Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CBS Midseason Pilot Review: Bad Teacher - Premieres Thursday, April 24; Rookie Blue Coming to ION Television in Fall 2014

Surviving Jack

Bad Teacher - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Bad Teacher is a comedy based on a 2011 film of the same name that revolves around a former trophy wife who becomes a teacher in the hopes of meeting another wealthy man. Written and created by Hillary Winston (Community, Happy Endings), the show will center around Meredith Davis as she attempts to become somewhat of a better person - with a little help from her friends.

Cast Details:

Ari Graynor as Meredith Davis
Kristin Davis as Ginny Taylor-Clapp
David Alan Grier as Carl Gaines
Sara Gilbert as Irene
Ryan Hansen as Joel

Ari Graynor (Meredith Davis) is known for her roles in TV series such as The Sopranos and Fringe, in stage productions such as Brooklyn Boy and The Little Dog Laughed, and in films such as Whip It and For a Good Call...

Kristin Davis (Ginny Taylor-Clapp) first rose to prominence and achieved fame for playing the role of Brooke Armstrong on Melrose Place and went on to achieve greater success as Charlotte York Goldenblatt on HBO's Sex and the City.

David Alan Grier (Carl Gaines) is an American actor and comedian known for his work on the sketch comedy television show In Living Color.

Sara Gilbert (Irene) is best known for her long-running role as Darlene Connor on Roseanne. She has also recently become a notable television talk show personality, being featured for several years of the hit daytime talk show The Talk.

Ryan Hansen (Joel) known for having portrayed Dick Casablancas on Veronica Mars and Nolan in Friday the 13th. He also played Kyle Bradway on Party Down. In 2012 he appeared as a recurring character on 2 Broke Girls. Hansen also has a recurring role on the web series Burning Love.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Thursday, April 24 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

Former trophy wife Meredith Davis seeks a return to a life of leisure and luxury by posing as a teacher at an upscale elementary school to meet the students' rich, single fathers and land one to marry. However, her plan hits a major snag and she faces exposure when her unconventional - and mostly unsuitable - teaching methods raise the suspicions of a fellow faculty member.

Analysis:

Going into the Bad Teacher pilot, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I wasn't a big fan of the film, but I am a big fan of creator Hillary Winston, who has turned in plenty of scripts I love on Community and Happy Endings. I also was interested to see Sara Gilbert and Ryan Hanson in starring roles. Still, the premise of Bad Teacher - both the film and the television show - is fairly rudimentary, and I wasn't sure if even some of these strong comic names could turn it into a show I would actually be interested in watching. So did they? Well, there's some issues with Bad Teacher, but it's better than the premise suggests it has any right to be.

The natural comparison for Bad Teacher is ABC's Trophy Wife, which has been one of the better freshman sitcoms on network television this season (though it has been struggling to gain traction in ratings). Both shows have a similar premise, and both shows manage to rise above that premise to create something a bit more interesting. Still, the two shows have plenty of clear differences. Despite its tacky title, Trophy Wife is a show with a lot of heart - one that's purpose is to take a warm look at non-traditional families. Bad Teacher, on the other hand, is sharp and satirical. It completely accepts the superficiality of its lead character (played well by Ari Graynor) to the point where she often skirts on being a bit too unlikable. Moments where she uses an apple as a bong, for instance, are just a bit too much. And, of course, this is a network television sitcom, so of course Meredith has to learn a lesson by the end of the episode, which feels a little too easy for a character that seems to be pretty deplorable for most of the episodes' running time. Still, what makes Bad Teacher work is the simple fact that it's funny. Winston brings the fast-paced attention to detail that she learned on Community and Happy Endings to her pilot script, which manages to elevate the material to a level where you can ignore some of the more generic plot developments. It's why this pilot honestly works a lot better for me than the film did, even if they have fairly identical premises. What I wonder if how this show will sit with the CBS Thursday night audience. It seems like a show far more suited to be paired with New Girl on Fox or to air as part of NBC's Thursday night line-up then a show that airs on the same night as The Big Bang Theory. If The Crazy Ones was a bit too much for CBS viewers, I'm not sure Bad Teacher will cleanse their palate. Still, I hope it is. Bad Teacher is far from perfect, but it's a charming, funny pilot with plenty of room to grow.

