Mark-Paul Gosselaar, 38, who played Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell nearly 20 years ago—despite recent reports to the contrary, he speaks fondly of the show—hasn’t strayed from his hometown or entertainment roots. Now living in Venice, he portrays Peter Bash opposite Breckin Meyer’s Jared Franklin on the TNT dramedy Franklin & Bash. Gosselaar explains of the show’s second season, “The guys become equity partners in the firm this year. The way they handle that is with more comedy, and I think that lightness separates us from the other shows.” —Jessica Radloff
Do people call you Mark-Paul, or do you have a nickname?
The one that has stuck over the years is MP. Although at Starbucks they’ll sometimes think I say my name is “Empty.” [Laughs.] I’m trying to figure out why my parents named me Mark-Paul because my other brothers and sisters have very generalized, Americanized names.
You’ve played a diverse array of characters in your career. Which role has resonated with you the most?
Playing Detective John Clark on NYPD Blue. I was living out what I had always wanted to do, which was to be in the military or law enforcement. Being able to run around with a gun and a badge, plus work with the warrants squad and the narcotics squad, was like a dream come true.
Any chance of a Saved by the Bell reunion?
I don’t rule it out, but there’s no talks of doing one. I did [resurrect] Zack on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and it worked out [amazingly]. One of the writers is a Saved by the Bell superfan, and he wrote a brilliant script for that appearance.
What do you remember most about your time on the show?
There was just this innocence, and we had a level of fun that we just stayed true to, and didn’t question a lot—good kids with good families who got along really well and enjoyed being with each other.
You’re big into cycling and outdoor sports. Where do you like to exercise, and are there any particular stores you visit often?
I’m partial to Helen’s bike shop in Santa Monica. I also race for them on their elite masters team. As for working out, we’ll hike Sullivan Canyon or Runyon Canyon. I’d much rather do a class or be outside.
Tell me your favorite restaurant.
Ado. It’s a little yellow house. The pastas are amazing. They have a quail ragù pasta, a rabbit ragù…. It’s just really good stuff.
Do you have a favorite local hangout?
[Fiancée] Catriona and I love beer, so we’ll go to Library Alehouse or Father’s Office.
You’re very health-conscious. Where do you go for healthier fare?
For lunch or breakfast we like Veggie Grill and we love Asahi Ramen.
And when you want to splurge?
We like SusieCakes. We’ll go to Menchie’s with the kids. Menchie’s is pretty badass. There’s just something about Menchie’s!
Ado 796 Main St., Venice, 310.399.9010
Asahi Ramen 2027 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A., 310.479.2231
Father’s Office 1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, 310.736.2224
Helen’s Cycles 2501 Broadway, Santa Monica, 310.829.1836
Library Alehouse 2911 Main St., Santa Monica, 310.314.4855
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt 9609 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.860.1606
Runyon Canyon Park 2001 N. Fuller Ave., Hollywood, 323.666.5046
Sullivan Canyon Preservation 1640 Old Oak Road, L.A., 310.454.5905
SusieCakes 11708 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310.442.2253
Veggie Grill 2025 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310.829.1155