School is back in session! After premiering on ABC, Abbott Elementary quickly found its stride as a feel-good mockumentary sitcom that follows the lives of Philadelphia school teachers.
While the first season, which premiered in December 2021, was still airing it received a renewal for a second season. During the show’s debut, cast member Lisa Ann Walter weighed in on the strong online support for Abbott Elementary.
“Just the fact that so many people have found it and that when I go on social media and I read things like, ‘I have nothing good going on in — I’m worried about everything. This is my safe spot. This is my joy. This is what makes me laugh. And I forget about everything,’” the actress, who plays Melissa, exclusively told Us Weekly in February 2022. “It’s not that we’re not dealing with serious issues. When I say we, we’re acting it. But [creator and star] Quinta Brunson and the fabulous executive producers and the writing staff have found ways to sneak in really serious discussion items like the school to prison pipeline.”
Even though the show’s priority is humor, Walter praised Abbott Elementary for finding a way to tell authentic stories. “It’s not like, and here’s the message. I wouldn’t wanna be a part of anything that was ham-fisted. And Quinta wouldn’t. She made it very clear from the beginning,” the Maryland native added. “The number one goal of this show is to be funny, that’s it. So every once in a while we’ll have some serious subject things that could be serious.”
Tyler James Williams, who plays Gregory, also reflected on watching the ABC series rise to success.
“I hate to sound cocky, but we were all pretty clear from the moment we shot the pilot that we had something very unique. If you applied your industry IQ by way of casting and network placement, it looked on paper like it would work,” the Everybody Hates Chris alum told Variety in April 2022. “But officially, I have a message somewhere in my text thread with Quinta. When the January 4 episode aired, I said, ‘I’m calling it a hit now.’ Because of the way it was trending and the way we were holding numbers.”
Williams noted that Abbott Elementary has already left a mark on network TV through its storytelling. “Our show is very much about the flexibility of teachers, working within the confines of difficulties and underfunding,” he continued at the time. “We have a real opportunity to humanize a group of people and tell their story in a way that could change the everyday person’s life on a daily basis.”
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