Zack is often called Preppy by his friend A.C. Slater.
"You know, I've finally found out the best thing about high school, once you graduate you don't have to come back.
Zack is one of the main protagonist of the series. He is known to be a charmer and a ladies-man. He is often making schemes that end up backfiring and it is a miracle that he is still passing school. Zack is one of the most popular students at Bayside and is many girl's crushes.
Gambling Throughout the series, Zack is shown as an avid proposition bettor who often make bets with Slater on the outcome of his schemes. Zack also occasionally placed bets with students of Bayside's rival school, Valley. He has gambled on football, chess, the future, whether he could skip school, and even on the day that Mr. Belding's baby would be born. However, when Zack went to Las Vegas with Kelly, he was not seen gambling.
Zack and Kelly Throughout season one, Zack and A.C. Slater fought over Kelly Kapowski's affections. In season two, Zack and Kelly became official after Kelly picked Zack over Slater. They dated for a few months until Kelly began to grow feelings for her boss at The MAX Jeff. In the episode "The Last Dance (Season 2)," Kelly breaks up with Zack at the annual costume ball as her feelings for Jeff grow and hopes she can still remain friends with Zack.
In season three, Zack and Kelly become closer however, they both decide mutually to stay friends.
When Kelly returned to the show in Saved by The Bell: College Years, Zack had to make a decision about who he really loved, as he still had feelings for Kelly. The College Years focused on Zack's efforts to win back the affection of Kelly, who was in love with their anthropology professor Jeremiah Lasky. Eventually, Zack won Kelly over again, and they became engaged.
The film Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas deals with the impending wedding of Zack and Kelly and all of the hijinks and pitfalls that occur on the road to and in Las Vegas.
Good Morning, Miss Bliss
The one season of the sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss took place during Zack's eighth grade year at John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Screech and Lisa are among Zack's friends in these episodes. Other friends that are regularly featured are Mikey Gonzalez, a close friend who is often tied up in Zack's scheming, and Nikki Coleman, who often butted heads with Zack on many issues. Mr. Belding was the principal of JFK Junior High, and often had to deal with problems Zack had caused. Zack's homeroom teacher and history teacher, Miss Carrie Bliss, also helped provide a moral compass for Zack.
During his junior high days, Zack was already doing much of the scheming, betting, and manipulation for which he became known. Examples include selling the stock the students had bought as a class project and investing the money in potatoes, setting rats loose in the school in order to get a test postponed, using a relationship between his father and Miss Bliss to get out of doing homework, betting Nikki that he could kiss a rock star who was coming to the school, and getting Screech to write his history report by promising a date with Lisa, even though all he actually does is write love letters to Lisa from a secret admirer, on Screech's behalf.
Zach has entered high school life. Zack demonstrated a flair for business throughout his teen years. However, in many subjects (notably history and literature), he often gets poor grades and displays a lack of interest.
Zack was also constantly pining for Kelly, coming up with new ways to try to win her over in many episodes and often battling for her affections with his on-again, off-again best friend A.C. Slater. This rivalry ended when it was decided that Zack and Slater were better suited as good friends, not least because of the close friendship between the actors who played them.
Zack was a particularly involved high school student. Athletically, Zack participated in cross country, basketball, and track. He experienced some success in each of these sports. In 9th grade, Zack finished in third place at a cross country meet. He was one of Bayside's better basketball players, and it hurt the team when he sprained his knee in the locker room before a big game. When Zack was possibly not going to compete in a track meet, Mr. Belding and Zack's team members were distressed because they thought there was no way they could win without Zack. Despite this success, Zack sometimes felt athletically overshadowed by Slater, who was the star of the school's football and wrestling teams.
In 9th grade, Zack ran against Jessie for class president. Zack wanted the position only to get a free trip to Washington, D.C.. He defeated Jessie by one vote, but after realizing how much the position actually meant to Jessie (and her college application), he resigned from office, allowing Jessie to become president.
Zack and Kelly become an official couple.
Zack was very musically talented. He was the lead singer and lead guitar player for a band called the Zack Attack. The other members were Kelly (vocals), Lisa (bass guitar), Slater (drums), and Screech (keyboard). While this band never achieved the success that it did in Zack's dreams, it was good enough to get paid to play at local events. The Zack Attack, however, offered to play for free at a school dance so that more money could be spent on decorations. This line-up featured Zack and Jessie on vocals, Lisa on guitar, Screech on keyboard, and Slater on drums. However, when Slater had to take over the lead vocals during the dance because Zack was outside talking to Kelly, Ollie (a minor character) took over on drums. Zack was also the lead singer of a 1950s-style doo-wop group, the Five Aces, that sang during a school sock hop. The other singers were Slater, Screech, Lisa, and Tori Scott. He was also a member of the glee club for a short time. He could play the trombone.
Upon graduation, Zack was slated to go to Yale, having scored 1502 on the SAT, the highest of the gang despite his slacker reputation, and he was accepted to "Stansbury University" in his senior year. At the end of Saved by the Bell, Zack is planning on going to Yale but he ultimately attended Cal U with Slater, Screech, and Kelly.
In Saved by the Bell: The College Years, we see Zack attending Cal U, along with Screech, Slater (who had planned on attending Iowa to join their wrestling program), and later on, Kelly (who joined the cast after the pilot episode). Their dorm was a suite, with the three guys in one room, three girls in another room and a common area between. The girls originally assigned to share the suite with them were Alex Tabor (an aspiring actress), Leslie Burke (the daughter of a university donor) and Danielle Marks (the daughter of a federal judge).
