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Series / Herman's Head

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Genius: I'm Herman's intellect. Without me he couldn't hold his job, pay his rent or tie his shoe laces.
Angel: I'm Herman's sensitivity. Without me he wouldn't feel tenderness, honesty, or love... the good things in life.
Wimp: I'm Herman's anxiety and I keep him out of trouble and believe me, there's trouble everywhere.
Animal: I'm Herman's lust. Without me he'd miss out on all the good stuff. You know, fun, food, babes.
Narrator: Sometimes they agree... Usually they don't. But the struggle is going on inside all of us and it's all going on inside...Herman's Head.
— The first season opening titles explains it all for you.

Originally broadcast on Fox (1991-1994), this half-hour Sitcom would have been just an ordinary office-based comedy - except for its use of one of the most imaginative devices ever tried on broadcast television: the viewers were allowed to see the inner workings of the title character's mind. The inside of Herman Brooks' (William Ragsdale) head was presented as an attic in which dwelt the Insiders: four characters representing the conflicting forces which drove Herman's personality: Angel (Herman's sense of selflessness, charity, and justice), Animal (Herman's desire for sensate pleasures, such as food, sleep, and sex), Genius (Herman's storehouse of knowledge and wisdom), and Wimp (Herman's sense of fear and apprehension).

Outside of the "attic", Herman is a young writer working as a fact-checker for a Manhattan magazine, with a typical assortment of supporting characters: His boss Mr. Bracken, a walking encyclopedia, but iffy on personal skills; Louise, a meek-but-sweet plain-jane (played by Yeardley Smith, best known as the voice of Lisa Simpson); and Heddy, a man-hungry social-climbing beauty for whom Herman intermittently pines for. Playing counterpoint to the office crew is Herman's best friend Jay (Hank Azaria, also better known for his many roles on The Simpsons), a part-time Lothario whose success at writing drives Herman to match him.

Each episode mated a typical sitcom situation with the unique perspective on Herman's choices and motivations afforded by the "Inside" scenes. The conflicts, alliances and negotiations between the four Insiders made for just as much comedy as the events in the "outside" world — and sometimes more, as in the episode where the constantly-warring Angel and Animal discovered a woman they both agreed on.

The show was canceled after its third season.

See also Inside Out, Poison Berry in My Brain, and Yumi's Cells for stories with a similar premise in animated movie, manga and webtoon form respectively.

This show provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Louise (Yeardley Smith's character) tells off an old friend (Maureen McCormick) of the boss without realizing who it is. When the boss confronts the staff about it, not knowing who spoke to Maureen but knowing that she sounded "like a cartoon character", Louise gets an Oh, Crap! moment — only for the boss to turn and start yelling at another woman, who protests in a Betty Boop voice. In another episode she complains about people mistaking her for Lisa Simpson when she's talking to them on the phone.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Both Louise and Heddy seem intrigued by Herman's lesbian ex, Rebecca.
    • When Bracken consults Heddy on a gift for his wife saying that "She knows what a woman wants", Heddy's flustered reaction implies that she might have Experimented in College.
  • The Artifact / Demoted to Extra: Towards the end of the show's run, the Insider characters featured less and less prominently as the show focused more on Herman and his real environment.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits : The original opening has a narrator telling us that "sometimes [the insiders] agree... usually they don't," while showing them all arguing loudly. But in most episodes they usually do agree, except for Angel and Animal, and even then, their discussions are more in the form of sarcastic sniping than loud arguments.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Herman. The Insiders get... weird when Herman is drunk.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Animal's general purpose. One episode features Herman staying awake for so long that all the other three aspects pass out... leaving Animal in sole control. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Any given episode would usually start with Herman doing something wrong, then Hilarity Ensues as he runs about trying to resolve the situation, with an Aesop over not having done it in the first place. Some of the third season episodes would have Herman fail to "fix" things (such as when he cheated on his Girl of the Week) presumably in order to reinforce the Aesop.
  • Christmas Episode: "A Charlie Brown Fitzer".
  • Chubby Chaser: Animal was more than happy to go after a fat chick at a bar.
  • Comically Missing the Point : Herman's boss is a very serious man who tries to have fun but has no idea how. In one episode, he gets a ventriloquist's dummy and puts together a very convincing show... except that instead of telling jokes, he and the dummy exchange dry historical facts. He is shocked when he is told that's not how a ventriloquism act is supposed to go.
  • The Conscience: Angel, who is literally Herman's sense of right and wrong.
  • Da Editor: Mr. Bracken, although in Research rather than News. The gruff boss who still cares for his employees is played straight though.
  • Desk Sweep of Passion: When Herman and Heddy finally get together, they argue and fight, then kiss violently, and each sweeps a half of their boss's desk! Then they have sex on it and spend the night in the office.
  • Ear Worm: The Gilligan's Island theme song becomes this for Animal in episode 3. When Herman gets drunk, all the insiders start singing it.