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In Loco Parentis Redux

Bob and Linda Belcher at Wagstaff School

Series:

Elizabeth Currin

Abstract

Grounded in a critical historical understanding of the feminization of teaching, this chapter explores representations of teaching in the Fox animated series Bob’s Burgers, featuring Wagstaff School’s well-intentioned but inept guidance counselor, Mr. Frond, an oft-villainous counterpart to Tina, Louise, and Gene Belcher’s own parents, Linda and the eponymous Bob. Because both Bob and Linda each take a turn as substitute teachers, in addition to the usual parent-teacher conference or chaperone fare, Bob’s Burgers, aside from being an underrated commentary on the American working class, also stands to make a significant contribution to scholarly conversations about education in pop culture.

Saved by the Belles

Gender Roles in the Quintessential Teen Comedy

Series:

Elizabeth Currin and Stephanie Schroeder

Abstract

Managing an impressive television feat, the classic teen sitcom Saved by the Bell delicately evolved over a seven-year span as its young stars grew from pubescent unknowns on Good Morning, Miss Bliss to fledgling adults on Saved by the Bell: The College Years. An extensive cultural touchstone, steeped in commentary on schools even in its title, Saved by the Bell offers ample representative data on American adolescents at the end of the 20th century. Here, we narrow the scope to gender and shift our gaze from students to teachers, taking a critical look at three episodes: “Summer Love,” in which a heartbroken Zack seeks extracurricular counsel from Miss Bliss, who happens to be squeezing a romantic date into her busy schedule; “Student-Teacher Week,” when Zack and Kelly, as principal and teacher, embody historically gendered roles; and “Kelly and the Professor,” when Professor Lasky ultimately encourages the young co-ed’s crush. Collectively, these episodes depict varying teacher-student relationships from junior high through post-secondary, and despite the show’s trademark campiness, they illustrate the sorts of genuine dilemmas real educators face, albeit neatly resolved in thirty minutes or less.

Class is in Session

Why Now Is the Time for a Marxist Approach to the Canon

Series:

Elizabeth Currin, Stephanie Schroeder and Todd Mccardle