Abbott Elementary: Episode 1 Review

In the spirit of catching up on prime time shows that I have missed or had to put on hold until after finals and final projects, I recently sat down and watched Abbott Elementary. The highly comedic cast includes Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti, and Lisa Ann Walter. I knew that the show would be funny, but I wasn’t ready for the hilarity that I witnessed. I believe that Abbott Elementary will go far, and I’m excited to see this season’s adventures between the students and teaching staff.

In my opinion, Abbott Elementary is The Office meets elementary classroom. As a person who spent a small stint as a substitute teacher and has been around education and educators my entire life, I can definitely say the topics and issues covered during the series premiere were spot-on accurate. My mother, who was a Special Education Teacher for 28 ½ years, often talked about the challenges that were present in the classroom when it came to sourcing supplies, materials and etc.

I remember her setting aside her own resources to purchase items for the students to use throughout the year in the classroom. Before every school year, I would also help my mother decorate and prepare the classroom bulletin boards, align desks, reorganize the bookshelves, and pre-sharpen pencils so that on Day 1, she and the students would be ready.

So, when the lead character Ms. Janine Teagues had the unfortunate incident of removing the beloved classroom rug, I understood her struggle. Between wanting to fit in, share comradery, and be an excellent example for the children, Ms. Teagues has a lot on her plate. So, the last thing she would expect would be to fund her supplies and be a Ms. Fix It around the school.

After the rug causality, the show illustrates the spiral of her and the other teacher’s day as they battle comedic but all too true scenarios. In the end, after mishaps, misunderstandings, and slight tension between herself and the principal, she wins the day by not only getting a new rug but gaining the support of the other teachers.  So here are the Top 3 moments that sealed the deal for me viewing this season!

  1. The Great Resignation References So, it’s no surprise that education has just as many turnover issues as any industry in the workforce. However, Ralph’s character (Barbara Howard) summarized the experience ideally with a timely joke; “How come you new teachers can’t stay longer than 2 years? We have more turnovers than a bakery.
  2. The Temporary Teacher Replacement with the Janitor- This scene felt like it was lifted directly from a Dave Chappelle skit. (Literal tears)
  3. Misappropriation of Funds- When the principal revealed that she spent all of the funds from the school district on a new sign, I lost it. Comedy gold is all I can say.

Abbott Elementary will return on January 4th at 9/8c with a brand-new episode! If you haven’t watched the series premiere, do so now! And even if you have watched it, go back and watch it again, as you will probably catch something you missed between the laughter and action.