‘Abbott Elementary’ second season shines just as bright, if not brighter, than first

Aaron Boehmer and Trisha Dasgupta

A little more than halfway through its second season, ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” cements itself amongst the ranks of stellar mockumentary sitcoms. Both heartwarming and hilarious, the show’s continuation keeps the magic that made the first season an instant hit.  

With its cast and crew already recognized with a plethora of awards, including three Primetime Emmys in 2022, “Abbott Elementary” swept the 2023 awards season. Adding onto Sheryl Lee Ralph and Quinta Brunson’s historic individual Emmy wins and the show’s achievements for writing and casting, “Abbott Elementary” took home Best Musical/Comedy Series at the 2023 Golden Globes. Bringing the show’s award count to three, Brunson and Tyler James Williams earned best performances for their respective lead and supporting roles.

Awards aside, the show shines on its own due to the brilliance of creator-writer-executive producer extraordinaire: Quinta Brunson, who also stars as Janine Teagues. Reminiscent of beloved sitcoms such as “Parks and Recreation,” Brunson freshly incorporates traditional sitcom tropes while also introducing her own charm to the script. With lovable characters, the dynamics and relationships portrayed in the show make for a delightful watch. From the ever-politically correct Jacob Hill (Chris Perfetti) to the caring and insightful Barbara Howard (Sheryl Lee Ralph), each character feels three-dimensional with humor and heart, establishing “Abbott Elementary” as more than just a simple sitcom. 

Following in her mother’s footsteps as a Philadelphia public school teacher, Brunson works to  highlight the struggles of low-income, predominantly Black school districts without patronizing them. In the second episode, audiences watch as Teagues endlessly tries and eventually fails to fix up Abbott’s campus, constantly running into red tape and suffering from a lack of discretionary funds. The episode highlights the inequities between charter and public schools while also providing laughs and lighthearted plotlines. Often difficult to pull off, Brunson continues to excel at crafting equally empathetic and entertaining social commentary within the show’s second season. 

The second half of the current season holds various possibilities. With the first half revealing a glimpse into the characters’ lives outside of school – and the development of the slow-burn relationship between Teagues and Gregory Eddie (Tyler James Williams) – the next 11 episodes promise more laughs, endless antics and wholesome moments. Regardless of what audiences hope for in terms of the characters’ extracurricular connections, “Abbott Elementary” fans should not worry. From countless awards to nuanced characters, plotlines and commentary, Brunson knows exactly how to deliver dynamic performances in the show’s extension.

5 mistaken celebrities out of 5.