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Classrooms on the Small Screen

According to some magazine called Inside TV (no site that I can find), the top 10 "most memorable" teachers on television are

Gabe Kotter (Gabriel Kaplan) – "Welcome Back, Kotter"
Edna Krabappel (voice of Marcia Wallace) – "The Simpsons"
Laura Ingalls (Melissa Gilbert) – "Little House on the Prairie"
Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) – "Friends"
Charlie Moore (Howard Hesseman) – "Head of the Class"
Mark Cooper (Mark Curry) – "Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper"
Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) – "Happy Days"
Carol Vessey (Julie Bowen) – "Ed"
Lydia Grant (Debbie Allen) – "Fame"
Max Medina (Scott Cohen) – "Gilmore Girls"

Ross? Fonzie? Teachers? Did more than three people even watch "Head of the Class" or "Ed"?

The Ohio television critic who noted this list in his blog offers some alternative choices.

Still, if I were putting together such a list, I might have dug a little deeper into TV history. Anyone care to pay tribute to Connie Brooks (Eve Arden) of "Our Miss Brooks"? Or Robinson J. Peepers (Wally Cox), of "Mr. Peepers"? (Tony Randall also played a teacher on the show.)

How about another Mr., John Novak (James Franciscus) of "Mr. Novak." Loved that show when I was young. Then there’s Miss Frances – Frances Horwich – of kiddie favorite "Ding Dong School." And what about Pete Dixon (Lloyd Haynes) of "Room 222"?

I only vaguely remember most of these from reruns high up on the VHF dial. Has there ever been a particularly flattering or even accurate portrayal of teachers on TV?

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5 Comments

  1. That list is so lame… The most memorable teacher on television was Pete Dixon of Room 222. And the most memorable principal was Seymour Kaufman. Take a look at the listing at the Museum of Broadcasting site.

  2. Tim, please fix my typo… :-)

  3. Keith Barnes

    What about the White Shadow? Also I thought Bill Cosby’s
    where he was a teacher (early 70’s) was very good the Fudge
    episode sticks in my mind to this day. Just my .02 of a
    dollar.

  4. Tim

    I do remember Room 222 although they, like teachers in so many other series, seemed to spend an awful lot of time outside the classroom (teacher’s lounge, front office).

    I don’t remember Bill Cosby’s turn as a teacher, however.

    I’m surprised no one mentioned Boston Public, which was a much more recent TV image of teachers.

    PS Tim: what typo? :-)

  5. That’s because Boston Public all too often shows teachers as clueless idiots who are tempted into having sex with their students (ooohh gross!!!!). I refuse to watch any more of it on principle.

    Could it be that most TV shows don’t show much of what goes on in the classroom because the people in LaLa Land (and indeed in the outside in general) have no idea what goes on in the classroom?

    And Fonzie is counted because, after Happy Days jumped the shark, he taught an auto mechanics class at the high school. But that still shouldn’t be counted.

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