we A Teacher Season 1 Premiere Review: A Lackluster Start ~ Naija Poets

It's a tale as old as time: Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy tries to get with girl. Girl is actually boy's teacher.

A Teacher is nothing new; there have been dozens of student-teacher affairs portrayed on the never-ending supply of teen dramas.

These sultry and soapy affairs never end well -- well, rarely, sans Ezria from Pretty Little Liars -- yet they can be deliciously fun to watch.

There's something seductive about forbidden love lust, but whether it's the changing times or the limited series' poor execution, the first three episodes are a grind to get through.

The main problem is pacing.

Maybe, this doesn't work in a binge-watching capacity, but the supposed attraction between leading characters Kata Mara's Claire Wilson and Nick Robinson's Eric Walker feels forced.

Claire: Where were you? I waited in the diner for like 45 minutes.
Eric: Oh shit. I’m sorry. I totally forgot.
Claire: Don’t lie to me. You basically beg me to continue tutoring you, and then you pull this crap.
Eric: What do you want me to say? I can’t stop thinking about you. I mean I have fucking dreams about you. I… I wanted to keep tutoring, but I’m too attracted to you, and I don’t want to get you in trouble. I just… I feel like I can’t control myself around you, and I’m sorry. I should have told you…
Claire: You should go back inside. Just go.

That's not to say that the actors don't have chemistry; it just doesn't feel like it develops from an organic place.

Though cliche, Eric falling for his young and beautiful English teacher makes sense.

Here's a smart and attractive woman who takes time out of her busy schedule to tutor him for free.

Not only that, but Eric feels like he's found a kindred spirit in Claire.

So it's hardly surprising when he develops feelings for her and even less so when he kisses her on A Teacher Season 1 Episode 2.

On paper, this makes sense.

What doesn't is Claire's interest in Eric.

None of the events from A Teacher Season 1 Episode 1 adequately explain why Claire, a married woman, would suddenly fantasize about her 17-year-old student.

Claire: We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.
Eric: I want to.
Claire: Get in the backseat.

Sure, later episodes reveal cracks in Claire and Matt's marriage, as the pair struggle to conceive, but at first glance, there's not much of rational reason why Claire would be having sex dreams about a teenage boy she just met.

It's not until the second episode where Claire and Eric seem to connect emotionally, sharing similar approaches to goals in life and both having endured messy family dynamics.

All that comes out of Claire and Eric's first substantial interaction is a shared appreciation for the service industry and the University of Texas.

This makes it all the more baffling when, minutes after enduring an awkward car ride, Claire finds herself fantasizing about Eric.

Their exchange goes no further beyond simple pleasantries, and yet that seems to be enough for Claire to magically become infatuated with her student overnight.

It's just a perplexing turn of events and sours all the tell-tale signs about Claire and Eric's burgeoning feelings for the other that are supposed to make us swoon.

This increasingly problematic approach may be why teen dramas sometimes choose to have students and teachers fall for each other outside of school.

Examples of this include Ezra and Aria hooking up on Pretty Little Liars before Ezra "knew" Aria was 16 and his student, and Archie and Ms. Grundy's affair on Riverdale, which started during the summer.

Claire: You’ve got to have some sort of idea of what you want to do.
Eric: I want to be a doctor, I think. I sort of have this whole plan.
Claire: Oh, yeah?
Eric: Yeah. I know it’s hard and how expensive it is, but whatever I do, I just want to help other people, you know?
Claire: Yeah, that’s why I wanted to become a teacher.

After all, it's much easier to swallow these relationships, and even hop aboard the 'shipper train, when we don't have to confront the "ick factor" head-on.

However, for argument's sake, let's say that it makes sense why Claire and Eric find themselves attracted to each other.

Even if we concede this fact -- which I still don't -- the buildup to their backseat hookup at the end of A Teacher Season 1 Episode 3 again feels forced.

In the world of A Teacher, it's only been a week since Eric inappropriately kissed Claire at school.

