Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 18 was a well-executed episode that provided plenty of laughs along with a more serious topic as fans got a deeper glimpse at Janine’s relationship with her sister.
I know that the whole point of a workplace comedy is that it takes place in the workplace—and it’s especially important for a series that serves as a reminder about the important work teachers do for the children—but for the sake of character development, it’s nice to see them outside of the classroom so that we can get a full picture of who they are, even Janine, who lives and breathes Abbott. As her sister said, the elementary school gig is her whole life.
As we praise teachers, it’s also nice to see that they don’t live at school—my younger self was convinced that they did.
We know that Janine and her sister, Ayesha, have a bit of a tense relationship, but we truly go down to the core of it when she visited and things escalated during game night.
Who knew that Jacob’s favorite game, Drought, would cause so much tension? And the poor guy didn’t even realize that everything blew up over some repressed feelings from childhood. Oh, Jacob.
The truth is that both Janine and Ayesha hold a lot of resentment for each other for various reasons—for leaving and for staying, for being the fun one and for being the perfect one, etc. They are polar opposites, so it makes sense that they had a hard time understanding each other and seeing eye-to-eye. Janine was hurt by Ayesha’s decision to leave and felt as though all the family problems were dumped on her to handle, meanwhile, Ayesha felt inadequate and as though she was disappointing everyone by not living up to the expectations Janine set, so she decided that leaving would be beneficial for everyone.
However, they found a way to understand where the other was coming from and salvage their relationship, even if Ayesha didn’t find any of Janine’s jokes funny much like the rest of her colleagues.
Game night was chaotic enough before Erika decided to grill Gregory about the teacher’s conference. Tyler James Williams continues to carry scenes with his facial expressions, and this reaction was top-notch. As one Twitter fan wrote, I love a messy friend.
“So i heard the teacher’s conference was fun.”
— raveen marie 🏾 (@xoraveen) March 9, 2023
Back at school, the teachers all began turning on each other after Ava explained that the school district only sent two court-side tickets to a Philadelphia 76ers game. Claws came out—it was vicious. More vicious than the jokes about Gregory’s hat, which definitely gave park ranger meets Pharrell vibes.
He felt so confident in his decision to try something new, so I hate that all the teachers ruined it for him, but there’s no denying that Mr. Johnson really just rocked it better than anyone. Also, Gregory took it in stride when they made fun of his hat, but the way he stood up when someone came for his cut. I truly wish we could’ve seen that play out. Here’s a clip because—gold.
It’s time to admit that Mr. Johnson truly is the star of the show. Not only did he score the highly coveted tickets and take his podiatrist with him to the game, but he then won an addition $1,000 and a $50 gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings. The look on Barb’s face was… well, let’s just say she might want to have a few words with Jesus about why she didn’t score a gift card. Also, let this be your reminder to give your child’s teacher a gift card to BWW—they clearly have enough lotion.
And while the teachers desperately wanted to be acknowledged in a more meaningful way by the school district during Teacher Appreciation Week (and who doesn’t want a raise? we know teachers deserve it!), they were eventually reminded why the week was so important—it was a reminder that the true magic lies within their colleagues and their students. It’s not much, but they really are a family that sticks together and goes above and beyond for each other, and it’s important not to lose sight of that.
While there were plenty of heartfelt moments—and comical ones from Ava, as well—you know things are going to be hitting the fan when she’s that concerned about a letter from the school district, informing her that the board is going to meet about making Abbott a legendary charter school. This is one battle those dedicated teachers will not stand to lose as their number one priority is the children.
What did you think of the episode?
Abbott Elementary Season Finale Review – It’s a Slow Burn After All (222)
Wowie… that was a bummer. That was my initial reaction after Janine turned Gregory down on Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22. But it wasn’t actually a bummer at all.
Fans expected the duo—who has been crushing on each other since their first day at Abbott (love at first sight!)—to finally make a move on each other in the season finale, but when has Abbott ever done what was expected?
The mockumentary may be your typical workplace comedy on the surface, but it colors outside the lines, which is what has made the show so relatable, realistic, and most of all, unlike any other on television.
