The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Abbott Elementary: A Love Letter to Teachers and Their Hard Work

PHOTO COURTESY/ YouTube ABC
PHOTO COURTESY/ YouTube ABC

After what seemed to be a long drought of original and successful sitcoms, ABC comes back stronger with the release of its power-house show, “Abbott Elementary.” 

“Abbott Elementary” follows the story of an under-funded public school in Philadelphia, and the struggles that teachers face everyday in shaping “the future,” as they usually mention when referring to their students. Quinta Brunson, the creator and main character of the show, plays a petite and bubbly second grade teacher who is passionate about her job. Alongside a diverse ensemble of other elementary teachers, the group comes up with creative ways to thrive under a school environment in which the administration is almost non-existent. 

With charming actors, great dialogue and outstanding chemistry between the characters, it is difficult not to fall in love with this show as each episode airs. 

I first stumbled upon the show via Twitter. Every week over winter break, I would see more and more tweets about the brilliance of this show. I was hesitant at first, especially when I learned this show is a mockumentary-style sitcom (a type of show that depicts fictional events as a documentary). After watching masterpieces of mockumentaries such as “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Modern Family,” I was convinced “Abbott Elementary” would not be close to meeting my standards. But to my surprise, I was mistaken. 

The characters in Abbott are simply loveable and extremely charming. On one hand, there are perky teachers such as Jeanine (Brunson), and Mr. Hill (Chris Perfetti). On the other, there are the more serious and experienced, yet still endearing teachers such as Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) and Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter).  At the same time, the peculiar principal, Ava (Janelle James) steals every scene she is in. There is no other way to describe this inexperienced and careless principal than being extremely hilarious. 

Furthermore, an aspect that leaves me mesmerized through each episode is how the wardrobe of each character represents their personalities. Jeanine usually wears bright and flowy dresses to represent her youth and creativity. Barbara uses more somber colors to show her professionalism, while Melissa usually wears leather and dark colors to represent her toughness and experience. 

Anywhere you look in Abbott Elementary, you will most likely find a teacher that resembles one you had in your school years, which will make you feel at home. 

At the same time, one of the things I appreciate most about this show is its realness about the hard work that teachers put in everyday no matter what obstacles they are presented with. Both of my parents are currently elementary school teachers, so I have seen for many years, especially since the pandemic started, how many extra hours they put in to make their students have a fun and safe learning environment. Oftentimes, these extra hours are not recognized. Yet they, and teachers all over the country, still go to work everyday simply because of the love they have for what they do. 

In a way, “Abbott Elementary” is a love-letter to all the hard work teachers do everyday, yet are usually not recognized. 

The future of this Philadelphia elementary school looks bright, as the show became the first ABC comedy to quadruple its ratings since it originally aired. In just 35 days, “Abbott Elementary” increased its network and digital viewership about 300 percent, Deadline reported

“Abbott Elementary” airs every Tuesday night on ABC, and is then released on Hulu the following morning. 

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About the Contributor
Maria Villarroel, Culture Editor
Maria is a senior in the five-year program between a BS in journalism and a MS in international communication serving as the Culture Editor. She was born and raised in Venezuela, but moved to Orlando, Fl. She joined The Torch in 2020 as a staff writer. Outside The Torch, Maria is a tutor for student athletes, as well as a student ambassador and a member of the President’s Society. When she isn’t writing, Maria is usually watching a movie or fangirling about Taylor Swift, Harry Styles or Bad Bunny. Maria can be reached at [email protected]

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