A.P. Bio Misses the Mark in “Overachieving Virgins”
WARNING: Spoilers for the NBC Show A.P. Bio are featured throughout this article.
After 2 months of extensive advertising, A.P. Bio has officially made its debut appearance on the small screen for its fourth episode. The show features the hilarious Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as Jack Griffin, a former Harvard philosopher turned A.P. Bio teacher, and Patton Oswalt (The King of Queens and The Goldbergs) as Principal Ralph Durbin, the disgruntled and stressed head of the school. In this particular program, we see the escapades of Jack as he takes advantage of the students in his class to fill out his personal needs, leading to both comedic (and sometimes harsh) consequences for both Jack and Durbin.
This particular episode begins with Jack entering his class, asking the students to hand over their lunch as his favorite bagel shop has closed. After humiliating favorite student Marcus by sending him to the back of the room, Jack leaves to get his favorite brand of chips from the vending machine, only to find that it has been replaced with a healthier option. He finds out that this is due to the Student Council, which Marcus is President. After his frustration with Marcus’ spiteful attempts at revenge, Jack bites back, and hard, by revealing that Marcus’ victory was rigged, which sends him into a depressive state. Jack goes to Marcus and offers for him to willingly “bully” him after he realizes he has been sheltered by adoring parents and praised endlessly. It provides an opportunity for the mild-mannered Jack to have a lighthearted moment and even show a bit of good intention...until he returns to harassing him in class again.
This episode shows a bit of development for both Jack and his student Marcus, something which A.P Bio has not really taken much liberty of doing. And while it does try to establish some depth to its characters, rather than leaving them to be stock people, it doesn’t do much into making their characters have a lot of weight. Jack still seems to be a stale wisecrack and Marcus is given a small amount of thought into how he acts and why. It’s a noble effort to make baby steps in bringing these characters to life, but the show has a long ways to go before we will be able to appreciate these characters for their potential well-roundedness.
Meanwhile, the show engages in the development of its teacher characters, featuring Stef attempting (and basically ensuring) that Mary and Michelle buy her makeup products in order to make a little extra cash. Desperate for an excuse that doesn’t reject their friend entirely, Durbin is brought in by Mary and Michelle, which backfires by admitting how badly they are paid and justifying Stef’s venture into this job. Overall, the appearances of Oswalt are what makes this a bit watchable as the writing seems to be very bland. There are a few jokes here and there (made by Oswalt) that hit, but the concept of this subplot is very generic as it is.
A.P. Bio once again proves with this fourth episode that there is a small amount of potential to be had within this show, but the writers have not properly tapped into it yet. There is hope that the show picks up the slack in regards to development, but also comedic moments, though it is very low. A.P. Bio is almost frustrating: you can see the potential in its grounded concepts, but its poor execution does not allow them to stick.
Jack Grossman is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.