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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bad presidents and fictional schools

I have been listening to WaPo's Presidential podcast, which offers 44 sequential weekly bios of the Presidents, running from the beginning of the year until the election. This week is Buchanan, next week is Lincoln.

But hearing about the forgettable presidents of the nineteenth century, especially in the period between Jackson and Lincoln, got me thinking about TV shows (especially sitcoms) naming fictional schools after presidents who are largely regarded as unsuccessful. Off the top of my head: Welcome Back, Kotter took place at Buchanan HS; Glee took place at McKinley HS; the Brady kids attended Fillmore Junior High; and Girl Meets World takes place at John Quincy Adams Middle School (this is an homage to the original  taking place at John Adams HS).

What other examples am I missing?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 19, 2016 at 12:17 AM in Culture, Howard Wasserman | Permalink


Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide takes place at a James K. Polk Middle School. This may be a Married with Children homage. Interestingly, the high school in the show is named Michael S. Dukakis High School.

Posted by: anonandoff | Apr 20, 2016 2:37:58 AM

The late, great "Head of the Class" took place at Millard Fillmore High School.

Posted by: Jordy Singer | Apr 19, 2016 10:03:36 PM

“We chose it because it was the only president’s name which was legally clearable,” Judd Apatow, the executive producer of “Freaks and Geeks,” explained in an email to HuffPost TV. “We didn’t realize it was used on ‘The Wonder Years.’ I assume they used it for the same reason.”


Posted by: Joe | Apr 19, 2016 2:20:08 PM

Apparently McKinley is also in The Wonder Years. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/glee-william-mckinley-high_n_1858050.html

Posted by: Steve H | Apr 19, 2016 1:33:55 PM

McKinley High School is also the name of the school in "Freaks and Geeks" -- so is the later reference a homage?

Posted by: Joe | Apr 19, 2016 10:49:56 AM

Don't forget Saved By the Bell. In the first season of the show (when it was still Good Morning Miss Bliss), they went to John F. Kennedy Junior High School. But, when they moved the location to California, they changed schools, and named it after President William H. Bayside.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Apr 19, 2016 7:28:38 AM

Polk High in "Married with Children"!

Posted by: G-Ice | Apr 19, 2016 3:52:22 AM

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