One Way Abbott Elementary Has Proven Itself To Be One Of TV's Best Comedies

Cast of Abbott Elementary in Season 1 finale
(Image credit: ABC)

Coming off of the brilliance of HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, Quinta Brunson had a gobsmacker of a challenge in turning the hopeful and diversity-driven comedy Abbott Elementary into a verified win for ABC. But here we are, following the freshman series’ Season 1 finale, and it’s impossible to ignore or deny the show’s draw among TV viewers. While it may not boast the biggest ratings in broadcast, Abbott Elementary can absolutely boast an achievement that it will share with very few series of the modern era: across-the-board critical acclaim for its first season that has cemented a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score.

From the earliest days of its existence, one didn’t need to look far to find glowing words written about Abbott Elementary and its ensemble cast, from superstar Quinta Brunson to former A Black Lady Sketch Show guest Tyler James Williams to the ever-stoic Sheryl Lee Ralph (whose success on the show has inspired her to speak out against negative experiences in Hollywood). And one would probably have to sort through tons of good-natured comments before landing on something that even resembled a negative take on the show. Which is how the series managed to pull off a full sweep of positive reviews to the point where Rotten Tomatoes has looped it into the envy-inspiring annals of 100% Fresh TV series. 

The critic-clocking site spread the good news on Twitter with the post below:

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Yes, I agree that it’s time for lots of pomp and circumstance, and that this is the perfect time for Janelle James’ Ava to break out an impromptu dance routine to post on TikTok and myriad other social media platforms. Or even for William Standford Davis’ ever-present custodian Mr. Johnson to show off his presumed secret talents as a Julliard-educated trombonist. Regardless of how the celebration happens, Abbott Elementary deserves the glory.

After all, the mockumentary series (which Quinta Brunson doesn’t really want you to compare to The Office) now shares the 100% Fresh ranking with relatively few other first-season shows. At this point, The Legend of Vox Machina is the only 2022 freshman series to land the same honor, even though Abbott technically counts as a 2021 release due to its pilot airing early ahead of the winter hiatus. Other 2021 releases that also stack up include Jean Smart’s brilliant Hacks, Showtime’s Stephen King-approved horror drama Yellowjackets, Peacock’s Muslim rock band comedy We Are Lady Parts, and more. Lots of female-driven shows in that line-up. 

But to be perfectly frank, it doesn’t really matter how many other shows have scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The only thing that really counts is how much people adore Abbott Elementary, and that would be just about everyone that’s heard of it. Superintendent Chalmers is going to be very pleased to hea...oh wait, that's Springfield Elementary. My bad. 

And thankfully, fans don’t even have to wait with bated breath stressing over whether or not Abbott Elementary will be returning in the fall, because ABC already renewed the critical darling for Season 2. Expect to see more hilarity on screen and more amazing charity work off-screen from Quinta Brunson and her talented squad.  

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.