Grab your remotes and get ready for more heartbreaking laughs because Abbott Elementary is back for another epic season. The hilarious, record-breaking, and now Emmy-winning mockumentary sitcom returns on September 21, and of course there’s no doubt it’s set to deliver another award-worthy season.
Fresh from their months-long press run, the Abbott Elementary cast — Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and William Stanford Davis — have been working non-stop to wrap up filming season Two , so much so that the stars tell POPSUGAR they barely had a moment to celebrate their unprecedented success, which Williams says is due to them still being “stuck in the incubation chamber of season one of ‘Abbott.’ “.
“You know what’s weird, someone asked me that just yesterday … and it was the first time I’ve had to deal with it, ‘What’s changed?'” he shares. “And it’s weird because I don’t know yet. [Once] ‘Abbott’ premiered, we hit the press straight away, then we started an awards campaign, then we went into season two, [up until] now. So we haven’t been out much to really gauge the reaction.”
Just weeks after Abbott Elementary premiered in December 2021, the show could already say that it has garnered a passionate fanbase that includes celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Kerry Washington, to name a few. James admits she’s still in awe of that fact. “I don’t know what I thought celebrities do, but it certainly wasn’t watching sitcoms,” she jokes. “I thought they would watch specially curated shows just for them on their yachts. It was wild, like, ‘Oh, just take the time from what I consider your amazing life to watch this show?’ That is amazing!”
“You see people on the street and they tell you how much they love the show, but I think the biggest compliments we get are from the teachers…”
No one could have predicted that “Abbott Elementary” would take off like a rocket (well, maybe Williams). Not even a year after its winter premiere, he was breaking new ground in the television world and, multiple outlets reported, was responsible for the revival of the network sitcom. Still, the cast is trying to catch up with viewers who have been raving about the TV juggernaut since day one.
“You really can’t tell because we’ve been working so much,” Davis explains, adjusting to the Abbott Elementary boom. “And when we weren’t working, we were promoting the show. You see people on the street and they tell you how much they love the show, but I think the biggest compliments we get are from teachers and a lot of other stuff on social media and you can really tell from that it affects people. I’m talking about global [as well].”
Even with rave reviews, a near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, and an eager audience that’s growing by the day, the Abbott Elementary crew remains as humble as ever, and Brunson assures us the sitcom won’t budge will deviate where the magic is about to happen. “It’s very important to me. It’s a workplace comedy, you said exactly that, and I think [the characters] work best in at work,” says the series creator. “That’s where the stories are told. That’s where we get most of the meat from our characters, so it’s important to me that they stay there.”
Aside from Brunson’s award-winning screenplay, the biggest credit for Abbott Elementary’s success rightly goes to the exceptional chemistry and comedic skills of the cast – which their creator clearly helped create. According to Ralph and Walter, Brunson is the brains behind bringing the show’s talented cast together. From no-nonsense kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard (Ralph) to socially awkward Jacob Hill (Perfetti) to effervescent principal Ava (James), Brunson played an integral part in the birth of all of the characters we’ve come to know and love.
“This is a testament to Quinta’s ability, an almost unnatural ability for her age, to be a boss, [a] chairman [who said]’Let me combine these nice people.’”
“She picked good people to come together,” says Ralph. “Sometimes people just pick people and say, ‘If they bring a bad energy, we can just tolerate that because we’re going to take those numbers,’ and I think Quinta was very purposeful when she said, ‘No, we can’t do anything have This will spoil the mood. We must be in a good mood. … We would only do it if we had real professionals who understood that we have to be on the same page.”
About Abbott Elementary’s Emmy for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, Ralph says the win is because the show has all the “right elements.” “Just the right bit of happy, sad, sassy, shiny, glittery, wise, wonderful, all those little things that come together. It’s just proof of that [win],” she adds.
Walter echoes her feelings, saying, “[Ralph is] absolutely right with the whole cast, there are different energies but it makes sense. This is a testament to Quinta’s ability, an almost unnatural ability for her age, to be a boss, [a] chairman [who said], ‘Let me combine these nice people.’ . . . She’s part of a big, big family and I think showing up like that gives you this empathy and knowledge of other people from watching them interact and that’s how she found that out [‘Abbott’] Family. . . . It’s all about the right mix, and she was brilliant at it.”
Many, if not all, of the cast of Abbott Elementary are the series’ biggest fans. And at this point, they consider it an honor to be a part of something that hopefully will last for a long time. Having set the bar so high in season one, there’s no telling how the sitcom will surpass itself in season two. But it’s pretty safe to assume viewers will be tuned in for all 22 episodes to find out.
Abbott Elementary airs new episodes every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.