“I love the innocent places we get to go to,” the 30-year-old actor, who stars as Gregory opposite Quinta Brunson’s Janine on the ABC sitcom, exclusively told Us Weekly at PaleyFest in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 1. “[And] that we’re not trying to make this too complicated or sexy. It’s the little moments and it’s reminding people that that’s what courting relationships are … it’s the little moments. That’s what I love most.”
Abbott Elementary — created by Brunson, 33 — premiered in December 2021. The half-hour sitcom follows a group of teachers at a public school in Philadelphia. Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti and William Stanford Davis also star. The first season commenced with Williams’ Gregory starting as an Abbott substitute educator. While he was finding his way, the ever-peppy Janine — a full-time teacher — took it upon herself to show him the ropes. Once the pair started bonding, romantic feelings slowly started developing — despite each dating other people.
Gregory and Janine’s connection reached new heights in season 2 when they finally shared their first kiss while attending a teachers’ conference out of town in the February 23 episode. However, the two characters quickly chalked their liplock up to drunken antics and agreed to remain friends even though they still had lingering romantic feelings.
“I’d like to see conflict with them. They have to learn how to handle conflict.” the Everybody Hates Chris alum, who won a Golden Globe in January for his role of Gregory, revealed to Us on Saturday on his hopes for the pair. “They’re not really good at that and they try and ignore things and move on. I would like to see more conflict.”
The Wedding Year star’s cast mate Ralph, 66, is also a passionate Janine and Gregory shipper.
“I love the fact that Gregory is taking time to really, really learn about himself as a man. Janine is taking the time to learn about herself as a woman — working out some of her sticky relationships. I think that is very important for the two of them because I just love Janine and Gregory,” the actress, who plays Barbara Howard, exclusively told Us in February. “I’m just like, ‘You all respect it. Be careful and take your time.’”
Ralph continued: “I can’t tell you anything about what’s going to happen with that. But you’re going to learn and see more of people’s families and that’s a wonderful thing. And I honestly believe that this is going to be a season where people are satisfied.”
Abbott Elementary airs Wednesdays on ABC at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Kat Pettibone