The first season of Teachers, TV Land’s hilarious comedy series, earned an A with The Hollywood Reporter’s chief TV critic Tim Goodman, who ranked it among the best television of 2016. It made LA Weekly‘s Best TV of 2016 list as well.
Why the high grade? Let’s hear more from the critics.
1. It doesn’t stereotype.
Television tends to portray teachers as unflinchingly altruistic, saccharine role models. But the characters in Teachers are multi-dimensional, as celebrated for their flaws as they are for their strengths.
“From the get-go they nailed the slightly-off, hilarious messiness behind the veneer of the sweet middle-school teacher,” wrote Goodman.
Ms. Cannon, for instance, is a politically correct vegan who rants to her class about how much she hates cliques, and the comically vain Ms. Snap films an audition tape for The Bachelor.
“The performances are bursting with energy and genuinely winning,” wrote critic Ben Travers in an article for IndieWire.
2. The creators are all female—and so are the main characters.
Teachers will be everyone’s new favorite feminist TV show, promised Bustle entertainment writer Amy Mackelden in her interview with the show’s creators, an all-female group of Chicago-based improv comedians known as the Katydids. Unlike other programs centered on women characters, Teachers doesn’t depend on romantic interests to drive its plot.
“We wanted to show that women have all kinds of things going on in their lives outside of their romantic relationships,” explained the Katydids, referring to their decision to focus on their characters’ professional careers, their camaraderie, and wonky exploits instead of love triangles.
3. One of the creators was actually a teacher.
Caitlin Barlow, who plays Ms. Cannon, worked as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher for five years in her native Chicago while volunteering for school extracurricular activities like improv and yoga. This background gives her acting a special kind of authenticity, a crucial element of the show.
“We wanted to make sure that the comedy was really rooted in the actual experience of teaching,” said Barlow in an interview with Education World. “Our goal is to make the educators in Teachers human.”
Barlow also mined her experience for actual plot points . Whether it’s finding “treasure” in the lost and found or showing what happens during break time, Teachers takes viewers into uncharted territory.
4. It began as a popular web series, just like Broad City, Drunk History, and other successful Viacom shows.
Critics have applauded the actors for their comedic performances and who they’re able to effortlessly portray the characters with all their quirks and nuances.
“These creators and actors know each other’s rhythms inside and out,” wrote Caroline Framke in Vox. “They know exactly where their strengths lie, especially in relation to each other.”
That familiarity comes largely from the writers’ long history as an improv troupe. The Katydids released the web series Teachers in 2012.
5. The makers of Key & Peele are behind the camera, along with other top talent.
Teachers benefits from an accomplished executive production team that includes the Katydids comedy troupe and actress Allison Brie, known for her roles in Mad Men and Community. Upright Citizens Brigade alum Ian Roberts and two-time Emmy nominee Jay Martel serve as the showrunners; together, the duo produced Comedy Central’s Peabody award-winning Key & Peele. With such a formidably funny powerhouse at the helm, it’s understandable why Teachers is garnering critical acclaim in just its second year on network TV.
Season two of Teachers premieres Tuesday, Jan. 17 on TV Land at 10 p.m. Study up by watching the first season on TVLand.com. Visit Facebook and Twitter to find out more buzz from TV Land and Teachers.