[[quoteright:299:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Head_Of_The_Class_7106.jpg]]

A highly successful SitCom of TheEighties. Imagine ''SavedByTheBell'' (with MUCH smarter students) for primetime.

Howard Hesseman (of ''WKRPInCincinnati'' fame) starred as Charlie Moore, a substitute teacher who is hired to teach history to a class of gifted students at a Manhattan high school. He is not gifted himself, but he thinks outside the box and is full of epiphanies, and so he has much to teach his class even as he finds himself clashing with the school's stuffy, by-the-book principal. Three months later, the VerySpecialEpisode came in which the original teacher returned from his medical leave. This being a successful American sitcom, after spending most of the episode trying to impress the guy, Charlie finally succeeds by being himself; the guy was looking for a worthy replacement so that he could retire. This naturally infuriated the principal further, but it finally ensured that there could be a [[StatusQuoIsGod stable status quo.]]

The series ran for five years with almost no cast turnover. This did stretch credulity after a time, but it didn't cause problems until the network was forced to replace the teacher with a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute in the fifth year.

Oh, and Robin Givens [[RetroactiveRecognition played a student here before she married Mike Tyson]]. Also launched the likes of DanSchneider, responsible in some way for [[Series/AllThat most]] [[TheAmandaShow every]] [[DrakeAndJosh recent]] [[{{Zoey101}} live-]][[ICarly action]] [[{{Victorious}} hit]] on {{Nickelodeon}}, and Brian Robbins, who went on to produce and direct shows [[TheAmandaShow with]] [[Series/AllThat Schneider]] [[{{Smallville}} and]] [[OneTreeHill without]] (as well as work with [[DisneyChannel the enemy]] [[SonnyWithAChance sometimes]]). Unlike Brian Robbins, Dan Schneider has yet to direct a big-screen movie, [[Film/{{Norbit}} which may be a wise move.]]

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'''Tropes found in this classroom include:'''

* AesopAmnesia
* AnAesop: Done {{once an episode}}.
* AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle
* BeYourself
* BollywoodNerd: Jawaharlal.
* BottleEpisode: Pretty much every episode took place in that one classroom and the hallway just outside it; occasionally they also used the school theater.
* BrilliantButLazy: Applies to various characters, depending on how you define brilliance.
* TheBusCameBack: Janice shows up again in the series finale to get her high school diploma; she had just graduated from Harvard.
* DeanBitterman: Dr. Samuels.
* DevilsAdvocate: In a school debate club meet, Alan has to extemporaneously defend a position he is personally against. He wins the debate.
* EggSitting
* EnemyMine: {{Invoked|Trope}} by Mr. Moore on one occasion. The students were fighting each other, so he became a bad teacher, giving them a greater enemy that would force them to put aside their own differences.
* FamousAncestor: In one episode, Mr. Moore has the class research their family trees, and Darlene discovers that she is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson.
* FamousNamedForeigner: Jawaharlal Choudhury is obviously named after India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is very unlikely that an Indian or an Indian-American in his teens in the mid-1980s would have a name like Jawaharlal.
* FinalSeasonCasting: See SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute below -- but not similar enough to keep the show going beyond that point.
* TheFool: Because the teacher himself didn't always seem to know what he was doing.
* FrozenInTime: If these kids are so smart, why have they been in high school for five years?
** WordOfGod was that the final two seasons took place their senior year - season 4 was 1st semester, season 5 was 2nd semester.
* GrewASpine: In one episode, Jawarhalal is suddenly well known for agreeing with everyone about everything. Then the class goes to see Mr. Moore's off-off-off-Broadway post-[[{{Postmodernism}} post-Modern]] production of ''{{Hamlet}}''. Everybody hates it except Jawarhalal, who defends it to everyone. They're so caught up in trying to prove him wrong that until the end of the episode they never ask him why he likes it and don't notice that he's disagreeing with them, counter to his personality.
* HighSchool
* HighSchoolSweethearts: Eventually, Eric and Simone; the final season shows them getting briefly engaged, then deciding to wait until after college.
* [[HotTeacher Hot Vice Principal]]: Miss Meara.
* IvyLeagueForEveryone: Justified in that it was a show centered around geniuses.
* ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'': "Head Of The Crass," which - "Chatty Bore" excepted - broke with tradition of having the characters introduce themselves to the readers in the first panel ("We're too bright and sophisticated for such stereotyping and drivel!").
* OneDegreeOfSeparation: Howard Hesseman <-> Dan Schneider, provides the link between everyone connected to ''WKRPInCincinnati'' (and by extension Loni Anderson's longtime husband Burt Reynolds), and approximately 40% of all currently-working comic actors of the millenial generation.
** Note that Schneider himself worked with KevinBacon (in ''The Big Picture''), as did Hesseman (in an '80s TV remake of ''Film/MisterRoberts'').
* PekingDuckChristmas: Both Mr. Moore (alone for Christmas) and Dr. Samuels (escaping his in-laws) find themselves at the same Chinese place on Thanksgiving. They bond.
* PutOnABus: After the third season Janice graduated, Jawaharlal's family moved back to India, and Maria transferred to [[Film/{{Fame}} the New York High School of Performing Arts]]; Mr. Moore quit teaching after Season 4 to pursue an acting career full time ([[RetCon despite]] a VerySpecialEpisode earlier in the run where he decided to stop acting and dedicate his life to teaching).
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: More than once.
* ReplacementScrappy: Both Mr. Moore and Mr. [=MacGregor=] were {{In-Universe}} examples, at least for specific people.
** Dr. Samuels didn't like Mr. Moore, worried that he'd ruin the IHP with his unorthodox teaching style, but only put up with him because he was a substitute teacher merely holding down the fort until their real teacher returned.
** When Mr. [=MacGregor=] took over, the class took some time to get used to Billy, but Dennis and Arvid had the most extreme opinions of him. To Dennis, Billy was a replacement scrappy, while Arvid felt betrayed by Mr. Moore and latched onto Mr. [=MacGregor=] out of spite.
* SaveOurStudents: Somewhat of an inversion, in that Mr. Moore's kids are academically gifted and high-achieving but socially and emotionally underdeveloped.
* SchoolPlay: ''Theatre/LittleShopOfHorrors'', ''{{Grease}}'', and ''{{Hair}}''
* UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}}: The replacement replacement teacher came from there, which made for an interesting Revolutionary War episode.
* SnapBack
* SpinOff: The eminently forgettable ''Billy'', which ran for half a season in 1992.
* StatusQuoIsGod
* StrawmanPolitical: Of various flavors. And it's just not a [[TheEighties 1980s]] sitcom without a blatant [[FamilyTies Alex P. Keaton]] ripoff, er, neo-conservative among the students.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: After Howard Hesseman quit the show, his Charlie Moore was replaced with Creator/BillyConnolly as new teacher Billy [=MacGregor=].
* TeenGenius: The majority of the teenage cast, although arguably Janice (who was really a ''pre-''teen genius) and Arvid in particular.
* VacationEpisode: The class went to Moscow, the first American show to film there.
* VerySpecialEpisode
* ViewersAreMorons: And executives want to assure them that it's okay.
* WhoopiEpiphanySpeech: This too was done {{once an episode}}.
* WorkingThroughTheCold: Arvid, in the episode where he has the flu and refuses to stay home from school.
* YouAreInCommandNow
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