TV Review: “Bad Teacher” – At Least The Title’s Accurate

Written by Emily Stewart May 06, 2014

Ari Graynor in front of a blackboard that says "Test Friday" on it

First of all, I apologize to those of you who read my last Top 5 list. I’m about to sound like a broken record, but the television adaptation of “Bad Teacher” is another example of films that should never be re-made, or rather have a spin-off in this case. After watching the first episode, I thought it would only be fair to watch the 2011 film version to compare it. If you want anything to do with “Bad Teacher”, just watch the movie! It’s worth your time. With a mediocre plot and unlikable protagonist, TV’s “Bad Teacher” is well, bad.

Plenty of Fs

TV’s “Bad Teacher” is similar to the film, in the sense that Meredith Davis (Ari Graynor), much like Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz), goes after men who are filthy rich. The gym teacher Joel (Ryan Hansen) also goes after Meredith, sound familiar? That’s all they have in common. After her rich old husband leaves her, Meredith decides to plagiarize her resume, by copying and pasting one she found online. As a teacher, she goes after all of the single dads that appear rich. It’s similar, but not as entertaining, or even likable.

Ari Graynor leading the safety patrol in "Bad Teacher"

What made Elizabeth such a “Bad Teacher” was that she was just plain lazy and often hungover during her job.  While certainly not the most positive role model, she was amusing, especially for her “no-nonsense” approach to advising her students. Meredith ends up befriending members of the safety patrol, and even teaches them how to stand up to the popular girls picking on her. She gets an applause for how she handled the situation, but she’s not as likeable as Elizabeth in the least. Plus, her seemingly sweet behaviour feels really phony. At least Elizabeth was blunt sometimes.

Needs Improvement

Now, onto explaining while Meredith is a “Bad Teacher”. Not only is she just teaching so she can find a rich husband, but her dialogue is invested with racial stereotypes from time to time. She copies her resume from an Asian woman, and she refers to First Nations in her class as “Indians”. I get it, her ignorant attitude points out her lack of qualifications to be a teacher. However, it just makes her more unlikable. She also uses American history, specifically when the Europeans came to inherit America from the First Nations, as an analogy. The comparison? That her student, Bronwen (Grace Kaufman) doesn’t want Meredith to date her dad because she knows he’s being used for money. She evens humiliates her by writing a note and reading it out loud, making it seem like the student wrote it to her crush. Wow. Completely insensitive, immature, and frankly, no different than a pathetic high school rivalry. As if teenagers didn’t already have it bad enough with their peers.

Sara Gilbert and Ari Graynor in "Bad Teacher"

It’s understandable why this show is called “Bad Teacher”. It’s just bad. Why they decided to make a spinoff of something that’s actually hilarious and pretty recent is beyond me. The film version is more entertaining, with an enjoyable plot and fairly likeable characters that were performed well by the cast. I’m pretty sure if the film’s Elizabeth saw this, she would write the same comments she wrote on the students’ “To Kill A Mockingbird” tests. TV’s “Bad Teacher” is lucky if it just barely passes this year.

My Rating: 4/10

The cast of "Bad Teacher", TV show


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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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