“Abbott Elementary” - Season 2, Episode 11 Review

Story posted January 24, 2023 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Izzy Charboneau

This episode of Abbott Elementary may have been the best of the season so far, and most certainly contained what was the sweetest student-teacher moment.

In this episode, the students at Abbott are participating in a read-a-thon, which means they’re competing to see which class reads the most. Melissa is proud to announce that her class usually wins, and she and Janine are very competitive about this.

Meanwhile, Jacob has enlisted a reluctant Gregory to help him run Abbott Elementary’s after-school podcast club and he is delighted to find out that he has had two students sign up.

After an awkward run-in with Gregory, Janine halts all math lessons for the week and replaces them with reading time to get an edge over Melissa’s second grade class. Melissa retaliates, and tells her kids that she needs them to be reading constantly.

This, however, causes Melissa to lose her three strongest readers, as they all get pink eye from trying to read a book in the shower. After finding this out, Janine feels confident and proposes that whoever’s class loses has to be a guest on Jacob’s podcast.

But one of her students, Maya, seems to be making up for this loss, reading 25 books in one night. Melissa is skeptical of this, as Maya isn’t the strongest reader, so she calls Maya’s parents in for a meeting.

She attempts to voice her concerns with the parents, but they’re having none of it, and insist that their daughter doesn’t struggle with reading. This upsets Melissa, as she is just trying to help their daughter.

The next day, Melissa asks Maya herself about struggling with reading, and shares that she also had issues with reading when she was a little girl. This is possibly the sweetest, most sincere moment we’ve seen from Lisa Ann Walter’s Melissa in the entire show so far, and it is made clear that even among all her antics, Melissa really cares about her students.

Meanwhile, the two students that signed up for Jacob’s podcast seem to have some ideas about what a podcast should be like that Jacob disagrees with, and he basically takes most of what they recorded out of the final cut. The boys accuse him of censoring them, and they say they don’t want to be in the podcast club anymore.

This brings an opportunity for Ava to give Jacob some advice about the situation, and he realizes she was wrong. Moments in which Ava is actually good at her job are becoming more common, which is a stark improvement from season one. At the end of the first season, Ava was on the brink of losing her job and this will likely come back into play later.

The read-a-thon ends and Janine’s class has won, but Melissa finds a loophole: the rules say that they should count all the students in a classroom, which means Melissa can include her third graders in the read-a-thon numbers as well, and that Janine has actually lost.

Janine then has to go on Jacob’s podcast, where the students are finally conducting the kind of podcast they want. Unfortunately for Janine and Gregory, this includes asking the pair about the fact that they were seen dancing together at the club.

This episode of Abbott Elementary includes several awkward moments between Janine and Gregory, which is a fun way to keep reminding the audience of the weird energy between the two.

However, the shining moment of this episode is the amazing way that Melissa handles the hardships of her students, and Lisa Ann Walter is just perfect.

Rating: 4.5/5

Izzy Charboneau is a second-year student majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email ijc5186@psu.edu.