Review: AP Bio (US: NBC) and Let’s Get Physical (US: Pop)

Two derivative US sitcoms in search of some laughs

Let's Get Physical

I don’t honestly have a huge amount to say about the following two shows, so since they’re derivative US comedies that aren’t that funny, I thought I’d stick them together and create a whole review. How’s that for innovation?

Let's Get Physical

Let’s Get Physical (US: Pop)

Short story

Basically Dodgeball with a hint of Blades of Glory but with aerobics instead of dodgeball or ice skating. Or jokes.

Longer story

Matt Jones (Breaking Bad) is a former teenage aerobics star who screwed up and ended up going to seed and becoming a Wedding Singer. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend (Nip/Tuck‘s AnnaLynne McCord) ended up marrying his arch-rival Chris Diamantopoulos (Silicon Valley).

His tyrannical father dies, but stipulates in his will that for Jones to inherit the $8m coming to him, he has to beat McCord and Diamantopoulos at an aerobics competition or they’ll get it instead. So Jones is forced to recruit his mother (Jane Seymour – yes, that one) and anyone else who’ll dance with him, including criminals, to take on his former rivals… and get back into shape.


Diamantopoulos is good again as a total alpha dick and it’s nice to see Seymour in a starring role again. But if you’ve seen Dodgeball, you’ll have seen all the good jokes done before and much better by Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, and honestly, jokes about Jones being a bit unfit don’t come anywhere close to being as funny as people having balls and wrenches thrown in their faces.

AP Bio

A.P. Bio (US: NBC)

Short story

Failed Harvard philosophy professor (Glenn Howerton) loses his job and ends up as a teacher at a High School. However, instead of teaching his brainy class about advanced biology, he uses them to get back at his arch-rival (PhoneShop‘s Tom Bennett).

Longer story

While CBS spends its time iterating formats until it gets them right, NBC seems to be working on ways to take good formats and make them slightly worse. However, while Great News was still a very good show, if not quite 30 Rock great, AP Bio is a pretty poor version of Community, with Howerton taking on Joel McHale’s role of the smart cynical high-flyer who doesn’t give a f*ck about anyone else and ends up slumming it in the minor educational leagues.

The first episode is all about Howerton, with minimal attempts to give anyone else anything to do –even Happy!‘s Patton Oswald just gets to walk on, act frustrated, then walk out again. Howerton’s just a bitter, narcissistic loser, though, rather than a source of wit, which means most of the few gags that work are those given to his arch-rival Bennett, although Howerton tasking his class to reverse-Catfish Bennett did earn a bit of a chuckle.

Still, despite Howerton’s insistence that they’re not going to learn anything from him and it won’t be uplifting and Breakfast Clubby for anyone, how long do you reckon it’ll be before that changes?

Here’s a trailer, and if you want to see for yourself the show’s averageness in full, you can watch the whole first episode afterwards.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.