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7 'Saved By the Bell' Plots That Prove Zack Is a Sociopath

[From time to time, we at Cracked reach out to some of our favorite writers from around the Web and television and have them write guest columns for us. This week, we're thrilled to introduce you to Erin Mallory Long, whose well-documented obsession with pop culture nostalgia warms our hearts and makes us say "Yes. You. You understand us. We are the saaaame." Enjoy!]

Zack Morris, or Everyone's Favorite Sociopath, as I like to call him, is the master of the scheme. His entire time at Bayside High was spent perpetrating schemes. (While he had excellent schemes in middle school and college as well, for the purposes of this list we'll just discuss his high school schemes.)

Seriously, if Zack isn't doing something heartlessly self-serving, he isn't breathing. Even when he's pretending he's doing something for someone else's benefit or well-being, he ends up screwing them. Like when Lisa has her fashion show and he's SO HELPFUL and then ends up making out with her even though his inexplicable nerd best friend is publicly in love with her.

NBC Universal Television
This is how supervillains are created.

Zack is not the greatest person (actually, he's one of the worst), but that doesn't stop everyone around him from bending over backward for him and going along with any scheme he decides to cook up.

#7. Buddy Bands/Friendship Forever/Whatever, They're Just Friendship Bracelets, You Guys

In "The Friendship Business," the gang (and everyone who attends Bayside, apparently) gets an assignment to come up with a business. It's kind of like Shark Tank, but with more innovative ideas (Hey-o!), and poor rotund Mr. Tuttle is the teacher, but then he also teaches driver's ed? Who is this guy?

NBC Universal Television
With hair like this? A God.

When Mr. Tuttle gets to Zack's group, no one has an idea. Enter Zack Morris: The Fixer. Lisa brought in some funky bracelets (no one at Bayside has ever heard of a friendship bracelet apparently) that the Fashion Club made, and Zack thinks, "Great, I had nothing to do with this product, but I'll pitch it to Tuttle!" Everyone loves the idea and Zack elects himself president, as per usual.

NBC Universal Television
"I'm just preparing you for elections with rich white guys in adulthood."

But then Zack, who is merely the overlord of this company, demands that Lisa not sleep and make as many bracelets as humanly possible. For no money. He wants one of his best friends. A black woman. To work in inhumane conditions for no money.

He is a slave driver.

When the group splits up, he is still a tyrant and sells Screech into slavery, offering him as a "friend" that comes with each bracelet. So Zack Morris is also taking a kind of lame product and forcing Screech upon everyone who buys one. How is this a business incentive?

NBC Universal Television
His real name is Samuel Powers. "Screech" is his slave name.

Zack, conniving dude that he is, sabotages the Jessie/Kelly/Slater rival product, Buddy Bands, by giving one to Mr. Belding, so obviously then everyone immediately hates Buddy Bands.

NBC Universal Television
It would remain the worst hairline/headband coverup until LeBron turned pro.

Despite Zack having ruined ... everything, the gang gets back together because they saw Zack pouting and they are all controlled by him so they end up making up with HIM. So they team back up and make Love Cuffs instead, which is disgusting.

NBC Universal Television
Lisa knows where that hand's been. She knows.

#6. Zit-Off Zit Cream

"Cream for a Day" kicks off with Zack in chemistry class with Screech, who's sporting a pimple (his first ever), which he's named Murray, because Screech is kind of a weird dude. They're mixing something with something else when Screech adds ... a third thing that causes the chemical mixture to explode all over his face. So obviously, having an unstable chemical mixture explode all over your face in chemistry is no cause for alarm in the world of Bayside. But when Zack sees Screech again, he realizes his pimple is gone! It must be from that stuff that exploded on your face, Screech! (By the way, Zack has no ideas of his own except Make Money All the Time and Hurt My Friends in the Process, making him one of the most honestly rendered capitalists of all time.)

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"One percent is also how much I actually care about you ... just kidding, it's zero."

Zack's on again/off again girlfriend, Kelly, is whining because she has a pimple, too! How weird! And it's time for Homecoming and no one is going to elect her Homecoming Queen with a pimple on her face. Those are the rules of Homecoming Court politics!

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"You're lucky we don't lock you in a tower to ring the period bells, Kellimodo."

