‘Teachers’ Review: TV Land Comedy Needs to Diversify Its Faculty

Alison Brie is one of the executive producers behind the funny Web-to-TV series


Shortly after Rachel Bloom won a Golden Globe for her performance on The CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” earlier this week, a reporter commended her for showing a Filipino family at Thanksgiving. This is something that hadn’t been done on TV.

Bloom, in turn, said it was a no-brainer because the object of her character’s desire is Filipino and it mattered who his family is.

This kind of organic diversity should be the norm, but it’s not, and sadly it is the one thing sorely missing from the new TV Land comedy “Teachers.” This otherwise funny show, which debuts Wednesday night, follows six female teachers who comically corrupt their impressionable elementary-aged students with ill-conceived choices and actions.

“Teachers” began as a Web series and stars the comedy troupe the Katydids — Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Kathryn Renee Thomas. While no one expects the group to recruit a woman of color named Kate or Katherine — although they do exist — it would’ve been refreshing to see one of the ancillary or even guest starring parts go to a person of color.

For instance, Tim Bagley costars as Principal Pearson. He’s humorous enough and played a similar role on the short-lived NBC sitcom “Mr. Robinson.” But why not cast Aries Spears or Amy Hill? Does the principal have to be a white guy?

Teacher Mary Louise Bennigan (O’Brien) lusts after the attractive father of one of her students. Ryan Caltagirone plays Hot Dad but couldn’t Yancey Arias have played that same part? You get the gist.

To be fair, the students are black, brown, yellow and white so there is some diversity on the show. But it’s 2016. If the student body can be this inclusive, the adults — who do and say a lot more on “Teachers” — should be, too.

Thankfully, there is more to “Teachers” than its lack of color and once you move beyond this shortcoming, the series has some genuinely hilarious moments.

In the pilot, for instance, Alison Brie (she’s also one of the show’s executive producers) does a guest turn as a former teen bully turned anti-bullying advocate. As “Teachers” fate would have it, Brie’s character Lauren used to bully teacher Deb Adler (Thomas) when they were in high school and the laughs ensue.

Follow-up episodes feature more awkwardly comedic scenarios including a desperate audition tape for “The Bachelor” from teacher Chelsea Snap (Colloton), a picture day eyebrow waxing debacle involving Ms. Feldman (Freedman) and a couple of teachers treating the lost and found like their personal treasure chest.

Meanwhile, Lambert, who plays teacher Caroline Watson, steals her fair share of scenes especially in an episode about the school iguana and another centered around her ex-boyfriend’s new love interest.

Educators behaving badly isn’t a new concept. We’ve all seen this world mined before in movies and TV programs alike. What makes “Teachers” stand out is the way in which all of these humorous Katies handle the trouble their offbeat and sometimes lewd and rude characters have made.

Once they diversify the cast, this show will graduate with honors.

“Teachers” premieres Wednesday Jan. 13 at 11 p.m. ET on TV Land.