Bad Teacher Thursdays, 9:30 p.m., CBS.
The main problem with the 2011 Cameron Diaz comedy Bad Teacher was that it failed to live up to its name; Diaz’s shallow, self-centered educator was vulgar and inconsiderate, but only until she learned to care about her job and be a better person, and even fell in love. The TV version of the movie (produced by Diaz) casts Ari Graynor as the title character, and, like the movie, it tries to have things both ways, presenting Graynor’s Meredith Davis as vapid, materialistic and self-absorbed, but with a heart of gold that seems to come and go whenever the plot requires it.
A former trophy wife who got nothing in her divorce, Meredith uses her teaching job to hunt for a new rich husband, but by the end of each episode, she’s put aside her selfishness in order to help a student or a fellow teacher. Graynor can be entertainingly nasty, but the show undermines itself by having her learn heartwarming lessons, only to go back to being narcissistic and oblivious by the beginning of the next episode. If the producers had the courage to make Meredith truly bad, then maybe their show would have been good (or at least better).