TV Review: TV Land’s ‘Younger,’ Season 2, ‘Teachers’

Younger Teachers TV Review TV Land
Courtesy of TV Land

The new, somewhat improved TV Land brings back a comedy that was one of 2015’s pleasant surprises, “Younger,” and introduces another that scores high marks for audacious humor, “Teachers,” featuring improv group the Katydids. Combined, they certainly represent a step up in class for a network once most frequently associated with “Andy Griffith Show” reruns. Yet in a sign of how quickly things can change, the new show exhibits the greater promise, while Darren Star’s series, although still fun and watchable, already feels as if repetition is causing it to not age particularly well.

Actually, even an admirer of “Younger’s” first season could see trouble ahead, inasmuch as the story felt very much like the kind of romantic comedy that’s neatly resolved after 90 minutes or so. Instead, season 2 finds Liza (Sutton Foster) seeking to perpetuate her masquerade as a twentysomething assistant at a New York publisher, when she’s in fact 40 and the mother of a college-age kid.

Liza finally came out, as it were, at the end of season one to her hunky tattoo artist boyfriend, Josh (Nico Tortorella), but continues to deceive everyone at work, as well as her just-back-home-from-India daughter (Tessa Albertson), who doesn’t know (at least in the three previewed episodes) about mom’s double life of worrying about age lines, mixed with Jell-O shots. The main source of friction thus becomes Josh’s bouts of discomfort — or sometimes just Liza’s insecurities regarding them — over dating a woman whom his roommate describes as a “sexual grifter.”

Because the romantic aspect has begun to grow tedious, there’s more pressure on the workplace setting, which, fortunately, mostly delivers, without deviating much from season one. That includes the outlines of a triangle involving Liza’s prickly boss, Diana (Miriam Shor), and the company’s big cheese (Peter Hermann), who would be a more age-appropriate option for Liza, at least in her eyes, if only she could tell everyone the truth. Meanwhile, she’s still a sort of middle woman in the generational combat that takes place, with not-really-peer Kelsey (Hilary Duff) advocating in the premiere to do an edgier book aimed at millennials that Diana dismisses as “pornographic Internet nonsense.”

“Younger” remains slick and modestly sexy, but Liza’s predicament — basically a “Working Girl” ruse, with an age-discrimination riff built into it — always seemed to come with an expiration date. TV Land clearly isn’t concerned, having already ordered a third season. But in terms of maintaining its initial kick, it’s hard to see how this pleasant-enough series has a whole bunch of new chapters left in it.

“Teachers,” by contrast, yields a pretty consistent assault of laughs, thanks to the Katydids, six women whose names all happen to sound like some variation of “Kate.” Joined as teachers at Fillmore Elementary School, the characters bring their ample baggage into the workplace, from using their students to help stalk an old boyfriend to taping an audition video for “The Bachelor” on the premises.

The writing is fast, dry and filled with solid gags. Working with actress Alison Brie and the producers behind “Key & Peele” to create a baker’s dozen-sized army of executive producers, the six stars — Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien, and Kathryn Renee Thomas — simply inhabit these unhappy souls, while tossing out lines to their shell-shocked students like “I’m not going to be reading you any fairy tales, because they’re lies,” and “So I went out with a drug dealer. Jarrod S.! Make a better choice!”

See More: TV Land Promises ‘Reinvention’ in 2015 With Single-Camera Comedies

The comedy largely holds up through four previewed episodes, which include Brie guest starring as a former high-school mean girl and Rob Riggle as an especially creepy school photographer. The show also does a fine job casting the assorted kids, with Tim Bagley as the understandably stressed-out principal.

Perhaps foremost, “Teachers” takes an awfully familiar-sounding log-line and makes it feel fresh through sheer execution, thanks to the writing and wonderfully droll tone. So when a colleague says, “Good luck finding a woman who has low enough self-esteem to enable you,” the walking emotional doormat obsessed with the hot dad brightly responds, “I’ll do it!”

In addition, the show seems to have weathered an at-best spotty track record for Web series seeking to make the leap to TV. Of course, it’s still early in the school year to pass out any gold stars, but in terms of acing the midterm, the Katydids have, indeed, done it.

