“Abbott Elementary: Season 2” review: Emmy-award-winning Quinta Brunson does it again


Courtesy of ABC

Victoria Hardy, Equity & Inclusion Officer

Quinta Brunson upheld the caliber of her pilot episode, which won her an Emmy Award in 2022, and graced “Abbott Elementary” fans with a second season of comedic realness.

The Hulu series entertains its viewers with the hilarious ups and downs of teaching elementary school in an underfunded elementary school in Philadelphia. Janine, played by Brunson, tirelessly works to better her students’ experiences with positivity that is almost toxic.

Her coworkers break the fourth wall with glances and comments to the camera about their annoyance with Janine, bringing “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation” feel to a public school setting.

In contrast to season one, season two further develops the personalities of its characters and brings us outside of the classroom, unlike season one. The audience was able to imagine themselves more deeply in the shoes of each character thanks to a visit to Melissa’s home and a run-in between Janine, Gregory, and Ava at a hookah lounge.

Ava, Abbott’s dry-humored principal, introduces us to the classroom in a new way when she substitutes for Janine. What makes Ava such a humorous character is her way of being the most while doing the least. She’s happiest as the center of attention but avoids doing real work at all costs. As Janine’s sub, she realizes the amount of hard work that her teachers put in for their students.

Leslie Odom Jr., known for his role in the broadway musical “Hamilton,” made a surprise cameo in two episodes centered around a hate ad about Abbott Elementary. He played the ad’s perpetrator and the principal of Abbott’s opposing charter school, which had better funding and resources for students.

Brunson’s ability to evoke giggles and lightheartedness out of serious issues within the American school system makes the show so bingeworthy. We see students with immigrant parents who are weary of testing their children for learning differences, underpaid teachers, understaffing, etc.

Tyler James Williams, who many of us remember as the star of “Everybody Hates Chris,” plays Gregory. Chris’s elementary school was a primary setting in the early 2000s show, creating a sense of nostalgia for today’s “Abbott Elementary” viewers. 

Gregory grudgingly teaches alongside Janine because he secretly applied for the principal position which he was denied from. His and Janine’s will-they or won’t-they relationship keeps viewers wanting more. They seem to have met their awkward match, which is the very roadblock keeping them from getting together. 

Each episode of “Abbott Elementary” slowly unfolds the lives of Brunson’s characters. We learn what makes them happy and what makes them tick, and the ticks are usually what make us laugh the most.

With only 22-minute episodes, new viewers of “Abbott Elementary” are sure to make a dent in the show within a few short weeks. If you are looking for something that feels like company after a long day, press play on Abbott.


“Abbott Elementary” is now available on Hulu and HBO Max.


Illustration by Ariel Landry