Comic Relief: ‘Abbott Elementary’ is exactly what TV was missing
I love “Abbott Elementary.” That’s the entire column. Thank you for your time.
Of course, I’m kidding. But, to be fair, there is not much more to add to the conversation surrounding the show: Quinta Brunson is a legend, Jimmy Kimmel is a villain (which we’ve known for a long time) and teachers deserve so much better (which we’ve known for a very long time).
Still, with the premiere of season two and episode two airing yesterday, it would feel inauthentic to write about anything else besides the lovable crew of Willard R. Abbott Elementary School.
I like to consider myself somewhat of a comedy connoisseur. I do make it my job to keep up with the latest sitcoms. So, it would be wrong of me not to thank “Only Murders in the Building” and “Ted Lasso” for sticking by me these past years through some ups and many, many downs. (Though, I do need to dock points from “Only Murders” for sullying my peaceful viewing experience by bombarding me with the appearance of Amy Schumer playing an even worse version of herself. And look, I know it’s popular to hate on Amy Schumer, and I personally love to defend all women in comedy, but she makes it so hard sometimes.)
However, even with my love for other sitcoms, I have to admit that the premiere of “Abbott” drew something out of me that had been missing from my life for years. I finally have a favorite show again, and boy, does it feel fantastic.
For the next 21 weeks, I actually have something to look forward to. Okay, I’m being dramatic. My life is full of fun and privileges such as concerts or seeing my parents that I can count down the days to. But “Abbott” provides something different — a constant joyful anticipation that my life was sorely lacking.
Sure, I did the whole “‘Euphoria’ Sunday” thing, but that was more to avoid the onslaught of TikTok spoilers rather than a strong yearning to watch the show exactly at 9 p.m. on a Sunday when I really needed to finish my English paper.
In an age with a seemingly never-ending stream of new shows, it can feel like the only time people pay attention are when big, established names are there to back the project. Brunson was able to break through all the noise — creating ABC’s biggest sitcom since “Modern Family.”
For good reason too — from genius lines like, “You know I’m a feminist. That’s why I let you pay for all my stuff,” to the fabulously hilarious Ava (Janelle James). The principal of “Abbott” may be the most iconic sitcom character since Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Her choice to name the school Wi-Fi “Bad Bitches Only” is poetic as only the baddest of bitches can truly appreciate her.
Still, even with all of the brilliance that “Abbott” has produced — there is one thing that helps it truly stand out. Brunson put it best in a Twitter thread addressing a common criticism of “Abbott.”
“I just saw someone call Abbott Elementary ‘undramatic’ as a critique. I wonder if that has something to do with it being a 22-minute sitcom,” wrote Brunson. “‘people like this…but why…it is not sUCcceSion’ don’t break your brain, babe. turn on a Tarantino film and turn off the Abbott.”
I don’t mean to diss the other shows I love, but sometimes sitcoms just aren’t easy to watch anymore. Take “Barry” for example. It’s very clever, but when I need to watch a comfort comedy, I don’t always want to go to the show with men literally getting strangled to death. Even “Ted Lasso,” the purest show I can think of, makes me cry every other episode. I guess it is necessary to get in touch with my emotions or whatever, but it isn’t always the best when I’m simply trying to scarf down my pasta in 15 minutes before running to class.
“Abbott” is able to provide me with pure laughs, and a few sweet moments thrown in to warm my heart. And, when I want to procrastinate that English paper, at least it’s only 22 minutes.
Kimberly Aguirre is a sophomore writing about comedy. She is also the arts & entertainment editor.