If You’re Not Watching ‘Those Who Can’t,’ You’re Doing TV Wrong

If there were justice in this world, more people would know about Those Who Can’t. The TruTV sitcom — their first scripted comedy — just entered its third season last month. The show is about four misfit teachers — well, technically, two teachers, a gym coach and a librarian — at Smoot High in Denver, Colorado. The show has a packed cast and is a great example of the modern sitcom. So why isn’t everyone talking about it?

Those Who Can‘t stars Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl, members of the Denver comedy group The Grawlix, as Billy Shoemaker (the history teacher who used to play in a punk band), Loren Payton (the lazy, selfish Spanish teacher), and Andy Fairbell (the dim, sweet gym coach). Fairbell could be compared to Coach Steve in Big Mouth, but Those Who Can’t came first, so there.

If you don’t know these three — well, you should, they’re amazing — but they’ve been joined by such greats as Maria Thayer (playing Abbey Logan, the fourth member of the gang and decidedly not the voice of reason), Rory Scovel (as Geoffrey Quinn, the good-hearted, naive principal) and Sonya Eddy as Tammy, the school secretary and the only one with any sense. Other recurring actors you’ll know are the delightful Rich Fulcher (of Snuff Box fame), Kyle Kinane and Mary Lynn Rajskub. But the biggest addition to the cast in Season 3 has been national treasure Jerry Minor as foil Steven Sweeney, the new guidance counselor.
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(Seriously, why isn’t Jerry Minor huge? He’s so good in everything!)

This amazing cast isn’t squandered, either. Those Who Can’t is fantastically written as the subplots fold in on themselves. Each Those Who Can’t script is almost like a perfect machine. Watching the subplots come together is a ballet of chaos. My favorite episode is the Season 1 episode “The Fairbell Tape,” in which the PTA bans junk food from the halls of Smoot. Meanwhile, Fairbell has to teach sex-ed despite being inexperienced (and perhaps asexual — it’s not really clear) — but he does have a tape of what Fairbell considers pornography. The tape, despite being a surreal video collage, is apparently the sexiest thing on earth. Abbey and Shoemaker try to infiltrate the PTA to undo the candy ban. While this is going on, Loren starts making rock candy in a Breaking Bad riff. And yet, these disparate elements all come crashing together. And, given the amount of text I’ve written explaining the episode, it might surprise you to find that the story comes together in a mere 21 minutes.

There was a hiatus between Those Who Can’t‘s second and third seasons — and the aired Season 3 episodes so far have a copyright date of 2017. I’m not sure what the cause for the delay was — and I only hope that the delay isn’t a sign that this is the final season. Like another show about a school, Those Who Can’t definitely deserves its six seasons and a movie.

Watch the Those Who Can’t Season 3 trailer below:

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