And Janine and Gregory’s slow burn has been the best part of it. There are so many TV couples we ship that lose their magic the moment they get together—the chemistry only lives in the “will they or won’t they.”
Abbott is making sure that isn’t the case with Janine and Gregory.
However, Janine’s selfish decision also prioritized something much more important than what fans want (because we know shows sometimes give into fan demands, which actually cheapens the storyline)—they led with the plot that made the most sense for the characters.
It couldn’t have been easy arriving at this pivotal point with Gregory and Janine and then deciding not to give into that storyline, especially when they both admitted that they have deep feelings for each other (and they were pouring their hearts out to each other in a literal heart display that could be heard subtly beating in the background making for a perfect moment), but it was necessary for Janine’s character growth. She’s been having a bit of an identity crisis this season, and her brief but life-changing chat with Maurice, and surprisingly, later Ava, put things into perspective for her.
She went from one very long and serious relationship with Tariq to another one with Maurice, but she hasn’t been in a healthy or promising relationship with herself. She needed to explore that a little bit more before throwing herself into another relationship, especially one that was so real.
— wine mom yor forger🍷 (@autumnvelvets) April 20, 2023
In addition to realizing the importance and necessity of being selfish sometimes (putting yourself first), Janine also knew that this wasn’t a relationship she could ever risk not working out. There was no going back, and if she was going to make that jump, she needed to be fully ready. They love each other so much, they can’t risk hurting one another.
It takes a lot to turn down the person that makes your heart skip a beat, gives you those flutters, and puts a smile on your face daily, but Janine knew it was the right call. And we haven’t seen her be so confident in her decision, like, ever.
Janine and Gregory’s Franklin Institute moment proves how important the timing is; it wasn’t the right time now, but I’m confident it will be in the future when they are both ready, and it will only be that much sweeter.
Gregory was heartbroken, but he found the positive in the situation as well, and he got a huge relief from not having to carry around those feelings for Janine anymore now that it was all in the open.
And there’s a reason why “if it’s meant to be” is so fitting here—if it’s meant to be, they will find a way back to each other.
But for now, they’ll spend the summer brunching as the after-school crew and finding themselves. It’s clear that Gregory has a lot to figure out as well because otherwise he wouldn’t have pursued two relationships this season that he wasn’t fully invested in or getting anything out of.
It was also nice to see the moment between Janine and Gregory happen outside of school walls. They weren’t coworkers or teachers but two friends trying to navigate their complex feelings. The choice to have that conversation in pajamas was key, and while they weren’t on their own turf, per se, the change in attire was so much more personal, alluding to a comfort level between the two of them.
— َ (@sxarlights) April 20, 2023
The rest of the episode was pure Abbott magic—from Ava scaring the children with her conspiracy theories to the children panicking after thinking that Barb was an alien because of her CPAP machine and right down to Gregory and Jacob’s bro hug. Some might say, the real romance was blooming in Gregory and Jacob’s friendship.
— َ (@sxarlights) April 20, 2023
Abbott always strikes the right chord, blending the comedy into the emotional beats of the series.
As for the best moment of the episode? Look, the way Gregory just laid out his feelings for Janine was everything, but his love for her has always been evident in the nuanced moments, so my vote goes to Gregory informing her that he took her recommendation to watch Night at the Museum seriously because he wants to know what she likes. SWOON! Also, the way he smiled after telling Jacob about their kiss was also very adorable.
Am I in love with Gregory? *Stares nervously into the camera*
— Principal Ava Coleman stan (@1ux1isbon) April 20, 2023
What did you think of the Season 2 finale? Do you wish they just let Janine and Gregory have their moment or did you like how they explored this new shift in the dynamic?
Abbott Elementary Review – Mom (221)
I know the focus of Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 21 was supposed to be Janine’s mom, but it only further emphasized just how incredibly fantastic Barbara is.
There’s no doubt about it, Janine’s work mom trumps her real-life mom, who has always been a bit of a disappointment in Janine’s life, and her recent visit was no exception.
