Head Of The Class

  Mr. Moore (Howard Hesseman) demonstrates that a mullet on a teacher was actually once socially acceptable in the 1980s.

Mr. Moore (Howard Hesseman) demonstrates that a mullet on a teacher was actually once socially acceptable in the 1980s.

I found a bunch of old Head Of The Class tapes. It's more of a guilty pleasure than anything: the scripts were pretty weak, some of the actors playing students were 30+ years old, and for supposedly smart kids they sure stayed around in high school far too long.  Some of the most cringeworthy aspects to the show were the unironic rat-tail, and later mullet, that Hesseman's character Mr. Moore sported, and I can't suspend my disbelief long enough to buy that high school students (even an honors program) would have the ability to come up with a video for the time capsule that used state-of-the-art-for-1987 computer effects set to the tune of Timbuk 3's "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" (an exercise in cheese).

  Recurring characters Manfred (John Cameron Mitchell) and Monica (Kirsten Holmquist) performing "White Boys" in a style that presages the singing music teachers from SNL

Recurring characters Manfred (John Cameron Mitchell) and Monica (Kirsten Holmquist) performing "White Boys" in a style that presages the singing music teachers from SNL

For a mid-level sitcom shot on tape, though, it was at least decent at least for the first four years.  It did go downhill when Howard Hesseman was replaced by Billy Connolly, mainly because Connolly's character didn't so much teach as go on extended comedic tangents (just imagine if they couldn't find a teacher at a real high school and they just had Craig Ferguson rant for an hour).  I am surprised how many recognizable guest stars I've spotted on the show, though, mainly Elaine Stritch, Stephen Root, Roscoe Lee Browne, Lori Petty (Tank Girl), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Kirsten Kemp Becker (then known as Kirsten Holmquist, Property Ladder), and Brad Pitt (tabloids).  They also had a few interesting episodes based around the cast doing a musical theatre production which actually incorporate the "opening night performances" (based on the episodes' individual writing credits, the shows creators Rich Eustis and Michael Elias had a thing for musical theatre), and were the first American sitcom to shoot in the Soviet Union, giving what was generally a mid-level sitcom added notability.

I doubt the show will be heading to DVD season sets anytime soon because music licensing is a big hurdle, at least for the musical episodes, and there likely isn't a strong enough market for it to justify the cost.  Part of the reason a lot of worse and shorter-lived shows are on DVD is because they can make money back on those (which explains why Small Wonder is actually getting a DVD release).  It wasn't great by any stretch of the imagination but I am having fun watching my old tapes again as I transfer them to disc (and removing countless ads for 1-809 sex lines that used to run late at night on CKY-Winnipeg, but that's better as the subject for another post).

  The students included one of Tony Soprano's mistresses (top row centre), the men responsible for the career of Kenan Thompson (top row left), and the victim of Tobias Funke's glitter basket (bottom row centre).

The students included one of Tony Soprano's mistresses (top row centre), the men responsible for the career of Kenan Thompson (top row left), and the victim of Tobias Funke's glitter basket (bottom row centre).