1 9 9 1 – 1 9 9 2 (USA)
18 x 30 minute episodes
Otis Drexell (Dabney Coleman) is a fifth-grade teacher at the Grantwood Avenue Elementary School in Iowa. A former corporate executive who was caught for tax evasion, he was given a suspended sentence on the condition that he teaches at an elementary school until $153,000 in back taxes are repaid to the IRS.
Otis is divorced from Mona (Joanna Cassidy), behind in his alimony payments and the father of two very pretty teenage girls: Melissa (A.J. Langer) and Brenda (Brittany Murphy), who both attend Cedar Bluffs High School.
Principal Francine Itkin (Randy Graff) describes Otis as “a drifter who failed in business and somehow crawled out of a sewer grate into my school to preach his amoral poison to 20 impressionable children”.
Otis is a cantankerous teacher who fails to comply with the school rules, treats his kids like adults, is tardy and discourteous to fellow staff members and enjoys pinching the female student teachers. He also believes that smoking is the answer to a long life and that a $10 bill attached to a test or homework assignment guarantees an A grade.
16-year-old Melissa believes she is a very sexy and desirable girl and wears clothes that prove her point: miniskirts; tight, low cut blouses and Madonna-style bra outerwear. Her boyfriend is Harold “Slash” Hudson (Phil Buckman) – a sleazy musician with whom she plays in a band called The Resentments, and who Otis despises.
14-year-old Brenda is a homebody who does the lion’s share of the housework in their apartment at 603 Essex Drive.
Otis’s principal students are Nicole Finnegan (Heidi Zeigler), Willie Trancas (Jason Biggs) and Kenny Sanders (Damian Cagnolatti).
Roscoe P. Davis (Dakin Matthews) is the only other featured teacher. He was a clinical psychologist before becoming a teacher and uses a puppet called ‘Grandma Grammar’ to teach English. Elsie Engelhoff (Florence Stanley) briefly became the acting principal when Francine left, eventually replaced by principal Marilyn Ridge (Edie McClurg) in November 1991.
Harold “Slash” Hudson
Roscoe P. Davis
Principal Francine Itkin
Principal Marilyn Ridge
Acting Principal Elsie Engelhoff