Taraji P. Henson guest-starred in the role of Vanetta, Janine’s mom who shows up at Abbott seemingly because she misses her daughter before the true and heartbreaking reason comes to light—she needs money to pay her phone bill so that they don’t turn off her phone. She’s using her daughter and the ugh immediately sets in.
The way Janine recognized her mom’s heels clicking from far away was priceless and tapped into some deep-rooted trauma. The more we know about Janine, the more I feel bad and want to give her the biggest hug to heal those broken parts.
Henson was perfectly cast, bringing a smidge of that Cookie energy, and proving that Abbott really brings the best of the best to their little show that could. When she first walked in, I immediately got Ava vibes, so it was really great to see the duo side-by-side and not getting along despite the similarities. Ava acknowledged that Vanetta could kick her ass, which is a first—we’ve never seen Ava scared or intimated of anyone. She’s finally met her match.
It didn’t stop her from being Ava, though, saying she felt bad such a cool woman had Janine as a daughter. She’s just lucky Vanetta didn’t hear that particular comment because she made it clear that she would take down anyone who hurt her baby girl.
It’s very clear that she has a lot of love for Janine, but they also have a pretty toxic relationship. Vanetta knew exactly how her daughter would respond, dropping that little phone bill dilemma into the mix and hoping Janine would offer to pay wihtout her asking.
And Janine would typically cave into such manipulation and help out at her own expense hoping to get earn mother’s love.
It’s a fact Barbara also knew because she’s spent so much time with Janine—she knows her heart and how she operates.
— َ (@sxarlights) April 13, 2023
While Melissa was probably right about suggesting that Barbara minds her own business and stays out of family matters, the truth is that Barbara couldn’t let this incident take away Janine’s solo vacation plans; she was finally doing something for herself, she worked hard for it, and most importantly, she deserved it.
The confrontation between Barbara and Vanetta was spicy (and two legends giving this scene their all!), even if Barb never intended for it to go down that way. She sang Janine’s praiseto offering to pay for the bill herself so as to not inconvenience Janine. She also didn’t want her to think that her mother was simply taking advantage.
However, Janine already knew, and this time, she was prepared not to cave. She offered to fix the situation for her mother, put her on a payment plan, and provide her with the first two payments, but she was not going to take the hit and give up her vacation.
And honestly, it’s some serious growth from Janine, who is selfless and a people-pleaser through and through.
Janine set those boundaries and stuck by them, and Barbara couldn’t be prouder.
It was also evident Vanetta was lying because anyone who knows Barbara knows she’d never square up!
We saw just how fractured Janine’s relationship was with her mother—she didn’t even know her daughter broke up with Tariq, yet Barbara made an effort to be there for Janine personally and professionally every single day.
It’s clear that all Janine has ever longed for it a motherly figure to do things with, even if it’s something basic as shopping, and Barbara was proud to fill that role. And at Ross, no less. Who can pass up their good deals?
It was such a heartwarming episode proving that Barbara is mother, while also giving fans a glimpse into Janine’s complicated upbringing, allowing fans to understand her character a little better.
As for Gregory, he realized he was not into small talk, nor was he a social butterfly like some of his coworkers. Ava might not be a great principal, but she knows how to work a room and get people on her side, and that matters a lot at the end of the day.
Eventually, Gregory found his footing, winning over Shanae, who initially didn’t want anything to do with him. I truly thought there was going to be more to the story between them, but I guess everyone just avoided Gregory because of his cold and unapproachable demeanor.
There wasn’t much on the Gregory and Janine front. He didn’t even interact with her mother, which felt like a bit of a missed opportunity. It would’ve been so great to see, especially if she had picked up on the chemistry.
However, the brief scene at the end where they both debrief about how their day went was so cute. How are they not dating yet?
— َ (@ungodlywests) April 13, 2023
And lastly—Jacob’s magic should’ve made more of an impact on his co-workers. Ava was genuinely geeking over it, but his tricks were impressive. Did you see how he bent the spoon?
There needs to be a talent show at Abbott because I stan and I need more, Jacob.
And who knew Jacob and Shanea were the duo we never knew we needed? Her interactions with Jacob were so genuine; she may be the only person who actually has a true friendship with him and likes him for who he is other than Janine!
