories—mostly that she had fun dancing. Interesting bit of trivia is that Maria Henley, who was a stage manager on Saved By The Bell, had a son named Youree Henley. Youree was an assistant to the producers and an extra on the show. He later went on to produce the Oscar nominated movie The Lighthouse.

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What’s Missing In The Meaning of Mariah

Missing In The Meaning of Mariah

I just finished reading The Meaning of Mariah Carey. It was a good book overall. Reading about her troubled childhood was sad, but interesting. It was surprising that she didn’t really explore the fact she had been abused. She doesn’t seem to connect the dots or understand her family dynamic as well as she could. She calls her family dysfunctional, but doesn’t stop to try and figure out why they are that way.

Mariah Carey’s rise to fame was fairly well documented. Learning details about her split from Tommy Motolla gave depth to the limited amount information provided by various magazines and interviews.

However, I felt there was so much more that could have been included. I wanted to know the origin of her songs and what inspired her. Also, I wanted to know more about her other relationships. She mentioned dating a couple of guys in High School, but didn’t even give them names. I always wondered if Ben Margulies was one of them. I imagined that they they were a couple since they spent so much time together. Then she dropped him as a co-writer. In my mind, Love Takes Time was written about their break-up. In the book she seems bitter about them parting ways, which backs up this theory. And in the film Glitter, she seems to combine both Ben and Tommy into one character.

Mariah doesn’t discuss but one or two of her songs on her second album. Emotions was my favorite album, but she is dismissive of it. She talks about “Make It Happen” mostly. She doesn’t talk about the Motown and Soul influence on her music, but I suppose it is a sore topic since that was Tommy’s doing. Some of the songs had to be inspired by him, but never specified which ones. I had always imagined that “Emotions” and So Blessed” was inspired her love affair with him. “Til The End of Time” I think is more about the emptiness and longing in her childhood and teenage years.

Music Box could easily be deemed her marriage album. Most of the songs are happy songs about being in love. Because of that, Mariah doesn’t seem to keen on having a conversations about those songs either.

One of my favorite songs of hers was a B side to “Dreamlover.” It was called “Do You Think of Me.” This song is about a woman longing for someone who is not hers. When she met Tommy, he was still married. Early on, they tried to keep the date of their hookup secret since he didn’t want to look bad in the press. But since their public relationship and marriage, many have speculated that he cheated on his wife to be with Mariah.

Other B side songs “Fade Away” and “Slipping Away” appear to be about her failing marriage to Tommy. I assume they were never included in the actual album because he felt it would put the spotlight on him. Mariah managed to put the songs out there, but these works could have been huge hits instead of footnotes in her career.

Her relationship with Derek Jeeter was discussed in her book, but we never get a sense of how intimate they were or why the relationship was so short lived. She did confess “The Roof” was written about him. And the songs “Honey” and “My All” also had to do with him. “Butterfly” was about her divorce from Tommy, which she more or less stated when it came out.

Honestly, I was disappointed in the Rainbow and Glitter, so I didn’t pay much attention to them. Her songs on those albums failed to speak to me. And she failed to speak about the inspiration for those songs as well. I liked a few songs off of Charmbracelet, but Emancipation and E=MC2 failed to move me as well. She had mentioned that “Flowers For Alfred Roy” was about her father, but not a lot beyond that for the later albums.

Mariah covered her disappointment in how Glitter was received and she covered her breakdown. However, I was surprised she didn’t bother to mention her diagnosis as Bipolar. She talks about suffering from PTSD, but seems to be embarrassed to admit some of her behavior is due to her struggle with mania and depression.

She does write about Luis Miguel and Nick Cannon, but doesn’t say much about them either. There is no explanation for her connection to them or postmortem of their relationships. I am guessing some of the songs she wrote were inspired by them. “We Belong Together” was a song she said she played in the delivery room. It is not a stretch to think this was her song about Nick and their babies

The end does feel rather rushed. Mariah doesn’t include anything about her residency in Las Vegas or her lip syncing controversies. There is nothing about her former assistant suing her. And there isn’t a single word on her feud with Eminem, her relationship with billionaire Bill Packer or her relationship with Bryan Tanaka.

These missing topics shows Mariah’s fans that she doesn’t like to deal with unpleasant topics. It appears to be difficult for her to admit when she makes mistakes. I suppose it isn’t easy for anyone, but a it would make her a little more sympathetic if she did. As for her relationships, I have to wonder whether she signed some nondisclosure forms or was just asked to respect their privacy. If that was the case, I wish she just would have said so. Not addressing the elephant in the room makes it feel like she is trying to hide things.

The book feels like a tell-all at the beginning, but then about half way through it feels like she is telling people, “None of your damn business.” Lol. It is confusing! I am glad The Meaning of Mariah, but Mariah’s music is much more revealing than her book. She can be incredibly vulnerable in her songs, but she never seems to trust that vulnerability to be her greatest strength. Her most personal songs are never her greatest hits. And this book could have been better if she had risked more in her confessions.

