- Audience-Alienating Premise: A Sadist Teacher attempts to get his students to assist him in emotionally torturing his nemesis to the point of destroying his career while actively refusing to teach. For a prime time sitcom, this show is a hard sell for general audiences.
- Awesome Music:
- Broken Base: Is the second season's Lighter and Softer approach a glowing example of a show Growing the Beard and finding a more consistent voice, or an unfortunate case of Executive Meddling that caused the show to lose a good deal of the edge that made it stand out?
- Crosses the Line Twice: Season 2 amps the Ship Tease between Heather and Dan Decker up to being nothing short of semi-erotic sexual tension. The gratuity of it all is counterbalanced by just how over the top it is, along with how heavily it clashes with Heather's homely appearance.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Many critics have complained that Jack is too despicable of a protagonist for the series to be enjoyable or interesting to watch.
- Ensemble Dark Horse:
- Heather was an instant hit, propelling her into Ascended Extra status in a very short amount of time. Anthony is another example, due to his tendency to have very quotable lines despite never getting much focus in the first season.
- Both Helen and Coach Novak are also very popular relative to their limited screen time. Likely as a result of this, Helen was promoted to the main cast in season 2.
- Devin, as a Troubled, but Cute loner who is the focus of several of the most emotionally-charged moments in the series, was very popular, but departed after the first season.
- Funny Moments:
- Jack doing spot-on impressions of Anthony, Victor, Marcus and Sarika in "Walleye". They all have such distinct voices that it's surprising to hear them replicated so closely.
- Anthony and Grace jamming out during "We Don't Party". They're both going at it hard with looks that show they consider what they're doing to be Serious Business of the highest order.
- Everything about the Congo-themed Sadie Hawkins dance in the first season finale. Nobody but Principal Durbin even remembers what the movie was about, yet Principal Durbin acts as though it's the single greatest idea ever, and gets really specific with the references.
- Heartwarming Moments:
- Jerkass Woobie: Jack is an asshole for sure, but he's also suggested to genuinely be going through an emotional crisis that he refuses to confront directly.
- Just Here for Godzilla: The show's biggest draw for many is getting to see Glenn Howerton play a Dennis Reynolds-esque character in a school setting.
- Ho Yay: Played for Laughs. Colin seems to be convinced that Anthony is into him, despite there being no suggestion that he actually is.
- One-Scene Wonder:
- Taran Killam as Jack's too-good-to-be-true substitute Mr. Vining. He's on screen for a little over a minute and yet he's such a Large Ham that he sticks with you.
- Philip, the overly-friendly "teacher tickler" from the episode "Teacher Jail", leaves a fairly big impression on most viewers in spite of his one-shot character status.
- Tear Jerker: Devin revealing to Miles that he isn't his real son, and Miles' immediate reaction.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Both Devin and Colin, two of the standout members of the student cast, vanish without a trace in season 2.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Jack and Durbin's status at roommates never gets brought up after the episode in which it happens, despite it not being undone by the end of it. A later episode has Durbin refer to Jack as his "former roommate," confirming that their living together ended some time off screen.
- Ugly Cute: Heather is a mousy, awkward nerd who is made to both look and act rather off-putting. That said, she's still endearing, which is aided by the fact that she's played by an obviously attractive actress.
- The Woobie: To a certain extent, Jack's entire class could count. While many of them are weird and some of them are unpleasant, they're not exactly wrong to be upset that Jack isn't preparing them for the AP test. Principal Durbin also counts, as he's constantly made to suffer for his meekness in spite of being a perfectly decent guy.
YMMV / AP Bio