“Abbott Elementary” - Season 2, Episode 14 Review

Story posted February 15, 2023 in Arts & Entertainment by Izzy Charboneau.

The Valentine’s Day episode of Abbott Elementary, adorably slated as Season 2, Episode 14, was definitely one of the best of the season, especially for fans of the slow burn workplace romance.

In the cold open, we are introduced to Janine’s sister when she answers a phone call from her in front of Jacob. As anyone with a sister knows, sisters are a lot, and Janine feels the same way about hers, who is played by the wonderful Ayo Edebiri.

Having Edebiri, famous for her roles in “The Bear” and “Big Mouth,” play Janine’s sister, even in this small cameo, is an exciting little Easter egg that makes fans hopeful she may return to play the role again.

After the opening theme, Jacob, Barb, and Melissa talk about their Valentine’s Day plans, and Gregory stresses about what gift to give his girlfriend, Amber. Melissa is worried because she hasn’t heard about any plans from her vending machine operator boyfriend, Gary. Janine then walks into the teacher’s lounge with a letter from a secret admirer, who we soon find out is actually a student.

While asking Melissa for advice about this student’s crush, Jacob overhears Janine talking and assumes she has found out that Gregory likes her, and Janine is stressed to find out this information.

The miscommunication trope in sitcoms is very well-utilized in this instance, especially because it comes to Janine and Gregory’s slow burn relationship. Fans of the show have been basically foaming at the mouth for something like this to happen, so this is exciting.

Meanwhile, a parent comes to complain to Ava that a white teacher, Jacob, is teaching his son black history during black history month, so Ava decides to sit in on one of his lessons. She does this several times, and realizes she actually enjoys learning about it and taking classes seriously. Because she is so attentively attending his classes, Jacob is paranoid that he is getting fired.

Janine, freaked out by the prospect of Gregory liking her, asks some of her coworkers about it, and they all say it’s very obvious that her and Gregory have a thing for each other. This worries Janine even further, and then we see a very awkward encounter between the pair, but Janine seems to come to the realization that maybe she does have feelings for him.

Jacob’s boyfriend, Zach, comes in to surprise Jacob with a Valentine’s Day lunch, but he runs into Ava, who confides her newfound love of learning in him. When Jacob comes in, Ava tells the two some news about her life.

After the crush that Janine’s student had on her is resolved, her real boyfriend, Maurice, shows up with a gift for her, conveniently at the same time that Gregory’s girlfriend shows up to meet him.

Amber seems really excited about the gift that Maurice is giving to Janine, and ends up being disappointed in the gift that Gregory gives her, which Janine told him was a great gift.

Besides the adorable additions to the future romance between Janine and Gregory, this episode really gives Chris Perfetti a chance to shine as Jacob. He was one of only two main cast members who was not nominated for a major award for the first season, but he has been playing a larger role in many episodes this season, and has been knocking it out of the park.

Janelle James as Principal Ava Coleman is also outstanding, and her character arc has been really exciting this season as we see Ava become more dedicated to her job. James’ performance is probably the most entertaining from a comedy standpoint, and her one-liners are seriously some of the show’s best moments.

Rating: 4.5/5

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