“I’ve always had a lot of fun playing characters who think they are better than they really are. I think it’s just something that I find really funny in real life,” Glenn Howerton reveals. The It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star is talking about his new role in NBC’s A.P. Bio. His character, the vengeful and riotous Jack Griffin, is a disgraced Harvard professor who reluctantly returns to his hometown to teach high-school biology.
“For various reasons, he was passed up for tenure. He believed it was some kind of internal grudge between him and his boss,” Howerton explains. “He ends up getting in a fistfight with an 80-year-old man [who kicks his butt], and he gets fired.”
With no money to his name, Jack moves back to his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, and accepts a job at his local high school. “I think he is teaching A.P. Biology because that was the only position that was open, but he has no intention of teaching it,” Howerton says. “It’s a reversal of the movie that you’ve seen one thousand times where the teacher goes into the classroom of really out-of-control kids who have no interest in learning anything and turns the whole class around.”
The real fun begins when Jack realizes his students are actually smart and seizes the opportunity “to basically turn them into his lackeys,” Howerton says. “He begins using them to get revenge on people and try to get his dream job, which is head of the philosophy department at Stanford.”
But underneath the snark and biting arrogance is a softer side to Jack. “He sort of ends up being a role model in spite of the fact that he’s not a role model. … What I love about Jack is that he doesn’t treat kids like they’re kids. He does this beautiful thing by saying, ‘I’m not going to stand up here and be your babysitter.’”
Even though Jack gets an F at teaching, NBC’S A.P. Bio gets an A+ in our books as a fresh laugh-out-loud satire on the teacher-student relationship.
A.P. Bio > NBC > Sneak Peek Feb. 1; Airs Thursdays beginning March 1