By: DYLAN LUCAS
Glenn Howerton of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” has stepped out of the bar and into the classroom in the new half-hour comedy “A.P. Bio.” Howerton plays Jack Griffin, a former Harvard philosophy professor who has found himself back in his hometown of Toledo “teaching” a class full of advanced placement high school students.
From the moment Jack Griffin sets foot in the classroom—clad in sweatpants and a sweater I think my dad owns—he makes it known that biology is the furthest thing from his mind. Through drawings on the classroom blackboard he explains his only intention for the school year is to “mentally break [his] nemesis,” a fellow philosophy academic who seems like the nicest guy in the world. The students—much like the viewer—have no idea how to react to their new teacher or his strange, petty grudge.
The pilot episode of the series lays out a clear formula for the episodes to follow. Griffin comes up with a new way to destroy his rival. Griffin gives his students an assignment that will help him complete his plan with the promise of an “A” if they comply.
In the pilot, “A.P. Bio” turns into a creative writing class, when Griffin assigns them the task of creating drafts of Facebook messages he could use to catfish his rival. The results are mixed to say the least. One student writes a genuinely romantic message although it comes on a little too strong and another writes a message from the perspective of a soul-sucking demon.
The final message, which Griffin decides to send, is only mildly creepy but definitely comes on too strong. In the end it’s not even the message that delivers the final punchline of the episode. It’s Griffin’s choice of a red carpet photo of Katy Perry as the profile picture for this fictional woman. It gets even better when you see his rival be fully convinced that the message is real.
Overall the first episode of the show is pretty solid and sets the tone and expectations for the rest of the series. That doesn’t mean it was flawless.
I thought the premise of the show was interesting from the moment I first saw the trailer. As a former AP student myself, I could appreciate all the fun being poked at the characters that resembled some of my former classmates. As a college student, I really wanted to know what Jack Griffin did to get kicked out of Harvard. I must say that the show fell short of my expectations for the latter.
Aside from a couple brief references to being passed up for tenure and a viral Youtube video of an old man tackling him, it’s never really explained how this man ended up pretending to teach Biology. Maybe whatever incident led to Griffin’s fall from grace will be addressed in a later episode, but as for the pilot, I definitely left with more questions than answers.
A.P. Bio airs on NBC at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays.