January 12, 2016

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Teachers”


TEACHERS:  Wednesday 10:30PM on TV Land (pilot airs 11PM on January 13, also available via on-demand & streaming) – Change the Channel

In its continuing effort to cultivate a younger image, TV Land will follow Season 2 episodes of Younger with the new TEACHERS.  Both are female-oriented, but they could hardly be more different in tone and style:  Younger is as slick as any network rom-com and committed to being ingratiating, while Teachers originated as a web series written by and starring a comedy troupe known as “The Katydids” (Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien, Kathryn Renee Thomas), and although it’s been shepherded to cable by Community veteran Alison Brie, who serves as an Executive Producer and has a featured role in the pilot, and Key & Peele writer/producers Ian Roberts and Jay Martel are the showrunners, it still has the raw feel of something shot during a comedy club improv night on somebody’s phone.

Teachers, at least in its pilot, really has just one joke, and despite all the female talent behind and in front of the camera, it’s not a fresh one.  All the characters are miserable over their looks and/or the lack of men in their lives, and as a result, they’re relentlessly inappropriate in front of their grade-school level students.  The pilot points this theme in the direction of a district-mandated effort to combat bullying, and naturally the women are themselves bullies and/or still suffering the effects of having been bullied.  (Brie plays the high-school tormentor of one of the teachers, just as perky and mean as she’d been as a teen.)  There’s no attempt to suggest any believable level of reality (one of the teachers is just fine with the fact that the acronym for her anti-bullying group is “STAB”), but neither does Teachers attempt the surrealism of a show like Community.  It’s just grim and repetitive (Richie Keen directed the pilot and didn’t find much comic rhythm), without even the occasional moments of grace that cringe comedy Getting On (also a marvel of Hollywood expertise compared to this) gave its protagonists.

Getting On had its niche of fans, and perhaps some will admire Teachers as well, but there’s little in the pilot to suggest that the show has any interest in widening its world.  The opening half-hour appears to teach its lesson all too well.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."