CBS' Bad Teacher: Did It Pass or Fail?

bad-teacher-cbs-premiere-recap-ari-graynor“Look, it gets better — just not right away, and honestly not for everybody. It’ll probably only get better for one of you.” That’s just one bit of questionable advice doled out by Meredith Davis (Ari Graynor) as she reluctantly begins mentoring a group of awkward girls in CBS’ Bad Teacher, an adaptation of Cameron Diaz’ 2011 big-screen comedy.

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And while the Bad Teacher pilot, which premiered tonight (9:30/8:30c), could’ve used even more of that brazen energy, Graynor’s tart, eye-rolling delivery kept things interesting, despite the occasional clichés and lack of fleshed-out supporting characters.

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Here’s the setup, in a nutshell: We open on Meredith finding out from her attorney that she’s walking away with nothing from her divorce to cheating yacht salesman Ray, thanks to an ironclad prenup. Heartbroken (and just plain broke) she moves into her friends’ guest house, agrees to pick up their daughter Lily (Sara Rodier) from school and discovers the place is teeming with hot, wealthy, single dads.

Copying off an Asian teacher’s résumé — one of the pilot’s laziest gags — and providing a sympathetic shoulder to recently divorced principal Carl (David Alan Grier), Meredith lands an open slot teaching social-studies, and is soon strutting down the halls in leather and leopard, hilariously flipping her hair and holding a “Career Day” that’s nothing more than a way to get intel about various dads’ tax brackets and relationship statuses. Along the way, she picks up a mousy best friend (Sarah Gilbert), a sexy flirting-sparring partner coach (Ryan Hansen) and an amusingly uptight rival (Kristin Davis, presenting at all times with barely repressed rage).

Shallow as she appears on the surface, though, it turns out that Meredith’s got a squishy center. As she prepares to blow off work for a date with a sexy doctor, she sees Lily and her two dorky pals (including Desperate Housewives‘ firecracker Madison De La Garza) getting bullied by their mean-girl tormentors. Passing up her ticket to weekend fun (and potential early retirement), Meredith leads her band of misfits back into the lunchroom and helps ’em reclaim their stolen table. “Oh, you guys, I don’t think they know how to read,” she purrs, when Lily points out a sign regarding the lack of assigned seating. “And they’re not hot enough to pull it off.”

Yeah, you can see the win coming from about three minutes into the episode, but it doesn’t mean it’s not satisfying. Oh, and speaking of satisfied, the episode closes with Meredith waking up next to that hot gym teacher. Whoops!

What did you think of the Bad Teacher pilot? Will you return for Episode 2? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. alistaircrane says:

    I liked it a lot! I will watch again.

    • Lincoln says:

      Same here. It was a lot of fun.

    • alistaircrane says:

      The actors were all good and had good chemistry. The safety patrol kids were pretty good actors. The apple bong was pretty risque for CBS standards. I liked the movie a lot, and I think I’ll enjoy the tv show too. It’s nice to see CBS do single-camera comedies for a change. Only problem: whenever Kristin Davis is on screen, I can’t help but see “Brooke” fall into the swimming pool and drown (if you were around in the 90s, you’ll get that reference).

    • MC says:

      I like this premise and the vitality of this ensemble. I tend to like shows that are set in public schools. Graynor, Davis, Gilbert and DAG are a solid core of players. Bad Teacher is slightly risque and the lead character is rough around the edges. It is not your typical CBS comedic fare. I definitely prefer it to Surviving Jack because that premise seems overly familiar and I see Chris Meloni as a dramatic actor first and foremost. Bad Teacher is a pretty good lead-in to Elementary and I hope it succeeds.

      • jbj says:

        You need to watch more TV and movies, because Meloni is a comedic genius! Watch Wet Hot American Summer — which was made around his Oz days.

        • Keith says:

          Surviving Jack is very funny and Meloni is great in it

        • MC says:

          It’s cool that he’s done other comedies, but his role on Law and Order SVU was extremely intense. It’s one of the most intense shows on tv and it’s difficult (for me at least) to put that aside and enjoy him in a comedy. I also don’t like the premise of Surviving Jack. It seems stale to me.

      • alistaircrane says:

        The problem with Surviving Jack is that Jack is a douche. I won’t watch a show about a character like that.

