Friday, April 14, 2023

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 20 “Educator of the Year” (B+)

I was pleased to see June Diane Raphael from “Grace and Frankie” at the start of this episode but assumed she would have a bigger role, only to see her being very direct and unfiltered about the angle they were looking to cast this whole thing in to drum up the best, most politically correct press possible. Gregory and Melissa were both equally unhappy about her being selected to present him with the award, and though she was working from a framework of things she had been told about herself, it ended up being a moderately sentimental and appropriate tribute. Expressing that you can’t choose when people acknowledge you was a great point, and she made it through the whole thing sincerely, even if she and Ava mocked Gregory and Janine together right after with their imitations of their voices. It was fun to see Ashley again, given the teacher’s aide award and definitely not even close to deserving of it. Janine getting ripped to shreds by an unhappy mother was a brutal and difficult moment to watch, and it was sweet that Gregory marched her right to Barbara for affirmation, even if her mentor was getting something out of making her feel good too. Mr. Johnson teaching an intergenerational relations class was an entertaining concept, and the acronyms for the courses, F.A.R.T. especially, didn’t suggest that the entire system was all that superb, and certainly not worth Barbara taking the taking the time and effort she did put into it.

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