A.P. Bio





Emily Clark

TV Series Review

Jack Griffin is a former Harvard philosophy professor who currently teaches advanced-placement biology in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. And boy, he is not happy about it.

But he also doesn’t really have a choice. After he failed to make tenure at Harvard, he got canned. No other university would take him. And he blames it all, for some reason, on Miles Leonard, a fellow philosophy professor who’s guilty of having everything that Jack wants—status, celebrity, a book deal and the job of head of philosophy at a prestigious university. the Ivy League school.

Philosophically speaking, most people in Jack’s position would probably do best by focusing on themselves and really try to figure out where they erred in their thinking to fall so far. But that’s not really Jack’s schtick.

He’s convinced that he knows best. And to prove it, he’s bent on destroying (vocationally, that is) every person who wronged him in order to show them just how wrong they were.

Questionable Subject Matter

Jack’s students hate him, and they’ve kind of got good reason to. He blatantly dismisses anything even resembling biology (which they all desperately want to learn for college credit), he bullies them, and he threatens to fail them unless they help in his revenge schemes.

That being said, Jack has his better moments. The longer he spends in Toledo, the more his childhood home grows on him. He realizes that his fellow teachers—whom he previously mocked for having no ambition—are genuinely happy in Toledo. And his students, while annoying at times, are actually pretty unique and interesting in their own ways.

But the show itself still has some questionable subject matter. Jack may not have any interest in the academic study of biology, but he certainly has an interest in the (ahem) romantic application. And he’s not alone. Although there’s no sex or nudity onscreen in A.P. Bio,  the topic isn’t far from most conversations, and many jokes really push the limits of what would be appropriate for a high school biology class. (For instance, Jack tricks his students into catfishing Miles online and one of the girls carries on with the fake relationship for several months.) Adults sleep around, students’ hormones are raging, and there are several LGBTQ characters as well.

Language stops short of harsher expletives (bleeping out the f-word), but at times, it seems the cast is speaking a language made up of euphemisms and innuendos. Drugs are discouraged as a general rule, but that doesn’t stop several adult characters from getting drunk after hours. And even though Jack has made it clear that his revenge schemes should never involve murder, people still manage to get hurt as a point of comedy.

All in all, A.P. Bio has very little to do with biology and very much to do with all the things you wouldn’t want your teenager learning at school. Or on television either, for that matter.

Episode Reviews

Sept. 3, 2020, Episode 1: “Tiny Problems”

When the principal’s assistant, Helen, joins A.P. Bio to earn credits for her high school diploma, Jack tricks her into thinking his latest revenge plot is actually a biology project. Meanwhile, Principal Durbin and the other teachers scramble to fulfill Helen’s duties in her absence.

Someone talks about sex toys. A teacher makes a joke about “Plan B” after another teacher staples condoms to sex ed pamphlets. There is a euphemism about male genitals. A woman says that she never looks at herself in the nude since she received her father’s eye in an organ transplant. An unmarried couple lives together.

A girl suggests using a “porch turd” to get revenge. A woman gets a massive wedgie twice and asks the people around her to help her fix it. Someone accidentally smashes several dollhouses. A boy has a throwing star stuck in his leg. Several people are bullied.

We hear “h—” and “b–ch” several times. The f-word is bleeped out once. We also hear several misuses of God’s name. A woman says, “Oh my fanny.”

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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