      • Daniel says:

        Risque for CBS? This is the network that gives us Two and a half Men and Two Broke Girls.

        • MC says:

          You’re right that CBS does have other risqué shows, but in some quarters it is pigeonholed as the conservative network for older audiences.

  2. Ann says:

    Eh, it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be. I may watch next week.

  3. PattyStamps says:

    I think Ari Graynor have is a great lead who definitely will show some redeong qualities. Ryan Hansen and Sara Gilbert also stood out. I like the non traditional format, didont seem like a CBS comedy.

  4. Bryce says:

    I haven’t watched but just scrolled down to see the poll results and glimpsed “copied off of Asian student’s homework” or something to that effect and yeah I’ll be passing on this

    • alistaircrane says:

      Well that’s stupid and ignorant on your part.

      • TV Gord says:

        Agreed. You should at least watch and decide for yourself. I thought it had potential. Hopefully, future episodes will improve on this flawed pilot.

      • Bryce says:

        I’m ignorant? Asian racism is rampant and unacceptable. It’s hard to find comedies that don’t make fun of Asians. Didn’t we learn from the trainwreck that was Dads? Even Modern Family occasionally crosses the line. Trophy Wife is the truest example of how not to ever degrade an Asian character just for being Asian is my book.

        • Jss0058 says:

          How is saying copy off of an Asian person racist?! Its actually more of a compliment saying Asain people are generally smart. Is it a stereotype? Yes. But its not a negative one. There really is no reason why anyone should take offense…you use the word degrade but if referring to someone as smart is degrading then degrade me all you want.

        • Et al. says:

          Thanks for the input Suey Park.

        • Walter says:

          It’s impossible to find comedies that don’t make fun of anything. That’s why they’re comedies. I’m so tired of p.c. whining. Please just turn off your TV and your computer.

      • Carl says:

        Well i did watch and thought it was awful all around. No redeeming qualities. Saw the movie and liked it!

  5. Ginger says:

    Ryan Hansen for the win. That’s all that matters.

  6. Tom Charles says:

    I wasn’t all that impressed honestly. It just felt shallow and vapid. it worked in the movie. It’s just like……’s like they Americanized a Britcom and failed.

    • John Jacob says:

      I don’t think I really laughed once the whole show. It wasn’t really bad, but it wasn’t really good either. It will take me 2 more episodes I think to try it out and see how it goes. All I could think of was “Oh that’s Candy Andy from 2 Broke Girls”.

      • Tom Charles says:

        Yeah, I’ll give it a second chance. I wish Eric Stonestreet was on it, I liked his character in the movie a lot more than I do Cam from the Office clone Modern Family.

      • correction says:

        “All I could think of was “Oh that’s Candy Andy from 2 Broke Girls”.” – Correction: I think you mean to say that’s Dick from Veronica Mars. Now that was a character that truly let his comedic skills shine to the hilt.

  7. Aleana says:

    I like it I’ll watch again beside it has one of my favorite actress on the show Sara Gilbert

  8. Sarah says:

    Great cast, interesting story to work worth…..and honestly, it’s not the “already a fail before it begins” How I Met Your Dad (Slap to the Future)…so I’ll watch :-)

  9. Evan says:

    I love Ari Graynor (her performance in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is one of my favorite comedic performances of the 2000s) so I automatically was interested in this project when she first became attached last year. The supporting cast with Gilbert, Davis, Grier, and Hansen made me confident. The pilot was certainly flawed, but I also didn’t think that the movie was fantastic, either. There were enough shades shown in Graynor’s character that I think she’ll move from being less likable than Diaz’s character in the movie. I hope she gets a chance to shine on this show because she deserves a lot of success. She’s got a good supporting cast behind her, especially Gilbert. I’ll keep up with this and see where it goes.

  10. Brett says:

    If they make Ari Graynor’s bad teacher character a bit more human and a bit less vapid and shallow, I can see this working. Rounding out the edges and fleshing out the characters will come naturally, of course, over the next few episodes…as long as CBS keeps it on the air.

  11. robinepowell says:

    If I remember, I’ll watch it again next week. I happen to come across it accidently. I’ll wait and see how it plays out down the road. It’s not as good as Surviving Jack’s pilot, which had me hooked from the start.

    • alistaircrane says:

      You made it through the Surviving Jack pilot? I had to turn it off because I wanted to smack Jack so badly. What a douche he is!