Abbott, let’s bring her back!
Abbott Elementary Recap – A Very Abbott Festival (219)
The fight to save Abbott was in full swing on Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 19.
With Barbara’s former student, Draemond, going full steam ahead with his plan to make the elementary school a charter school, the teachers were forced to suit up, step up, and give it their all.
When they realized the moral approaches weren’t going to yield the success they needed, they resorted to some frowned-upon methods—tricking the parents into signing the petition unknowingly. Surprisingly, it was Barbara’s idea, and while she made sure to emphasize that this isn’t how she usually lives her life, it was a special case—the future of Abbott was on the line.
Barbara is an OG Abbott teacher, so you honestly don’t want to mess with her. And it’s nice to see her tiptoe on the dark side ever so briefly, including when she surmised that Draemond was a “jackass.”
The teachers rallied together to come up with a fun open house to get the parents invested, Janine’s idea that Ava stole, but who’s keeping score? Though, we have to give her credit for coming up with AVA Fest—no, it wasn’t a nod to her as principal, it stood for A Very Abbott Festival. She just gets it.
The one thing that’s clear is that the teachers are very much aware of each of their strong suits and flaws. They knew that despite Ava coming through to secure a “headline” for the event—Yasmine Sullivan—they needed a backup plan in case she proved to be unreliable. And she did. When they said to trick the parents, Ava took it to the next level, even lying to her staff about booking the local yet global R&B singer.
Thankfully, Gregory anticipated this flub, so he took one for the team and reached out to Tariq, Abbott’s original legend. You know it had to take a lot for Gregory to make this sacrifice, but in the end, he saved the day by riling up the parents and showing them just how devoted Abbott was to their children. When Janine and Tariq broke up, it seemed as though his appearances would be limited, but the series truly finds creative ways to involve him which is so fun. And there’s no bad blood with Janine and Tariq so that’s good.
And when it mattered most, the community also stepped up, basically ensuring that Mr. Johnson could mop the floor with Draemond after his speech to convince everyone to embrace the Legendary Charter brand flopped and the parents saw right through it all.
The Open House proved to them that Abbott is a good, nurturing, and fun place for their kids, with incredible and caring teachers. And despite not having all the necessary resources, they always find a way to make it work—they’re resourceful. One of the parents made a great point—if Draemond cared so much about Abbott, why wouldn’t he invest in the school they already had instead of trying to make everything better, which simply meant that half of the students and teachers would get cut.
At the end of the day, it was Abbott 1 – Draemond 0. They’d put that up on the scoreboard, but unfortunately, that didn’t survive the hurrah.
Other Noteworthy Moments
- For someone who really identifies with the Black experience, I was surprised Jacob didn’t know who Lee Daniels was.
- There were plenty of sweet moments between Gregory and Janine, including their blissful gaze once they realized that Abbott was saved. Also, Gregory saying “I’ll do it with you after school, Janine,” and Barbara’s “ohhh,” was fantastic.
— َ (@sxarlights) March 16, 2023
— َ (@sxarlights) March 16, 2023
- Erika is the definition of a good friend, and she sees between the lines. Hopefully, she’ll be the one to talk some sense into Janine because Gregory is not fine being just friends.
- Her offer to get Gregory roped into Herbalife tickled me.
- Ava is always one foot in one foot out. She clearly cares about the school but she always does what’s best for Ava, including going to a job interview for Chief Marketing Officer at Legendary Schools. You have to respect her hustle.
- “Just trying to dunk a white dude” wins as the best quote from the episode. At least Jacob’s aware, right? Nut-ass suit was a close second.
— ticketmaster hate acct. (@thomxsjw) March 16, 2023
- Amber made an appearance and good news—not only did she get the bag, but she also moved on already with a new man!
- Gregory’s dancing brings me joy… more joy than his deadpan stares into the camera.
- Tariq is truly unstoppable… points for creativity and his desire to make raps for national parks.
The episode, though comical and heartwarming, took an important stance, emphasizing the need to cherish, celebrate, protect, and fight for our public schools and the teachers who go hard for their students. If we don’t, who will?
What did you think of this week’s Abbott Elementary?
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