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A.P. Bio is a comedy series that aired for two seasons on NBC, created by Mike O'Brien.

When Harvard philosophy professor Jack Griffin (played by Glenn Howerton) fails to get his dream job and reluctantly moves back to Toledo, Ohio, to work as a high school Advanced Placement Biology teacher, he makes one thing very clear: he will not be teaching one bit of biology. Instead, realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack recruits the kids to help him mentally break his job-stealing nemesis Miles Leonard and win back the position that's rightfully his.

On July 17 2019, Peacock, the upcoming NBCUniversal streaming service, revived it for a third season.


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This show provides examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Sarika, which makes it all the more infuriating for her when Jack flat-out refuses to do any teaching. Her default expression in the classroom is a disapproving glower. Later episodes reveal that, in spite of her preppy exterior, she actually is not any more popular than the rest of Jack's class.
  • The Ace: Overwhelming success seems to come easily to Miles, which is a big part of the reason why Jack hates him.
  • Acrofatic: Anthony is, for lack of a better word, quite huge, but is shown intensely dancing his ass off alongside the much more petite Grace in "We Don't Party".
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • By the latter half of the first season, Heather has taken to calling Jack "Boss".
    • Stef and Mary have a plethora of these for Principal Durbin.
  • Alpha Bitch: Dallas is a parody of this. While she acts like the typical abusive queen bee, complete with a posse of lackeys, she's the captain of the school's drumming team and only popular in comparison to the very unpopular kids in Jack's class.
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  • Ambiguously Gay: Anthony is generally rather effeminate and seems to have no problem with the idea of Devin being into him.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Jack does not care about teaching at all, his only goal being to try and gain vengeance on his nemesis. He's later shown to actually possess a good amount of knowledge about biology, but refuses to teach any of it to the students. The other teachers are also willing to exploit their students to make them do whatever menial tasks they need done, but at least try to do it under the guise of teaching their designated subjects, which Jack does not.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • While she spends the first two episodes as little more than a visual gag, Heather's focus and number of lines increase dramatically over the course of the first season.
    • Helen goes from a supporting character who is absent from several episodes of the first season to a main cast member that plays a prominent role in nearly every episode of the second.
    • Dale the janitor appears in only a single episode in the first season, but becomes a recurring character in the second.
    • Marissa spends most of the first season as a Living Prop, but eventually gets a few lines of dialogue in the later episodes. She and several of the other Living Prop class members start receiving more lines in season two, perhaps to compensate for the disappearing class members.
  • Band Geek: Colin is a classic example. He's an awkward pudgy red-haired kid who is really into playing the saxophone, despite not being especially good at it.
  • Berserk Button: Jack has too many to list. Some examples include:
    • Trying to get him to actually teach his class.
    • Bringing up Miles in any capacity beyond discussing his destruction.
    • Attempting to psychoanalyze his behavior.
    • Questioning his prowess with women.
    • Pitying him.
    • Jazz music. Rap music. Probably all music.
    • The word "hangry".
    • Marcus' voice.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Grace is quite possibly the sweetest person in Jack's class. She's also the first to suggest dissolving what she believes to be an unconscious body in order to dispose of any evidence of foul play on her and her friends' part.
  • Bi the Way: Devin is revealed to be fluid in one episode. Since it's mentioned offhand by Anthony, though, it's unclear how accurate this is.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 1 ends with one. In the season finale, Jack's shoe-in to fill in for Miles as the head of Philosophy at Stanford is revoked after the Dean fires Miles (as a result of the catfishing scheme that Jack pulled in the pilot) and decides that Jack, who Miles recommended, would be an unsuitable replacement, tainting Jack's career by proxy and forcing him to remain in Toledo and continue teaching AP Bio. He is cheered up by his students, who inspire him to expand their plot from simply getting revenge on Miles to getting revenge on every single thing in the world that bothers them. The episode ends with Jack enthusiastically (and happily) scribbling down new ideas for revenge targets with his class.
  • Black and Nerdy: Anthony, one of Jack's more prominent students.