Conclusion:

Despite its hokey premise and generic plot developments, Bad Teacher is funnier than it has any right to be, thanks to a solid script from single-camera veteran Hillary Winston. Given some time to better craft its lead character and experiment a bit more with its plot structure, Bad Teacher could very well be a show to look out for.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Bad Teacher Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Rookie Blue

    ION Television announced its latest acquisition, adding the hit police drama series Rookie Blue from the Disney-ABC Television Group to its robust general entertainment lineup in Fall 2014. Coming off a highly successful fourth season on ABC, Rookie Blue averaged 2.4 million Adults 25-54 and nearly 7.0 million Total Viewers, growing its overall audience 13% from season 3 (National, Live + 7 Day Program Ratings). Ranking as the #3-rated summertime broadcast drama in 2013 in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54, Rookie Blue was also the highest-rated summertime drama on Thursday nights in the key Adult demo in each of its four seasons. The Rookie Blue announcement comes on the heels of a number of key programming announcements for ION Television, including the acquisition of Blue Bloods and the co-production deal for the original series The Listener. It also joins ION’s portfolio of acclaimed series, including viewer favorites Criminal Minds, Cold Case and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, as well as off-cable dramas, Burn Notice, Psych and Leverage.

    Premiering its fifth season on ABC this June, Rookie Blue gives viewers a candid look at the personal and professional lives of five rookie cops from the 15 Division. After graduating from the academy, they must learn to deal with their duties as law enforcement officers while juggling the everyday problems and expectations of their family, friends and coworkers. As they work to prevent crime and solve cases, these first responders quickly learn that their training only prepares them so much for life as a rookie. Rookie Blue stars Missy Peregrym as Andy McNally, Gregory Smith as Dov Epstein, Ben Bass as Sam Swarek, Travis Milne as Chris Diaz, Enuka Okuma as Traci Nash, Charlotte Sullivan as Gail Peck, Peter Mooney as Nick Collins, Priscilla Faia as Chloe Price, Matt Gordon as Oliver Shaw, Rachael Ancheril as Marlo Cruz, Melanie Nicholls-King as Noelle Williams, Adam MacDonald as Steve Peck and Aliyah O'Brien as Holly Stewart. Joining the series in season five are Oliver Becker as Inspector John Jarvis and Matthew Owen Murray as Duncan Moore.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, May 25

    Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Kerry Washington joins “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” the live sitcom special coming from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and television icon Norman Lear. Washington is set to play Helen Willis in the special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. This historic event will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy® Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows and produced by Sony Pictures Television.

    Previously announced stars include Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson), Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson), Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Justina Machado (Florence Johnston), Ike Barinholtz (Meathead), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Amber Stevens West (Jenny Willis Jefferson), Jovan Adepo (Lionel Jefferson), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley) and Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell).

    All About "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    After the star-studded live sitcom special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” “Nightline” will take a special look at the cultural and historical significance of the two iconic series. Participants in the live sitcom special along with modern-day comedians, television stars and journalists reminisce about each show’s groundbreaking impact and legacy.“Nightline” Presents “All About ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” airs WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (9:31–10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.

    The prime-time special features interviews with “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” creator Norman Lear; host and executive producer Jimmy Kimmel and stars Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Jackée Harry, Ellie Kemper and Kerry Washington; comedians and actors Raven-Symoné, David Alan Grier, Lil’ Rel and John Amos; original “The Jeffersons” cast member Marla Gibbs; and journalists Deborah Roberts, Chris Connelly, Marc Lamont Hill and Joe Levy.

    Game Shakers - "Bug Tussle" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    After Dub goes to Vegas and leaves Trip behind, the Game Shakers take Trip to Dub's awesome apartment to show him a good time.

