Improv group the Katydids, whose web series is the basis for the new TV Land series Teachers, said they learned a lot about the entertainment industry from the child actors used in the show, and their moms.
“We always feel like the kids are honest,” one of the Katydids said of the child actors on the series. “They’re the ones who tell you if you’re fat, or have a pimple.”
“One of the kids said, ‘When did you get your SAG card?’,” another K-did marveled at that pint-sized put-down. Still another remembered a stage mom sniffing she did not recognize any of the adult cast members.
Teachers is part of TV Land’s transformation toward single-camera, edgier comedy. These teachers refuse to read fairytales because “sometimes Prince Charming wants to date other people,” while simultaneously hitting on the resident “hot dad.” The Katydids – Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Kathryn Renée Thomas – who star and exec produce – described their 20-something characters sometimes coming to work hung over, or trolling Tinder for their next date while students are working on a classroom project.
A lot of the series is based on personal experience. Showing women in their 20s having an inappropriate workplace realationship is funny, but, “when it’s in front of children it’s so much funnier,” a K-did explained.
Each teacher represents a type. One did not think she’d be teaching this long, wants to be a wife and mom, and intends to “punch out” as soon as she lands a man.
Another has a faith-based message she wants to impart to children. One teacher was “brutally bullied” as a kid and got into teaching to “crush any bullies” and “protect and lift up all the losers” in the student body – an interesting way to describe bullying victims in 2016. On the other hand, yet another teacher character foists her “left-wing agenda on her students.”
Caitlan Barlow actually was a fourth-grade teacher by day, doing improv at night. When Teachers got picked up to series, her school principal announced over the intercom system that she was “moving to Hollywood to become a movie star.” It did not get quite the reax expected. “Everyone looked at her like she was totally delusional and said, ‘You go get them, girl’,” a K-did kolleague reported.