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MovieBob Goes Back to School with the Top Teachers of TV

Bob Chipman | 8 Sep 2014 12:00
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Instead of going back to school, we're turning on the TV.

Hey, it's back to school time!

...he said, with an unsure wariness that belied his omnipresent suspicions that he was finally old enough that his regular frame of reference assured that almost no one reading him was likely to be going back to school right now.


Well, whatever -- I committed to the topic. SO!

For as long as there have been schools and classrooms, we've been using them as a can't-miss setting for drama: It's a fixed situation the characters are generally required to remain in, it's got its own set of social and cultural hierarchies, most of the occupants tend to be young and thus prone-to/focused-on theatrically-friendly matters of high emotion, it's a near-universal experience almost everyone in the audience is likely to be familiar with. If you're trying to set up a compulsively-watchable TV show, what better setup could you ask for?

...Okay, besides that.

But a good TV classroom is often only as good as its TV teacher. Here are ten of the best:


Robert Picardo,The Wonder Years


Before he became a permanent geek icon as one of the only things from Star Trek: Voyager worth a damn, Robert Picardo was meting out "tough love" to schoolboys in the 60s-flashback dramedy The Wonder Years as a gym teacher in an era where that meant playing hard-bitten surrogate-father/drill-instructor to insecure boys.

Typically comic relief, Cutlip is probably best remembered for a Christmas episode where series-lead Kevin discovers the hard-nosed coach's winter job as a mall Santa -- a secret identity he covets because it's a role where don't hate him.

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