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Drexell’s Class (Fox 1991-1992, Dabney Coleman, Randy Graff)

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Thick as Thieves: The Homecoming (ITV 1 Jun 1974, with Johnny Briggs)

Drexell’s Class was an early Fox-TV effort was a showcase for the comedic skills of Dabney Coleman. He starred as cranky Otis Drexell, a man who had teach the fifth-grade to honor an obligation to the IRS that he incurred after being caught cheating on his taxes. Just what our ailing public school system needed…

Principal Itkin detested Drexell because she thought he couldn’t handle his class, and fellow teacher Roscoe Davis never missed an opportunity to upstage Drexell and his teaching abilities. But the worst part for Drexell was the fact they were perfectly right to dislike him: Drexell was the worst possible candidate for a teaching job—misanthropic, acerbic and manipulative. However, all these elements of his persona allowed him to get along well with all the unruly kids in his class.

The show only lasted 18 episodes before being canceled in June of 1992. However, it formed another unique entry in the line of sitcoms built around Dabney Coleman, which also included Buffalo Bill and The Slap Maxwell Story. Drexell’s Class was a critical favorite and remains memorable today for the mordant humor it found in a dark character. Like the aforementioned Dabney Coleman shows, it deserves a little applause for trying to expand the boundaries of television comedy.

production details
USA / Fox / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 19 September 1991 – 25 June 1992

cast
Dabney Coleman as Otis Drexell
Randy Graff as Principal Francine Itkin (1991)
Dakin Matthews as Roscoe Davis
Jason Biggs as Willie Trancas (1991)
Heidi Zeigler as Nicole Finnigan (1991)
Damian Cagnolatti as Kenny Sanders
Matthew Lawrence as Walker (1991)
A.J. Langer as Melissa Drexell
Brittany Murphy as Brenda Drexell
Edie McClurg as Principal Marilyn Ridge
Cleavant Derricks as George Foster
Phil Buckman as Slash
Jacqueline Donnelly as Bernadette
Matthew Slowik as Lionel

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