School is back in session.
As our favorite teachers return to Abbott Public School for development day ahead of the students’ first day of school, chaos ensues, particularly for Janine.
Since her breakup with Tariq, she’s been trying to keep it together and pretend like nothing is wrong, but the truth is, everything is wrong.
While she holds it together for the first half of the day, even impressing her colleagues with the strides she’s made and how organized she is, things quickly spiral out of control.
First, Jacob oversees an email from her landlord that says her rent is overdue. She’s facing eviction, but Janine is in denial because she’s determined to be okay. When she dismisses Jacob’s concerns, he tells everyone, including Gregory, who calls her out on it immediately.
From there, things just continue taking a turn for the worse. Gritty, the Philadelphia hockey mascot that Janine managed to book for the first day of school, arrives a week early because she got her days mixed up. She then admits that she hasn’t been paying her bills because she can’t afford them without Tariq’s contributions.
But the last straw is when she gets a boot on her car for unpaid parking tickets. Janine informs the city worker that she hasn’t been paying them because the driving violations belonged to Tariq, which is when she’s hit with the hard truth that if it’s her vehicle, it’s her responsibility. I would think that a teacher like Janine would know that, but I’m also impressed with her desire to force some responsibility onto Tariq. She’s been funding his life for far too long.
Janine eventually breaks, but it’s all for the best because she has a solid support system in her colleagues, especially Barbara and Melissa, who have been there and done that and know that there’s no way to avoid the heartache that comes with a breakup. The only way over is through it, and Janine needs to face the pain and acknowledge that it doesn’t make her any less than.
And, in the long run, it’ll be the best decision she could’ve made because while she was wrong about a lot of things, she wasn’t wrong about the fact that it was the right choice. She outgrew Tariq, and seeing how unfazed he was when he moved out, he didn’t fully appreciate all that she had to offer.
And Gregory? He noticed the new side part. A man doesn’t notice the side part unless he’s smitten. Of course, audiences already knew that, but it seems like Janine is finally considering him in a new light… when he ends things with Taylor, that is. If he’s even with her anymore.
Barbara and Melissa weren’t interested in participating in Janine’s “wisdom swaps” portion of the mixer, but they imparted their wisdom on their younger colleagues nevertheless. They are Abbott’s very own superheroes!
In addition to helping Janine work through her break-up, Barbara also helped Gregory, a first-year full-time teacher, figure out that the magic of being a teacher is simply doing the best they can. Every teacher can attest to the unattainable goals set by the school districts, but the curriculum, as Barbara pointed out, is a mere suggestion. They are much more than teachers—they are guides, counselors, and mentors. They try their best every year.
After Barbara helped him navigate the first week jitters, Gregory took her advice to heart and did the best with what he had. He braved the school’s creepy basement and dug up an ADA desk for her wheelchair student. And the joy on their faces was well worth it.
Abbott Elementary may be a 20-minute sitcom, but it has so much heart and deals with some of the most difficult realities for teachers, including the lack of funding and being set up to fail. This season, there’s an added effort to be more inclusive. In addition to the wheelchair student, Jacob, who boasts all about the trip he took, took on ASL, which came in handy when he welcomed a deaf student into his classroom.
Melissa, however, was given 10 additional students as a mix of second and third grade. Every teacher is being tasked with new responsibilities and challenges, but since they’re all there because they love their students, they all rise to the occasion every single time.
Elsewhere, Jacob helped cover Janine’s finances with the money for his student loans (and didn’t seem phased because Joey B is getting rid of them anyway), Ava ran a side hustle in the school parking lot because, of course, she did, and Gregory continued to be the funniest character using only his facial expressions.
It’s going to be a good year for these Emmy-award-winning characters… I just know it!
What did you think of the premiere of Abbott Elementary Season 2?
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.
Janine and Gregory deciding to stay as friends so they don’t hurt each other #abbottelementary pic.twitter.com/Mtg1VDc1qN
— 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.
you see what happens when you have Black people behind the scenes.. #AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/0n24x0RKN0
— َ (@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.
can't wait for next season to expand on their friendship #AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/oKbMRnDF6d
— َ (@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*
“I take all your recommendations seriously” Gregory is such a good boyfriend to Janine and they aren’t even together yet #AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/NWG2mxMsBb
— 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.
Ava actually being afraid of somebody consider me gagged 😭#AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/oWMbbevUXu
— ♤ (@haworthes) April 13, 2023
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.
barbara her REAL mother. #AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/zK96Re8Ccy
— َ (@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?
very much married couple vibes like #AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/cOLWfmpaCz
— َ (@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.
THEY CANT KEEP DOING THIS #AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/BW6oI7Iw5u
— َ (@sxarlights) March 16, 2023
quinta playing in our face… #AbbottElementary pic.twitter.com/RDPzvWgjMH
— َ (@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.
Get outta here with that nut ass suit!! #abbottelementary pic.twitter.com/zNZXSuh9Qt
— 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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