Is the Show A.P. Bio Worth Saving?

The NBC comedy “A. P. Bio” is really the wrong name for a show that is more concerned with its star’s revenge motives than anything that is going on in the classroom. Having ended its second season and scheduled for the small screen guillotine, there has been a social media stir created to try and save the show from a final and permanent exile. The fact that two of the show’s stars are now leading the way to save the show speaks more about the popularity of the show than the muted voices of the students that actually make up the A. P. Bio class are given during the show.

It’s just not very funny and not worth the electricity it takes to watch it on a smartphone. Like a suffering person who would just prefer to end any hope from their situation, bringing things to a merciful end is the most humane course of action here. It has had two seasons to redeem itself and the end of semester grade is a “C-” at best. The more intelligent cast members have moved on, for reasons that will become apparent shortly.

Earlier reviews of the first season were kind, maintaining that a comedy television show requires some time for the audience to adjust to the characters. But you realize that things haven’t improved much from the first half dozen shows, and nothing is likely to change this fact even if given another two seasons. The writers of the show usually are the culprits who overshadow the acting talent and turn a concept with potential into a mass of mental mediocrity.

The Hollywood Reporter noted in its early review of the show that the three adult female regulars – Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn and Jean Villepique – seemed misplaced and were simply there to fill in the in-between minutes of the plotline conflict between the two male co-stars. Fast forwarding to episode 12 of the first season, you see the same void of character development, much like casting three women who will play the stereotypical vacuous minds of female teachers in daze gone by. You don’t like them; you don’t hate them – you just don’t care about them.

One interesting piece of viewer profile data is that the viewers who rate the show favorably are far more likely to have a college education or college degree. According to Deadline, the show gets “a 149 among adults 18-49 with four or more years of college to rank #3 among primetime series on the Big 4 networks.” This may be an indictment of our current post-secondary educational system or that there just wasn’t anything on the other channels that interested this group. Or maybe they were hoping beyond hope that the show would find a way to turn itself around based on its initial premise.

This optimism had its basis among fans when they were comparing it to Parks and Recreation at the end of its first season. It took a while for people to catch on to the show, which was one of the more popular comedies of its day. But Larry David isn’t writing this show, and it takes more than a good idea to keep a television series on the grid. Some critics of the show said they gave it a chance but at the end of the day the lead characters were about as charismatic as a piece of soggy toast.

An important note to all of this is that NBC seemed to really want this show to succeed. There were TV ads during its coverage of the Olympics promoting the upcoming show, precious revenue generating space. The fact that NBC pulled the plug on it after two short seasons is a clear indicator that it has given up hope and needs to move on. With the Fall 2019 – 2020 schedules already set, the obituary for A. P. Bio has already been etched.

You get a sense that there is an attempt to use Malcolm in the Middle as a foundation, except with the star roles reversed. It is not the students who are the focus, but the teacher. The lead character does take on this role, but not much is done with it. The truth may be that there is not much you can do with it, at least not with the current cast of characters. Why are the students there at all? What role do the three female teachers play other than a short diversion from the main storyline? These two questions seem to point to a lack of continuity in the writing. Yes, it is a comedy, not a drama. But if it is supposed to be a comedy then the punch lines must be absent from class.

It just might be that the name of the show doomed it. It’s like the show Room 222 back in the 60’s where viewers did not expect, nor did they get, comedy. A.P. Bio seems like we should expect the show to be about what goes on in the class, not about what goes on outside of the class and is mostly unrelated to anything but the antics of a revenge-minded teacher. Revenge of the Nerd has already been taken.

If you are wondering why the names of the lead characters do not appear in this article, the reason is simple. Anyone who has had two seasons to prove their mettle and fail shouldn’t be using social media as a means to get their job back. They had their chance and got a failing grade by both the audience and the network. As it is said in the world of investing, past performance is not a guarantee of future results. As a matter of television history, the cry to give A.P. Bio another chance has little chance of succeeding. Time to dismiss the school and go on a permanent hiatus.

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