There are plenty of things that people might notice about "Teachers," including its brash humor and its fresh look at the world of education. But most of all, history might celebrate it as TV's first all-Kate show. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By Mike Hughes
Right now, the world
seems overrun with clever Kates. They're strong, smart, sometimes
You can find them in
all shapes (from Moss to Upton) and images (from Middleton to
Gosselin). The latest to draw attention is Katie Rich, who was
suspended from her “Saturday Night Live” duties after tweeting a
joke about Barron Trump.
But to fully grasp
the Kate monopoly, envision this: Five years ago in Chicago, Katie
Rich did a comedy show with Kate Duffey; opening for them were the
Katydids – six women named Kate, Cate, Katie, Katy, Caitlin and
“It really was
just the common name. (We) knew a lot of funny Katies,” said Katie
O'Brien, a Katydid founder. And now that group has its own cable show
– eccentric, excessive, funny – called “Teachers.”
Each of the stars
fashioned an eccentric teacher; at least two were a tad
-- Caitlin Barlow
spent her teen years in the Chicago-area town of Rolling Meadows,
then for five years was a real-life teacher – in Japan and in
Chicago for 4th-graders and for after-school teens. “I
loved it,” she said of the latter. “It was probably the best time
I've ever had.” She created Cicilia Cannon, an upbeat sort, forever
pushing liberal cases.
-- Kathryn Renee
Thomas grew up in the Detroit-area cities of Southfield and Livonia,
the pensive daughter of a therapist and a writer. “I started to
think, 'What if that character never grew out of it?'” She became
Mrs. Deb Adler – fond of eye shadow, un-fond of bullies, protector
of the oppressed. “She's very angst-ridden, imperfect, but she's
None of the
characters are. “Teachers are human,” Thomas said. “Everyone
Cate Freedman says
her character (AJ Feldman) is an “accidental teacher, so she's not
great at it.” Katy Colloton says Chelsea Snap is “really
superficial and self-involved.” Katie O'Brien says Mary Louise
Berrigan “has her own faith-based message that she's desperately
trying to get across.” Kate Lambert says Caroline Watson “didn't
think she'd be teaching this long. She just wants to be a wife and
That's the opposite
of the Katydids, who have had a long-time career focus.
Barlow was a
freshman when she starred in the high school musical, “Once Upon a
Mattress.” She continued doing acting and improv through college
and beyond, even in a bilingual troupe in Japan.
Thomas went far
beyond comedy at the prestigious University of Michigan theater
school. She even starred in a portion of “A View From the Bridge”
-- in front of its author, Arthur Miller.
But she did comedy
at the Second City branch in Detroit and then in Chicago, the center
of the improv universe, where she met other Kates. “Matt Miller (a
director) told us we all look like teachers.”
So the Katydids did
a “Teachers” show for the Web – 24 shorts, most of them ranging
from 30 seconds to two-and-a-half minutes. TV Land gave them their
first own half-hour show, with 10 episodes in the first season and 20
in this second one.
Two men (fresh from
“Key & Peele”) join them as producers and various guys are
guest stars, including Haley Joel Osment as Thomas' drifting husband.
“He was so funny,” she said. Still, this is mostly all-female and
Yes, that name has
been around a while. St. Catherine was martyred in 305 AD; King Henry
VII married two Catherines and a Katherine; a short time later,
around 1590, William Shakespeare named his “Taming of the Shrew”
heroine Katherina, or Kate.
was fierce and firm. Five-plus centuries later, the world would be
swallowed up by Kates and Cates and such – Bosworth and Beckinsale,
Couric and Capshaw, Winslet and Mulgrew and Hudson and Spade ... and
an entire teachers' lounge stuffed with Katydids.
-- 10 p.m. Tuesdays,
rerunning at 1 a.m.; also, Friday night (technically, early Saturday)
at 2 a.m.
-- Previous episodes
available at www.tvland.com.