Friday, April 12, 2024

School is back in session with new season of “Abbott Elementary”

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Featured photo by ABC

Story by Victoria Stone

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The Emmy Winning ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary” premiered its third season on Feb. 7. After a long hiatus due to the combined writer’s and actor’s strike the highly anticipated show returned with a two parter premiere. With such a long break, can this season keep the same charm as the previous seasons?

In Season one, series creator and lead actress Quinta Brunson introduced us to the primary school Abbott Elementary in West Philadelphia. The school was named after Brunson’s real elementary school teacher Joyce Abbott who inspired the show. The mockumentary follows the daily lives of the school staff and their struggles with budget cuts and district mandates.

Season two kicks it up in stakes and stardom. The school faces threats of a charter school taking all their students and even becoming one themselves. With guest stars such as Leslie Odom Jr. and Taraji P. Henson the sitcom goes from a wannabe “The Office” to a major success. The main focus of Season two is the relationship between Janine (Quinta Brunson) and Gregory (Tyler James Williams). The “will-they-won’t-they” tension is a trope we’ve seen in many popular sitcoms such as “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” It makes the season finale ending with them confessing to having feelings for eachother but not getting together extra frustrating. It’s a predictable story we’ve seen time and time again, dragging it out feels pointless.

The series has been highly awarded throughout the show’s run. In 2022 the pilot was awarded for Outstanding Writing and Casting in a Comedy Series at the Emmys. It was also a big win for Sheryl Lee Ralph who won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. This was her first Emmy win in her 45 year long career. The 2023 Emmy awards were also kind to “Abbott Elementary” as Quinta Brunson won Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Due to the extensive delay fans were eager to know how the staff of “Abbott Elementary” would return. Brunson did not disappoint in her comedic creativity explaining their in universe time jump by having the camera crew get mugged. Their five month absence is expressed by Principal Ava Coleman (Janelle James).

“That’s how long it takes three people with art degrees to save up for new cameras.”

This season introduces us to new cast members as the district, Josh Segarra, Kimia Behpoornia and Benjamin Norris will all be recurring characters. Eagle-eyed Gen Z viewers may recognize Segarra from the 2000’s run of The Electric Company on PBS. Speaking of Eagles the season opened with cameos from Jalen Hurts, Brandon Graham and of course brother of Taylor Swift’s boyfriend: Jason Kelce.

With Janine now working for the district I’m predicting an overall message this season of one good person in a corrupt system doesn’t make the system good. If I had to guess, there will be some tension between Brunson and Segarra’s characters leading to the jealousy of Gregory. In summary I would say the show is predictable at times, but still a funny and enjoyable time. It also serves as a reminder to thank an educator or school staff member in our lives who always works hard despite the challenges.

You can watch “Abbott Elementary” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC and streaming the next day on Hulu.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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