By: Cydnee Dotson

Score: 10/10 

ABC’s newest hit workplace comedy Abbott Elementary is a breath of fresh air to watch in 2022. The show is created by – as well as stars – former Buzzfeed comedian Quinta Brunson. Alongside Brunson also stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and Janelle James. The pilot episode premiered on Dec. 7, 2021, with the remainder of the episodes resuming air on Jan. 4 of this year.

Abbott hilariously follows the lives of teachers, staff, and students at an underfunded Philadelphia public school. The show’s mockumentary camera style adds a feel-good charm to its comedy, similar to how some may say The Office does. The main character is Janine Teagues (played by Brunson), a young ambitious second-grade teacher who actively tries to make ends meet for her students despite a lack of resources. The school itself has a mixture of veteran and novice teachers, including young Jacob Hill (Perfetti) and substitute Gregory Eddie (Williams), then veterans Barbara Howard (Ralph) and Melissa Schemmenti (Walter). The most hilarious and arguably best character is not a teacher, but rather the school principal Ava Coleman (played by James), who has quickly become a fan favorite on Twitter. 

The greatest part about the show so far is how it challenges diversity within the teachers’ personalities. There are many school life archetypes to break down. Janine is a teacher in her mid-20s, but she dresses old-fashioned and acts dorky. On the other hand, Principal Ava is more middle-aged, yet lives vivaciously and stays relevant to the trends we love today. There’s also a nod to old-school religious teachers with Mrs. Barbara Howard’s character, who exudes the type of teachers that I grew up with. Additionally, there is a young good-looking substitute, a socially “woke” teacher, a cool yet questionable teacher, and an offbeat janitor. These identities and archetypes collectively work to deliver a humorous portrayal of what school life may look like for many viewers, especially for today’s teachers.

The students are an equally essential part of the show. For example, episodes like “New Tech” (Episode 4) and “Student Transfer” (Episode 5) show the importance of how different kids need different methods of teaching and nurturing to grow. Learning “the three R’s” isn’t the only important thing to do in school. In only nine episodes, Abbott has shown its viewers that today’s elementary children deserve to have fun extracurricular activities (i.e. the school step team from the “Step Class” episode), to explore their different skills and intelligences, and deserve to have teachers who truly care about their well-being. Furthermore, the kids are just hilarious and adorable to watch. It’s great to wholesomely see kids being kids, and doing kid things. 

Recently, ABC announced on March 14 that the show has been renewed for a second season. Abbott is currently on a brief three-week hiatus and will resume its episodes on March 22. 

I honestly give this show five stars and a 10-out-of-10 so far. In the midst of the devastating world issues we’ve encountered in the last two years, Abbott Elementary is a feel-good show bound to make you smile. From Gregory’s constantly-disturbed face breaking the fourth wall to Ava’s tone-deaf Michael Scott-esque nature, Abbott is an enjoyable gem to watch and a promising cult classic in years to come.

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Pronouns: she/her/hers Kayla is a MU Journalism student with a double minor in Sociology and French. She joined MUTV's Entertainment section in the spring semester of 2021. She is currently the Technical Producer on Entertainment's Executive Board.