  • Blind Without 'Em: In season two, Heather's Coke-bottle glasses get knocked off, causing her to fumble around the ground looking for them. Incidentally, they're far-sighted glasses, so she should have stepped back to get a better idea of where they landed.
  • Boisterous Weakling: For all of his big talk, Jack is absolutely pathetic in a fight, getting handily beaten by two old men in the first season alone.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Sarika is, judging from her name, of Indian descent and is an Academic Alpha Bitch. Subverted with her mom, who, despite possessing the accent most commonly associated with the stereotype, is actually a lax party girl who is just as annoyed by her daughter's obsession with academics as everyone else is.
  • Book-Ends: Season two begins with an early joke where Jack thinks that a girl in his class is new, only for her to state that she's been there the whole time. The season ends with Jack again mistaking her for a new student, causing her to make the same objection.
  • Brick Joke: The sign that Jack destroys on his first day is one of the running gags established early on, before being resolved in episode 3 when it's rebuilt at the cost of lab equipment upgrade.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Jack has a doctorate from Harvard and was in the running to become a professor there as well, so he's clearly quite intelligent. Once his goal is stymied, however, he regresses into a Jaded Washout and does nothing constructive with himself except plan revenge.
  • The Bully: Dan Decker is introduced as such, but is quickly revealed to be a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Principal Durbin tends to get taken advantage of and/or humiliated Once per Episode.
    • Of the students, Victor is the most prone to embarrassing himself, while Marcus tends to suffer the most abuse from Jack.
    • All of the faculty pick on fellow teacher Dave, who always protests but does nothing else to stand up for himself.
  • Casanova Wannabe:
    • One of Jack's primary goals upon moving to Toledo is to have sex with as many women as possible. By the end of the first season, he has only managed to have sex with one.
    • Eduardo, a new student introduced in season two, seems to be fixated on the opposite sex, but is an awkward nerd without any kind of chance with most of the women he pursues.
  • Cast Herd: Season two generally groups the show's rather large cast into three distinct setups: Jack and his students, Durbin and Helen, and Stef, Mary and Michelle. It's not uncommon for Jack to interact with characters from the other two groups, but the plot mostly prioritizes focusing on his relationships with his students over them.
  • Catchphrase: Jack enters his classroom and usually says some variation of "Everybody start to shut up now!"
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Stef and Mary are portrayed as much more overtly mean-spirited people in the pilot than they are anywhere else in the series, where they're consistently shown to be Jerks With Hearts of Gold.
    • Grace is presented as being the most normal of Jack's students (to the point of verging into being The Generic Guy) throughout the first season, but becomes The Pollyanna and a Stepford Smiler in the second.
  • The Charmer: While Jack is usually an apathetic jerk, he's very capable of turning up the charm while attempting to seduce women. He is almost always foiled in his attempts to do so anyway, though, either by an outside interference or his own failings.
  • Children Raise You: Parodied. One of the first things Jack says after making it clear to the class that he won't be teaching them anything is that it also isn't a case where they'll be the ones teaching him things.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Devin, the Satan-worshiping outcast, and Colin, the doofy sax player, vanish from the class in the second season without explanation. Their seats are taken by Caleb and Eduardo, who are treated as if they've always been there.
    • Miles doesn't get so much as a mention in season two, though whether this is due to Jack's plan to get him deported at the end of season 1 actually succeeding offscreen, Jack simply overcoming his grudge, or some other third thing isn't made clear
  • Cloudcuckoolander: A sizable chunk of the cast, but the standout examples are Victor, Heather, Colin, Michelle, Dale and Helen. Principal Durbin is a subtler example, as while he generally appears to be fairly sensible, if very desperate, his hobbies are shown to be very bizarre.
  • Cool Big Bro: Dan Decker appears to be this to his little brother Jeffy, taking him to a hockey game and letting him cuddle up against him when he falls asleep during it.
  • Cool Loser: Grace is pretty, friendly, upbeat and not particularly socially awkward, but, like the rest of Jack's class, is still considered to be an outcast within the student body.
