ByS.C. O'Donnell, writer at
"Zombies, exploding heads...creepy-crawlies and a date for the formal - This is classic, Spanky." Wah-hoo-wah! Twitter: @Scodonnell1
S.C. O'Donnell

What do you get when you take , , and , hire better writers, and put them all in a blender? The answer to that riddle is: Those Who Can’t. In a day and age where there is so much content being created that if you tried to view all of the shows that aired, you would die of an aneurysm, Those Who Can't should definitely be on your watch list.

left to right - Ben Roy, Andrew Overdahl, Adam Cayton-Holland/TruTV
left to right - Ben Roy, Andrew Overdahl, Adam Cayton-Holland/TruTV

The show follows 3 teachers at Reed Smoot High School: Loren Payton (Adam Cayton-Holland), Andy Fairbell (Andrew Orvedahl), and Billy Shoemaker (Ben Roy). These "teachers" show a wanton disregard for the safety of their students, and anyone else for that matter. To assist them in their (sometimes dangerous) exploits is the well-meaning but insanely naive Principal Geoffrey Quinn (Rory Scovel), and Abbey Logan (Maria Thayer) the Red Vine-addicted librarian.

Check out the trailer for Those Who Can't

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If At First You Don't Succeed, Teach!

Those Who Can't is a beautiful mixture of low-brow comedy and fairly cerebral situations. These aforementioned situations have been referred to as "high jinks" in synopses and reviews — however, they are more akin to felonies. The show operates well out of the realm of possibility, but remains oddly grounded. It walks a fine line that most comedies can't even find.

Andrew Orvedahl/Ben Roy/Rory Scovel/Maria Thayer/Adam Cayton-Holland/Those Who Can't/TruTV
Andrew Orvedahl/Ben Roy/Rory Scovel/Maria Thayer/Adam Cayton-Holland/Those Who Can't/TruTV

The idea of the show is simple; three teachers who act like children, teach high school. Like many workplace comedies, it is not the environment that defines the characters, as much as the characters wreaking havoc on their environment. Any show lives and dies by how the characters are received, and the main characters on Those Who Can't are elegant in their simplicity:

  • Loren Payton (Adam Cayton-Holland) - He is a barely capable Spanish teacher whose sense of self entitlement rivals that of any millennial. If there is a poorly thought-out plan, he is usually the root of it.
  • Andy Fairbell (Andrew Orvedahl) - The resident gym teacher, he is a dummy with a heart of gold. He has good intentions, but he is shockingly naive and malleable, which causes him to be at the center of a lot of jokes.
  • Ben Roy (Billy Shoemaker) - An ever nostalgic man who just wants to relive his "glory days". Think of him as Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, only swap out high school quarter back for punk-rock roadie. He is still coming to terms with who he is and what his life has become.
  • Abbey Logan (Maria Thayer) - The school librarian who pretends to be more mature and logical than the three male teachers. However, more times than not, she joins in on any scheme they are involved in.

All of the main characters have well-defined strengths and weaknesses. They complement each other, but don't always work well together, and usually end up hurting one another both physically and emotionally. For a show that hinges on characters, it knocks it out of the park consistently — but enough of my incessant prattle. Let's here what one of the stars/creators has to say about the show!

Billy Shoemaker Speaks!

Ben Roy/Those Who Can't/TruTV
Ben Roy/Those Who Can't/TruTV

We were lucky enough to speak to the show's co-creator Ben Roy - who also plays Billy Shoemaker. Ben was very gracious, taking time out of his busy schedule to give us some insight about the show. Wanting to dig a little deeper, we asked him about about the show’s inception and how it came to air:

So about seven years ago, Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl, and I started a monthly comedy show called 'The Grawlix' in Denver, Colorado. We'd all been stand-up comics together and we were just trying to create our own guaranteed monthly stage time. Wanting more to offer the crowd than just stand up, we eventually decided to start making a web series with the help of these two amazing local filmmakers named The Nix Bros. Not long after we started doing that, they started to get us attention from outside Denver. At that point, we worked with our agents and managers to start developing it as a TV show. We originally pitched the show as a longer form version of the web series, but most networks didn't want a show about a show. Meanwhile, Adam had been working on a show about a school called Those Who Can't. We just took our characters and put them in the world of a struggling Denver high school and pitched that. Amazon originally bought the idea, and then later sold the rights to Turner Broadcasting and TruTV. It's been a long road getting to where we are. But we've learned a ton in the process.

Watch a clip of Those Who Can't below:

Some of the crazy shit that the teachers do on the show is absolutely beyond the realm of what any normal person would even think of. This prompted us to ask if the characters were inspired by any real teachers that he, or the other creators knew from past experiences:

Hahaha, not really. I'm pretty sure if any teacher had done half the things we do on the show, they'd be in prison. There are small inspirations here and there though. I grew up in a real small town called Winthrop, Maine, and our high school mascot was an old broken down bus. We were the Ramblers. It always made me laugh. It was so silly. It's sad face and tongue hanging out. So when we were deciding on the mascot for our high school in the show, we made him Terry the Fightin' Tariff. He's like this angry, rolled up scroll. That was loosely based on the Rambler story, but it's little things like that.

Those Who Can't/TruTV
Those Who Can't/TruTV

The on-screen chemistry between the three stars is off the charts. It definitely looks like they are all friends in real life. So, we asked him what the relationship is like between the stars of the show, off-camera:

We've been working together for about eleven or twelve years. This isn't bullshit just to sell the idea of the show: we're all real close friends. Throughout the years of building this thing from Denver, it took a lot of trust in each other to see it through. We had to rely on each other to pull their part of the weight. There have been so many personal ups and downs over the years, at times someone had to step aside to deal with their life, and the other two would pick up the slack, no questions asked. And we'd be there for each other. Creatively we all share a vision and we really have a democratic process for voting on ideas. Majority vote rules. It's not easy to let something go that you believe to best because the other two don't agree, but that's the process. And it's worked well for us.

Those Who Can't/TruTV
Those Who Can't/TruTV

The character he plays on the show has done some crazy shit. He’s planted drugs in a student's locker and knocked the school mascot unconscious with a folding chair. We asked him to weigh in on his favorite moment playing Billy Shoemaker:

Wow, this is tough. I'm super critical of myself. Hmmm... I think in the first season, it would be a scene in 'Ep.108: Wet Dreams May Come' where Shoemaker is in the teacher's lounge trying to convince Loren to come on the stakeout with him. It's just a fun scene and shows Shoemaker's obvious child-like scheming. As far as this new season, it hasn't aired yet. There's lots. I think from the get-go you really see how warped the character is. We have a trial episode coming up, and Shoemaker's scene is pretty great. Very on point with his character. Tune in!

Check out the Those Who Can't season 2 trailer:

It was amazing that Ben Roy made time for us. We thank him very much. You can thank him personally on Twitter and be sure to follow Andrew Overdahl and Adam Cayton-Holland. You can watch the first season of Those Who Can't on Hulu and be sure to tune in for Season 2 on TruTV — new episode airing November 10th at 10PM/ET.

Sound Off! Do you like Those Who Can't? Let it be known in the comments section below!


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