Certainly nobody else who blogs at freakytrigger, so this isn’t going to make me too popular. Yet Teachers is a funny show – it sits not too far away from shows like Two Pints of Lager – so why should there be such disdain?

I don’t expect too many people remembers John Godber’s Chalkface – it was an attempt to do Grange Hill from the teacher’s POV. It didn’t last long. In the end every schoolkid can empathise with schoolkids, but few adults empathise with teachers. Most adults are more likely to mildly resent teachers. This may be partly why the profession (“ha, that’s a joke”) commands such little respect. Who the hell cares what sort of life they have and why make a show about them?

My guess is that the premise of Teachers-hate comes from this manifest attitude and the suspicion that this show, with it’s laddish and crude humour, is somehow trying to “correct” this image, to force feed the idea that teachers are in some way likeable or at least human. Nobody wants to be “corrected”, and when you combine that with the worst excesses of the teacher that’s trying to be down with the kids, well… Plus there’s all that awful indie music, and it’s just the inane humour of “…and that was just the teachers” isn’t it?

Wrong. Despite the title of the show, the characters actually aren’t teachers at all – all that is in the background, and that’s where there is room for many sight gags (oversize biology diagrams, kids being beaten up, “whacky” stuff in the schoolyard). No, in the end, Teachers is an office comedy – it has comedic (i.e. transparently unreal) characters sparking off one another. I was a bit worried with the first episode of the new series because it was a one note show, dragging out the “How can you tell if a new friend fancies you” lore. To be fair, it had its moments, and it was a way to introduce Lindsay (to replace Susan). Luckily episode 2 had a lot more going for it, building on previously hinted at aspects of the head, the secretary and playing with the caricature of Penny. Kurt and Bryan seem stuck forever playing the standard chick-lit convention of the “boys who can’t grow up” – perhaps, after the Penny restructuring, even that’s up for grabs.

I like the whimsy, god help me I like the indie music drip fed in the background, but most of all I’m thankful these are not real teachers. John Godber did that and it was bloody depressing viewing.

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