Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Here's To You, Mr. Robinson (And All those Other Teachers in TV/Movieland)

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 5:00 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR
  • Courtesy of Creative Commons/Flickr
Craig Robinson will be playing a music teacher in a new NBC show, "Mr. Robinson." If it were a movie, this is what the voiceover would sound like. Cue the deep, authoritative "In a World . . ." voice.
"Craig Robinson. He fought off the apocalypse with his friends, James Franco. Seth Rogen. Jonah Hill. Jay Baruchel. . . . But does he have what it takes to face a classroom filled with [deep, ominous voice] REBELLIOUS. HYPER-ACTIVE. OVER-GLANDULAR  TEENAGERS? A-L-O-O-O-N-E?"
(Hollywood promo guys, this one's on the house, no charge. But if you want more, contact me through the Weekly.)

Readers, I need your help. I want the name of every TV show or movie that either has a teacher in a lead role or in a reasonably prominent secondary role. As many as you can think of, as far back as you can go ("Our Miss Brooks" with Eve Arden, anyone?).

Let me tell you my hypothesis about the changes in the way teachers have been portrayed since the 1950s. First there were the workaday, cut-above-the-average teachers of core subjects. Think "Room 222." Next came the Superteachers who could leap tall curriculum assignments in a single class period — with poor, underprivileged kids, no less — and change the lives of everyone they came in contact with. Think "Stand and Deliver." The next step was the incompetent teacher who was ridiculed and often didn't give a damn. Think, of course, "Bad Teacher." Now, when we see teachers, they're sports coaches or music teachers who don't teach those essential, No Child Left Behind core classes. Think, a TV show like "Glee" or a movie like "McFarland, USA."

The best way to prove, disprove or alter a hypothesis is to put it to a real world test. So help me out. The more examples, the better. 

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