Workplace sitcoms have been around for decades, providing comedic perspectives on employees’ everyday relationships and struggles at work, all in lighthearted 20-minute episodes. The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Superstore, and more, have all become staples in modern television.
The newest addition to this list is ABC’s new series, Abbott Elementary. The series tells the story of an underfunded public school in Philadelphia, focusing on five teachers at the school and their principal. Throughout the series, they work together to improve the lives of their students and make a difference. The show’s main character, Janine Teagues, played by Quinta Brunson (who also happens to be the show’s creator and the writer of many episodes), is a newer teacher with an optimistic outlook. Her co-worker Barbara Howard, an old-school Kindergarten teacher, serves as her mentor and mother figure. Their quick-witted and often rude principal, Ava Coleman, lacks motivation and qualification for her job, providing a comedic element. Gregory Eddie, the substitute teacher who originally applied for the job of the principal, seems incredibly apathetic on the surface but is much more complex on the inside. Melissa Schemmenti, a tough second-grade teacher with good intentions, and the thoughtful and awkward Jacob Hill, complete the show’s main cast.
The show’s thirteen-episode first season premiered on December 7, 2021, and reached incredible success, scoring a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The show also scored six Primetime Emmy Award nominations at this year’s ceremony, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Quinta Brunson’s performance, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Tyler James Williams’ performance as Gregory, and more. They won two of the awards, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, awarded to Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays Barbara in the series, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, awarded to Quinta Brunson for the show’s “Pilot” episode. After the success of the first season, Abbott Elementary was renewed for a 22-episode second season on March 14, 2022, which premiered on September 21. Following the open-ended and suspenseful season finale, the second season picks up at the start of the next school year.
The thing that makes this show so appealing and enjoyable is the heartwarming message it shares about the importance of teachers and their dedication to their jobs, along with the ways they have each other’s back when it counts.Russell Yoh ’24
The thing that makes this show so appealing and enjoyable is the heartwarming message it shares about the importance of teachers and their dedication to their jobs, along with the ways they have each other’s back when it counts. Many times such messages come across as corny, but this show does it in a way that is incredibly funny. It’s sure to make you laugh multiple times per episode, without taking away from the importance of the show’s message. Its unique plot and concept also make for interesting storylines that bring something refreshing to the modern world of television.
Abbott Elementary is a lighthearted and easy watch for all ages with great characters that make you want to root for them and their common goal of improving the lives of their students.