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August 30, 2015

Short-Lived Shows: Herman's Head

by Adam Finley, posted May 23rd 2006 2:09PM

herman's headThe Simpsons will occasionally reference some obscure television show like The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo and Herman's Head. The latter is special to The Simpsons, however, because it featured two of the voice actors from the series, Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson) and Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum, Apu, and countless others).

The show, which ran for three seasons on FOX in the early nineties, centered on Herman Brooks, played by William Ragsdale, fresh from his role in Mannequin 2: On the Move. Oh yes, everyone said no one could top the first Mannequin, that no one could embodied the lead like Andrew McCarthy, but he proved them wrong. Who's laughing now, huh? Actually, I never saw that movie. Anyway, Herman was an aspiring writer who worked as a fact checker for a magazine. Inside his head lived four beings who each represented a different part of his psyche: lust, fear; sensitivity (played by a woman, natch), and intellect. Smith played a secretary at Herman's office, while Azaria played his womanizing best friend. It was a rather cheesy premise, and the show, save for the odd premise, didn't venture too far from normal sitcom stuff. Still, it had a fun, kooky feel to it. And really, if it weren't for occasional reruns of The Simpsons tossing the show back into the public consciousness now and again, it would probably have been long forgotten.

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The basic plotline of "Herman's Head" was clearly based on (you could even say ripped off from) Jay McInerney's best-selling novel "Bright Lights, Big City." Like the main character in that book, Herman was a fact-checker at an urban magazine who wanted to do more with his life; and he was often sidetracked by his hard-partying, club-hopping friend (who, in case you didn't get the reference, was named "Jay"). But given that the book pretty much defined '80s culture, it was an ambitious reference for a sitcom.

May 27 2006 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So, where's the DVD package for Herman's Head? I'd love to see that in a box set with Flying Blind, another really funny show that Fox killed with a poor time slot and no promotion.

May 23 2006 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow! I lived right down the street from a Quiznos when I was growing up! (Just kidding.)

According to IMDB, there was a porno called "Herman's Bed" -- so you know the show must have been at least something of a success for Fox.

I remember it...well maybe not "fondly" and maybe not "well," but I know that I watched it when it was on. There ought to be "Not Really Brilliant But Y'know It Was On Once, We Think, But Cancelled" for shows like this.

May 23 2006 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nother bit of trivia. The actor who played Lust was the voice of Baby Bob from the Quiznos commercials.

May 23 2006 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Funny show. Bill Ragsdale (Herman) lived right down the street from me when I was growing up. I still see him from time to time when he's in town to visit family.

May 23 2006 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is how i learned what a lesbian was. I was 6 years old and it was the episode where Herman's ex girlfriend pays him a visit and reveals she's a lesbian. Chaos ensues as he contemplates whether he made her a lesbian and so on and so forth. During one of the commercial breaks i remember running to my parent's room and asking, "Mommy whats a lesbian?"

I still remember the priceless look on her face.

May 23 2006 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris McMahon

Azaria's character also brought us "Brrrrrisss-ki" (to be said whilst face buried between a woman's breasts)

May 23 2006 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved that show... especially since the actors popped up all over. Like Smith in Billy Jean, or the lust dude in Down Periscope - actually, it would probably make a great nexus for the Kevin Bacon game, considering that I don't think ANY of them have started opposite him. Was very entertaining... and should be on DVD soon, no? :)

May 23 2006 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Hoffpauir

Omg yes! Hermans Head used to be my favorite show. Loved the interaction of the people in his head especially the fat guy who I knows done other stuff too. Also Flying Blind with ugh cant think of his name John Cryer? from 2 and 1/2 men was on it and that was a good show too. But the true crime of fox was getting rid of Andy Richters show. I love The Office and it reminds me a lot of it. I hope his new show is even half as good. But getting back to HH I would so buy the DVD set if they came out with one. When was it on like early 90s?

May 23 2006 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wasn't Yeardley Smith a cast member of that Herman's Head??
The Voice of, I believe, Lisa Simpson.

May 23 2006 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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