Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 11 “Desking” (B+)

It did seem odd that all the students were being nice to both Janine and Jacob, who are both great teachers but hardly the model of coolness or terrifying like, say, Gregory, Melissa, or Barbara. It was fun to have Jacob’s sneakerhead boyfriend Zach brought in, and I recognized actor Larry Owens from his stint as acolyte Ritchie in the final season of “Search Party.” His ability to stop Jacob’s stories was startling and impressive to the other teachers, until they realized that they were essentially the same and therefore managed to balance each other out when they weren’t overloading everyone else with their intensity and conversationality. Janine, who had earlier bragged about eating all of Zach’s crusts, tried to be a bad cap and failed miserably when she couldn’t even open a juice box, and her attempt to complete the most legendary desking venture ever was also short-lived when she fell right away. But Jacob managed to do it successfully, and that was enough to make desking uncool, one way of handling a problem that otherwise wasn’t going to go away on its own. The notion of Abbott Elementary being number one in the United States when it came to desking reminded me of a moment from a very different show with a similar sense of unexpected pride and allegiance, when Matt Servitto’s FBI agent expressed excitement that New Jersey was going to win the mob war with New York, forgetting for a moment that he wasn’t supposed to support the mob.

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