Abbott Elementary EPs On How They’re Approaching Janine And Gregory’s ‘Messy’ Will-They/Won’t-They Dynamic

Janine and Gregory speaking in the hallway on Abbott Elementary
(Image credit: ABC)

Janine and Gregory’s drunken kiss during the Abbott Elementary episode “Teacher Conference” set the internet on fire after they endured a season and a half of “will they-won’t they” between the two elementary school teachers. Many have compared the teacher's relationship to The Office’s Jim and Pam or Parks and Recreations’ Leslie and Ben, and now they're starting to differentiate themselves from the classic couples as the two educators try to maintain a co-worker relationship after their unexpected kiss. Following the internet-breaking moment, the show’s executive producers spoke about how they’re approaching the young teachers’ messy dynamic.

As the ABC sitcom deals with the fallout from the shocking episode, viewers have been treated to some awkward Janine and Gregory moments in the recent episode “Mural Arts.” It appears the two educators are still going through the motions. Of course, fans want to see the dorky duo get together. However, producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker as well as the show's creator Quinta Brunson aren’t as worried about putting Janine and Gregory in a full-blown romantic relationship just yet. Halpern explained to The Wrap why the budding relationship isn’t their focus.

To the will-they-won’t-they part of it, we look at it and Quinta looks at it as, ‘What are the arcs of each individual character first?’ These are all people in their 20s trying to figure shit out, they’re at different places in their lives, both emotionally and financially. We first focus on each individual character and then we’ll constantly be looking at, ‘OK, well, what would actually happen if they were in this position at this point in the season?’ So we don’t look at it as, ‘When are we going to get these two together or not get them together?’ We look at it as, ‘Hey, let’s really pay attention to the characters and grow the characters,’ so that when we make whatever decision we make, you as an audience believe it and feel like it’s real. These are people in their 20s, like, that shit‘s messy.

They’re more focused on developing Janine and Gregory as messy 20-somethings rather than immediately locking them into a relationship that could last seasons. The series and its stars don't want them to have a typical TV romance. While Parks and Rec and The Office comparisons might be old, Jim and Pam didn’t start dating until Season 4 while Leslie and Ben became a couple during Season 3. So, there’s plenty of time to see them become an official couple. As most viewers know, the two educators are a match as awkward dorks, but they are still trying to work out their issues and hang-ups personally, so, developing them as people will be beneficial overall.

However, all is not lost for fans wondering if their more-than-friends status will be addressed. Patrick Schumacker confirmed the mockumentary would dig more into the fallout from the intoxicated exchange in the remaining Season 2 episodes. Schumacker explained:

We have six episodes left to air in Season 2 [now five, after ‘Mural Arts’], so obviously there’s gonna be some fallout from what happened in the PECSA conference, so I think people will get some answers as to the will-they-won’t-they in the next handful of episodes.

Given the two schoolteachers’ messy and awkward relationship up to this point, viewers might see some awkward exchanges and revelations in Season 2’s final five episodes. If last season’s finale is any indication, fans might have to wait until Season 3 to see how things work out.

With the series getting a full episode order for Season 3, viewers will get more of their new favorite “will-they-or-won’t-they” couple. In the meantime, you can catch up on Abbott Elementary Seasons 1 and 2 by streaming them through an active Hulu subscription.

Adreon Patterson
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