Zack To The Future: Long Distance Dedication
Thanks to a friend on facebook, I discovered Zack To The Future—a podcast that is produced by Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Dashiell Driscoll. After years of saying he doesn’t remember much about filming Saved By The Bell, Mark-Paul has decided to re-watch the episodes to jog his memory. Once a week, he and Dashiell get together to discuss an episode in Season 1. Dashiell Driscoll is known for producing the “Zack Morris Is Trash” videos. Mark-Paul saw these videos and was impressed. He is the one who called Dashiell up and asked him to to do the podcast.
The first podcast, which aired on August 6, 2020, centered on the first episode of Saved by the Bell that aired entitled “Dancing At The Max.” The actual pilot aired later in the season. It was like Episode 15. Anyway, I enjoyed listening to the podcast and finding out tidbits about one of my favorite shows growing up.
They mentioned that Elizabeth Berkeley had dance lessons and that Mario Lopez was both good at dancing and playing the drums. I actually remembering reading that in an interview somewhere. What I didn’t know was that Mark-Paul Gosselaar was not much of a dancer and was self-conscious. And I didn’t know that Mark-Paul was viewed Elizabeth as an older woman and had been in awe of her. It was an innocent sort of crush I guess.
This led me to think about how the episode impacted me as a viewer. As episodes go, it wasn’t particularly deep or insightful. Lol. Not that any of the episodes really were much more than just entertaining. Still, the presence of Casey Kasem provided inspiration for me.
Every Sunday I would listen to Casey Kasem’s weekly Top 20 or Count Down. I pulled many of my songs for my cassette compilations from that program. Anyway, he would have a Long Distance Dedication each week from people who were separated by miles, but together at heart.
It wasn’t long after I had my fateful dream about Mark-Paul Gosselaar and I was looking for a way to reach out to him. I had sent him a fan letter, but merely got back a signed autograph. It wasn’t the personal reply I had been looking for. I knew I needed a way to stand out from the crowd. When I saw Casey Kasem in a rerun of the first episode, it hit me. I would send a long distance dedication to Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Perhaps since Kasem had actually met Mark-Paul, he might take notice of the dedication and play it. At least, I hoped he would.
I sent a letter out to Casey Kasem detailing how I felt connected to Mark-Paul, but had never met him. I asked him to play “Love Takes Time” by Mariah Carey. For some reason, that song always made me think of Mark-Paul. I imagined sitting on the same beach Mariah was on and explaining to Mark-Paul just how much he meant to me. I imagined telling him that the thought of spending time with him and getting to know him made me happy. But then reality would set in and I would realize we had never met and probably never would and I would be incredibly sad. The lyrics, “Losing my mind, from this hollow in my heart. Suddenly, I am so incomplete.” made me cry every time I heard them, because that is exactly how I felt, though I could explain how or why.
I tried to explain the depths of my emotion, but it fell on deaf ears. I suppose a silly fan crush didn’t seem as dramatic or important to the producers or Casey Kasem as “real” life. Compared to those separated by war or illness or break-ups or moving out of state, my experience was nothing. I understood what it must have looking like to everyone around me.
I had no way to convince them that the feelings, even though they made absolutely no sense, were very real. It was as if we had known each other in a past life or something and I remembered him and the love we shared in that past life or perhaps even a parallel life. I listened intently for weeks after I sent the letter, but my dedication never played.
Fast forward to the future, 2019 to be exact, and I find that Mark-Paul is on another show called Mixed-ish. And who sings the theme song? Mariah Carey! If I didn’t know better, I might think it was fate or something,