You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Bad Teacher’

Ari Graynor, Sara Gilbert, Ryan Hansen, David Alan Grier, Kristin Davis, Sara Rodier

CBS follows its relatively rare trip into single-camera comedy, “The Crazy Ones,” with the appealing “Bad Teacher,” buoyed by stage actress Ari Graynor’s head-turning performance (regardless of the show’s success) as the title character, a newly divorced trophy wife who takes a job in a middle school, looking to meet rich, divorced dads. Adapted from the 2011 vehicle for Cameron Diaz, the series suffers from being a trifle repetitive in the episodes previewed, but Graynor’s dilettante is consistently good company, even if the show’s prospects of striking the Nielsen mother lode look iffy.

Faced with an iron-clad prenup, Meredith stumbles onto the idea of using the school as her springboard to a live-in meal-ticket when she agrees to pick up a friend’s daughter. Faster than you can say “luxury cars,” she’s won over the emotionally needy principal (David Alan Grier) and befriended a nerdy teacher (Sara Gilbert) who is desperate for a friend, even if that means letting Meredith take advantage of her. Meredith also butts heads with fellow teacher Ginny (Kristin Davis), essentially the queen bee before her arrival.

Adapted by Hilary Winston from the movie, the show quickly falls into a predictable pattern, where Meredith is forced to put her caviar dreams on hold by a troubling do-gooder impulse, which involves taking under her wing a group of picked-on safety-patrol girls. At some point, the title might have to be amended to “Teacher With Bad Impulses and High Heels, but a Good Heart.”

Still, taken on its own terms, the series is pretty amusing, with Meredith arranging a career day so she can check out what kind of jobs the available dads have ­­— and asking a lot of inappropriate questions. While it’s hardly the most enlightened view of romance or social climbing, Meredith is so cheerfully transparent about her shallowness that it’s kind of hard not to root for her to achieve her gold-digging aims. Just maybe not too soon.

or all that, this “Teacher” has enrolled in CBS’ Thursday lineup at an uncertain time, with “The Big Bang Theory” anchoring a lineup that often makes the long-running show look like Gulliver among the Lilliputians. “Bad Teacher” doesn’t seem likely to reverse that trend, and may look a bit out of place as virtually the sole single-camera practitioner amid the network’s sea of multicamera comedies.

Nevertheless, strictly in terms of creative merit, “Bad Teacher” earns better than passing grades — and whatever its future, heralds Graynor’s arrival as a likely overachiever.

TV Review: 'Bad Teacher'

(Series; CBS, Thurs. April 24, 9:30 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Mosaic Media Group in association with CBS Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television.

Crew: Executive producers, Hilary Winston, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg, Jimmy Miller, Sam Hansen, Michael Lasker; producers, Ari Graynor, Michael Pendell; director, Don Scardino; writer, Winston; based on characters created by Eisenberg, Stupnitsky; camera, Matthew Clark; production designer, Peter Politanoff; editor, Lee Haxall; music, Lyle Workman; casting, Bruce H. Newberg. 30 MIN.

Cast: Ari Graynor, Sara Gilbert, Ryan Hansen, David Alan Grier, Kristin Davis, Sara Rodier

More TV

  • Hulu Picks Up Anna Friel Drama

    Hulu Picks Up Anna Friel Drama ‘Butterfly’

    Hulu has snagged U.S. rights to “Butterfly,” the family drama about separated parents who disagree over how to deal with their youngest child, Max, who was born a boy but identifies as a girl. The series was commissioned by ITV in the U.K. “Marcella” star Anna Friel plays Max’s mother, Vicky, and Emmett J. Scanlon [...]

  • Rupert Murdoch

    BBC Orders Documentary Series on Rupert Murdoch’s Print Empire

    The BBC has ordered “A Tabloid Empire,” a three-part documentary series on Rupert Murdoch’s influence over the British press. The series will air on BBC Two in the U.K. and examine in detail Britain’s popular press between 1997 and 2012, a period that covers phone hacking and corruption but that also saw Murdoch’s and other [...]

  • Supergirl -- "Elseworlds, Part 3" --

    'Elseworlds, Part 3' Recap: 2019 ‘Arrowverse’ Crossover Theme Revealed

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 2,” the final part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 11. After John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) got another go at using the Book of Destiny to rewrite reality, the “Elseworlds” finale saw Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephan Amell) facing [...]

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    TV Roundup: Netflix Orders Ted Bundy Docu-Series

    In today’s TV roundup, Netflix has ordered a docu-series on serial killer Ted Bundy and “Love, Gilda” sets a premiere date on CNN FIRST LOOKS More Reviews Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical Variety has obtained an exclusive clip of “Into the Okavango,” the upcoming National Geographic film. Premiering Dec. [...]

  • Amy Poehler Is Ready for a

    Amy Poehler Is Ready for a 'Parks and Rec' Reunion

    Is Amy Poehler just getting our hopes up? We hope not, because the funny lady tells Variety that she’s ready for a “Parks and Recreation” reunion. More Reviews Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical “I am technically available,” Poehler said on Monday at Smart Girls’ 10th anniversary celebration dinner. “I have [...]

  • Liz Meriwether Lake Bell

    Lake Bell, Liz Meriwether Comedy 'Bless This Mess' Moves From Fox to ABC With Series Order

    “Bless This Mess,” the single-camera comedy co-created by Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, has been ordered to series at ABC, Variety has learned. The series had previously been in contention at Fox and is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Bell also stars in the series alongside Dax Shepard. In the series, a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content