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Abbott Elementary Season 1 Review

ABC’s new workplace comedy Abbott Elementary is the network sitcom we all missed, giving some of the best laughs from a tv show in the last decade. 

Sitcoms are one of the biggest hallmarks of American pop culture. You could ask almost anyone if they have either seen an episode of Friends, The Office, or Seinfeld, and chances are they will say yes. Each of those shows and more have dominated pop culture giving iconic quotes, situations, and a community of millions who truly love a particular show.

With the rise of streaming, there has been a decrease in original sitcoms. Yes, we have had great comedy shows in the last few years such as Barry, Girls, and Grace & Frankie, but these are all from streamers and did not have the sitcom style. Abbott Elementary is one of the most recent and better attempts to keep the network sitcom style alive, and it does it phenomenally, being one of the funniest and most wholesome shows to come out within the last decade

There is so much to love with Abbott Elementary, which revolves around a group of dedicated educators and workers at a Philadelphia elementary school trying to do the best for their students against all odds. Throughout this first season, we get to the people that work in Abbott Elementary, which, as an ensemble, has a full range of personalities as education professionals who want to improve some of their student’s lives.

The lead of the series is Janine Teagues, played by Quinta Brunson (A Black Lady Sketch Show), who is a second grade teacher that is always trying to do the most she can to help her students, even if she can occasionally go a little overboard with her methods. She is joined by a four other teachers who are equally invested in in their jobs and as a teaching team, face all of the struggles of teaching in a Philadelphia elementary school with low funding and a principal, played by Janelle James (Central Park) ,who has a good heart even if her intentions at Abbott are more selfish than inspiring kids like her coworkers. 

loud and clear reviews Abbott Elementary abc sitcom show 2022
Abbott Elementary: Janelle James in “Zoo Balloon”, on ABC. (ABC/Temma Hankin)

Abbott Elementary takes a mockumentary approach to its narrative, and even though some may say this style has been overdone, the script has such a modern take on it that the show still feels wholly original. This is all due ot the genius that is Quinta Brunson. As the series creator, executive producer, and lead actress of Abbott Elementary, most of the show’s success is due to her dedication to make this show something special.

This first season is written in a way that feels unique and fresh, but it allows for Abbott Elementary to create light out of situations that happen everyday. With a lot of sitcoms, the writers start coming up with these extravagant situations that tend to be very funny but completely unrealistic. In Abbott’s case, every plot line and joke feel so natural which makes it so much funnier. You could see your coworker making that snarky comment in Principal Coleman (James), or that well meaning but annoyingly optimistic friend in Janine (Brunson), and that’s all that matters in making this show instantly iconic. 

Speaking of characters, every single person in this ensemble does such an amazing job at keeping their characters hilarious, yet still believable. With a decent sized ensemble, it is also important to recognize how diverse this show is as a whole. Having a mainly minority-led cast creates an environment where characters don’t have a chance to be stereotyped, which is especially rare in a sitcom. Abbott Elementary takes its diverse characters and makes sure that people’s individual identities are not the main part of their comedy or personality, which is a huge step forward in terms of representation, especially in sitcoms.

If you had to highlight some of the best performances in the show, it would be Janelle James, who has some of the funniest lines and situations to deal with throughout the season as Abbott Elementary’s Principal Ava Coleman. She gives her character a lot of charisma, which allows Ava, who could easily be an unlikable person on paper, to have a lot of heart, which is not an easy feat. On top of this, it is essential to praise Quinta Brunson one more time as Abbott’s leading lady since she gives the sitcom subgenre a breath of fresh air by always keeping it lighthearted and fun in such a realistic way. Her performance may not make you want to be her friend all the time, but it inspires viewers to look more on the bright side of things which is something that almost all sitcoms should do. 

Finally, what makes this show truly special is how positive every episode is. The premise of this show could lead to seeing the struggles of an underfunded public school and how the system fails a lot of children in the education realm, but the writers don’t take that approach. Instead they focus on the hard working employees at the school and all the changes that they make in these kids’ lives. Yes, we get to see some of the issues urban public schools face, but everything still ends up being okay in the end which makes this a truly special feel good masterpiece.

This is the type of show that could inspire someone to become an educator. Having a show that looks at the glass half full throughout its runtime is something that we all need right now and provides us with a half hour break once a week from anyone’s everyday struggles. Abbott Elementary is without a doubt a show that anyone can love and should stay spreading its perfect positivity for plenty of years to come, further cementing itself as one of the best network sitcoms of all time. 

Abbott Elementary is now available to stream on Hulu (US) and on Disney+ (UK and Europe), and to watch on demand on multiple platforms.

Abbott Elementary: Trailer (ABC)
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