When it comes to television, school principals are typically painted as the enemy. In such a role, it would be easy to hate any character tasked with the devious job of school discipline. However, as the following examples indicate, there are plenty of ways for these authority figures to become respected, if not wholly likable characters. Of all the principals ever featured on a TV show, here are the ten most memorable.
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10 Principal Snyder – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Principal Snyder takes the reins of Sunnydale High after his predecessor is killed and eaten by a gang of teens. Given these circumstances, it’s no stretch to say Principal Snyder’s career choice isn’t exactly an ideal one. Of course, this is partly the reason that he is such a royal asshole. Constantly serving as a point of conflict for Buffy, it seems his ultimate goal is to have her expelled from school (which eventually happens). Unfortunately for him, he eventually befalls the same fate as the principal who served before him.
9 Principal Blackman – Strangers With Candy
Principal Blackman wins the award for most literally descriptive last name (also, his first name is Onyx). Though Strangers With Candy is more of a cult hit than other shows on this list, Blackman made an impression thanks to his no-nonsense attitude and ubiquitous appearance on posters spread throughout Flatpoint High School. Also, he appears to be boning his secretary (Iris Puffybush), which is also pretty awesome.
8 Principal Raditch – Degrassi
Principal Raditch appeared in all five seasons of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High (first as a teacher). He also played the role for four seasons on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Though he was a real hard ass, he proved over the years that he was an important and integral force to be reckoned with in the world of Degrassi.
7 Principal Shepherd – Family Guy
It’s safe to say that any principal in charge of disciplining the kids at James Woods Regional High School has got his hands full. Though Principal Shepherd doesn’t really do all that great of a job, his actions have led to some seriously hilarious consequences. For example, he is the authority figure that allows Peter to go undercover as Lando Griffin to infiltrate the toad-licking epidemic. As such, we have to take our hats off to this foolish principal for approving such horrendous ideas.
6 Grace Musso – Parker Lewis Can’t Lose
Parker Lewis Can’t Lose was a fairly popular show that ran from 1990 to 1993. Essentially a rip-off of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Principal Musso plays essentially the same role as Ed Rooney. She seems intent on squashing Parker Lewis and having him expelled from Santo Domingo High. Occasionally, TV viewers gain some intriguing insight into the personal life of Ms. Musso. For example, her turn-ons included beards and large hands.
5 Principal Victoria – South Park
I’m not sure which would be worse – dealing with the students at South Park Elementary or dealing with the faculty. With teachers like Mr. Garrison and students like Eric Cartman, Principal Victoria has a lot on her plate. As it turns out, Victoria copes with these demands with the help of recreational drugs. And when put in a pinch, she has the connections to bring in Richard Dawkins to help teach the kids about evolution (though, that whole idea didn’t really pan out so well).
4 Marcia Donnelly – The Wire
Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly is by far the most realistic portrayal of a school principal on this list. Introduced in season four, Principal Donnelly is tasked with the job of instilling fear and discipline into a school filled with inner-city youths and drug dealers. Surprisingly, she achieves this goal remarkably well. In a world where an in-school stabbing that doesn’t result in the transmission of AIDS is considered a good day, Principal Donnelly deserves some major applause.
3 Mr. Feeny – Boy Meets World
It’s every kid’s worst nightmare to live next door to his or her teacher/principal. Such was the case for Cory Matthews, who was mentored by Mr. Feeny to almost creepy proportions over the show’s seven seasons (Feeny followed him from 6th grade all the way to college – kind of weird if you ask me). Over the years, Feeny proves to be much more than a principal to Cory, eventually becoming sort of a second father figure.
2 Mr. Belding – Saved by the Bell
Mr. Belding serves as the arch-nemesis to Zach Morris. However, in a similar Feeny/Matthews dynamic, the two share a mutual respect for each other. In fact, Belding even refers to Zach as the son he never had (later he names his own newborn son “Zach” in his honor). Given this fact, it’s easy to see why Belding was the principal we all loved to hate.
1 Principal Skinner – The Simpsons
Principal Skinner has ruled his fictional school for longer than any other principal on television. For more than 20 years, he has walked the halls of Springfield Elementary and gone into combat with Bart. Thanks to several episodes that place him in the spotlight, we also know a lot more about Skinner than the rest of the characters on this list. And though he’s a mama’s boy that still fights with his mother about the inflatable bath pillow, there’s a sad-sack lovability about him that makes him a favorite character in the world of The Simpsons.
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