By this point Zack is already packaging and selling this weird cream in the halls of Bayside (because of course). You know how you couldn't walk from chemistry to history without some kid trying to sell you something? High school, am I right?

NBC Universal Television
"With every purchase you get half off at the farmer's market by calculus."

Turns out the pimple cream turns your whole face maroon. Not red -- maroon. Well, this is just terrible, as we already learned that Homecoming Court elections are based entirely on how you look the day of the elections.

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Kind of blackfacey?

Because everyone in the school is an idiot, I guess, Zack is the only one who figures out "Hey, isn't our school color maroon?" and again saves the day. On the one hand, he is clearly a marketing genius on par with whoever came up with the idea to make tacos out of Doritos. But the day wouldn't need saving if Zack wasn't always trying to swindle money from his classmates, so who's really the winner here?

NBC Universal Television
"Duh."

#5. "Girls of Bayside" Calendar

"Model Students" starts by revealing that the school store is run by The Nerds. But, as we learned during prom, Kelly is poor, so she has to work there. Zack takes over the school store, because everyone listens to him no matter what he wants, The Nerds only sell stupid stuff, and Zack can do way better through manipulation and trickery.

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The "Jobs method."

At the start, no one comes into the school store. Zack's solution? Take "secret" pictures of the girls at swim practice. Does he take the pictures? Of course not. He sends Screech to take them and then has cardboard cutouts made of Lisa, Kelly, and Jessie and turns the pictures into a "Girls of Bayside" calendar.

NBC Universal Television
Apparently each swim practice starts with "warmup Baywatching."

So he took photos of teenage girls (his friends and girlfriend) without their permission, blew them up, and sold them for a profit. But because he's Zack, instead of the cops, a "teen fashion" photographer sees the calendar and loves it. So Jessie, Lisa, and Kelly, who were all upset about the calendars, are immediately wooed by the photographer and then beg Zack to suggest them for a special photo shoot in Paris. (It even results in Jessie calling him "Zacky," which is horrifying on many, many levels.)

NBC Universal Television
It's like a pseudo-Showgirls prequel.

Of course hottie Kelly is picked as the teen model to go to France. But, I'm sorry, what's that? Zack is concerned about her going to Paris for a month? Of course he is.

So he scams and lies and manipulates everyone to get Kelly to stay. He makes Kelly feel guilty about missing the swim meet and not being Slater's science lab partner, and then when Kelly invites everyone to her shoot, Zack says she didn't invite them so that they'll hate her.

NBC Universal Television
"Then she started totally started throwing out racial slurs about Slater and Lisa. Sorry, guys."

To recap, Zack takes his girlfriend's picture without her permission, publishes the pictures for the whole school, and then sabotages her chance at actually being successful. And he evens owns up to it, and Kelly's just like, aww, I still love you.

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#4. Driver's Ed

Turns out teenagers want to drive cars! Who knew? Zack feels fine about the whole thing and is in driver's ed with Mr. Tuttle and the whole gang until it turns out that Slater has a sweet ride and *SHOCK* he turns 16 next week and can take Kelly out driving whenever he wants!

This is Zack's time to shine. As long as by "shine" we mean "be a terrible human being but have no lasting consequences." What do you call a sociopath whose closest companions LET him continue to be a sociopath? You call him Zack Morris.

NBC Universal Television
With great power comes great douchebaggery.

Zack's brilliant scheme here involves getting Slater kicked out of driver's ed so he won't be able to take his car out and thus won't be able to drive Kelly around. So, through a series of schemes (one part involving Screech and a Mr. Tuttle impression), Zack gets Slater in the "driver's ed car" (which is a golf cart) in the school hallway outside of Mr. Belding's office.

But -- whoops! -- Kelly shows up and hops in the car and then they crash into some lockers and Kelly bumps her head. Kelly, Zack's girlfriend who he just gave a "dating but not going steady" ring to, got hurt in the process of him trying to sabotage Slater.

NBC Universal Television
This also serves as visual foreshadowing of rest of their careers.

Screech spills the beans, and for two seconds they try to mess with Zack and pretend Kelly's injury caused amnesia (classic), but they give up pretty quickly. Then Kelly and Slater try to take the fall before Zack finally is like "Oh, right, I did it."

NBC Universal Television
Does she immediately forgive him? Of course she does.

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