Those of us who grew up on Saved by the Bell might remember one Very Special Episode in particular. The Bayside kids have to do family heritage presentations (the episode heavily features Jessie badgeringly begging Lisa to forgive her for slavery) and Zack finds out he’s like 1/64th Native American. Fuckery ensues. But then he learns his lesson. Well-intentioned fuckery ensues.
While promoting his new show Pitch, Mark-Paul Gosselaar made sure to say sorry for that.
“Zack finds out that he has Native American ancestry, a conclusion based entirely on a photo of a Native American that he finds at his parents’ house. The one part of the episode — well, there’s probably more parts — that I think specifically deserves an ‘I’m Sorry About That’: He gives a - I’m doing this in air quotes - ‘presentation’ that consists of putting war paint on Screech and giving him a toy tomahawk — and he has Screech stagger around and grunt at people. Zack doesn’t get in trouble for this completely racist presentation, and the only punishment is he’ll have to skip the big track meet if he doesn’t take the project seriously. His teacher introduces him to Chief Henry, who appears to live in someone’s garage and bestows wisdom onto Zack before he drops dead without explanation at the end of the episode. On the plus side, Zack takes his ancestry seriously and gives another ‘presentation.’ Of course, he gets into full Native American costume with face paint and a headdress.That’s another ‘I’m Sorry’ moment. … Actually there’s a picture of me online I found as well. So, uh, yeah… good stuff. I hope the kids don’t catch that episode.”
The silver lining of that goddamn white nonsense? Without Running Zack, we might not have had Dave “I’m 1/16th Navajo” Rose.