“Teachers” made its triumphant Season 2 return Tuesday (Jan. 17) on TV Land, ringing in a new school year with a musical number and its patented hilarious, satirical look at the jobs and lives of six public school teachers in Illinois. While we’re just about dead from waiting for a release date on “Playing House” Season 3, “Teachers” remains a strong contender to fill that void.
From the minds of “The Katydids,” a Chicago improv group comprised entirely of women whose names are all some form of “Kate,” “Teachers” chronicles six very different women: Friends, frenemies and colleagues at Fillmore Elementary School. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s time to add it to your DVR.
One could easily jump in on Season 2 without having seen Season 1, but if you have a few hours, all 10 episodes from the first season are on TV Land’s website and they’re definitely worth the watch. But if you want to skip right to what’s airing now, here’s a quick primer:
The six teachers are Deb Adler (Kathryn Renee Thomas), a kind of punk rock teacher still carrying a lot of baggage from being bullied during her own school years; Mary Louise Bennigan (Katie O’Brien), a conservative Christian who is definitely the least jaded of the bunch; Cecilia Cannon (Caitlin Barlow), a liberal pseudo-hippie who gets put in charge of art in Season 2; AJ Feldman (Cate Freedman), one of the least involved teachers, curriculum-wise, but one of the most involved in caring about her students (in her own screwed-up way); Chelsea Snap (Katy Colloton), the party girl who is desperate to keep extending her 20s; and Caroline Watson (Kate Lambert), who wants nothing more than to find a man and be able to quit her job.
Season 2 hasn’t lost a step from the Season 1 shenanigans, upping the game with a “Women Empowering Women” workshop led by perhaps the two least qualified of the six teachers to lead such a seminar — and an unrecognizable Haley Joel Osment as Deb’s wannabe rockstar boyfriend.
The show is simultaneously absurd and also a sharp commentary on what it’s really like in the public school trenches — anyone who has worked in education will find the show especially funny — no surprise, considering one of the Katydids, Barlow, actually worked as a public school teacher for a number of years while doing the improv thing on the side for fun.
“I was very into being a teacher… I taught fourth grade during the day. And then at night I would do improv shows, and write stuff with The Katydids,” Barlow told the TCA winter press tour before the series debuted in 2016. “There’s so much untapped comedy gold in teaching. So I mean, did I work with people like Ms. Snap? Absolutely. When their students were doing independent work, they would be on Tinder trolling for their next date or stuff like that.”
“Teachers” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TV Land.