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Preface To Radiant Darkness: 20th Anniversary Edition

Preface to Radiant Darkness:

20th Anniversary Edition

August 1, 2000 my first book Radiant Darkness was published by iUniverse.com. It is hard to believe that 20 years have gone by since that fateful day. I thought it was time to republish my first book with additional stories. It was definitely the perfect opportunity to celebrate my modest beginning and the moderate success that followed.

How did this first book come to be? Well, it began with working at Barnes and Noble. While I was there, a manager pointed out that Barnes and Noble had purchased the majority stock in iUniverse.com. As a part of a promotion, they were offering employees a chance to publish a book for free or purchase $100 in books. While the free books were tempting, I could not pass up the chance to be published.

I had been circulating various manuscripts around to publishers since 1990 and not had much luck. I wasn’t sure what manuscript had the strongest potential to sell. I had written a ton of things that had not been published. I had dabbled in Romance, Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Young Adult as well as Poetry and Nonfiction.

After doing some research, I decided to publish a collection of Short Stories. Short stories are notoriously difficult to market. Unless you place a number of short stories with magazines or journals, a publisher is unlikely to take a chance on a short story collection. I had a lot of short stories and thought this was my best chance to get them out there.

The Summer of 2000, I gathered a group stories that were somehow similar in tone or theme and tried to come up with a title. I had been listening a lot to Sarah MacLaughlan’s CD Surfacing and one of her lyrics came to mind. In “Building A Mystery” she sings “You come out at night/That’s when the energy comes/And the dark side’s light/And the vampires roam.” I latched onto the phrase Dark Side’s Light. Eventually that evolved into the similar sounding title Radiant Darkness. Everyone I ran the title by really liked the Oxymoronic Title, so it stuck. At the time it was the only book on Amazon.com with that title.

In 2009, Emily Whitman came out with her own book entitled Radiant Darkness. However, her book about the teenage Persephone paralleled more with my third book Persephone’s Echo. My book Persephone’s Echo came out in 2008 and dealt with Greek Mythology. I have no idea if Emily Whitman ever read my books, but I have to wonder if she did.

Anyway, I found some Beta Readers to help edit my collection. My friend Sarah edited a couple of stories, including; Wings of Desire and Treasure, while my Grandmother read Sleepless Summer. A co-worker at Barnes and Noble named Joe edited my story Shadows. I sent my friend Diane an email with Soul Glimpse, which she said just didn’t work for her. That is why I left it out of this edition, but added a couple of other stories.

I made sure to submit the complete collection to iUniverse.com before my big move to Greensboro, North Carolina, where I was attending Graduate School. Shortly after it was available, I ordered a number of copies to place in the Barnes and Noble I transferred to in Greensboro. In addition to that, I was able to set up a book signing at my store in Greensboro, as well as my former store in Mansfield, Ohio. While only a couple of people showed up to the one in my new town, I had a larger turnout in my hometown when I went back in October of 2000.

I never got any official reviews, but I spoke with North Carolina Author Clay Harvey (AKA Leo Atkins) about my book. After he read it, he said it was not particularly marketable because it was “artsy-fartsy” or too literary. He thought the erotic parts detracted from the overall story and weren’t needed. He encouraged me to find a genre and stick with it.

In the end, I didn’t sell a lot of copies of my book. I sold a number of them while working, because I put up a display next to my cash register along with a sign reading, “This author is ringing you up!” Half the people I rung up never even noticed the sign. A number of people asked me about it, but didn’t purchase the book. A handful of people bought it on impulse. That tactic didn’t last long though because a manager asked me to take it down. I thought it was nonsense, but I took it down anyway.

A few weeks later, a girl and her mother recognized me in the store. They stopped me to tell me they had purchased my book and enjoyed it. It was the closest thing to fame I’ve experienced so far, and it was both cool and kind of disconcerting. It felt weird to have someone recognize me that I didn’t know or remember meeting. At the same time, it was an honor to have been memorable to them.

The next year, the thrill of being a published author wore off. It was time to focus on my next book. I took the proceeds from Radiant Darkness along with a coupon from Barnes and Noble and was able to publish my second book—a book of poetry entitled Journey Without A Map. The coupon to publish for free had expired. Barnes and Noble offered like 20% at that point. Eventually, Barnes and Noble would sell their stock and iUniverse.com would evolve on their own.

The full price to publish with iUniverse.com was too expensive, so I changed to Publish America for my third and fourth books. I published with All Things That Matter Press in 2012. Finally, in 2015, I discovered CreateSpace through Amazon.com. Once I learned how to self-publish, I went to work publishing all my work through my own imprint Purple Rose Ink Publishing.

To date my bestselling book is my nonfiction book The Physics of Emotions. I don’t make much off of my books, but feels great to have them out there. I am impressed by the fact that my best selling book sells from Amazon.de or the German version of Amazon.com.

In looking over my catalog of books, I see the evolution of a writer. Radiant Darkness was one of many milestones, but it was important one. It helped to give me confidence and helped me learn from my mistakes. It made me feel like I was finally making progress. I am extremely happy to have been able to publish on my own terms and been able to continue publishing over the years even if didn’t make me rich and famous. I hope that others continue to enjoy my work and that my story can inspire others.

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