Question: What do Teachers, Mel Gibson, and BP have in common? Answer: A serious public relations problem.
Week-in-and-week-out, the primetime television landscape is littered with hour-longs showing doctors as heroic do-gooders (See: GREY’S ANATOMY, PRIVATE PRACTICE), lawyers fighting the good fight (See: THE WHOLE TRUTH, THE DEFENDERS and LAW & ORDER: SVU/LA) and cops cleaning up the streets (See: The entirety of CBS’ schedule). Yet when it comes to teachers, it’s an entirely different story.
Or at least that’s the conclusion we’ve reached following the recent string of small screen student/teacher relationships featured on the likes of GOSSIP GIRL, 90210 and LIFE UNEXPECTED, among others.
Rather than paint them for what they are — caring and passionate professionals (see: BEVERLY HILLS 90210’s Mrs. Teasley and to a slightly lesser extent SAVED BY THE BELL’s Mr. Belding) — the current crop of small screen educators are more often than not portrayed as lecherous men (or women) intent on preying on their students.
All of which begs the question, what’s the deal? When did teachers become such an easy target and more importantly, which brave showrunner (cough*Aaron Sorkin*cough) is going to be the first to stand up and deliver a series that will do for for teacher’s what THE WEST WING did for politicians?