Don’t Play Hooky from Teachers
Last year, TV Land gave us Younger. This year, we can thank them for Teachers.
Haven’t heard of it? It’s a new comedy from Chicago-based improv group The Katydids, based on their web series of the same name. Centered on a group of teacher-friends and their misadventures at a Midwestern school, the show basically confirms all of your suspicions about the Secret Life of the American Teacher, complete with uproarious happy hours, extracurricular ambitions, and inappropriate uses of social media. It’s yet another example of a female-centered comedy succeeding on television. Think: Bridesmaids goes to school.
What I love about this show is its fun and lighthearted look into the professional lives of adults who are anything but. In the tradition of recent work-centered comedies like The Office or Parks and Recreation (#Knope2048), the characters on Teachers are gripped by personal insecurities and interests that spill into their professional lives. The twist is that these are teacher types we might recognize from childhood. For example, we have Ms. Snap (Katy Colloton), the recognizably “Popular Teacher,” who you might remember as the cool teacher who let you braid her hair and always seemed to have a gaggle of wannabes following her like little goslings. In this universe, Ms. Snap is a self-absorbed Regina George-type whose chief ambition in life is to make it on The Bachelor. Her hobbies: selfies, gossip, beauty products, wine, and cheese. We also have Feldman (Cate Freedman), the “Relatable Teacher,” who relates to her students simply because she hasn’t grown up at all. She rolls up to school in sweats and regales her students with tales of magical Phish concerts and tasty treats that made her bolder. Then, there’s the hippie teacher who sees her role as a way to inculcate progressivism amongst her students; the goth teacher who seems intent on deterring bullies, as if to heal her wounded childhood; the evangelist who doesn’t value science in the classroom, but is desperate to be BFFs with Ms. Snap and her superficial life; and the crafting former sorority girl whose recent breakup becomes a teachable moment in the classroom, where she conducts an autopsy on the relationship to determine its cause-of-death.
That tension between adult professionalism and human insecurities is what makes this comedy work so well. It’s one of the few shows on television that is guaranteed to make me laugh every time. If I were a K-12 teacher, I’d gather my teacher-friends every Wednesday night, open a bottle of wine, and release the stress of the week by laughing with these fictional co-workers whose classroom and breakroom travails are so outrageous that they make even a hard day on the job seem manageable. Like a happy hour, Teachers is a worst-case-scenario survival guide where friends can gather, trade classroom war stories, and laugh about them. And, as in any good comedy, the act of laughing can cure almost any ill.
Photo Credit: TV Land