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 (June/July/August)

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    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 14)

    Thursday, August 17

    • Jay Ellis (Insecure/The Game) - Catch Jay on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
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