“Abbott Elementary” is a new mockumentary-style series that perfectly displays the consuming tasks of being an educator. The show has arrived at a pivotal time where classrooms are returning to normal after online learning due to the pandemic.
Based in Philadelphia, “Abbott Elementary” spotlights the obstacles underfunded public schools face across the nation. Humorously, it addresses the struggles educators endure to provide students with the tools they need to succeed.
Quinta Brunson, the writer, creator and executive producer of the show, stars as the propitious second-grade teacher, Janine Teagues. Actors Janelle James, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, Chris Perfetti and Lisa Ann Walter join her. They form a group of dedicated teachers with different approaches to education, but with the same goal in mind.
“It’s gold. It’s hilarious while highlighting a serious issue, lack of funding for U.S. schools, without beating you over the head with it. I leave episodes feeling lighthearted, waiting to laugh again,” said Dest H. in a Google review.
Inspired by her mother, a former kindergarten teacher, Brunson had a front-row seat in the true experience of being an educator. She admired her mother’s passion for teaching students, and it is in part what inspired the show.
Joyce Abbott, a sixth-grade teacher, was another prominent educator in Brunson’s life. Brunson named the show after her.
“Quinta was an awesome student. When she came into my class, she was shy, timid. But as I challenged all of my students, I built their confidence that whatever you want in life you can do it. You have to work hard,” Abbott said in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel.
“Abbott Elementary” reinforces how important an educator’s role is the lives of young people. The job extends beyond the classroom, and often consumes their personal time with grading papers, creating lesson plans and strategizing ways to assist each student. They are not just teachers, but inspirations as well.
The show not only focuses on addressing the problems but also producing positive outcomes. Brunson donated a portion of the marketing funds to underfunded schools in her hometown of Philadelphia.
“Ultimately, I believe public schools should be better funded and supplied. However, in the meantime, “Abbott” [the TV show and people behind it] are really excited about doing things like this,” Brunson posted on Twitter.
“Abbott Elementary” premiered in December, and after 35 days of multi-platform watching, the show became ABC’s newest hit comedy. It quickly quadrupled its ratings. The freshman sitcom is here to stay, receiving an early confirmation for a second season from the network.