ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” wrapped up its first season with a 100% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and a quick trip to the Philadelphia Zoo.
The show, created by Quinta Brunson, who you may know from her days on BuzzFeedVideo in its 2015 to 2018 prime, is a mockumentary-style comedy centered in a Philadelphia elementary school, following its teachers and principal as they navigate technology, budget cuts and TikTok trends.
Please don’t show up at my dorm or anything, but I genuinely think “Abbott Elementary” is better than “The Office.” It’s fun, it’s sweet, it’s nostalgic; it makes you reminisce on the times you called your kindergarten teacher “mom” or when that kid Noah broke the learning clock and refused to own up to it in second grade.
“Abbott Elementary’s” A+ cast never lets you doubt that this isn’t an actual elementary school as Sheryl Lee Ralph and Lisa Ann Walter, who play veteran teachers Barbara and Melissa, valiantly lead the way for the newbies trying to do their best for their students, reminding us of that one teacher who you would give anything to thank one more time.
The child actors on this show deserve as much praise as their adult counterparts. Their tiny smiles and one-liners bring a warmth to the show that exemplifies the innocent and unfiltered nature of little kids. It almost makes you miss the times when your biggest worry was if the forged signature on your permission slip was good enough to fool your teacher (spoiler alert: just writing “MOM” almost never works).
As someone who has spent a lot of time in Philadelphia, it’s so nice to see a show set in the city that doesn’t use its setting just for laughs and is actually involved in bettering the community; Brunson, who is from Philadelphia, has even put marketing money from the show toward buying school supplies for teachers in the area. It all seems so authentic that sometimes it’s difficult to remember it’s just a TV show – there’s something so Philly about Melissa having a guy for everything, or Jacob needing to find and try out Gregory’s favorite kind of pizza or even Janine getting caught in the hot air balloon at the zoo.
“Abbott Elementary” is the kind of low-stakes comedy we all need right now. It’s so easy to become invested in the well-being of every single character (all the way from our star Janine (Brunson) down to the vending machine guy Melissa has a crush on) without having to worry about if they’ll make it to the next episode. Even within its jokes and looks to the camera, the show takes on serious topics surrounding the education system with absolute grace, providing solutions and new ways to think about the problems teachers deal with on a daily basis in the real world.
I’m so glad “Abbott Elementary” has been getting the attention it rightfully deserves, and I don’t make a habit of saying this often (I’m a firm believer in a two-season limit for any show), but I wholeheartedly hope this series gets its six seasons and a movie. It truly deserves it.