    • Will says:

      I binged on the first 4 episodes of Surviving Jack and find it quite charming. I think people are misunderstanding the Jack character. He’s supposed to be a hardass BUT he’s doing things in a twisted way for the love of his children – there’s a method to his madness. I never heard anyone stopped watching say.. That ’70s Show for the father Red being a terrible person to his children!

      • alistaircrane says:

        Red didn’t play as large a role in his show that Jack does. Personally, I prefer dads like Phil Dunphy and won’t tolerate ones like Jack. If Jack had been my father, I would have run away or committed suicide.

  12. Mandy says:

    Ryan Hansen for the win. I will watch that man in anything. I HATED the movie, but gave the show a chance because of Ryan and I like Ari Graynor a little. I am glad I did. It is much better than the movie ever was. I will give it another go next week and see.

  13. someyougiveaway says:

    I’m a big fan of most of these actors and the story is decent but I’ve already seen the movie. This is the same plot and I feel like I don’t need to sit through it again. But more importantly, I didn’t laugh out loud once during the entire pilot. This is supposed to be a comedy, right?

  14. Scott says:

    Every time I think American sitcoms can’t sink any lower, shows like this come along and remind me that they still can.

  15. Emgee says:

    It worked as a one-time movie. As a long-term TV show to continue week-after-week? I don’t think so.


  16. Jonathan says:

    This show was TERRIBLE. Ari Gaynor tried her best to deliver terrible dialogue. The situations and other performances were wooden. The only new show I saw that has been worse this year was Dads.

  17. greysfan says:

    Yet another below average comedy that has been taken from an old idea. The new comedies these days seems to be pretty dull and boring. There is only a handful of good ones left including Big Bang, Parks and Rec and Modern Family but the rest are pretty boring and don’t make me laugh like comedies used to. Where are all the fresh ideas? Come on networks give us something good to watch instead of recycled ideas.

  18. tara17 says:

    I thought the movie was a riot, and I also enjoyed the show last night. I’ll tune in again!

  19. Joey Padron says:

    Like first episode a lot, it was good, funny, and had some sweet moments. Will keep watching show.

  20. I watched it , liked a lot of the ideas behind the show and think that most of the casting was well done , WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ,, Ari Graynor as the lead Meredith Davis ,
    Massive mistake in regards to casting , PLUS , it looked like they put her into the same outfits normally used by Jennifer Coolidge.
    Massive misfires here on so many levels ,
    Now if it were on NBC no problem , but think this is a crash and burn on CBS

  21. NJMark says:

    This show kind of reminded me of the movie “House Bunny,” with a designated “hottie” looking after a bunch of misfits.

    But the big question about the show is… what are they going to do with Meredith it gets picked up for the fall, and eventually makes it to, say, a 4th season? Will it work if she stays “bad” the whole time?

  22. I absolutely loved this show!

  23. Dakota says:

    Omg, I guess we get what we deserve if some of you liked Bad Teacher. Sorry, but I thought it was horrid. I mean REALLY horrid. Love how clever Big Bang Theory is, but most of these shows everything is stupid and predictable

    • correction says:

      Bad Teacher gets fixed up a bit after the pilot episode. Hopefully enough. The pilot was made to be written a bit to be (lowest denominator) focus group safe.
      TBBT is actually kinda predictable itself, starting right with the totally stereotyped casting. Hit up a real grad school physics department and it’s often quite different. You’ll likely have everything from characters somewhat like the ones shown in the show to some pretty suave and athletic ones and lots who are neither quite here nor there. Many of them actually play more sports and get out and hit up the town more often than the students from many of the other graduate departments.

  24. Bonnie says:

    It wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. I will definitely DVR it next week.

  25. alexandrrina says:

    I say, any show with Ryan Hansen on the cast is awesome. :D

  26. Rjrtist says:

    Next week the ratings will be down, and then the week after that . . . It’s all about the writing. Sara Gilbert should be ashamed.

  27. Parax94 says:

    I loved that episode !
    It was a kind of fun actually. I think it’s a pretty good show.

  28. dja says:

    this is a sad program… is this all the network can deliver? No original programs available? A good cast that deserves better scripts.

  29. thisshow sucks says:

    Incredibly horrible and bordering on career ruining unfunniness.

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