  • Cool Teacher:
    • Principal Durbin tries (and fails) to come off as a variant of this. Stef and Mary arguably play it straighter, as while they're apathetic about their jobs, they at least make a token effort to teach their classes and appear to be fairly well-liked by their students. Jack completely averts and slightly parodies it.
    • Also parodied by Mr. Vining, a teacher sent to replace Jack who acts like he just stepped off the set of Dead Poets Society before getting unceremoniously booted out of the class by Jack just moments after introducing himself.
  • Covert Pervert: The mousy, quiet and awkward Heather is constantly suggested to be exceptionally (and frighteningly) hornier than the rest of her classmates.
  • Creepy Monotone: Heather generally speaks in a low, raspy monotone.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: To prove a point, Jack asks his students to raise their hands if they masturbate. Naturally, only Victor raises his.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Helen is revealed to have one across season two that is so over the top that it's downright hilarious. A particular highlight is the fact that, after getting stranded on a rafting trip with her friend, she was tricked into eating said friend by some scheming locals.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Several episodes in the first season focus on one student in particular:
    • "Catfish" focuses on Devin and Dan Decker.
    • "Overachieving Virgins" focuses on Marcus.
    • "Freakin' Enamored" focuses on Colin.
    • "We Don't Party" focuses on Victor.
    • "Eight Pigs and a Rat" focuses on Heather.
    • "Walleye" focuses on Devin.
    • "Nuns" focuses on Anthony.
    • "Spectacle" prominently features Caleb, one of the new students in season two.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Anthony has a sassy quip ready to be delivered in a dry, tired-sounding voice for any situation.
  • The Dividual: While not quite identical to each other, Stef and Mary have several overlapping characteristics and quirks, and are generally never seen apart from each other.
  • The Ditz: Victor is quite clearly the dopiest kid in Jack's class, though Colin comes in a close second. The fact that they're both in an AP class implies that they have book smarts but have otherwise been coddled to the point of idiocy. Dale the janitor is also regularly shown to be a bumbling nincompoop who is so easily deceived that he's effortlessly tricked into believing that his missing mop was transformed into a dog by a magical dumpster.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Marcus finally gets to retaliate against Jack's mistreatment of him when his position as Student Council President grants him power over things that Jack wants. The episode ends with him getting knocked back into submission, but also suggests that his relationship with Jack has improved somewhat.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: When he finds out that his students made efforts to nail job interviews only because they pitied him, Jack comes in and explains why they should never do this.
  • Dreadful Musician: Colin is a downplayed example. He actually can play the saxophone, he's just incredibly mediocre at it. Combined with the entire cast's apparent hatred for jazz music, and his music becomes a rather powerful weapon.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Coach Novak is a parody of the hardass gym teacher cliche. While he attempts to seem tough, he mostly just comes of as a rather buffoonish old man.
  • Drunk with Power: Anthony becomes a power-abusing tyrant after principal Durbin gives him the position of his stand-in for being the Bearer of Bad News to the school's faculty.
  • Education Mama: Played straight with most of the class's parents but subverted with the Academic Alpha Bitch Sarika's mom. It turns out she's annoyed with her daughter focusing so much on academics and would rather be poolside sipping cocktails than attending a parent-teacher conference.
  • Enemy Mine: Sarika hates Jack for not preparing her for the AP test, but is willing to assist him with his schemes so that he'll leave Toledo and she can get an actual biology teacher.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Jack is implied to actually be very broken up by his mom's death but repressing his feelings. While the full extent of their relationship has not been touched on, he has no problem saying that he loved her, which is unusual for him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In spite of being supremely self-absorbed and vindictive, Jack occasionally expresses some sort of moral objection, often as part of a joke. In season two, while laying turf, he asks his co-workers if all the rolly-polly bugs getting covered by the turf will "be okay."
  • Eviler Than Thou: Devin, generally one of the only students to be on board with Jack's revenge schemes against Miles, finds himself unable to stomach posing as Miles' son for the sake of destroying him emotionally.
