New ABC comedy 'Abbott Elementary' uses humor, heart, to teach us about today's education system

ByGeorge Pennacchio OTRC logo
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
'Abbott Elementary' shines light on everyday heroes: Teachers
Creator Quinta Brunson aims to hit your heart and your funny bone with her new workplace comedy "Abbott Elementary," a mockumentary-style series set in the world of public education.

A new comedy comes to ABC and it focuses on heroes -- not the kind we see in the Marvel Universe, but ones in real life: Teachers.

"Abbott Elementary" is a mockumentary-style comedy series that follows a group of teachers at a Philadelphia public school. The odds are stacked against them, but these educators are dedicated and determined to help their students succeed.

The series was created by Quinta Brunson, who also stars as a teacher who remains optimistic about her life's work.

"We definitely set out to hit the funny bone but also hit the heart," said Brunson. "It was conceived way before the pandemic. And it feels great to have it come out so that people can really see what teachers are going through!"

Tyler James Williams plays a substitute teacher who comes in to Abbott's universe. The actor doesn't have any kids himself; so working with a "classroom" of young actors was a learning experience for everyone!

"I found that I had to learn how to be a part of their educational process," said Williams. "This is the first time some of the kids have ever been on sets before. The kids didn't really differentiate between us as actors and as teachers, so we did a lot of wrangling and I thought, 'Is this what teachers go through?'"

Brunson wrote the show with nothing but affection for the teaching profession. Her mom was a lifelong elementary school teacher.

'I really just want you to laugh," said Brunson. "I want people to come here and have a good time, the same as other workplace comedies. And if you learn something along the way, great. I just want people to have a good time."

"Abbott Elementary" premieres Tuesday night on ABC.