Today is Tiffani Thiessen’s 41st birthday and while she’s been a regular cast member for the past five years on the dramedy White Collar, she’ll always be Kelly Kapowski in our hearts and minds. In the late 80s and early 90s, Kelly was the #1 source of boners for an entire generation of young men, no one more so than Zack Morris.
It’s been well-documented on the internet just how much of a sociopath Zack Morris was in his interaction with Bayside students and faculty, but what about the inner psyche of Zack Morris? The early seasons of Saved By The Bell often featured Zack daydreaming about living a lavish life, with Kelly Kapowski as nothing more than a trophy that lusts after him. Drawing from the knowledge of a psychology 101 class that I took 15 years ago, I’ll attempt to analyze some of Zack’s twisted fantasies that revolved around his obsession with Kelly Kapowski.
Video clips of the dream sequences aren’t available on YouTube, but I’ve included links to the full episodes if you’re feeling extra nostalgic.
Season 2, “Drivers Education”
While taking driver’s ed, Zack would rather make smart-ass remarks than show any inkling of interest in learning how to operate a vehicle without plowing down his fellow students. It’s only when Slater shows off his driving skills that he learned while living on the Army base that Zack realizes, “Hey, maybe I should stop being a douche and pay attention to this car stuff.” With the prospect of Slater getting his license before him and taking Kelly out in a convertible, Zack can’t help but daydream about Slater putting the moves on her at wherever Bayside’s make out spot is. Zack on the other hand, is left sitting on a bike like a chump with only Screech to cuddle with. The daydream sequence cuts out before anything above PG happens, but you know that if it had gone on 30 seconds longer, things would have gotten graphic.
Dream analysis: Zack fears that Slater will win mating rights with Kelly because of his ability to drive.
Season 1, “Beauty and the Screech”
Kelly scores some George Michael tickets, so naturally Zack thinks he’s a going to the concert and turning on the romance. His plans take a detour, though, when Kelly turns to Screech for tutoring because she’s flunking science class, and then begins to wonder if maybe Screech is deserving of said tickets. If this was any other human being on the planet, BESIDES Dustin Diamond, this storyline would seem plausible, but whatever… Zack and Slater can’t comprehend a world where a girl would find brains more attractive over their bro-to-the-max looks and imagine what such a bizarro place might look like. In this twisted alternate universe, Zack and Slater have transformed into a Screech/Urkel super nerd, whereas Screech is now suddenly James Bond. For some reason, Kelly has a pizza on her head — because that’s what teenage girls wear now, I guess — and wants nothing to do with them, because she’s banging Screech.
Dream analysis: Zack Morris is threatened by every male on the planet.
Season 1, “The Friendship Business”
If Saved By The Bell aired at 10 p.m. rather than Saturday mornings, this episode would have been titled “Zack Starts Selling Coke,” but instead he begins slinging friendship bracelets. After realizing their popularity, Zack fantasizes about his soon-to-be wealth and pictures himself on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. While Zack of course is absurdly wealthy and lighting cigars with $100 bills, his friends have been reduced to sweatshop employees. Kelly doesn’t have to work, but is nothing more than a piece of arm candy whose purpose is only to spend Zack’s money and fulfill his every twisted desire.
Dream analysis: Zack places money over human compassion and believes it will buy him love (or at least sex).
Season 2, “Rent-a-Pop”
After being threatened with the possibility of being grounded for life, Zack begins to envision himself as an old man with a comically long beard being visited by his high school friends. Zack can’t help himself but ask if Kelly’s sacrificed her happiness and saved herself for him. Nope. She laughs in this face and informs him that she gave herself up to Slater years ago.
Dream analysis: Zack dreads that Kelly will realize what a dirtbag he is and choose another mate, leaving him to grow old alone.
Season 2, “From Nurse to Worse”
At this point in season 2, Zack has just asked Kelly to go steady with him. He soon begins to rethink the relationship move after the school’s new nurse, Jennifer, says hi to him in the hallway. Zack predictably convinces himself that Jennifer wants to personally give him a full physical and begins to fantasize about having both her and Kelly. Zack takes extra liberties with this fantasy and makes himself a medical doctor specializing in office sexual harassment violations. He’s also performing an operation on Mr. Belding, who we can only assume will probably be the victim of some sort of horrible medical malpractice.
Dream analysis: Zack wants Kelly, but no more than he wants every other attractive woman who crosses his path.
Season 2, “Breaking Up is Hard to Undo”
Mr. Belding stops by Zack’s house to have some pizza and shoot the bull with the boys cuz that’s a normal not-at-all creepy thing for a high school principal to do. While there he convinces the guys that they don’t need their girlfriends and they should remain frustrated virgins for the rest of their days. Zack allows himself to be brainwashed by Belding’s stupid advice and thinks maybe he doesn’t need Kelly after all. It doesn’t last long, because the next morning he wakes up and hallucinates that Kelly is in his room, looking like she just stepped out of a Warrant video and telling him he’ll never be able to forget her and those ripped Jordache jeans.
Dream analysis: Zack is fearful of never again scoring a girl as hot as Kelly.
Season 3, “Pipe Dreams”
When Zack learns that there’s oil under Bayside, he immediately goes full oil tycoon and envisions himself in the throngs of luxury. Learning is for poor folk, so all teachers are promptly fired and Belding is made a butler. Unlike his friendship bracelet fantasy, Zack shares his visions of wealth with his friends, but interestingly enough doesn’t make Kelly his wife, opting for a rando blonde instead. He dresses her up in a French maid outfit, however, and makes her the wife of Screech, who now happens to be a Middle Eastern oil prince with multiple wives/sex slaves.
Dream analysis: An unstoppable drive to attain wealth by any means necessary.