'Bad Teacher': Ari Graynor hasn't seen the Cameron Diaz movie

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When "Bad Teacher" debuts on CBS, don't expect it to be too similar to the Cameron Diaz movie, even if it served as inspiration. In fact, Ari Graynor, who plays the Diaz role on the show, isn't all that familiar with the movie.

"I have not seen the movie and I knew when this was happening I specifically dodged the movie," she tells Zap2it. "Our show and the movie are two totally different entities that share the name. Of course, it's a hilarious and fertile idea to put a woman who has no intentions of being a teacher in a school. That's a comedic moment ready to happen."

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Besides, as Graynor explains, "If I had seen the movie or felt like the same character, I would have been comparing myself to her all the time." With this being her first time leading a show, that's definitely not something she wanted to pile on top of everything else.

"It's exciting and terrifying. There's that one part of me that feels like I've been working for a really long time and I'm ready to have a character and the time with it to play around," she says. "Part of being a lead literally means you just have more time. There's another part of me that's completely terrified. What if I'm not enough or special enough or talented enough?"

As far as co-star David Alan Grier is concerned, she's more than enough. "I really love Ari," he says. "I didn't know her, but she's awesome and really funny and just works. I've been in so many situations where it's not like that." 

For Grier, starring in a CBS comedy is something of a homecoming. "I remember the first deal I ever signed was with CBS and we were going to be the 'Three Stooges' of the new millennium," he says.

That project didn't make it past a 15-minute presentation, but the long road back to CBS has left him with someone interesting to play. "He's a broken man, clearly. Wife dumped him, he lives in his office and is barely clinging onto his s***ty salary," Grier says of Principal Carl.

For Ryan Hansen, who plays a gym teacher and love interest for Graynor's Meredith, the show gives him a chance to try something new: play the normal guy. "It's kind of nice to let the wackies do their thing and for me to sit back, react and play with them," Hansen says. Quite the change from "Party Down" and "Veronica Mars."

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Of course, getting to work with Grier doesn't hurt. "I grew up watching 'In Living Color'," Hansen says. "I didn't watch 'SNL.' He's one of my favorite comedians of all time. He's amazing and I've learned so much for him."

Grier isn't the only TV veteran in the cast. Sara Gilbert may be one of the busiest people in Hollywood these days, but once upon a time she got her start as one of the stars of "Roseanne." Now, with both her daily duties on "The Talk" and "Bad Teacher," where does she find the time for it all? "Luckily, there's only so many hours in the day. So other people figure it out and I just sort of show up where I'm needed," she says.

Even with "The Talk" taking up so many of her working hours, Gilbert knew "Bad Teacher" wasn't something she could pass up. "I always wanted to be a part of it because it was so funny, but I almost didn't want to be a part of it cause I didn't know if I could do it," she explains. "I knew if I played her like any other character I played, it would fall flat. Once I got into it and realized what was working, I was so excited to play it."

That excitement flows throughout the cast, all of whom have nothing but glowing works for each other. That's not a surprise though, as Graynor says, "It's really amazing and none of it is bulls***. That's the best part."

"Bad Teacher" premieres Thursday (April 24) at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Photo/Video credit: CBS