Why did NONE of you tell me about how good Abbott Elementary was?

It’s hard for me to get involved in a new television series. I’m not looking for formulaic procedurals, I’m not a big fan of yuk-yuk 22-minute all-is-resolved sitcoms, and it’s gotten to the point where I’m watching 10-episode streaming dramas because at least I’m sure they’ll have a beginning and a middle and an end and won’t have their final show be an unresolved cliffhanger.

Now granted, I saw the previews for the ABC classroom sitcom Abbott Elementary, and honestly, I thought to myself, “Oh, great, it’s The Office meets Modern Family in the classroom. Yeah, so what.”

But then I saw that when the Emmy Award nominations came out, Abbott Elementary was the only network television comedy to be listed as Best Comedy. Everything else was from a streaming service.

Okay, okay. I’ve got a free weekend. Let’s watch an episode and see if this show’s hype is justified.

The show has 13 episodes, so I figured I’d watch an episode or two on Saturday and be on with my time.

By Saturday evening, I had finished Episode 10.

Holy shit, this is good.

And wait … isn’t that Sheryl Lee Ralph from the Broadway show of Dreamgirls as the straight-laced, church-going teacher Mrs. Howard? Isn’t that a grown-up Tyler James Williams, whom I remember from Everybody Hates Chris, as the soft-spoken substitute teacher Mr. Eddie?

And then after playing a couple of rounds of “spot the star,” I’m sitting there following the plotlines – discovering that all the single-note characters have hidden traits that, when the series progresses, you learn more about their lives and their motivations and their dedication – against all financial odds – to help the students in Philadelphia’s poorest school system. What starts out as comedic tropes and stereotypes in the series pilot turn into full-fledged, sympathetic characters as the series progresses.

Now does Abbott Elementary match up well with other elementary school sitcoms and dramas of television’s past? Well, let’s compare. It doesn’t play for broad laughs, like Our Miss Brooks, and it’s not as overtly preachy as Room 222. It’s not as over-the-top as the insipid series Bad Teacher (yes, they made a sitcom from that Cameron Diaz movie of a long time ago), it’s not as stagy as Head of the Class or Welcome Back, Kotter, and maybe … just maybe … this show could have a nice, long run.

And Abbott Elementary is definitely going on my list of shows to watch for the 2022-23 season. I’m good with that. Hell, throw in a reference or two to Wawa or Sheetz, have a character correctly pronounce Schuylkill or Conshohocken, and we can make this work. Trust me, right now it’s got more Pennsylvania in it than Mehmet Oz. Yes, I went there. 😉

But again … for me, it takes a lot to get me hooked on a television show. I might come into the series a year or two behind everyone else, but that’s just me.

In essence, I’m hooked on Abbott Elementary.

Let’s keep this going.