25 favorite ’80s and ’90s teenage heartthrobs and what they’re doing now

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Mark Paul Gosselar

What made him a heartthrob: Giant cell phones, high school Ponzi schemes, and all the irreverent fourth wall breaking, that’s what. Zack Morris was an icon of his time, although he’s been retroactively deemed so, but the screaming girls don’t care about icons. They only care about spiky blond hair, a winking smile, and charm that could separate even grown women from their knickers.

As bad as it was, Saved By The Bell was a juggernaut of Saturday morning TV. Capitalizing on audiences that were too old for cartoons, but too young to drive, it became a huge hit for NBC and made this group of folks teen idols. Mark Paul Gosselar played Zach as the fast-talking, scheming, opportunist with a heart of gold. We ate it up. He was also on the critically acclaimed NYPD Blue in a very serious role as a New York cop.

What he’s doing now: Not so long ago, Gosselar had a show on the TNT network with pal Breckyn Meyer called Franklin and Bash. I really liked the two actors as screwups who were also dashing and magnanimous lawyers. Sadly, it was canceled too soon, but it’s worth a watch if you can find it.

Currently, you can catch him playing himself on the TVLand comedy, Nobodies, executively produced by Melissa McCarthy.

Mark Paul at his best: I’m a sucker for a love story and a Christmas movie, so I highly recommend 12 Dates of Christmas starring Gosselar and Amy Smart. It’s sweet.