Since its debut in December 2021, Abbott Elementary has garnered a wide viewership and numerous awards. Following a mockumentary style format, the show features a group of teachers and their daily lives working in an underfunded Philadelphia school led by a principal with no experience. While the setting matches the stark reality of many public schools, Abbott offers humor and heart in each episode.
The show was recently renewed for a third season, after a very successful first two seasons. The last episode of the second season just aired, and I’ve been reflecting on the possible direction the show could be headed. While we wait for new episodes to arrive, here are some reasons I love Abbott Elementary (read: reasons why you should watch it if you aren’t already).
1. Quinta Brunson
Quinta is the creator, writer and lead in this heartwarming, award-winning show. She plays Janine Teagues, a new-ish teacher who wears her big heart on her sleeve. She is not afraid to share her thoughts and feelings, and is passionate about her job as a second grade teacher. She truly shines in her role.
Brunson has always been hilarious and creative. I remember first coming across her videos in her Buzzfeed days, where she worked as a video creator for years. At the time, her dry humor and deadpan expression won over my little millennial heart. It is so exciting to see how her career has grown over the years. Since she left Buzzfeed, she’s worked on several other shows, including A Black Lady Sketch Show. No matter the role, whether she’s acting or writing, her talent is clear. She deserves all her success and more.
2. The social commentary
While Abbott Elementary mainly focuses on issues in education like limited resources in schools, it has also explored other topics like the privatization of education, respectability politics, and privilege. One of my favorite episodes is where Raven Goodwin guest stars as Krystal, a parent who runs a clothing company that veteran teacher Barbara Howard (Sheryl Lee Ralph) is offended by. Barbara initially writes Krystal off as a detached mother based on her “Bitch” chest tattoo and clothing, only to find that she is a very loving and supportive parent. Barbara was faced with confronting her idea of what a “good” parent looks like.
The wonderful thing about Abbott is that while it confronts these issues, it is not crafted or written around them. It is first and foremost a comedy. It would be a completely different show if tackling social issues was its main goal. It’s a joyful show with heavy-handed humor in every episode that also manages to discuss some of the hard stuff because in reality, that stuff is always there. Quinta and her team of writers and story editors has crafted an excellent balance across the first two seasons.
3. The warm and fuzzies
From the challenges to the triumphs, a lot of Abbott is relatable to those working in and around education. It is also fictional, so you’re guaranteed a lovely ending in almost every episode. Being able to count on Abbott for good vibes is therapeutic in itself, let me tell you.
One of my favorite parts of the show is when the children overcome struggles and achieve milestones. Tears may or may not have been shed. I also love when the staff builds deeper connections as friends, outside of “team-building” meetings, that is. Jacob Hill, a history teacher, is one of my favorite characters. Endlessly optimistic and out to make friends with everyone, he takes on all his conversations with coworkers with that goal in mind, and the result is absolute hilarity. In a recent episode, he helped form a connection with between two unlikely people and it was very sweet to see.
If you needed any sort of excuse to go watch TV, here it is. You won’t be disappointed. To learn more about this show and for the perspective of a teacher who enjoys watching, you should check out Claudia’s review.