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Mark-Paul Gosselaar

I LOVED 'Saved by the Bell'

But the Writing ...

6/7/2012 5:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Everyone can chill out -- Zack Morris says he didn't totally slam "Saved by the Bell" ... and insists his words were "taken out of context" in a controversial interview.

TMZ just spoke to Mark-Paul Gosselaar about the Yahoo! story in which he's quoted as saying of 'SBTB' ... "It's not a great show." Those words ignited an uproar on the Internet this week, but Mark told us, "I'm proud of that show and have no problem talking about it."

Mark does admit calling the show's writing "cheesy"... but says, "That's why people like it! I wasn't saying it was a bad show, just that the writing reflected" '80s cheesiness.

MPG says he's "bummed" his words were twisted, and adds ... "everything I've ever done after the show has pointed to me having nothing but respect for it."

Go Tigers!

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We reached out to the writer of the Yahoo! post, and he says, "I stand by my story 100 percent." He says Mark's quote, "It's not a great show. The writing is kind of hokey" ... is verbatim, and on tape.

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