With the possible exception of Professor X, most pop culture principals are depicted as perpetually single or eternally divorced bureaucrats who bumble through their days so full of misplaced good nature that students can practically turn cartwheels on their backs without them noticing. Perhaps no principal was more burdened by trying to be more of a “princi-pal” than a “princi-disciplinarian” than Saved By The Bell’s Richard Belding, who spent most of the show’s initial run trying to corral that crazy Zack Morris.
Flash forward to 2020 and the Saved By The Bell reboot. This time around, Bayside’s bumbler is Principal Ronald Toddman, played ably by beloved cinematic weirdo John Michael Higgins. He’s going through a divorce, living in his office, and misplaces something so valuable that it almost pushes the school into a cross-cultural riot, but he’s also sensitive and caring. The A.V. Club talked to Higgins about why pop culture principals are always depicted as such simpletons, and how much he knows about the actual day-to-day business of school administration.