    Game Shakers - "Why Tonya" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The Game Shakers are approached by a fan who demands that they make changes to one of their games.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 20)

    Friday, May 24

    • Dana Carvey (One of the Boys) - Watch Dana on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He talks about The Secret Life of Pets 2 on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • The Cast of The Big Bang Theory - Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch are guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Kathryn Newton (Gary Unmarried) - Kathryn is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Adam Scott - Adam appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - John and his daughter Ella Bleu are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Logan Browning (Dear White People/Meet the Browns) - Logan stops by The Real, so check your local listings. She will also be on the BUILD Series at 5:30pm
    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about Broadway's Network on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jackée Harry (Tyler Perry's The Paynes/The First Family/Sister, Sister/227) - Jackée talks about Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm and on People Now at 12pm.
    • Justin Long (F Is for Family/Ed) - Justin talks about Life is Short with Justin Long on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • Beanie Feldstein (What We Do in the Shadows) and Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) - Beanie and Kaitlyn talk about Booksmart on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell) - Tiffani is in the kitchen on Pickler & Ben, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

    Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons

    03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
    03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
    03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
    04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
    04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
    04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
    05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
    05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
    05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
    05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
    05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons
    05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    05/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Late Night Tops Ratings for the Season; FXX Announces Archer After Hours
    05/24 - Fri-Yay: Live in Front of a Studio Audience Recap; Mario Lopez Produced Sitcom Coming to Netflix
    05/23 - Orange Is the New Black Returns for Final Season in July; Lifetime Gets More Book to Screen Movies This Summer
    05/22 - Los Espookys Premieres June 14 on HBO; NBC's 5th Annual Red Nose Day Special Brings Out the Stars
    05/21 - Nightline Primetime Special Profiles All in the Family & The Jeffersons; Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Premieres June 10 on Nick
    05/20 - Comedy Central Heads to the South Side This July; Catch the Big Bang Finale Again Tonight
    05/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 20, 2019)
    05/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Broadcast Network Fall Lineup at a Glance; Rick & Morty Returns in November
    05/17 - Fri-Yay: Big Bang Ends With No Hype?; ABC to Air Farrah Fawcett Documentary
    05/16 - The CW Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Notes from TBS and TNT Upfront
    05/15 - CBS Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Remembering Doris Day and Tim Conway
    05/14 - ABC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Disney Channel Sets Premiere Dates for Raven's Home and Bunk'd
    05/13 - Fox Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Antenna TV's Father Knows Best Father's Day Marathon
    05/12 - NBC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 13, 2019)
    05/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Sitcom Cancellations Ahead of Upfronts; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Returning for Interactive Special
    05/10 - Fri-Yay: Upfronts 2019: Questions for Sitcoms; getTV Celebrates All in the Family Ahead of ABC Live Special
    05/09 - More Pre-Upfront Pick Ups from NBC, ABC and The CW; Fox Schedules BH90210
    05/08 - NBC Picks Up 2 Series Before Upfront; FX Gets 2nd Season of What We Do in the Shadows
    05/07 - AXS TV's The Very VERY Best of the 70s; Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to NBC with More Celebs
    05/06 - Kevin Hart Bounce Series Debuts Tonight; Set Sail with Kimmy Schmidt
    05/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 6, 2019)
    05/04 - Pluto TV Adds Special Versions of Popular Viacom Channels; Perfect Strangers to Finish on DVD
    05/03 - Fri-Yay: Ramy Gets 2nd Season on Hulu; ABC Orders black-ish and Spinoff mixed-ish for 2019-20
    05/02 - Hulu 2019 Upfront; Suits and Spinoff to Air Back-to-Back
    05/01 - Fox Gets Unique Fred Savage Series; BH90210 Gets Shannen Doherty for Revival
    04/30 - CBS Announces Big Bang Special on Finale Night; Showtime Gets 2nd Season of Black Monday with Don Cheadle
    04/29 - Disney Channel's Just Roll With It Premieres in June; Alyssa Milano Launches Podcast
    04/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 29, 2019)
    04/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Santa Clarita Diet and Wrecked Both Cancelled; Remembering Dallas Actor Ken Kercheval
    04/26 - Fri-Yay: Status of Sitcoms on Disney+; Gabriel Iglesias Sitcom Launches June 21 on Netflix
    04/25 - Lifetime's Book to Screen Titles in June; The CW Renews Four More for 2019-20