Abbott Elementary Season 2: Quinta Brunson returns to school

As the world expands in Season 2, viewers will learn more about their favorite fictional educators.

Abbott Elementary has had an extraordinary year. The ABC sitcom burst out of the gate in January with its mix of harsh political commentary on public schools and a big dose of teacher appreciation. Nine months and three Primetime Emmy wins later — including Sheryl Lee Ralph for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy and creator Quinta Brunson for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series — she’s entered her second season with as much excitement as you’d think , this network show runs a streamer. (And it is, because Hulu offers next-day availability.)

Season 1 continued to focus on Abbott’s staff at school. Glimpses of her personal life have been fleeting, from Ava’s (Janelle James) relationship with her grandma to Gregory (Tyler James Williams) revealing his father has a landscape gardening business. There was even an episode, “Work Friends,” that addressed how little interaction the characters had outside of Abbott. In the two episodes shown to press ahead of its September 21 premiere, it’s now clear that these characters don’t just live for the kids.

The final season ended after Abbott’s idealistic heroine, Janine Teagues (Brunson), broke up with her boyfriend, the school won a big scholarship, and she found her feet as an educator. The second season premiere begins a few weeks later as Janine prepares for a new school year and claims that she has ended their relationship. I think you’re protesting too much.

Being a stabilizing force for their students often means that teachers sublimate their own problems, but the problems still exist. In Janine’s case, the loss of her boyfriend means she is struggling financially and unable to focus on her classes. As Tyler James Williams said in an interview with IndieWire earlier this year, the creators of Abbot Elementary want this story to inspire empathy for what educators face in America.

“[Teachers] Choose that calling, know what it involves, know how hard it is, and choose to help raise children your children,” he said. “If I can get you laughing with your family on Tuesday night and then on Wednesday morning taking your kids to school if only you’re that much nicer or that much more compassionate [for] the people you take your kids to, then I’ve done my job.” Bringing Abbott’s teachers out of their workplace and into their personal lives reinforces that awareness in Season 2.

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY - ÒDevelopment DayÓ Ð Teachers are back at the Willard R. Abbott Public School for Development Week, a time to prepare for the year ahead before the students' first day of school. After the breakup, Janine is determined to start the year off right and leave her problems at home. With this new attitude, she takes over the organization of the faculty mixer and announces a special celebrity surprise she has planned for Children's Day One. Meanwhile, Ava runs a side business next to the school parking lot and Gregory, now a full-time teacher, is overwhelmed with the curriculum when the second season of

“Abbott Elementary School”

ABC

To Brunson, whose bright smile and short temper create such a charming protagonist, makes Janine feel less like a character and more like a person, allowing her to show more of her impressive range. It’s funny to see Janine trying to drive her car with a parking door, but it’s heartwarming to see her acknowledge the fact that she’s not doing well. Gone is the facade of the funny and idiotic girl; In his place is a human just trying to get through the day.

For the characters who spent so much time in Season 1 fretting over Janine’s exuberance, it’s also a chance to finally embrace her. Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph), Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter), Gregory and Jacob (Chris Perfetti) understand her frustration, and since she’s given up on being cool, they can celebrate her for who she is.

Taking another step, derived from stories of real educators, we see Melissa grapple with having to teach a combined 2nd and 3rd grade class while Barbara desperately wants an accessible desk for a student who uses a wheelchair . “Abbott” continues to deftly blend comedy with real-life themes, and season 2 does a great job of showing that the scholarship doesn’t solve Abbott’s problems. In fact, it makes some things worse: It forces teachers to make painful decisions about what they can and can’t solve. Sometimes no amount of money can make up for the lack of staff and support from the school district.

Abbott Elementary not only grows in its storytelling but also in the strength of its writing. If the show had relied on its jokes and kept the characters tied to elementary school, that might have been easier and might have worked. Instead, they took a chance on expansion and now there’s no telling where the show might go next. School is back in session and we couldn’t be happier.

Season 2 of Abbott Elementary premieres Wednesday, September 21 at 9pm ET on ABC.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/09/abbott-elementary-season-2-quinta-brunson-school-1234763079/ Abbott Elementary Season 2: Quinta Brunson returns to school

Lindsay Lowe

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