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

    Thursday, August 5

    grown-ish - "A Boy Is a Gun" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    After an unarmed Black man is shot by police, the crew reacts in different ways to the news; Kiela and Doug butt heads when she wants to use his party to raise awareness.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 2)

    Thursday, August 5

    • Nick Kroll (Big Mouth/The League/Cavemen) - Nick guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Seth Rogen (Undeclared) - Seth appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Mindy is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Max Greenfield (The Neighborhood/New Girl/Modern Men) - Max appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Kristin Chenoweth (Schmigadoon!/Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting/Central Park/black-ish) - Daveed talks about his new series Blindspotting on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Niecy Nash (Getting On/The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Jane Levy (Suburgatory) - Jane appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Bill Bellamy (Mr. Box Office/Men, Women & Dogs/Cousin Skeeter) - Bill will be on the PEOPLE in the '90s podcast.
    • John Stamos (Fuller House/Grandfathered/Jake in Progress/Full House/You Again?) - John talks about his new podcast The Grand Scheme where he delves into Frank Sinatra's kidnapping on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa talks about Hit & Run on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

    Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

    04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
    05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
    06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
    06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
    06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
    07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
    07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
    07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
    07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
    07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    08/04 - Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. Premieres September 8; List of a Lifetime Casts TV Stars 08/03 - Hulu Renews Love, Victor for Season 3; Archer Season 12 Premieres August 25 on FXX
    08/02 - Antenna TV Fall 2021 Schedule; Rewind TV Launch Schedule Beginning September 1
    08/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 2, 2021)
    07/31 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Remake for TBS; Schitt's Creek Producer Hoping to Replicate Success with Son of a Critch
    07/30 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest Are Promising Comedies on Apple TV+; Paramount+ Announces Cast for The Game Revival
    07/29 - Sarah Silverman Hosting David Letterman Produced TBS Series; More Stars Joining And Just Like That...
    07/28 - Game Show Network Announces New Original Series; Retta Hosting New HGTV Show
    07/27 - Fox Fall 2021 Premiere Dates; B.J. Novak's The Premise to Premiere on FX on Hulu
    07/26 - Damon Wayans Jr. to Host Frogger; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Getting All-Star Guests
    07/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 26, 2021)
    07/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Manifest Cancellation Being Reconsidered; American Housewife Sold for Broadcast Syndication
    07/23 - Fri-Yay: 2021 Emmy Nominations Heavy on New Comedies, Light on Traditional Sitcoms; That Damn Michael Che Gets a Second Season
    07/22 - Lifetime Announces Justina Machado TV Movie; ABC News to Focus on Superstars
    07/21 - HBO Max's Love Life Season 2 Announces Cast; Kevin Hart and Jason Biggs Host Back-to-Back Shows on E!
    07/20 - Peacock's Superfan Episodes of The Office; The Other Two Season 2 Launch Date on New Network HBO Max
    07/19 - Melrose Place Reunion on Fox's New Fantasy Island; Tacoma FD Returns Sept. 16 on truTV
    07/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 19, 2021)
    07/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jerry O'Connell Joins the Conversation on The Talk; Norman Lear Sitcoms Arrive on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV
    07/16 - ABC Fall 2021 Premiere Dates Includes The Wonder Years; Paramount+ Renews iCarly
    07/15 - Norman Lear Classics to Stream on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV; Cristela Alonzo to Host Hidden Temple on The CW
    07/14 - 73rd Emmy Awards Nominations; Showtime Orders Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon Comedy
    07/13 - Emmy Awards Slated for Sep. 19, CBS Fall Premiere Dates; Remembering Charlie Robinson - Mac from Night Court
    07/12 - Huge Star Joining Season 5 of Search Party on HBO Max; Late Night Talk Show Pause with Sam Jay to Return
    07/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 12, 2021)
    07/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting News for Night Court Reboot; Rutherford Falls Renewed for Second Season
    07/09 - Fri-Yay: CNN's History of the Sitcom Looks Like a Treat for Sitcom Fans; Rutherford Falls Renewed for 2nd Season; Remembering Suzzanne Douglas of The Parent 'Hood
    07/08 - COZI TV Acquires 3rd Rock from the Sun and Quincy, M.E. This Summer; The Standups to Return to Netflix After Long Hiatus
    07/07 - AnTENna TV's Birthday Party Continues on July 10; HBO Max's Our Flag Means Death Adds More to Cast
    07/06 - Netflix Cancels 4 Sitcoms Including Kevin James Series; HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars Casts Two Leads
    07/05 - Happy 4th of July; Limited Edition Younger Vinyl Soundtrack Coming July 16; Seinfeld Soundtrack Released
    07/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 5, 2021)