The Fairviewer

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VHS Was Once Flatpoint High School for Comedy Central Viewers

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Walking into the same building every day, it’s easy to forget that the walls of Verona High School can serve a purpose other than to be a place of education for some 600 plus teenage students. The building itself has been used as a place for things like voting for elections, recreation basketball, and school events.

However, what many don’t know is that in 1999, Verona High School was used as a set to shoot scenes for the Comedy Central television show Strangers With Candy.

The show itself was meant to be a spoof of after-school specials from the 1970’s and 80’s. The main character is middle aged old woman named Jerri who dropped out of high school as a teenager. She was forced to a life of stripping and prostitution in order to support her drug habit and has been to prison many times. The show follows her around as she returns to high school, beginning as a freshman, and attempts to become popular and well liked.

The first pilot for the show was filmed at VHS, however it never aired on television. The exteriors for episodes were also done at the school, and the signboard is also used in almost every episode thereafter to display jokes or witty remarks. However, the name on the signboard is changed from Verona High School to the name of the school in the show, which is Flatpoint High School.

Aside from filming being done at the school, there is also an episode that is shot at Verona Park. In Episode 5 of Season 2 “Hit and Run”, two characters Jerri and Noblet feel guilty after Jerri hits Mr. Jellineck with her car. A re-creation of the accident is done, in an attempt to find the culprit; these scenes are filmed within the park and on Park Ave.

Other episodes were also shot in local areas, such as interiors which were filmed at Felician College Library in Rutherford and shots for another episode done at the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne. Other exteriors were shot at Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, New York, where developer and cast member, Stephen Colbert’s father, attended school.

Perhaps now when VHS students go from class to class, they’ll think of how they walked the same halls as Stephen Colbert.

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VHS Was Once Flatpoint High School for Comedy Central Viewers