This show is classic nonsense comedy, but with a black humor twist. After watching the first three episodes for FREE on nbc.com, I can honestly say it's already better than 3/5 of the tv shows I'm currently watching, all of which I personally consider good television. The show's highlight is the personality, and witty schemes of sunny's dennis reynolds, but instead as a psychology professor who's unfortunate past has led him to teaching at a school in tampa florida.
I love that the show is already exhibiting authentic school issues. I say already because by starting so early, you can kind of see that it's going to be a focus in the show. Public schools in the US aren't the greatest, everyone knows that, and surely a tv show isn't going to open any eyes to it, nor could it accurately represent every US school, but so far it's shown an effort to bring into the mix the problems public schools face with budgeting issues, and student dilemmas (such as bullying). An excellent example right out of the gate would be the teacher's chair being in such poor condition that Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton) has to buy a new one himself. There are other examples, but I want to keep this mostly spoiler free.
One of the supporting characters, Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt's character), is an excellent character to demonstrate some of these problems. For example, his job, the same as any principal, is to keep the teachers in line and make ends meet for the school at the end of the day. What's great is that he has to be laid back to some degree, so as to not get on the bad side of the teachers, such as many principals would surely agree, and Patton Oswalt is the perfect person to play that role. In many ways this show reminds me, somewhat coincidently, of Charlie Day's most recent film, Fist Fight, which was just as absurdly rooted in the US school system, and displayed just as accurately the problems that teachers and principals face with making ends meet in an overtly underfunded public school system, while also adding a humorous spin to lighten up the message.
Fortunately enough for the show, Patton Oswalt's character isn't the only excellent supporting character. The show introduces very memorable, and each uniquely genuine teachers and students as supporting characters who can each stand on their own. For instance, the other teachers that Jack acquaints himself with serve a valuable role in teaching him valuable lessons about being a teacher, despite not being very good teachers themselves. Obviously that is for humors sake, but the dynamic he and they have formed functions very well as a "when I need you" mentor circle that I just loved. They also keep him in check by mocking him when he's acting too absurd, which I find a humorous and creative approach since not only are they going to teach him how to be a teacher, but maybe in time they'll teach him to not be so full of himself. Eh I doubt it, but it's a thought nonetheless.
Of course this show isn't just topics of public education, there are some comedy aspects as well. Jack Griffin, the Harvard Psychology professor who was denied tenure after some yet-to-be-revealed past with an ex-colleague of his. Jack's spiteful demeanor is only comparable to (sorry) Dennis from It's always sunny in philadelphia. Jack's thing is that he's very upset at a gentleman, and is dedicated to ruining his life. Sadly enough for the straight A students taking an advanced placement biology class in florida, he's decided (or perhaps it was his only option) to "teach" their class for a year while he works out his play to destroy his arch nemesis. This of course has led to them being enlisted, or perhaps conscripted, into his makeshift life-ruining militia. Of course, as you might would expect from students in an AP class, they are all but willing to take part in his wacky shenanigans.
The show reminds me of an old movie from the 80s, Summer School, but it's almost the exact opposite in every way. Suffice to say, I liked that movie, and that this show reminded me of it is nothing short of pleasant to me. I may watch it later in fact.
Nevertheless, A.P. Bio is brimming with potential for messages about society, humourous plots and schemes, lessons, and all around good comedy. I can't wait to see where it goes, and honestly I can't recommend it enough.