Monday, April 28, 2014

Pilot Review: Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher (CBS)
Premiered April 25 at 9:30pm

I was not a fan of the movie “Bad Teacher” starring Cameron Diaz and released theatrically in 2011. Not liking the source material doesn’t recommend a remake, though it is possible that the new version might be enabled to be better. I don’t think that’s the case with CBS’ latest foray into the sitcom universe. Ari Graynor, who I think I remember only from “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” even though I’m sure I’ve seen her in other things, takes on the role of the blond, bitchy teacher who is only teaching due to ulterior motives, namely scoring a rich new husband to help pay off the debt she has incurred after netting a divorce from a man with whom she had signed a prenup. If the movie exaggerated things, this show does even more, giving Graynor’s Meredith Davis absolutely no redeeming qualities, and she’s pretty obnoxious to boot. In the nerdy, spineless part played in the film by Phyllis Smith is Sara Gilbert, whose history on a number of shows including “24” and “Roseanne” recommends much better roles for her, and the same is true for Kristin Davis of “Sex and the City,” who here plays a helicopter faculty president who is out for blood when it comes to Meredith. Ryan Hansen, who TV fans will recognize from “Party Down,” is a hybrid of the Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake roles, neither of which were particularly memorable in the movie. Taking this as its own show, it’s an even more overbearing type of played-out joke than “Trophy Wife,”good for maybe a few potshots but nothing more. It’s utterly irritating.

How will it work as a series? The suspension of disbelief is going to have to be high if Meredith is going to be able to maintain her job for more than a few minutes. Each episode should involve her doing something horrible only to realize that there is a way for her to actually be a good person if she tries being even just a little less selfish. Sounds very formulaic and unappealing to me.
How long will it last? Its ratings weren’t all that much to write home about, and while they were still decent, CBS holds all its shows to a much higher standard, and therefore I think this one might be allowed to air its thirteen episodes but is likely to be cancelled right after that.

Pilot grade: F

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