School is back at ABC with the return of the Disney-backed broadcaster’s Emmy-winning comedy on Wednesday Abbott Elementary.
The comedy starring and co-created by newly minted Emmy winner Quinta Brunson launches its second season Wednesday at 9 p.m. with a super-big season that will expand the show beyond the walls of the central school.
Here are five things to know about season two of the comedy that Brunson originally developed as an animated show.
1. Expanding the world of the show
The freshman season was largely focused on everyday life at Willard R. Abbott Elementary School, but the sophomore run will expand the world of the show. “We’re going to explore more of these characters’ personal lives outside of school,” co-showrunner Patrick Schumacker told me. News Kidda’s TV’s Top 5 Podcast. “Season one, we weren’t really going to leave school – there was no reason for that yet – and now we’re going to meet some relatives… and love interests. But yes, the world is going to grow.” At the same time, Brunson recently told reporters on the Television Critics Association’s virtual press tour that it was important that: Abbott Elementary remain a workplace comedy at the center. “To flesh out the backstories of these characters a little bit more and give viewers something they didn’t have in the first season, we thought it would be great to go into their backstories every now and then, into their lives. And the house is a great place to learn more about a character as i said we are not technically going to live there but we think it is a really nice experience for the audience and for ourselves to learn more about where these people come from.”
2. Famous guest stars
Abbott Elementary launched last December as part of ABC’s midseason schedule, filming the entire first season before debuting. Now that the show has been certified as a breakout and awards player, it will be significantly easier for Brunson and the company to recruit high-profile guest stars, and that will begin with the season two premiere. “We will have some recognizable guest stars,” Schumacker said TVs Top 5 “The season two premiere has a beloved Philadelphia celebrity that fans across the country and worldwide will know, and I’ll leave it at that.” While producers (and press) are sworn to secrecy, here’s what Brunson had to say: [spoiler alert!] arriving in the season opener, with the names and pronouns changed to protect the reveal:[Spoiler] is as essential to the particular Philadelphia spirit of this show as the Eagles of cheesesteak or pretzels. So get [spoiler] was like a dream come true. I was over the moon. I was over the moon.” In more specific terms, previously announced guest stars already booked for season two include Leslie Odom Jr., Lauren Weedman and Keyla Monterroso Mejia. Odom (Hamilton) plays Draemond, the owner of a series of charter schools in the area that Abbott attends. weed man (Euphoria) plays Kristin Marie, a tough teacher from a neighboring school who bears a striking resemblance to Abbott’s, while Mejia (Control your enthusiasm) is Ashley, a teaching assistant at Abbott whose go-with-the-flow personality adds to the chaos in the classroom. All three will have recurring guest stars.
3. It stays current for educators
Brunson, who originally created the show after her mother’s experience as an educator, plots the story from a comedic position at first, but still feels a responsibility to portray America’s teacher crisis. “What we do is start with the reality of our situations. We just go, ‘What does a school like Abbott do from day to day?’ And of course things like that come into play,” she said. “So even in the first two episodes there are semblance of that.” The newly minted Emmy winner noted that hot topics, including the education crisis, come naturally when the writers focus on creating suspense for characters like Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) and Ava (Janelle James). “The more we focus on our characters and the four walls we have with Abbott, the more we end up talking about these big issues,” she said.
4. Janine and Gregory: Will they or won’t they?
Brunson kept tight-lipped when asked if viewers would see more of the budding romance between
Pam and Jim Janine and Gregory (Tyler James Williams) in season two. “I’d say, definitely watch the show,” she joked. “I think our goal is to probably do things that you haven’t seen before. There are no guarantees. There are no exact sciences, I guess, for this or — you don’t even know what’s going to happen to these two people as individuals. So I would definitely say: tune in, because I feel like it. And if I watched this show at home and didn’t make it, I’d be really excited to see what happens.
5. Bigger is better
As the ultimate sign of the show’s success, ABC has ordered a full season of 22 episodes for the second frame. Very few programs on television receive what used to be a given for broadcasts. Season one, it’s worth noting, consisted of 13 episodes. With the order for the whole season, Abbott Elementary joins the ranks of the broadcast kings like Law & Order: SVU and Grey’s Anatomy to go the distance. It also means Brunson and the writers will be making episodes with shorter lead times — and in real time — as the season progresses. “More episodes have been exciting, but I also want to make sure that every week we have things that people can tune in to and be excited about,” Brunson said of the challenge. “That’s just hard to do at 22. At 13, I knew I could put something in there that would make people show up. In this ever-changing but binge-worthy climate, this isn’t something people could binge right away. So I want to go for it.” make sure they’re back with us every week we’re on the air.”
Abbott Elementary airs on Wednesdays on ABC. To hear more about Abbott Elementarylisten to the full TVs Top 5 podcast with co-showrunners Schumacker and Justin Halpern here, plus Brunson on the show’s development process here.