“Abbott Elementary” - Episode 10 Review
This week “Abbott Elementary” proved yet again why a 20+ episode season of a network show is essential to the life of a sitcom; a holiday episode.
The writers can make seasonal episodes with “Abbott Elementary” airing on ABC and streaming on Hulu the next day. For a show centered around an elementary school utilizing the time of the year helps people of all ages drum up feelings of nostalgia.
The cold open and beginning of the episode saw the students in school doing traditional pre-winter break things like crafts, decorating and class parties.
Considering that “Abbott Elementary” is a workplace comedy, most of the episodes, characters and their development are based around the teachers and their jobs at school.
This week, audiences got to see Janine get out of school and her comfort zone as her friend finally convinced her to try to meet new people following her breakup with her long-term boyfriend.
While in line at the hookah bar, Janine doesn’t just run into her boss Ava, but also her co-worker Gregory.
A running storyline throughout “Abbott Elementary” is the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Janine and Gregory.
The “friends-to-lovers” relationship isn’t just a trope in workplace sitcoms but a staple of many preceding workplace comedies. The writers at “Abbott Elementary” are aware of these celebrated couples and try to make their version of it.
Thus, in “Holiday Hookah,” the slow burn between the two teachers continues.
Between Janine’s amateur approach to going clubbing and her and Gregory being somewhat uncomfortable going out to the same place, there is an apparent awkward tension throughout the episode.
However, the pair end up dancing with each other, offering an exciting moment for fans who ship the couple.
While it may seem predictable that the two will get together at some point during the show, the writers are doing an excellent job of creating a slow-burn between the two.
Although Gregory has to leave to meet up with his girlfriend, that doesn’t stop him and Janine from maybe almost kissing.
Ava, the principal, was also at the club and, like usual, offered up some of the episode's best laughs. From her “not my work-husband grinding up on my work nemesis” line or finding out she’s dating 76ers legend Andre Iguodala Ava is always a blessing when she’s on screen.
Iguodala wasn’t the only celebrity cameo of the night as rapper Vince Staples appeared as one of Gregory’s friends he was out with, who also had some interesting chemistry with Janine.
In terms of character development, it was nice to watch Janine get out of her shell and see Ava looking out for her colleague as she takes her to another bar when her friend and Gregory somewhat abandon her.
Back in Abbott, audiences watched Jacob crash Barbra and Melissa’s Christmas break traditions of a dinner in the break room. It was a fine B-plot of the episode, Sheryl-Lee Ralph and Lisa Ann Walter are always going to be charismatic, but this was a weaker sub-plot in the season thus far.
As “Abbott Elementary '' recently celebrated its first anniversary of being on air, people on Twitter joked that it's been one year since “real television” had been brought back, which honestly feels true.
The joy of a workplace sitcom (or any sitcom) is within these seasonal/holiday episodes, legitimately (and not cringe) topical jokes and even filler episodes.
Filler episodes provide small ounces of the continuation of storylines like the Greg and Janine relationship or the looming charter school threat. But they can continue these stories without the show’s only plot centering around them.
It’s why so many enjoy shows like “Ted Lasso” or “Barry” but can still ask, is this show really a comedy?
Even with a weaker B-story, this is yet another exceptional episode and continues to be a shining success story. Sitcoms aren’t just succeeding with the network-to-streaming model but with how these shows should be distributed.
“Abbott Elementary” continues to tell authentic and earnest stories that are funny, heartwarming, entertaining and most of all fun. The next episode cannot come soon enough.
Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.