This stomach-gripping, knee-slapping show is one of the funniest newest shows yet with the same remnants of deadpan humor that can be compared to the show “The Office. “ This relatable series takes place at a public school called Abbott Elementary in Philadelphia, with a group of quirky teachers who bond over the love and mishaps of teaching at an underfunded school.
Season 2 aired on HULU last year on September 22, 2022. Although I just started watching this show a few months ago, it feels like it just came out due to its modern and fresh sense of humor. There are 16 episodes in season 2, with approximately 30 minutes of watch time – which is great for binge-watching. The central tension during this season involves the main character ‘Janine’ and her coworker ‘Gregory’ who’s pent-up feelings for each other finally surface – aside from their delays in confession, the ending is still satisfying and not too predictable.
In my humblest opinion, Episode 1 is the first best episode of this season because it sets the tone for the tension that we will see between Janine and Gregory. Episode 1 of season 2, titled “Development Day,” kicks off at the beginning of the school year, and everyone is back from summer break. Janine is still trying to heal from her breakup by pretending everything is fine, and she hires a mascot for the students in addition to being in charge of 15 million other things to have some sense of control. Gregory continues to teach throughout the summer while Barbra goes on a vacation to Jamaica. Ava also goes on vacation, to which she snobbishly shows photos of herself on the beach during a meeting (typical Ava fashion). Jacob learns that Janine is trying to hide that she has been behind on her bills ever since her breakup with Tareek.
Janine continues to be adamant that she is okay and handling her breakup with Tareek well. However, we start to see some romantic tension between Janine and Gregory when she awkwardly asks about Taylor (Gregory’s new girlfriend), and he asks about her dating life post-break-up. Fast forward to the outdoor barbecue Ava hosted, and Jeanine’s car is about to get a boot put on it due to unpaid tickets that her ex didn’t pay. She finds this out in a hilarious way and tries to move the car even with the boot on the tire, but she comes to a screeching halt when the mascot that she scheduled to go to the school the following week walks in front of her car.
Well, getting her dates mixed up highlighted her lack of control, and because of this, the mascot was unable to be rescheduled for the proper date to his busy schedule – out of frustration, she kicked her car. Janine finally becomes vulnerable with her coworkers about being unable to pay her bills and being sad about missing her ex. Her coworkers reassure her that everything that she is going through is normal. Jacob helps her pay her bills with his big heart by sacrificing his student loan payment to help her.
Another of my favorite episodes this season was episode four, titled “The Principal’s Office.” Which premise centers around Gregory’s experience with a disruptive student and how he decides to handle it. At the beginning of the episode in the breakroom, Janine’s odd combination of peanut butter and ramen noodles causes Melissa to raise an eyebrow and question her cooking skills. Janine admits she doesn’t know how to cook, and Melissa offers to teach Janine how to cook and invites her and Jacob over for a lesson.
When they go over to Melissa’s house, Janine starts asking questions about Melissa’s sister. At first, Melissa doesn’t want to hear it, but then she gives in since Janine doesn’t get the hint (which she never does). So Janine constructs a plan for Melissa and her sister to reunite. Meanwhile, Gregory is still struggling with the disruptive student and decides to send him to the principal’s office. What he initially thought was a good idea came to an end when Ava brought the student back with candy only after a couple of minutes. Ava reasoned that sending the kid to the principal office would only cause the student further embarrassment and emotional disturbance, which isn’t fixing the core problem.
For the first time, I was impressed with Ava’s professional skills because of her typical narcissistic nature. It forced Gregory to become a better teacher by realizing there are more productive ways of handling a misbehaving student. So the next time the student disrupted the class, he made the boy answer a few questions and got everyone to jump in. We don’t regularly see Ava being sane, rational, and compassionate, so it validated that Ava is a good principal.
Last but certainly not least, episode 22, titled “Franklin Institute,” was my absolute favorite. Things are awkward between Janine and Gregory on the kid’s field trip to the museum. She starts acting cold toward Gregory, and he is confused. Gregory confides in Jacob about Janine acting weird, and Jacob says, “I think you two should kiss and get it over with already” Because Gregory doesn’t deny it, he immediately realizes that it’s Gregory’s way of confirming that he does have feelings for Janine.
Gregory finally confesses his feelings to Janine, and she does as well….AAHH. They start talking about liking each other and why it took them so long to finally confess. Janine ultimately chooses herself and for them to be friends because she decides she is not ready. Amid Gregory and Janine’s confession, the kids are sleeping, and one of them wakes up and sees Barbara’s CPAP machine gear and screams in terror because he thinks she is an alien, resulting in a bunch of screaming kids running around.
I feel like I liked this episode because we finally get to see the conclusion between Janine and Gregory’s relationship. I’m pleased they ended up as friends, even though the two had great chemistry and seemed very compatible. However, I think making them end up dating would just be predictable, and perhaps the show’s writers want to drag out their story a bit more.
Ultimately I had so many laughs this season, and I enjoyed seeing the progression of each character. So what does everyone think about the new direction of Janine and Gregory’s friendship? Do you think she made a mistake and should have gone for it? And do you think that they will eventually be together in later seasons? Feel free to comment your thoughts down below!