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Abbott Elementary's workplace comedy format is why it's so effective as a show about teachers

  • Past shows like Welcome Back, Kotter, Boston Public, Friday Night Lights and even The Wire have delved into the teaching profession, but the students are usually the protagonists. “Abbott Elementary, whose first season ends on April 12, is a workplace comedy, which means that it looks at teaching as a job done by complicated, messy humans," says James Poniewozik. "This also means that its mission and good intentions would mean nothing if it weren’t funny. And it is hilarious. (As a critic, I appreciate a bittersweet seven-episode niche dramedy more than most, but sometimes you just want a good sitcom.)" He adds: "What becomes clear over the first season is how thoroughly (Quinta) Brunson and her creative team have done the reading when it comes to American education, about both its eternal challenges and its of-the-moment dynamics....A drama could tell the same sorts of stories, but there’s something about a workplace comedy, with its focus on eccentricities and petty annoyances, that makes it especially effective. The teachers of Abbott Elementary are as imperfect as you are, and this is important. Part of the 'heartwarming' narrative that we like to tell ourselves about education is that teachers are saints. It’s convenient: You don’t owe anything to a saint." ALSO: Here are five moments showcasing why Abbott Elementary became a hit.

    TOPICS: Abbott Elementary, ABC, Quinta Brunson