'Teachers' don't always have all the answers
How do you remember feeling about your elementary school teachers when you were a kid? For most of us, they could do no wrong, knew all the answers, and generally had it all figured out. But do they?
It seems that this is why "Teachers" makes for such a refreshingly relatable comedy about a group of educators that don't exactly have it all together themselves. These everyday superheroes are just as burdened with the real kryptonite that any adult is all too familiar with, from relationships, to insecurities, to societal pressure and so much more.
Producer and star Katy Colloton stopped by to chat about TV Land's breakout hit and how it all began with six girls named "Kate" - an improv group aptly named, The Katydids. After creating a popular web series by the same name, Katy and the rest of The Katydids took their comedy chops to TV Land, successfully creating one of their most popular new shows. It follows the work lives (and personal lives) of six women teaching at Fillmore Elementary School and doing their best at molding the minds of tomorrow.
She says the idea of centering their unique character-study around teachers specifically came from their executive producer who stumbled upon an interesting statistic. "He had in the same week listened to a podcast about how teachers were both within the top five most adulterous and respected professions...that kind of duality is something that we for sure wanted to play with in comedy."
Katy and the other creators were also inspired by the kind of environment and interactions that happen within an elementary school setting as well, saying, "we also just liked the idea of elementary school because there's a nostalgia with it...we really wanted to create a character-based show where the characters are flawed and the kids in elementary school are young enough where they're so honest and they're not angry - there's a lot of comedy in kids pointing out your flaws all the time."
Exaggerated and comical as the show may be at times, Katy talks about how important it is not to paint these female characters with broad strokes, as so many films and television shows have done before. The quirks and sometimes craziness that viewers enjoy about the teachers of "Teachers" are the very complexities and flaws that bring the show back to reality just a little bit. It's a choice that's indicative of how she and her co-creators are perceptive and awake to our current political and social climate - especially as it concerns fellow women:
"As a show created by and starring women, there's a responsibility to kind of say something with this platform - yes we're creating comedy and there's a lot of dirty jokes or poop humor, but it feels like, unless it's grounded in reality and there to make a statement, it could feel frivolous. So we feel it's very important, especially as women and especially in this current culture, to make sure that we're making this statement."
It's this kind of commitment to the bigger picture that makes each episode and subplot relatable to viewers who obviously keep coming back for more. This past spring, "Teachers" was picked up for a 20-episode third season. But with seven episodes left of its sophomore season, Katy dished on exactly what people can expect before it concludes for this year, saying emphatically, "we have a new relationship blossom this season, that I'm really excited about." And as far as spoilers go? She gave us just one for the last episode, a 1940's style production shot partially in black and white:
"It looks so beautiful and we're so proud of that episode. I won't say who, but one of the teachers is pregnant, and we throw her a baby shower, which takes us to the 1940s, and it becomes her retirement party - so there's also a little bit of a statement in there as well."