Deep Thoughts


By Tim Riley

Some of us may not have been good enough students in high school, even if college-bound, to take any A.P. classes, and don’t even know that the initials stand for “Advanced Placement.” The NBC network has had a good run of comedy programming on Thursday nights, and by all accounts “A.P. Bio” may be a very good addition to the lineup with its subversive take on a wayward teacher failing to deliver scholarly excellence to his students. The teacher in question is disgraced former Harvard philosophy professor Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton), who ends up for reasons unknown consigned for a year to teach advanced placement biology at a high school in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

During the winter TV press tour, Howerton, who is best known as snarky Dennis Reynolds on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” described his flippant character on “A.P. Bio” as one “who is intellectually smart and emotionally immature.” Self-absorbed and egocentric, Jack lost his dream job at Stanford University to his arch-rival, philosophy scholar Miles Leonard (Tom Bennett), and his thoughts are consumed with dislodging his nemesis from an exalted position in academia.

But first, Jack’s confronted with the task of taking over the biology class, where he informs his smart, nerdy students that he doesn’t care about biology and that “we’re not going to do any biology in here.” He candidly admits to his stunned pupils that his goal is “mentally breaking my nemesis with the ultimate goal of taking his job as the head of Stanford philosophy” and then having “sex with as many women as I possibly can throughout the entire state of California.”

Well, he does have ambition but it has nothing to do with teaching, leaving his perplexed students to figure out ways to outwit a teacher who tells them that “I know more than all of you combined,” as he explains that he’ll learn nothing from them. Jack also learns nothing from the bumbling Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt), a spineless administrator who seems to be easily manipulated by his new teacher as well as everyone else on the faculty. But he’s a great comic foil, and that’s all that really matters.

“A.P. Bio” taps into the demented sense of humor that Glenn Howerton brings to his role of the egotistical jerk, and for that reason alone, this show should be given a chance. You may ascertain that while this show is fun, it’s not really family friendly.

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The Company was borne on a germ of an idea. 1992 in California. Rick Anthony, Bill Derham, Tim Riley

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