Teachers’ on-screen image has hit the skids, writes Elizabeth Alsop in Not So Hot for Teacher in the New York Times.
In the past few years, viewers saw teachers turning tricks (“Hung”), dealing drugs (“Breaking Bad”) and taunting overweight students (“The Big C”). All, of course, while not teaching. In the opening episode of “The Big C,” a student in Cathy Jamison’s summer-school course asks, “Are you going to teach us anything today?”
“Have I ever taught you anything, really?” Jamison counters, before queuing up a DVD and returning to her online shopping.
On the first season of HBO’s “Eastbound and Down,” the baseball has-been Kenny Powers lands the one job seemingly available to a self-delusional drug enthusiast: substitute gym-teaching. In a typical scene, Powers arrives at a school dance high on Ecstasy, treats his ex-girlfriend and the assembled student body to a sexually explicit dance, then passes out in his own vomit on the auditorium floor.
Till recently, Hollywood has beatified teachers, Alsop writes. From “Stand and Deliver” and “To Sir, With Love” to “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” teachers have been inspirational heroes.
However, the teenage comedies of the ’80s and ’90s, portrayed teachers as bumblers, she writes (“Bueller? Bueller?”) Teachers lost “cultural prestige . . . hastening their slide down the rungs of respectability from dignified to doltish to outright dysfunctional.”
In the upcoming “Here Comes The Boom,” Kevin James is a biology teacher who becomes a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money for extracurriculars at his high school — and attract a pretty teacher. It’s “worse than Won’t Back Down,” writes Russo.