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Abbott Elementary's Janelle James Gives Us Her Hope For Ava In Season 2

Teachers are an underexplored demographic on network sitcoms. A.P. Bio and Mr. Iglesias both use classrooms as backgrounds for comedy, but there’s such a wealth of material in a school or administration that can be mined by the right eye, I’m surprised we don’t see more people trying it. The success of Quinta Brunson’s ABC show Abbott Elementary shows that when a creator grasps the inherent humor in a school, it can connect to a larger audience, and become one of the best TV shows available at the moment

One big reason for the show’s success has to be comedian Janelle James, and her portrayal of the school’s principal, Ava Coleman. She’s not exactly the best leader, often focused on her own TikTok skills over the needs of her staff. James is about to make new audiences laugh while hosting the game show The Final Straw on ABC, but stopped to talk about her hopes for Ava in the recently announced second season of Abbott Elementary, telling CinemaBlend:

Oh man, a new man to flirt with? But that’s just me. What would I like her to do? You know, I think she’s a perfect character. I truly want more of the same. (Laughs) I hope that she doesn’t have a huge redemption arc all of a sudden. It’s just not true to her character. I mean, of course there has to be… like, in the first season, you saw that I take care of my grandmother. No one is all one thing, no one’s a full monster. But, I would love for her to still be the smart-alecky, well-dressed diva that she is.

It is disappointing when a character you love on a television show suddenly takes a hard left turn and pivots away from the qualities that made him or her great. Steve Carell’s consistency throughout The Office helped make Michael Scott one of television’s greatest characters, even though we found 6 examples of him being really good at his job. We don’t need a sudden dramatic arc introduced for Ava Coleman on Abbott Elementary, and from the sound of it, Janelle James has no interest in going down that road. 

There’s more than enough story to explore in the upcoming Abbott Elementary season 2 for creator Quinta Brunson to explore. Some of it might even involve Tariq, Brunson’s in-show boyfriend who brings drama to the young teacher’s life. And in the process, we hope that she continues to shine a brighter light on the struggles of real teachers coping with funding issues and community support. Look for Abbott Elementary season 2 to hit ABC in September. And watch The Final Straw now that it’s about to have its premiere on July 10, at 9 pm EST/PST.

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.