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • Principal Durbin is a weak-willed and sycophantic man who is easily intimidated and manipulated. One episode focuses on his desire to stand up for himself. He uses a magazine ad reading "Never Compromise" as his inspiration, but routinely fails to develop a backbone.
    • Dave is a teacher who gets abused by the rest of the staff whenever he appears. He ineffectually complains about their pranks but does nothing to put a stop to them.
  • False Friend: Miles considers Jack to be his buddy, despite Jack wanting to destroy his life.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Whenever Jack's students are chatting amongst each other, some very funny lines can be caught off hand. Of note is Colin's claim that "Dumbledore is clearly Ron Weasley in a wig" while discussing Harry Potter.
    • One of the moai heads present during the Congo dance in the first season finale is styled after Patton Oswalt's face.
  • Full-Name Basis: Dan Decker is almost always referred to as Dan Decker.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Anthony wears a new one at least Once per Episode. A more subtle example, Colin seems to always wear Tee Turtle shirts under his button-downs.
  • The Generic Guy: Of the important students in Jack's class, Grace is the only one lacking in any kind of outstanding traits. While she has traces of being the Only Sane Man, she does not directly call out the behaviors of other characters often enough to really count. Season two seems to have settled on her being The Pollyanna.
  • The Ghost: Michelle's often mentioned but never seen husband, who is suggested to be even weirder than she is, is this throughout season one. He finally appears in season two.
  • Happily Married: While Michelle and her husband are very clearly a couple of weirdos, they also seem to have a great relationship. In comparison, Jack, Stef and Mary are all single and have unfulfilling love lives, while Durbin is a Henpecked Husband who is later kicked out of his house by his wife.
  • Henpecked Husband: Principal Durbin is one to an extremely passive-aggressive and brow-beating wife.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Dan Decker appears to simply be The Bully during his introduction, but is later revealed to have the Freudian Excuse of coming from a Friendless Background due to his family moving around a lot. Upon being placed into Jack's class, he befriends his former bullying target and ends up revealing himself to be a pretty good guy. He's also a talented artist and was on the student council at his old school.
    • Heather's family runs a butcher shop, giving her an expert knowledge of pig anatomy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Jack's plans start to work just after Miles has endorsed his return to the university, effectively getting himself banned from there once and for all.
  • Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: An unmarried example. The tall and muscular Dan Decker has a mutual crush on the mousy and bizarre Heather.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Colin has this reaction when Jack starts telling the class how much he wants to sleep with Colin's mother.
  • In Love with the Mark: A platonic example. Devin takes on the job of posing as Miles' illegitimate son for the sake of eventually crushing him upon revealing that he isn't. Miles ends up being such a loving and inclusive parent that he starts to get cold feet.
  • Insufferable Genius: Sarika and Marcus are both two different kinds of this. Marcus in particular is so grating that even Miles is instantly annoyed by him when they first meet. Miles himself counts as a more benign but just as obnoxious example.
  • Jaded Washout: Jack is a disgraced Harvard philosopher who constantly rubs his sour grapes in the faces of everyone around him.
  • Jerkass: Jack himself is a cruel and cynical guy with a vindictive streak a mile wide. He's suggested to have some semblance of a Hidden Heart of Gold fairly frequently, though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Stef and Mary seem to live for making fun of other people, but are frequently shown to be otherwise decent women.
    • Coach Novak mostly comes off as a wannabe Drill Sergeant Nasty and overall blowhard, but is consistently shown to take getting poked fun at by others in stride, and laughs heartily along with them whenever it happens.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: While Victor and Colin are the dumbest of Jack's students, they're also consistently shown to be some of the sweetest.
  • Left Hanging: The second season finale ends with Helen joining the A.P. Bio class, and Jack is at a loss for how to handle it. The series was canceled after its second season.
  • Lethal Chef: Principal Durbin is suggested to be one. While we never actually get to see anything, his signature dish, "Clams Durbin," is known to contain "lots of dairy" and saffron, and is apparently so disgusting that even Helen can't keep it down.