TV Review: TV Land's 'Younger,' Season 2, 'Teachers'

(Series; TV Land, Wed. Jan. 13, 10 p.m./11 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Darren Star Prods. and Jax Media.   /// Produced by Martel & Roberts Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Darren Star, Tony Hernandez, Dottie Dartland Zicklin, Eric Zicklin; supervising producer, Rick Singer; director, Steven Tsuchida; writer, Star; camera, John Thomas; production designer, Ray Kluga; editor, Alex Minnick; music, Chris Alan Lee; casting, Bonnie Finnegan, Steven Jacobs. 30 MIN.   /// Executive producers, Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien, Kathryn Renée Thomas, Alison Brie, Ian Roberts, Jay Martel, Matt Miller, Matt Abramson, David Brixton, Alex Fendrich; co-executive producers, Jaime Burke, Amy Kim, Jill Cargerman; producer, Keith Raskin; director, Richie Keen; writers, the Katydids; camera, John Tanzer; production designer, Elvis Strange; editor, Frank McGrath; music, Joshua Funk; casting, Sherie Jane Hernandez. 30 MIN.

Cast

Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann, Tessa Albertson   /// Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien, Kathryn Renee Thomas, Tim Bagley

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  1. George Hunt says:

    I’m enjoying both shows, even though they’re quite silly. It’s relaxing to have this type of mindless entertainment for some laughs at the end of the day. I hope both shows succeed and that they continue to cause hysteria among the American Taliban who are freaking out about the end of the world every time someone says “vagina” on television. American parents are psychologically damaged. I’m so glad I left the teaching profession — the parents made my life hell, there’s absolutely no way for any human being to do enough to please these pampered pissy prudes with their hyper-vigilant hypocritical “morality.” I raise my middle finger to every person who commented against these shows. You say that these shows are disgusting, but the true filth is in your own minds and you see evil everywhere because you’re projecting it from yourselves. Most of you are in the closet about your own sex lives, and we see this all the time when you get outed. You freak out about the way other people behave because you’re ashamed of your own thoughts and behavior. We’re all human, we’re all imperfect, and we’re all forgiven, so chill out y’all. We need shows like Teachers and Younger to drown out the sociopathic judgmental Puritanism that has plagued the US from its inception. We need to laugh at ourselves, and live peaceably others. Chill, please.

  2. Paul says:

    Both sitcoms teachers and Younger are sick and twisted new shows. I have to GUARD MY GRANDKIDS from hearing the commercials of these VULGAR shows

  3. Sur says:

    Tv land had stooped to a new low
    Teachers & Younger should be taken off the air for their FILTHY AND INNAPROPRIATE content
    I hope both shows are cancelled as the commercials are appauling

  4. Sue says:

    Teachers and younger are the most Vile shows on air at this time. I pray they don’t make it another season
    Classless, nasty and innapropriate for any age

  5. Kelly Collis says:

    TVLAND has reached a new low. Both Younger & Teachers are disgusting. But, what do you expect, that’s the way of the world now, disgusting…I don’t have to watch it, so I dont! However, I suffer through the hundreds of thousands of idiot commercials advertising both shows while watching other better quality TVLAND shows

  6. Paul says:

    LOL. These “one million” mom idiots posting on this article are hilarious. You “ladies” need to get a life.

  7. Jeanne says:

    I gotta say with all seriousness I haven’t been more disgusted by a tv show than this one! This is cheap shot perverted “humor” that doesn’t require much thought just nasty and warped, but the fact that it is done in front of and with children infuriates and sickens me!! We have all these horrible issues of sexual child abuse running rampant in this country and this is the exact kind of thing that weekens and mocks the line between protecting innocent children from overly sexualized adult behavior…can’t wait until this show runs its limited course and goes away!!!

  8. Emily Mayes says:

    Younger and Teachers are absolutely disgusting TV shows!! Taking sweet children and having them participate in adult nasty humor is appalling!!! Teaching is such a wonderful profession and this show degrades teachers!! How dare you insult TV Land with these nauseating shows!!! I would never, ever watch these shows!! The commercials are more than I can tolerate!! If it wasn’t for Andy Griffith “reruns” I would never watch TV Land again!!!! I totally agree with the other viewer! Our poor precious children!!! I just pray that God will soften your hearts and allow you to remove the blinders from your eyes so you can see what these shows are doing to future generations. Please stop ruining one of the only TV channels that Christians can watch!

