Quinta Brunson brings the mockumentary back to school with her upcoming ABC comedy Abbott Elementary. During the show’s panel at ABC’s Winter TCA press conference on Thursday, Brunson opened up on how she thinks comedy will help audiences earn a better understanding of the public school system and the devoted instructors who work to keep it together.
“What I love about the format is that it gives an opportunity for the audience to build a different relationship with the characters. I think teachers deserve that,” Brunson, who also stars in Abbott Elementary, said. “I had seen other teacher shows and it’s a lens on them that often can make them seem one-dimensional and they are the least one-dimensional people there are, it’s the least one-dimensional job.”
Set to debut on Tuesday, Dec. 7 Abbott Elementary, centers on a group of dedicated, passionate teachers — and a slightly tone-deaf principal — who are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they will help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible public servants may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.
The way Parks & Recreation and The Office respectively lift the veil off the dynamics of working in local government and the office supply industry, Brunson said Abbott Elementary seeks “to go behind that veil” of public education in a way that’s relatable and informative. The series comically touches on flaws in the education system – from overworked and burnt-out instructors to the lack of funds and care public schools often experience – in a way that urges viewers to empathize with the devoted employees.
“We don’t want to create an environment where we say these issues are okay and shouldn’t be fixed, that’s not what we’re going to do. What we want to do is say, ‘Look at these people who do the job anyway – how can we support them further? How can we take a look at our school system and say it shouldn’t be this way any more,” she continued. “I think that’s what’s really important about this – giving people a behind-the-scenes look of what teachers really do through humor and heart and straight up comedy.”
Brunson was also joined by fellow stars Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walter and Sheryl Lee Ralph. Executive producers Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker and Randall Einhorn were also present for the panel.
Following the premiere, new episodes of the comedy will air in its regular time period starting Tuesday, January 4.
Brunson serves as writer and executive producer alongside Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker of Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions and Randall Einhorn. The series is produced by
Warner Bros. Television and 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios. The pilot episode is written by Brunson and directed by Randall Einhorn.
ABC also dropped a new look at the upcoming comedy, which can be viewed above, and a featurette dedicated to public educators. Watch the featurette below.