Danielle quickly transferred to a different school. This allowed Kelly to move in after she was accepted from California University's waiting list. Screech met with Kelly, and he suggested that she move in to the suite. Assigned to watch over Zack and his friends was Mike Rogers, a former football player for the San Francisco 49ers. He worked as a resident advisor while also working towards a graduate degree. Mike often had to keep Zack in line because Zack was still up to many of his high school tricks. Generally though, Mike and Zack got along well.
Other university faculty and staff that were regularly featured in Saved by the Bell: The College Years were Prof. Jeremiah Lasky and Dean Susan McMann. Zack generally got along well with Prof. Lasky, with the exception of a short period when Prof. Lasky was dating Kelly, which upset Zack because he realized he still had feelings for her. Dean McMann, however, was a more authoritative figure for whom Zack often caused problems.
Breaking the Fourth Wall
During his high school years, Zack broke the fourth wall numerous times. During many episodes, he would introduce the episode or speak his opinion on topics such as Slater, Kelly, etc. He would sometimes freeze time by saying, "Time out," and gesturing with his hands in a way similar to a basketball player requesting a time out from the referee. While the other characters were frozen, Zack would make an observation or offer an opinion; when he was finished, he would say, "Time in," and the episode's action would continue. In one episode, Zack used the time out to avoid being punched by Slater. Slater instead punched Mr. Belding, because Zack moved out of the way.
- Kelly Kapowski (Zack and Kelly are an on-again, off-again couple throughout their high school years.)
- Tori Scott (After Tori transfers to Bayside, she and Zack butt heads, but after making a bet with Slater about who could kiss Tori first, Zack starts to realize he actually likes her.)
- Stacey Carosi (Zack and Stacy grew close during their time working together at the Malibu Sands Beach Resort)
- Penny Belding (episode "Blind Dates") — Mr. Belding coerces Zack into going on a blind date with his niece, but Zack sends Screech in his place.
- Nicki Kapowski (episode "1-900-Crushed") — Kelly's little sister who has a crush on Zack, and after he mistakes her voice for Kelly's and says that he loves her he has to straighten things out.
- Jennifer (episode "From Nurse to Worse") — Zack temporarily falls for the hot new school nurse, even though he was about to ask Kelly to go steady with him.
- Jessie Spano (episode "Snow White and the Seven Dorks") — Zack and Jessie have to kiss in a play, and for a while they think they may actually have feelings for each other, making the kiss awkward.
- Danielle (episode "Fake IDs") — Zack falls for a college girl and gets a fake ID made so he can go to the over-18 club with her. She was HIV+ so for that reason he was lucky to have been cocked blocked. She was also highly instrumental in recruiting Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and LenDale white to USC which started a dynasty under Pete Carroll.
- Wendy (episode "Date Auction") — Wendy wins the right to go to a dance with Zack during a date auction and Zack initially lies to blow her off because she is overweight, He ends up rethinking his attitudes and sharing a dance with her.
- Kristy Barnes (episode "Hold Me Tight") — Zack grows to like this female wrestler, whom he dates partially because Jessie was jealous that Slater and Kristy were spending too much time together.
- Mindy Wallace (episode "Rockumentary") — As part of Zack's dream about hitting the big time, he has a fling with his self centered publicist, which leads to him splitting from the group for a while.
- Laura Benton (episodes "Home for Christmas" part 1 and 2) — Laura catches Zack's eye at the mall. He woos her then helps her and her father when he finds out they're homeless.
- Andrea Larson (TV movie "Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style") — While in Hawaii for a summer vacation, Zack falls for a local and pursues a relationship with her.
- Joanna (episode "The Fight" - A new girl comes to Bayside, and Zack and Slater fight over who will get to go to the dance with her.)
- Lisa Turtle (episode "The Bayside Triangle" - These two long-time friends begin to think they might have feelings for each other, and share a kiss.)
- J.B. Slater (episode "Slater's Sister" - When Slater's sister comes to town, Zack dates her for a while, which upsets Slater.)
- Kimberly (Screech's sexy, albeit adopted, cousin who was meant to ease Zack back into the dating world after his split with Kelly)
- Melissa (episode "Teen Line" - Zack sets up a date with a girl he talked to on the school's advice hotline, and after meeting her it takes him a while to get past her disability.)
- Jennifer Wade (episode "Love Machine") — Slater's ex-girlfriend from school in Germany transfers to Bayside, and after Slater and Jennifer realize they do not have romantic feelings for each other any more, Zack dates Jennifer.
- Rhonda Robistelli — Early in the high school years, she unrelentingly pursued Zack and wound up on a date to a dance with him.
- Leslie Burke — After arriving at Cal U, Zack quickly falls for Leslie and talks her into going on a date with him, but when Kelly shows up, Zack is torn between the two girls.
- Jennifer Williams (episode "Professor Zack") — Zack pretends to be a professor to impress Jennifer, but this causes problems because she's the chancellor's daughter.
- Linda Addington (episode "Screech Love") — Zack starts dating a tennis star, but after he asks Screech to tutor her, it turns out she likes Screech better.
- Kelly Kapowski — Some tme near the end of their first year of college, Zack and Kelly get back together, survive some rocky times and get married.