(KGET) — At least one class is going back to school during the pandemic as the gang from the NBC series “A.P. Bio” will be taking their seats for a third season. The big difference is that instead of being broadcast by the network, the next round of classes – eight episodes – will be available through the streaming service Peacock starting Sept. 3.
Glenn Howerton – best known for his work on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” – returns to the head of the class as disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar Jack Griffin. The disgraced scholar has lost his dream job and is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher.
He hates the idea of teaching biology but realizes that a room full of honor roll students where he can use their brains to his advantage. Griffin must also deal with Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt).
Howerton has been working on the new season of “A.P. Bio” while continuing to star on the offbeat “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” He describes the two comedy series as being completely different worlds.
“They don’t feel the same to me. It’s almost like – this might sound weird – but it’s almost like being in two different bands or something, and the sound of one band is completely different. The sound and vibe of one band is completely different than the sound and vibe of another band,” Howerton says. “So one of the things I love about the show is that (executive producer) Mike’s (O’Brien) writing is very different from my writing and the writing that we do on ‘Sunny.’
“But it’s so great and so funny, and it feels different enough to where it’s not difficult for me to distinguish between the two.”
Howerton sees the main difference between the two characters is that at his heart, Griffin is a good guy who is just afraid to admit it. His “Sunny” character of Dennis falls short of coming close to being a good guy.
Griffin has a good center but does some pretty questionable things. Howerton has had to find the line between making the character a rogue without letting him slip into a villainous pit.
“I think the key is that you always have to feel the insecurity that’s behind it all. I think it’s also important that his bad behavior is not rewarded, which it isn’t,” Howerton says. “It’s one of the things I love about Mike’s writing and what the writers have done with the show is that for as many awful things as he does and as many awful intentions as he has there’s just always these great surprising moments of tenderness and heart, and bonding.
“And you can just see that in spite of the fact that he wants to separate himself from the other characters, the other teachers, and even the students, he just keeps getting closer and closer to these people and becoming better and better friends with them, and I think he really sees a lot of himself in these kids, and you can just tell that he, in spite of his actions, he loves these kids.”
“A.P. Bio” is part of the double whammy of an acting life that continues the steady work Howerton has found in the industry since he was in his early ‘20s. His big break came in 2002 with the short-lived “That ’80s Show” but he went on to guest star on “ER.” His film credits include “Must Love Dogs,” “Serenity,” “Two Weeks,” “Crank” and “The Strangers.”
His journey to an acting career started with Howerton attending the drama department at the Juilliard School. He was a better student at Julliard than when he was attending high school in Alabama.
“I was a good student, A, B student, I would say. But then when I got to high school I started drinking; started drinking a little bit,” Howerton says. “I started not caring that much about what people did in history times. I was more interested in what my friends were doing now which was drugs and drinking.
“I kept it together. I think I straddled both worlds fairly well. But I did get a couple Fs. But then I decided to be an actor. So now I can just be a full-blown idiot and it doesn’t matter.”
And he’s getting to be a “full-blown idiot” for another season of “A.P. Bio.” The streaming service series also stars Mary Sohn (“Work in Progress”), Lyric Lewis (“Baskets”), Jean Villepique (“Sharp Objects”) and Paula Pell (“Saturday Night Live”).