TV Review: Big School

TV Review: Big School

This is one class worth all of us taking the time to attend

By Mark HadleyWednesday 2 Oct 2013TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

Big School is a return to old-school comedy: adult humour without the usual barrage of blue jokes and profanity. Best of all, it raises wry smiles as we consider some of the real problems in life.

 'Big School' takes us back to old-school comedy

David Walliams of Little Britain fame stars as Mr Church, a chemistry teacher on the verge of quitting his dreary high school when he is stunned by the arrival of the new French teacher. Miss Postern, played by English comedy stalwart Catherine Tate, is a lover of everything continental, though she’s never actually left the country. ‘Churchy’ is socially inept by nature but each episode does his best to try and impress Miss Postern with his knowledge of things he knows nothing about – like French, for example. Meantime Miss Postern spends her days trying to inspire students and staff alike with a series of talent quests and ‘totally fab’ activities that regularly fall flat. Together, and apart, they’re pitted against a hopeless faculty led by an antagonistic, drunken principal, and a student body that’s learned long ago that texting can be the best way to ignore what a teacher is saying.

Big School is not the first sit-com to set up shop in a school, nor the first to entertain us with the antics of self-conscious and stupidly unaware teachers. But given the increasing lewdness of the Little Britain series, I was encouraged to discover that Walliams still knew how to write jokes without resorting to sexual innuendo. There is some, of course, but the lion’s share of the humour centres on our very common struggle to reach the goals we set for ourselves.

Mr Church is clearly infatuated with Miss Postern, and just as clearly clueless about how to win her affections. Throw in the competition represented by the reprehensible PE teacher Mr Gunn, and a certain desperation emerges – like his readiness to consider the merger of her draughts club with his chess club, creating the school’s first ‘Chaughts’ club. Likewise Miss Postern displays her own desperation to be liked by trying to impress the other teachers with her social awareness, and the students with her creative – read ludicrous – teaching style. The comedy comes from watching their plans come apart because they cannot control their circumstances or the people around them. Together they represent more ridiculous examples of the anxiety Jesus warned could easily become the driving force of our own lives.

Because Big School is a comedy it’s answers to combating life’s worries don’t stretch much further than muddling on regardless. However when Jesus encountered people focused on their daily anxieties, he taught them that the way forward was to look in a different direction altogether:

“Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  

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It’s a verse that’s been ill-used by name-it-and-claim-it ministries, but the truth remains for every Mr Church and Miss Postern. The way to security is to hand your problems over to someone who can actually do something about them – who, if you call Him Father, has actually promised to do so. It’s not as though you’re evading your responsibilities. We regularly find ourselves combating problems we can do nothing about, so Jesus’ advice is to do just that. Instead, address yourself to the task that God has set before you – understanding and applying Kingdom principles in your life – while the King takes care of the things he knows you need.

And in the meantime, you can always amuse yourself by watching Big School and learning what happens when we actually operate as though we could control the outcome of our lives. 


Rating: M
Distributor: Nine Network 
Release Date: Tuesdays 8:30 PM