  • Lighter and Softer: Possibly to address criticisms about the first season being too dark, the second season features Jack showing off his Hidden Heart of Gold more regularly and pushes his obsession with revenge farther into the background.
  • Living Prop: While the majority of Jack's class have fairly distinct characters, there are a handful of students who, while always present in class scenes, never speak a single line of dialogue. This is lampshaded in the first episode of the second season, when Jack welcomes a "new" student, only to discover that she's been there the whole time. He responds, "Well... talk more!" The second season starts a trend of giving more lines to these background characters.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Jack, his class (composed of nine major students), Principal Durban, Stef, Mary and Michelle appear in every single episode, as does Helen starting in the second season. Miles, Coach Novak and Meredith are recurring characters who appear frequently. Many of the students' parents have appeared multiple times, and many more characters make one-shot appearances.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Devin is a classic example of an edgy high school loner, and is prone to talking about death, destruction and the devil.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Parodied. One episode reveals that Victor has a crush on Grace, only for her to admit to dating Marcus. In reality, Grace is in a secret relationship with Devin and lied to keep it confidential. Little did she know that Marcus was secretly dating Sarika, who started revenge dating Devin in retaliation. But Devin is fluid, so he might actually be into Anthony. Immediatly after hearing this, Jack tells the kids that they've got better things to do than gossip about relationships and none of it is ever brought up again.
  • Mama Bear: Sarika ends up becoming this for her simulation baby in "Rosemary's Boyfriend". Not out of any maternal instinct, mind you, just because her grade in health depended on it.
  • Mauve Shirt: Marissa (the overweight girl with glasses who sits in the front row of Jack's class) gets a few lines and even attends Victor's house party, but otherwise does not receive any kind of focus or characterization. This puts her in a strange purgatory between the "major" students and the "background" students. Season two gives a few more of the other Living Prop students dialogue, pushing them into this category as well, perhaps taking a cue from The Office.
  • My Beloved Smother: Marcus' mom is the definition of a coddling parent, so much so that she rigged the student council election just so that he wouldn't have to deal with losing the president's seat to the Big Man on Campus.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Jack occasionally mocks his students over how little they'll likely get laid later in life, with the episode title "Overachieving Virgins" in particular being derived from a comment he makes about the student council.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Helen has so far been shown working as Principal Durbin's secretary, the school nurse and a substitute teacher. Not entirely unbelievable for a teacher at a public school, but still notable due to the series otherwise averting the Two-Teacher School trope.
  • Nice Guy: One of the most insufferable things about Miles is that he genuinely is a great guy, to the point of welcoming who he thinks to be his illegitimate son into his life without hesitation, fully intending to remain a constant part of his life from then on no matter how difficult it may be.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Both Devin and Heather are suggested to have rather deranged interests.
  • No Social Skills: Several of Jack's students are incredibly awkward and have a tendency of Saying Too Much, most notably Victor, Heather and Colin. On the adult side, Principal Durbin comes off as incredibly desperate and lonely in almost every scene he's in.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Both Jack and Colin are implied to have fathers like this. Seeing Colin's disappointment over not getting to see his dad actually causes Jack to empathize with him somewhat.
  • Odd Friendship: Jack steadily comes to genuinely appreciate his friendship with Stef, Mary and Michelle, who are all nothing like him. He is also consistently suggested to like Heather the best out of his students, and she in turn seems to generally be more onboard than the rest of the class with helping him with his schemes.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Strangely inverted. Jack's only job is "teaching" a single period of AP Bio, meaning he works only one hour a day, yet he seems to spend a lot of time on campus and in the teacher's lounge. Why he doesn't just leave immediately after his period ends is never addressed.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, as there is both a "Marisa" (Jack's ex) and a "Marissa" (Jack's student) in the cast. This is helped somewhat by the fact that Marissa is still a Living Prop during the phase of the show with Jack's ex.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Heather sports a pair of thick, far-sighted glasses that make her eyes look enormous at some angles and completely obscured in others.
