The televisual version of Bad Teacher was cancelled after just three episodes, and officially removed from the schedules back in May… but CBS have been burning off the remaining episodes, two-by-two, for the last couple of weeks, and sad to say, they all stuck stubbornly to the same simplistic formula established in the pilot: The eponymous fraud faces some sort of school-centric dilemma, with a clunkingly obvious choice between doing The Right Thing and doing The Wrong Thing… at first she does The Wrong Thing, but then something pricks her conscience (usually a supporting character looking sad or being bullied), and chooses to do The Right Thing in the end, and everybody (metaphorically) hugs and learns something. Meh. The childish black-and-white morality of the show seems especially ridiculous in light of the fact that Meredith totally faked her teaching credentials… so while her participation in school events and activities is presented as a “win” for the angels, and proof that she really has a heart of gold buried under all that brass, she’s actually committing a serious crime every time she steps into the classroom, takes the kids out on a trip, or cashes a pay-cheque!
The supposedly dramatic and suspenseful plot of the season/series finale involved Meredith pre-emptively resigning after her class failed an important test, and her teaching abilities were called into question… only for the other teachers to rally around and convince her to come back, once they discovered that a “rogue” brand of pencil was responsible for the damning test results. It’s never clarified exactly how the pencils made her pupils fail… so I can only assume they were possessed by demons that made all the children write nonsensical obscenities, instead of the correct answers. Either way, we’re supposed to see this return to the status quo as a “happy ending”, even though Meredith isn’t even remotely qualified to do the job she’s pretending to do. They were also trying to sell a cliff-hanger ending, with a budding romance between her and the gym teacher being thwarted when she returns to the rich old guy who divorced her at the start of the series, but… no. That didn’t work either, despite the best efforts of the actors involved. When the show was trying to be a more serious or low-key indie rom-com it was actually quite watchable… but those moments were just a fleeting respite from the dumb, broad wackiness that undercut all its characters, wasted its talented cast, and doomed it to the recycling bin. Ari Graynor and Kristin Davis deserve so much more than this… and hopefully they’ll find it, now that they’re free to consider other offers.
P.S. I have grown very fond of the show’s rockin’ theme song, but sadly there doesn’t seem to be any information about who performed it in the credits… or anywhere else online. Pesky!