The creator and star of the ABC sitcom reflects on the long, winding road to making an instant hit.
As Abbott Elementary continues to be a breakout success for ABC, creator Quinta Brunson is opening up about how she set out to create a series that bucked the recent trend in “dark” sitcoms, but didn’t become a boring old network show in the process. It’s a delicate needle to thread, but judging by the reactions from audiences and critics, Abbott Elementary has pulled off the impressive feat of delivering a show that can be enjoyed by all ages, yet is still hilarious.
Via Vanity Fair:
“Network television, if I’m being honest, was just getting super formulaic, and I think that’s what made it not feel cool anymore,” she says. “Then streaming came out… and then all the comedies started getting super dark — because that became cool, for the comedies to get dark and pretty. Which is fine! But they’re dark. You can’t watch ’em with the whole family…. It’s not going to give you the same laughs as a network comedy.”
Abbott is a firmly family-friendly show, designed to tap into every audience quadrant. (“It’s not prestige television,” Brunson adds. “It’s TV for everybody.“)
Abbott Elementary is easily one of ABC’s strongest sitcoms in recent years, and one person who particularly enjoyed it is Brunson’s sixth grade teacher and the show’s namesake, Mrs. Abbott. During a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Mrs. Abbott showed up for an emotional reunion with Brunson and to say how honored she was to learn the show was named after her. While Brunson was thrilled to see her teacher, she jokingly let Kimmel have it for creating a situation where her make-up was running all over the place from the (happy!) tears.
Abbott Elementary airs Tuesdays on ABC with episodes available on Hulu the next day. Please get involved. It’s really very good.