A week after its big Emmy wins, Abbott Elementary has returned to grace our screens for the fall semester. Thank goodness. I’ve never been so excited about the beginning of a school year—maybe kindergarten?—as I was today.
I wasn’t alone, either. The Abbott Elementary fanbase (which I hope, at this point, is most of the world) woke up on the right side of the bed on Wednesday, ready to celebrate the show’s return on Twitter. The series has become somewhat of a communal viewing experience on social media—we can all look forward to Wednesday nights together.
the best show on television, Abbott Elementary, is back tomorrow!😁 pic.twitter.com/xZaaTB6taO
— EB (@ebscookout) September 20, 2022
Happy Abbott Elementary and Survivor season premiere day to all who celebrate!
— Gibson Johns (@gibsonoma) September 21, 2022
Abbott Elementary is back TOMORROW guys we made it pic.twitter.com/H19xpBw3Rf
— HEEDlE (@heyheedie) September 20, 2022
ABBOTT ELEMENTARY TONIGHT!!!! pic.twitter.com/4yoGCqL5t8
— Rasheed A. (@sheededonem) September 21, 2022
Now that we’ve seen the episode, we can say: Quinta Brunson delivered. The Abbott Elementary premiere was a home run. Janine (Brunson) worked—or rather, flopped—through her break-up, Jacob (Chris Perfetti) taught the world four words in ASL, and Ava (Janelle James) held a tailgate in the parking lot.
The return was made even better thanks to Sheryl Lee Ralph’s much-deserved Emmy win and moving speech. It’s been a long time coming—this is what striving looks like! Being back with Barbara Howard did feel like reuniting with a former teacher after moving up a grade. We all missed her. And now, she’s giving us a warm welcome back to Abbott.
Ralph has been soaking in all the celebrations since Emmy night. On top of the flurry of praise from Abbott Elementary viewers, the actress has received flowers from Oprah and Beyoncé. What a duo. And it’s what she deserves. Didn’t we all want to send flowers to her after that epic win? As Tom Hanks once said in You’ve Got Mail, “I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.”
— َ ABBOTT DAY (@ungodlywests) September 19, 2022
beyonce sent sheryl lee ralph flowers for winning her emmy omg pic.twitter.com/dglhnz0vIi
— jess | ABBOTT S2 (@amesfumeros) September 17, 2022
Barbara is doing what she begrudgingly does best when we see her again in Season 2: mentoring. Gregory (Tyler James Williams) and Janine are in desperate need of elder teacher guidance, and who better to step in than Barbara and Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter)? While Janine requires more counseling (by the end of the episode, her car is in a boot—and that’s the least of it), Barbara can help Gregory with his scheduling.
“Being a teacher is being asked to do the impossible year after year, and our only solution is to show up every day and try our best,” Barbara says, consoling Gregory as he panics about his inability to figure out an overpacked curriculum sent from the district. “What are we supposed to do, throw out all of our efforts?”
Not only is this great advice for Gregory and other teachers, it’s fantastic life advice for the rest of us, too. Barbara is the best. We don’t deserve her.
Further proof: When she’s not assisting Gregory and Janine, Barbara spends her first day back (“Development Day,” a planning day for teachers without any students) fretting over a specific desk she needs for her classroom. One of her students is in a wheelchair, and, while she was able to use grant money to install a brand new ramp for his first day, she’s been struggling to find the desk she ordered for students in wheelchairs.
Barbara has spent all summer preparing her classroom to be inclusive for all of her students. What an angel! And yet, she’s still got that perfect snark towards Janine. At the very last minute, Barbara gets her wheelchair-friendly desk with some help from Gregory, who found one hiding in the school’s haunted storage room.
Abbott Elementary is back, baby. It’s hard to pick our favorite part of the return. Gritty? Ava hula-hooping at a big staff seminar? Sheryl Lee Ralph’s post-Emmy glow? It’s all great. And we get to do this again next week, and the week after, and the week after that. See you on Wednesday!