Parents' Guide to

Head of the Class

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Dated sitcom has timeless message about balance.

TV ABC Comedy 1986
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For everything that's changed in America since the mid-1980s, high school is an experience that remains mostly the same, and this series, though dated, speaks to that timelessness. There's renewed interest in Head of the Class now that it's being rebooted, and for all of the old shows being granted second chances in recent years, this one makes sense. Save for a few jokes that have been rightfully phased out of comedic acceptability, it holds up. Students are still expected to both excel academically and mature personally in a short amount of time, all while facing the pressures of their impending futures. They have every reason to be obsessed with grades and memorization of facts. As a result, it is still an important lesson to not only remind high-strung students to be more laid back, but for the adults in their lives to recognize the challenges they face daily.

For those who have a permanent space in their heart reserved for the classic sitcom formulas that so many of the shows we love are built on, Head of the Class feels like a warm hug. It's funny, familiar, and fast-paced, and yes, of course, there's a laugh track. Though there have been so many new shows that have broadened our understanding of what a sitcom is and what it can do, there is still a place for the cheesy, predictable shows which paved the way for all of the comedy we enjoy on TV today. That being said, this older expression of the sitcom genre just isn't for everyone anymore, and there's not anything particularly groundbreaking within Head of the Class to make it a must-watch. In addition, while some will enjoy the formulaic nature of the writing, some of the jokes just don't land anymore, particularly those having to do with one character, Dennis, and his weight. In fact, many episodes go by where Dennis has no main storylines whatsoever, and his only lines are met with mean-spirited retorts about his eating habits or body. While older kids may be able to be unaffected by the remarks, parents should be wary if they have body-conscious kids at home who may be negatively influenced by these constant quips and skip this title for something a bit more modern.

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