That's a quick turnaround from Claire rebuffing Eric to having sex with him in the backseat of her car after the homecoming dance.

And what's happened at Claire's home life that's supposed to have contributed to this major lapse in judgment?

She's "fighting" with her beyond supportive husband about their future fertility options.

Yes, she could still be mad about Matt blowing their money on instruments and music equipment, which only seemed to be in the script to provide justification for Claire cheating on her husband. But even that isn't reason enough to explain away her 180-degree change.

It makes no sense, and from the audience's perspective even less, as it's barely been 20 minutes from Claire's sudden change in attitude.

It's enough to give anyone whiplash for sure.

Claire: Listen, yesterday was not OK.
Eric: I get it. I do. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.
Claire: I’m gonna find you a new tutor.
Eric: I don’t want a new tutor.
Claire: That is not my problem.
Eric: OK, look, I’m sorry.
Claire: If anyone found out what you did yesterday, my life would be ruined.
Eric: I haven’t told anybody, and I’m not going to. I get it. I’m sorry. I should not have kissed you. I understand that. It’s my fault, and it won’t happen again.
Claire: Good.
Eric: OK, good. You’ll… you’ll still tutor me, right?
Claire: No, no, I’m sorry. No.
Eric: Claire… Ms. Wilson, I can’t afford the classes everyone else takes. Please.
Claire: OK, well…
Eric: I’m asking you…
Claire: Listen, if I agree, then you need to promise me…
Eric: I promise.

All we see is a relationship with no buildup progressing at warp speed, so, Claire's jealousy, Eric's confession, and the minutes leading up to their inevitable hookup are just one-note.

A way to fix these problems, and the pacing overall, could have been just as simple as extending each episode's runtime by another 15 to 30 minutes.

Usually, less is more, so in theory, having the episodes be 20 to 30 minutes makes sense.

However, the short amount of time allotted to each episode forces the plot to be condensed to just the necessities.

There's barely any time for the series to breathe and just be.

The only time it manages to do that is the 10 minutes before Claire and Eric have sex.

It's ironic because those final few minutes of the third episode are great if you just view them in the context of the moment.

If the series had spent four or five episodes building to the climax of the homecoming dance, those scenes would have been so much more powerful rather than the rushed mess they turn out to be.

Logan: Yo, dude, who’s that?
Eric: Oh, yeah, that’s Ms. Wilson. She’s new. She teaches AP English.
Logan: She’s your teacher?
Eric: Yep.
Logan: She is too hot to be a teacher.

It's a shame because those scenes show that the series is capable of good visual storytelling.

So it just makes the whole experience worse when you realize the missed potential.

Some stray thoughts:

  • The series tries way too hard to remind us that Claire is, in fact, a teacher. All the characters keep hammering on about how she's a teacher, as if we'd somehow forget due to Mara's youthful looks. The title of the limited series is A Teacher; we don't need to be reminded every five minutes of Claire's profession.

  • The compact nature of the plot gives little time to flesh out any of the other characters and relationships. This would have been useful on many fronts, especially when it comes to Claire and Matt's marriage and Eric's friendship with Logan and Josh.

  • Those are key relationships which could have better informed our understanding of Claire and Eric and their motives.

  • Is anyone else having a hard time buying Eric and Logan as teenagers? Teen dramas are notorious for casting twentysomethings as teenagers, but Nick Robinson and Shane Harper, who plays Logan, look nothing like high schoolers.

    This is made more evident when the pair share the screen with Dylan Schmid, who plays Josh. Robinson and Harper are 25 and 27, respectively, whereas Schmid is 21.

So what did you think, TV Fanatics?

How do you feel about the first three episodes?

Will you be watching the rest of the limited series?

What are your thoughts on the progression of Claire and Eric's relationship?

Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. 

source https://www.tvfanatic.com/2020/11/a-teacher-season-1-premiere-review-a-lackluster-start/


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