12 Saddest Principals

Who knew spending your life in high school could be so depressing?
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Who knew spending your life in high school could be so depressing?
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Who knew spending your life in high school could be so depressing?

If you’re watching a movie or TV show about high school, chances are the principal will be an angry, mean guy who hates fun and smiling. But as we get older, it’s clear that these on-screen ‘pals aren’t assholes. They’re just sad. Now we feel bad for them.

Principal Ed Rooney, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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Photo: Paramount / Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

It sure is funny when he dedicates an entire day to proving a student is a liar.

Sad Because: He can’t catch a break. Sure, he’s a jerk, but the guy is so desperate for a “win” that he’s willing to use extreme measures. He’s not having a bad day. He’s having a bad life. No one deserves to be treated like this, and the worst part is: He’s right! Ferris is a lying prick!

Principal Seymour Skinner, The Simpsons

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Photo: FOX | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Bart’s nemesis is the laughing stock of the entire school district.

Sad Because: He was once a noble army veteran forced into the life of a principal. It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

Principal Victoria, South Park

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Photo Courtesy of Comedy Central | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

She’s not mean, but has yet to tap her true potential as a character.

Sad Because: There’s not much else to do in South Park besides work at the school. In another life, she might have been a world-famous author or architect. Sadder still, until we wrote this list, we didn’t even know her name. (We thought she was Kyle’s mom.)

Principal Richard Belding, Saved by the Bell

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Photo: Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

His heart is in the right place, but....

Sad Because: He only cares about six of his students. No one else is on his radar. Not only is he oddly involved in the lives of those precious six kids, but he seems to consider himself the seventh member of Team Zack. That's just icky.

Principal Richard Vernon, The Breakfast Club

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Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

You mess with the bull, you get the horns!

Sad Because: He thinks nothing of wasting his weekend spying on troubled students. This guy needs to live a little. And just as with Principal Rooney above, Vernon is right. These kids should be watched. They do need help. They deserve detention. And without him, these kids wouldn't have broken the walls of stereotypes. He deserves a statue!

Principal Arthur Himbry, Scream

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Photo Courtesy of Dimension Films | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

He’s actually a pretty cool principal.

Sad Because: He dies. (Spoiler alert.) And it’s not much fun to imagine The Fonz ending up as a principal. (For those who don’t know, “The Fonz” was Kermit’s best friend and often ended his jokes with “Wacka-wacka!”)

Principal McVicker, Beavis and Butthead

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Photo Courtesy of MTV | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

He's equal parts nervous and furious, an emotion we call, "Nervious."

Sad Because: Beavis and Butthead aren’t much of a threat. They skip school and aren’t very bright, but that’s about it. Caring about these two is like being angry about drizzle.

Principal Figgins, Glee

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Photo: Mike Yarish / FOX | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

He’s perhaps the busiest principal on the list, but that doesn’t mean he’s the happiest.

Sad Because: He’s on Glee and has to put up with Glee fans. Also, he's one of the few principals on this list that deals with real principal problems like school budgets.



Principal Strickland, Back to the Future

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Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Actor James Tolkan was born to play a principal (or a Top Gun instructor). When not berating a member of the McFly family, Strickland probably enjoys hunting, fishing and yelling at cashiers.

Sad Because: In his world, he is Batman and Marty is the Joker. But to everyone else, he is just a principal and Marty is a time-traveling, rock-n-roll hotshot. It’s not a fair fight.

Dr. Nelson Guggenheim, Rushmore

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Photo: Buena Vista Pictures / Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

He’s so angry. So very, very angry.

Sad Because: Why is he so angry? Max is obviously a creative genius. A great educator would be able to identify Max’s gift and harness that power for the good of the entire school.

Principal Duvall, Mean Girls

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Photo: Paramount / Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Tim Meadows plays a nice and understanding principal who is doing the best he can.

Sad Because: No one remembers him. There are too many other, better characters in this movie. Every time you watch it, you say, “Oh yeah. Tim Meadows is in this. Neat.” Also, during the big finale, when all the girls are meeting in the gym, where the hell are the guys? Isn’t anyone worried about the guys? Are they all in the parking lot talking about trucks and sports?

Principal George Feeney, Boy Meets World

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Photo: Touchstone Television / Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Though he didn’t start out as principal, he later earned that position because the writers didn’t know how else to keep the character around.

Sad Because: He’s Cory’s neighbor, mentor, enemy, second father, teacher, principal, talking car, friend and guru. He couldn’t be more involved with Cory’s life unless they shared a kidney. (Idea for a reunion special?)