Abbott Elementary‘s second season is about begin on ABC, after a record-breaking first season. The show was an instant hit with viewers, garnering the most viewers on the channel since Modern Family’s series finale in 2020 (via Deadline).
The talents of the cast, notably the show’s lead actor and creator Quinta Brunson, have brought new life to the popular mockumentary staple in half-hour sitcoms. With razor-sharp wit in the script combined with these performances have left countless memorable quotes in the first season alone.
10 Jacob: “They Get Here At 7:30.” Ava: “Every day? That’s Wild.”
Starting The Day
Ava Colman became Abbott Elementary’s school principal after catching the District Superintendent cheating on his wife at the church they both attend to, despite being dangerously unqualified. After a chat with Jacob and Janine, she’s surprised at how early the school day starts.
Ava knows impossibly little about how a school functions despite her job, nor does she care to find out. Thanks to actress Janelle James’ brilliant one-liner deliveries and endless charisma, viewers can’t help but strangely root for the Principal.
9 “Sir, You Are Bald.”
Keeping Out of Mr. Johnson’s Hair
When the rest of the school goes on a trip to Philadelphia Zoo, custodian Mr. Johnson is in charge of the kids staying at the school that did not have permission slips. He uses the day as an opportunity to rest up and keep the kids “out of my hair”, as he describes it, before one kid points out that’s possible.
The children in the show don’t have many lines, as the plot lines revolve mostly around the lives of the teachers, but the delivery by the kids are golden. The children in the show are not professional child actors, and the mockumentary structure makes the timing of the humor feel that much more authentic.
8 “She Pale Like a Zombie. You Know They Eat The Hottest People First. Let Me Back My Tasty A** Up.”
On Janine Fainting
Janine attempts to fix the power at the school after she accidentally turns the power off. Exhausted and overheated, she faints. Ava, seeing Janine on the floor, refuses to help as the sight reinforces her idea that there’s an incoming zombie apocalypse.
Ava’s doomsday-prepper obsession is one of many aspects that makes her the funniest character on the show. The scenes with the more sensible and grounded Janine make for great comedic foil.
7 “You Know I’m A Feminist, That’s Why I Let You Pay for My Stuff.”
Janine and Tariq’s Relationship
Tariq is offered an opportunity in his music career to rap for kids about the dangers of drugs in New York City. He and girlfriend Janine, who is the breadwinner of the household, discuss their financial prospects together.
Tariq is an objectively terrible boyfriend, but his well-meaning cluelessness and the comedic performance of Zach Fox make it difficult not to love the character. While Janine and Tariq decided to take a break at the end of season 1, many fans will hope that he will continue to be a familiar face on the show.
6 “Now She Can Act. […] Gave Her A Dollar and That Little Girl Was Viola Davis!”
On Bribing Children
In need of extra funding for supplies, the teachers at Abbott decide to create online videos asking for items from their wishlist. Ava takes the idea too far, and makes a devastating video portrating the underfunding of Abbott that is meant to make viewers cry. This includes a student named Mia, looking especially sad for the camera after Ava bribes her.
Ava is the source of most of Abbott Elementary’s funniest quotes. While perhaps not the most intelligent, she has the sharpest wit when she wants to use it, and has the biggest personality of the teachers. Many of the show’s best plotlines revolve around the other teachers trying to get around Ava’s troublesome schemes.
5 Ava: “Are You A Mormon?” Janine: “No. “Good. ‘Cause You Need More Men!”
On Janine’s Boyfriend
In an attempt to grow closer bonds, Janine comes up with a game for the teachers where they write fun facts about themselves on a card, and they have to guess who it belongs to. When it is revealed that Janine has been in a relationship with her boyfriend Tariq since 8th grade, the teachers are shocked, and Ava begins to roast Janine
Abbott Elementary’s main characters all have distinct and vibrant personalities that both clash and compliment one another. Scenes where they get together for staff meetings have some of the best comedic conflict in the show.
4 “Fruit Should Not Be Hot.”
Gregory’s Take On Pies
After finding out Gregory hates pizza, the teachers at Abbott Elementary are horrified when he reveals he’s a picky eater who prefers to eat plain boiled chicken sandwiches. They ask Gregory if he enjoys a series of different popular foods to hear his take on why he hates them.
Gregory is the most reserved member of the group of teachers at Abbott, and prefers to keep matters, including his food, simple. Still, his dry humor and his attempts to come across as hard-headed and disguise his sweeter side. The level of detail on each individual character that allows each character to remain fascinating in their own right makes Abbott Elementary one of the best TV shows around.
3 “An iPhone 9? It’s Like A Walkman. I Don’t Know Nothing About This. That’s Before My Time.”
Ava’s Supposed Youth
When Janine wants to make her own eye-catching wishlist video to put online, she reluctantly goes to Ava for help, after her tear-jerking appeal video raises thousands. When Janine hands Ava her phone, Ava claims she doesn’t know how to use such an old phone.
Ava often lies and is deceitful in order to get what she wants – mostly the adoration of others. In order to receive respect from students and belittle the teachers, Ava often lies about how young she is so she can appear cool.
2 “Sweet Baby Jesus and The Grown One Too! My Desks Have Been Desked!”
Desking Fever At Abbott Elementary
A craze called desking, involving students jumping from desk to desk in a classroom, reaches fever pitch at Abbott Elementary. Barbara Howard was initially smug that her kindergarten students would never disrepect her in that way, but soon storms into the staff room distraught.
Barbara is the oldest, devoutly religious teacher of the group, who rarely loses her cool. Seeing scenes where she lets go of her demeanor are a delight to watch.
1 “So He Knew You And He Was Like….More?”
The staff at Abbott are shocked to discover that Jacob, the awkward but well-meaning history teacher at the school, has a boyfriend. Zach, the sneakerhead boyfriend, recalls meeting him at a shoe sale while Jacob was protesting. Ava is astounded that anyone would like Jacob and what she sees as his goody two-shoes personality.
Jacob always tries to do the right thing and pursue social justice, but often ends up annoying the fellow teachers he tries to be friends with. He is the polar opposite fo Ava, and the interactions the pair have always funny.
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