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 (April/May/June)

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

    04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
    04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
    04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
    05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
    05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
    05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
    05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
    06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
    06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
    06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, July 26

    The Goldbergs - "Jedi Master Adam Skywalker" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    As the school year comes to a close, Barry and Erica wonder what they’ll be voted for in the yearbook and pressure Adam – who’s on staff – to see the rough layout before it goes to print. But when they accidentally delete it, mass panic ensues and messes up Adam’s relationship with Jackie. Meanwhile, Murray is annoyed when Marvin comes to visit for money, but Beverly convinces him to help Marvin out with a plan, because he’s family.

    Speechless - "T-H-- THE C-L-- CLUB" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    JJ gets into an argument with Kenneth over their time together while Dylan decides she must “parent-trap” them both so they can get back together. Meanwhile, the family gets a chance to be members of a country club for a week. Ray sees it as a chance to live the high life while Maya jumps at the chance to spend mother-and-son time.

    Modern Family - "Grab It" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Jay’s favorite place in the world, and only refuge, may be losing some of its charm when Phil considers becoming a member. At the Dunphy house, Claire mistakes her influence on Alex’s life choices, and Hayley cares too much about what Alex thinks about hers. Meanwhile, when Cam doesn’t give Mitchell the full story on what his play is really about, it really puts Mitchell in the spotlight.

    American Housewife - "Other People's Marriages" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Katie encourages Viv (Leslie Bibb) to stand up to her boorish husband, Alan, but things backfire when Viv succeeds and decides to leave him – and move in with the Ottos.

    Modern Family - "Snow Ball" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Manny and Luke put on the school’s lavish winter dance and end up over their heads due to a texting error, it is up to them to fix it before the end of the night. Meanwhile, Gloria, Claire, Mitchell and Cam all volunteer at the dance while Jay’s thinly veiled guise to get out of it by pretending to want to spend time with Phil backfires. During the dance, Claire and Gloria attempt to set up Marjorie (“Saturday Night Live”’s Vanessa Bayer), an overbearing mom, with the school’s principal. Finally, Mitchell is unnerved to be back in high school and is shocked to see a lot of himself in the school bully and feels he needs a little guidance.

    The Goldbergs - "Crazy Calls" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    After getting their first-ever answering machines, Murray and Pop-Pop wage a message war on one another. Fed up, Erica, Barry and Pops try to stop the fighting by offering a trip to a hockey game as an olive branch. Meanwhile, Adam finally finds a lunch-time home with some lovable geeks in the computer room, but Beverly worries about his social standing and intervenes.

    The Carmichael Show - "Maxine's Sister" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    When Maxine (Amber Stevens West) brings her sister (guest star Aurora Perrineau) to meet the Carmichaels, Bobby (Lil Rel Howery) reveals that they've previously met under unexpected circumstances forcing an exploration on judgment, hypocrisy and what it means to be family.

    The Carmichael Show - "The Blues" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Maxine (Amber Stevens West) finds Cynthia (Loretta Devine) in the kitchen crying, she uncovers an uncomfortable possibility that is hard for the whole family to face: Cynthia may be suffering from depression and in need of therapy.

    Nightcap - "The Show Might Go On, Part 1" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Jimmy's girlfriend, Christie Brinkley, urges him to quit the show; saving her voice for a speaking engagement, TV personality Bethenny Frankel makes Penny do her dirty work; actor David Hasselhoff tells embarrassing stories about his nephew, Marcus.

    Younger - "The Gift of The Maggie" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Liza hunts for a new romance author, bringing her closer to Charles. Maggie slashes an art competitor.

    Odd Mom Out - " M.F.A. in B.S." (Bravo, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Jill struggles to make the right impression at her art show; New York Times best-selling author Derek Blasberg pays a visit to Brooke and Devon at Von Weber headquarters, but things do not go as planned; Lex gets advice from a stranger.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 24)

    Wednesday, July 26

    • Sutton Foster (Younger) - Watch Sutton on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She also chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Sanaa Lathan (The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Reid Scott (Veep/My Boys) - Reid appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Steve is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) - Baron appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Alice Wetterlund (People of Earth/Silicon Valley) - Alice is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared) - Charlie appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Kristen Schaal (The Last Man on Earth/Bob's Burgers) - Kristen is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. discusses his upcoming film The Emoji Movie on People Now at 8:30am.
    • Jade Pettyjohn (School of Rock) - Jade appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Cheers) - Kelsey talks about The Last Tycoon on the AOL Build Show at 10:30am.