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.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

    09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
    09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
    09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
    09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
    09/20 - Veep - Season 5
    09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, October 1

    The Good Place - "Pilot" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Thanks to some kind of error, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), an ordinary woman, enters the afterlife and is sent to the Good Place -- which is definitely not where she belongs. While hiding in plain sight from Michael (Ted Danson), the wise architect of the Good Place who is unaware that he's made a mistake, she's determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome person within. Helping Eleanor navigate her new surroundings are Chidi (William Jackson Harper), her kind, open-hearted "soulmate" who sees the good in people but finds himself facing quite a dilemma; her frustratingly perfect new neighbors, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu (Manny Jacinto); and Janet (D'Arcy Carden), a walking, talking source for all the knowledge in the universe.

    The Good Place - "Flying" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tries to prove to Chidi (William Jackson Harper) that she is worthy of his help. Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu (Manny Jacinto) try to help Michael (Ted Danson) feel better about the unknown flaw in his Neighborhood.

    The Good Place - "Tahani Al Jamil" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Chidi (William Jackson Harper) begins formally teaching Eleanor (Kristen Bell) about ethics, and lesson No. 1 is: be kind to your neighbor. Michael (Ted Danson) and Janet (D'Arcy Carden) help Chidi find a new, exciting hobby.

    The Good Place - "Jason Mendoza" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Eleanor (Kristen Bell) faces her toughest test yet in her attempt to remain in hiding. Meanwhile, Michael (Ted Danson) enlists Tahani (Jameela Jamil) to help a fellow neighbor fulfill her true purpose.

    Henry Danger - "Scream Machine" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Charlotte's invention for The Gizmo Show is accidentally destroyed and then rebuilt, Charlotte worries that the attention she gets could expose Kid Danger and Captain Man's secret identity.

    Game Shakers - "The Very Old Finger" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The Game Shakers visit a mummy exhibit to get ideas for a new game they're working on. Hudson accidentally snaps off one of its fingers. Babe leads a quest to glue it back on without getting caught.

    School of Rock - "With or Without You" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Lawrence tries to prove his value to the group by taking over the production of their first recording, but his methods create a rift in the band. Guest Star: Brec Bassinger

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 3)

    Sunday, October 2

    • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Catch Mindy on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    Monday, October 3
    • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Watch Mindy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) and Brendon Small (Home Movies) - Steve and Brendon are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Champs/Hiller and Diller) - Kevin stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Kenan Thompson (Kenan & Kel) - Kenan drops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Chris Gethard (Broad City) - Chris chats about the play Career Suicide on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Abigail Spencer (Burning Love) - Abigail talks about Timeless on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 2pm. She is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
    • Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole is a guest on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
    • Rob Riggle (Golan the Insatiable) - Rob talks about Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
    • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso talks how many America's Funniest Home Videos get submitted and the funny home videos he wants to submit with his family on People Now at 8:30am.
    • Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Sara Rue (Impastor/Less Than Perfect) - Sara appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Jay Ellis (Insecure/The Game) - Jay is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.