One evening in the summer of 2000 when I was working as a chaplain intern at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, I walked into one of those family waiting rooms outside of the patient unit. The television was turned on to a new reality TV show called “Survivor.” I watched for about ten minutes and then promised myself that I would no longer watch reality television. Ever. Again.
So, it’s been over a decade and reality TV has taken us from people trying to survive on a deserted island to families with too many kids and too many problems. From celebrities in need of rehab and dance lessons to Italians in New Jersey. I still don’t watch any of that. Some would say it’s my loss for not watching “The Bachelor” or “American Idol,” but I think it’s a wise move.
But then I heard that Tony Danza was coming back to TV. This time he wouldn’t be a housekeeper, but a public high school teacher. And I thought to myself, “This is not going to go very well.” I had to tune in (or at least set my DVR since I’m a little busy as a rabbi on Friday evenings!).
If you haven’t seen A&E’s “Teach: Tony Danza,” I recommend you don’t. The former “Who’s The Boss” and “Taxi” star is teaching 10th grade English for this new reality show. When I watched a little bit of the show, I immediately thought about all the other actors who would be better teachers than Tony Danza. In fact, since this is a Jewish celebrity blog, I came up with a list of Jewish actors who already have teaching experience on TV or the big screen.
Here’s my list:
Richard Dreyfuss (“Mr. Holland’s Opus”)
Ben Stein (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”)
Bridgette Wilson (Veronica Vaughn in “Billy Madison”)
*She’s not Jewish, but her husband, Tennis player Pete Sampras, has a Jewish paternal grandmother
Jeremy Piven (“Old School”)
Harry Shearer (Voice of Seymour Skinner on “The Simpsons”)
Gabe Kaplan (“Welcome Back Kotter”)
Honorable Mentions (They’re not Jewish):
- Paul Gleason (“Breakfast Club”)
- Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding in “Saved By the Bell”)
- Robin Williams (“Dead Poet Society”)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger ( “Kindergarten Cop”)
- Tina Fey (“Mean Girls”)
The bottom line is: Anyone but Tony Danza!