  9. Mike says:

    All i can say is WoW!!!! If i could’ve foreseen what was in store for the future of our society thirty + yrs ago i would’ve been speechless! I’m now living in a country where Gay and Lesbianism is the norm. Our society has turned it’s back on religion and people are now laughing at the idea of believing in God! And now we have trash on Tv like Younger and Teachers promoting a complete total lack of morals and values and actual humor. I use to think there was hope for kids but it is very clear to me now that our society is very much turning against them. As for Tv land. I am shocked at the direction it is going. It was the only channel i could watch classic shows with my family. Now that they’re showing this new garbage i’m going to drop cable altogether! It’s pretty shocking to be watching the Andy Griffith show only to see this filthy trash advertised on every commercial.

  10. Therlo says:

    Teachers, for which I’ve only seen the commercials for (which means when I’m watching something else I’m force fed this drivel) is revolting, insulting and hard to watch. The commercials make me uncomfortable. The show doesn’t seem funny; it seems stupid at best and at worst furthers the reform agenda that teachers are idiots and students are stuck with the idiots. Its very disrespectful to teachers and students. At this point, even when the commercials air (which is always) I turn the channel. Eventually I’ll stop watching tvland altogether. I would not want my children to see even the commercials, which like I wrote, run all.day.long. Shame on the writers, and shame on tvland for airing this crap.

    • mrmotionless says:

      Every single commercial break on a tvland show the first commercial out is either younger or teachers and both shows turn my stomach. Why not put this garbage on mtv or some other channel. Leave nick at night and tvland for what it was originally. That was a place where people who wanted to watch older tv show instead of garbage could go and watch tv without all the disgusting stuff like teachers and younger. Don’t you get it tvland? Your audience is OLDER not YOUNGER.

      • mrmotionless says:

        I am so sick of hearing the word VAGINA. Every single day all day long vagina vagina vagina. So what, humans have either a penis or a vagina. Just sick of hearing that word constantly spewing out of my tv. Just now they are showing a younger commercial and the girls are looking at the computer as a guy walks in and they have the picture zoomed in on this guys penis shape in his tight shorts. Tvland I think I am just gonna shut you off for good now. You are vile and digusting. Good riddens.

  11. Barry says:

    I can’t imagine watching either. The commercials for both are painful to endure.

  12. Angela says:

    Those 2 shows do not belong on TV Land. Get rid of that trash.

  13. Kristen says:

    Totally agree on Younger. My main issue this season is that it’s trying too hard” to squeeze in every millenial stereotype and cultural phenomenon in every second of the show vs developing characters or the plot.

  14. Donald says:

    Unbelievable!!! What idiots created this??? I wouldn’t waste the many brain cells I have to watch this!!! “TRASH”!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  15. AJ says:

    As for Younger,I disagree. I see sooo many plotlines& directions this can go. I do believe Liaza& Josh may need to breakup to create more storylines but that happens often… couples break up & NEW RELATIONSHIPS FORM.

    I think the producer& Liaza may be an interesting storyline. Plenty ahead

    As for TEACHERS, so many great 1 liners that i am comcerned: will the writing hold up? So many shows have great pilots& the writing fizzles….

  16. Betty says:

    Loved Teachers!! Can’t wait to see more. Hope to see seasons 2,3, and 4!!!!! P.S. My degree is in special Education!

    • mrmotionless says:

      Oh how I weep for the children you teach, sad. This is the type of people educating our youth, no wonder they are all messed up.

  17. Janet says:

    The Teacher’s show is the worst show you have. It degrades teachers and gives kids a bad attitude and on how to treat our teachers. The kids are not respecting our teachers now and this show doesn’t help. Hopefully more people will agree and this filth will be off the air soon.

  18. Alice bennett says:

    You are not doing anyone any good with the baseless of your advertisements. Quit putting blasphemy into the mouths of children, and stupidity into the dialogue of teachers. Isn’t everybody having enough trouble in their lives?

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