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Givens played Darlene in the original run of the series from 1986 to 1991.
Head of the Class fans, rejoice! Robin Givens is set to return as Darlene in the ABC sitcom’s highly anticipated reboot on HBO Max.
Originally running from 1986 to 1991, Head of the Class was a multi-camera sitcom which featured Givens’ character Darlene as a member of the Individualized Honors Program. The new iteration of the series “centers on a group of overachieving high school students who meet their greatest challenge — a teacher, Alicia Gomez (Isabella Gomez, One Day at a Time), who wants them to focus less on grades and more on experiencing life,” per Entertainment Weekly. This time around, Darlene will be mother to a son who is also in the Individualized Honors Program.
HBO Max released an exclusive teaser clip of Givens return as Darlene. In the scene, Darlene gives her son some tough love with a side of helpful advice. She tells him, “I expect your primary focus to be on school and swimming,” before giving him some hints on how to woo his crush.
Givens opened up to Entertainment Weekly about returning to this character and spoke in general about the reboot of this beloved series. “It’s really cool. It’s so funny because you think reboots, and you immediately think, ‘Oh no!’ with certain things. ‘Just leave it!'” she said. “And then there was something about this when I was asked to do it, it just warmed my heart. It made me so happy. I thought it was so sweet.”
Fans worried that Darlene may have changed dramatically in this iteration should have no fear. “She’s still Darlene Merriman, but her last name has changed,” Givens told Entertainment Weekly. The series’ official description describes Darlene as, “an ambitious lawyer with a degree from Stanford. She wants what is best for her son and is hyper-focused on setting him up for success. Darlene might need a reminder of the positive impact an out-of-the-box teacher can have, but she’s fighting for the good of all students at Meadows Creek High as co-head of the Parents’ Association.”
“She’s become a lawyer, she’s a single mom and very close to her son and very much a mama bear,” she said. “She’s Darlene Merriman, all grown up. She’s a perfectionist and sticking to her son like glue and trying to be the best mom she could possibly be but doesn’t understand she probably should get out of the way a little bit to let him do some growing up.”
Head of the Class premieres Thursday, Nov. 4 on HBO Max.
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