There haven’t been many shows dedicated to highlighting the teaching experience in the U.S., but the ABC hit comedy Abbott Elementary has shone a spotlight on the actual issues many public school teachers face daily. That was part of creator and star Quinta Brunson’s plan to highlight the struggle. Brunson wasn’t just about bringing attention to teachers but helping them in real life.
Viewers get to observe weekly as Janine and the faculty and staff of Abbott Elementary struggle to make things work with a lack of funding. Brunson understood the financial difficulties teachers face daily as the daughter of a public school educator. She observed her mother give her all to the profession despite being underpaid and under-resourced.
Quinta Brunson sought to remedy the situation for other teachers in a unique way. The Abbott Elementary star spilled to NPR how the production team and ABC came together to help real-life teachers.
Allocating marketing funds to help underfunded educators falls right in line with the message behind the mockumentary series. Oftentimes, viewers see the cast struggling just to get the necessities. Creating the show and observing the difficulties firsthand gave Brunson the push to use her newfound success to give back. The money made a difference to a few teachers who didn’t have the resources to buy things like paper or pencils.
Her mother as well as her sixth-grade teacher Ms. Abbott (and the show’s namesake) left an impression on Brunson. Quinta Brunson wanted to pay it forward after these two influential women poured their love of education into her. She even gave both women their flowers during her NPR interview. The multihyphenate recalled her mother being “resilient” for sticking with the profession while she credited her former teacher for making her and other students feel “special and ready for the world.” Of course, she already told the English teacher this during their surprise reunion on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
This thoughtful collaboration wasn’t the first time Brunson felt that ABC had the show’s back. The Abbott Elementary star credited the network for the series finding an audience so quickly by placing it behind the popular special series Live in Front of a Studio Audience. The showrunner thought the show wouldn’t explode until its second or third season like Schitt’s Creek and The Office. But those Office comparisons ended quickly as Quinta Brunson spoke on how her show differs from the classic sitcom. She pointed out that the Abbott faculty cares about their job compared to the Dunder Mifflin staff, while shooting down Janine and Gregory becoming the new Jim and Pam.
Of course, viewers can find out for themselves why Abbott Elementary is worth watching, although the comedy is on a brief break until March 22 in the 2022 TV schedule. You can subscribe to Hulu if you want to catch up on the freshman sitcom.
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