  • Passive Aggressive Combat: Jack engages in a vicious passive-aggressive rivalry with an ex-flame's boyfriend. They lob a series of Stealth Insults at each other and try to show each other up on several occasions.
  • Pet the Dog: Jack attempts to connect with Dan Decker during lunch and ultimately enrolls him in his class purely to help him earn some friends. When Dan figures out that the quickest way to endear himself to the class is to betray Jack, Jack is impressed.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The central premise of the show. Jack is an AP Biology teacher who refuses to teach any biology to his class. Stef, Mary and Michelle are also almost always seen outside of their respective classrooms.
  • Raging Stiffie: Mixed slightly with Noodle Incident. When Jack is grilling his students for information on who ratted him out to Durbin, Victor cracks and reveals that he got a boner while practicing CPR in health class. Jack cuts him off before he gets to go into detail.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: From overachieving type A's to sheltered weirdos, Jack's class runs the gamut of awkward high school student cliches. Subverted somewhat in that the only times Jack ever tries to rally them into working together with each other is when it's to plot against his nemesis Miles.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Eduardo and Caleb appear out of nowhere in Colin and Devin's seats in the season two premiere. The rest of the cast act as though he had been there the whole time.
  • Retool: Lightly occurs in season two, which quietly drops the character of Miles and most of the first season's focus on revenge plots in favor of shedding more light onto Jack's Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jack bursting into the classroom telling the students to "start shutting up now" (or some variation) while tossing a half-eaten apple core at the trashcan (and usually missing). Late in season one, he's caught off guard when he bounces an apple off the trash in the teacher's lounge and all the teachers shout at him to pick it up.
    • Jack's crude stick-man diagrams of whatever plot he's hatching that he draws on the chalkboard.
    • Stef and Mary calling Principal Durbin by a goofy nickname, such as "Dirty Durbs", "Durbin Outfitters", "Chairman Mralph", "Durby Fully Loaded", "Durbaduke" and so on.
    • Anthony's Unlimited Wardrobe of Fun T-Shirts.
  • Sadist Teacher: While Jack is primarily an Apathetic Teacher, he's not above threatening, manipulating and torturing his students to get them to do what he wants.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Stef is a fairly straightforward example, though the Asian Mary is very similar to her in terms of general behavior. Kim, the teacher's union advocate, is another example. Jack's student Anthony is something of a gender-inverted example, as he tends to be the sassiest of the class, though in a more deadpan way than Stef.
  • Serious Business: The morning announcements are this for both principal Durbin and Helen.
  • Ship Tease:
  • Shout-Out:
    • The main backdrop of the first season finale is a Congo-themed Sadie Hawkins dance. Played for Laughs, as no one but Principal Durbin remembers anything about Congo (in fact, it's suggested that none of the students even know what it is), but he insists on making the dance reference it as specifically as possible.
    • In one episode, a student keeps referencing the "feathers of gossip" speech from Doubt, which Jack immediately recognizes.
  • Simpleton Voice: Victor speaks in a variation of this, where every word that comes out of his mouth is very slow, lilting and deliberate. Jack gets annoyed at how long it takes him to say things as a result.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: While it would be a stretch to say that Jack likes any of his students, he seems to especially hate Marcus, due to his grating voice and tendency to (rightfully) call him out on his behavior.
  • Sixth Ranger: Dan Decker is forcefully recruited into Jack's class at the end of the pilot.
  • Sleep Walking: Principal Durbin has perhaps the strangest case of this in all of fiction, in that he vividly (and loudly) acts out the part of a Quaker aiding slaves in escaping along the underground railroad while doing it.
  • Smug Snake: Marcus has shades of this. While he's generally too powerless to flaunt it, "Overachieving Virgins" really highlights what a dick he can be.
  • Stealth Insult: Jack and Chase, the husband of an ex-flame, engage in a spirited assault of stealth insults at each other until Jack breaks down and insults him directly.
  • Stepford Smiler: Grace maintains an enormous smile and an cheery tone of voice after being told that she'll have to play a tree in the school play, but shatters a glass of water she's holding with one hand.
