“Abbott Elementary” - Episode 5 Review
The biggest takeaway from this week’s new episode of “Abbott Elementary” is that every member of this cast better be nominated for an Emmy next year - or else.
This episode does what the show does best: critiques the education system in America while still having every scene be jam packed with jokes.
In this episode, Janine (Quinta Brunson) gets the cafeteria staff to give new juice to the kids, giving them each 2 more ounces of juice with their lunch. Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) opts out, saying her kids don't need that because if something isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix it.
These two extra ounces cause all of the kids to have to go to the bathroom, and when Janine brings her class on a trip to the bathroom, she finds that Gregory (Tyler James Williams) has brought his class to go on a bathroom trip for the same thing.
With all of this traffic, the bathroom on the first floor stops working, and everyone’s favorite janitor Mr. Johnson (William Stanford Davis) tells them that they’re going to have to use the bathroom on the second floor.
This is an issue for Gregory and Janine because it takes a while to get that many young kids up to the second floor. Barbara begrudgingly tells them they can use the kindergarten bathroom in her classroom, but after several disruptions she tells them to stop.
During her planning period, Gregory and Janine sneak their students into her classroom to use the bathroom, and Barbara is angry when she catches them. Then, her toilet breaks as well, and they’re all forced to go upstairs.
Barbara is upset because she told them not to change the juice situation and not to use her bathroom, and now she has to take her kids up to the second floor too.
This also leads to the second floor bathroom being broken as well, so Barbara takes matters in her own hands. She borrows a baseball bat and destroys the remaining third floor bathrooms so that they can declare an emergency and make the school board send someone to fix it.
The audience also gets a look into how Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) is getting along with her new teacher's aide, Ashley, played by Keyla Monterruso Mejia from HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Ashley is disruptive, and distracts all of the kids in the room instead of helping, so Melissa complains to Ava (Janelle James), who says she’ll observe Ashley.
Melissa is shocked by Ava’s willingness to help, but she soon regrets even asking as Ava loves having Ashley around. Ashley begins to do tasks for Ava instead of Melissa, making the problem even worse.
This actually leads to a really good moment between Melissa and Jacob (Chris Perfetti), and he tells her to try to engage with Ashely. Melissa, who is skeptical by nature, decides to listen to his advice, and it turns out that engaging in her interests makes Ashley much more willing to listen to Melissa.
The scenes of Janine and Gregory scheming and hanging out together are super exciting for fans who are patiently waiting to see the future of this slow burn workplace romance.
This episode, written by Ava Coleman (which is coincidentally the name of the character Ava played by Janelle James), showcases just how brilliant this show is. The writing is crisp and intelligent, and they manage to fit so many jokes into each scene without making it feel like it’s too much.
If the rest of the season continues to be as strong as it has been, this show could definitely revive the concept of a network sitcom.
Izzy Charboneau is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.