Abbott Elementary, the popular sitcom set in a fictional Philadelphia public elementary school, will wrap up its first season Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.
In just one season, the ABC show — created by and starring West Philadelphia native Quinta Brunson — has broken viewing records, introduced the whole country to Philly slang, and captured the hearts of audiences that include Philly residents and teachers who have to laugh at just how right the show gets the quirks of the public school system.
The show stars Brunson as Janine Teagues, an idealistic teacher at West Philadelphia’s titular Abbott Elementary, trying her best to fix every problem one by one, on her own. The fictional school has highlighted many of the same difficulties in the real Philadelphia public school system, running into budget restrictions and bureaucracy.
The season finale will see the Abbott Elementary crew chaperone their students on a field trip.
Inspired by mom, named after a Philly teacher
In interviews, Brunson has said she wrote the sitcom thinking of her mother, who was a kindergarten teacher in the Philadelphia school district. But the show was named after Joyce Abbott, Brunson’s sixth-grade teacher at Andrew Hamilton Elementary in West Philadelphia.
“She was an awesome student,” Abbott said about Brunson. “Sometimes she was too hard on herself — she was so driven for excellence.”
Abbott Elementary breaks records
After just one episode, it was clear the show was a hit.
With just the season premiere released, Abbott Elementary became the first ABC show to quadruple its ratings, according to reports. Variety reported that it was ABC’s highest-rated comedy among viewers age 18 to 49 in the past two years.
All those Philly references
From episode one, it was clear Brunson was penning a love letter to her native Philadelphia.
The sitcom’s Philly references abound, from slang like “young boul” to Schemmenti’s interrogation about the cameraman’s Sicilian heritage.
Back for season two
Last month, the sitcom was renewed for a second season, with the announcement coming courtesy of a mock memo from narcissistic but hilarious Principal Ava Coleman, played by comedian Janelle James.
“The camera crew I hired to showcase all that I’ve made happen at our beautiful school thinks I’m a star,” the memo read. “I mean, are we surprised?”
What teachers want to see next season
As it’s already been confirmed that many Philadelphia public school teachers are big fans of the show, some have chimed in as to what they hope to see next season.
Teachers hope that student uniform policies, staffing shortages and uncontrollable classroom temperatures will be tackled by the Abbott crew.
As an added bonus: We also asked readers what they wanted to see in season two, and here’s what you said.
Tackling real issues in Philly schools
While the show has been lauded for its comic hijinks, many public school teachers have spoken of how the sitcom validates many of the lighter idiosyncrasies they deal with, along with the systemic issues they grapple with through their careers.
Each of the first season’s episodes have focused on a particular issue, including lack of classroom supplies and deteriorating buildings.
Some teachers who vie with day-to-day problems that plague the school district hope that the show can spotlight some of the more insidious and harmful issues, including racist and classist policymaking.
Helping in real life.
The sitcom has even helped local students through its influence, partnering with Mastery Schools and Scholastic to host a free book fair for students at Harrity Elementary School. Each Harrity student received two free books.