  • Stern Teacher: Durbin wants to be viewed as one, to the point of claiming that his mantra is "never compromise", but is so desperate to be liked that he pretty much allows anyone to get away with anything after the barest amount of prodding.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Michelle is the only one of the female teacher trio who thinks that Durbin's idea for a Congo-themed Sadie Hawkins dance is a good idea.
  • Straw Loser: Principal Durbin seems doomed to always draw the shortest straw in life.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Victor's parents both have perms and wear sweaters, just like he does.
    • Heather's father also sports coke-bottle glasses and has a permanently vacuous expression.
  • Student Council President: Marcus is the student council president, and a rather controlling one at that. His clash with Jack over vending machine contents results in Jack revealing that his parents had rigged the school election to allow him to win, resulting in him losing his title in the same episode in which it is learned that he held it.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Jack is a philosophy professor who is passing himself off as a biology teacher. When Sarika tries to expose him by asking a biology question in front of school administration, he gives a surprisingly detailed answer. When the administration leaves, Jack states haughtily that just because he refuses to teach biology doesn't mean he doesn't know biology.
  • Take That!: Jack never misses an opportunity to put down Toledo and make it known how much he hates being stuck there.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sarika hates Jack the most out of his students, but will begrudgingly assist him with his schemes for the sake of being able to get rid of him and finally start to actually learn some biology. Jack is often annoyed by Sarika's attitude, but generally treats her much better than he does Marcus.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Stef, Mary and Michelle are a three person example. The case arguably actually is that Stef and Mary fulfill this trope while Michelle is an awkward third wheel.
    • Principal Durbin and Helen settle into this role in season two. Rarely a scene goes by that features one without the other.
  • Toplessness from the Back: An entire episode's subplot revolves around Durbin being pressured by parents into taking down a sketch of Mary's back due to it being perceived as pornography, and the student/teacher backlash that follows his doing so.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jack is frequently seen eating an apple when he enters the classroom, and the series poster features him taking a huge bite out of one. It's a play on the "apple for teacher" cliche.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Promotional images (such as the page picture) tend to portray Principal Durbin with his arms crossed and with a glowering expression on his face, implying that he is some kind of oppressive and disapproving authority figure. In reality, he's an Extreme Doormat who is all too willing to allow Jack to do whatever he wants so that he'll like him. Though considering Durbin's personal creed is, in spite of his actual behavior, "never compromise", it could be argued that this is the point.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Devin.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: While it's typical for a sitcom to include A, B and even C plot lines in each episode, this show is somewhat unusual in that each episode usually compartmentalizes its plots around the same sets of characters: one with Jack's classroom, one with Stef, Mary and Michelle, and one with Durbin and Helen.
  • Undying Loyalty: Helen has an almost unhealthy devotion to Principal Durbin, in great contrast to the rest of his staff's indifference and lack of respect toward him.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Inverted and gender-inverted with Colin and his mom. Colin is a goofy-looking, awkward and annoying Band Geek, while his mom is a beautiful and witty professional musician who looks far too young to have a teenage son.
  • Unknown Rival: Miles Leonard, the man who stole Jack's job, appears totally unaware that Jack is plotting his downfall and even seems to consider them friends with no idea he angered Jack by taking this job.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: As a rule, Jack is the architect of most of the problems; despite the fact that his students propose far saner solutions, he instead opts for more questionable ideas.
  • Unwanted Assistance: When Jack tries to reconnect with his ex Marisa at a supermarket, his efforts are foiled by Durbin's awful (and unprompted) attempt at being a wing man.
    Durbin: Jack's a great guy. Classic lover.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Academic Alpha Bitch Sarika turns out to have a relaxed, party-girl for a mother who complains that her daughter's ambition gets in the way of her poolside drinking.
  • Wild Teen Party: Jack accidentally convinces his students to have one after learning that none of them have ever been to one. Since they're all various kinds of nerds, it's hilariously lame, but they all still get drunk, have a good time and end up causing trouble at the house they hold it in.
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