The ABC Show 'Abbott Elementary' Could Be Your New Favorite Workplace Comedy

Kori Williams - Author
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Dec. 7 2021, Published 4:25 p.m. ET

If there's one thing we love, it's a workplace comedy. Now, another one is coming our way called Abbott Elementary. Starring and written by actress Quinta Brunson, it's all about the lives of teachers and staff who work at the fictional Willard R. Abbott School in Philadelphia. They're doing their best to provide an education to students in an underfunded district.

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Since the show is of Quinta's own creation, we've got to know: is Abbott Elementary based on a true story? She's actually from Philadelphia and has a source of inspiration in her own life, so she's got tons of ideas to draw from through an authentic lens. Here's what we know.

Is 'Abbott Elementary' based on a true story?

In an interview with guest host Wanda Sykes on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Quinta said that Abbott Elementary is loosely based on her mother's 40-year career in the Philadelphia public school district. Quinta said her mom, Norma Jean Brunson, has "countless stories" of her time working for the state. "We're dealing with everyday people and their work situations that they love, which may not be the best situations to us," Quinta said.

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"But people do the job of teacher because they want to do it, because they can do it, because they're good at it," she added.

In Nov. 2021, Quinta announced on Twitter that she had finished taping for Abbott Elementary. She thanked the entire team for helping her make it happen. "I feel that this show, in the best way, is the best I can do," the Tweet said in part. "The best thing I can put into the world."

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Quinta stars in 'Abbott Elementary.'

In the main role on Abbott Elementary, Quinta plays a second-grade teacher named Janine Teagues. According to Philly Voice, the first season of the show will consist of 13 episodes and, aside from Quinta, will star Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walter, and Sheryl Lee Ralph. Sheryl is married to Philadelphia state senator Vincent Hughes.

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In the trailer, we meet Janine a year into her time at Willard R. Abbott. She likes the job, her kids, and her coworkers, but it's rough. Her classroom doesn't have enough supplies, she's going out of her way to try and fix a flickering light (which we're sure isn't in her job description), and almost as a thank you, she gets soaked by a toilet that sprays her when she flushes it. This kind of situation can ring true for many teachers who often say they have to reach into their own pockets to help their students.

Aside from that, Janine teaches multiple subjects like math and language arts, so being able to adapt to the different needs of students in various areas of study could also be a struggle she faces at Abbott Elementary.

You can watch the special premiere of Abbott Elementary on ABC on Dec. 7, 2021, at 9:30 p.m. EST. After that, it airs on Tuesdays starting on Jan. 4, 2022, at 9 p.m. EST. Episodes will be available to stream the following day on Hulu.

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