Janine's optimism contrasts with the reality that surrounds her.
Janine is one of the teachers at Abbott Elementary Public School and she is full of energy and enthusiasm to organize activities to motivate children and improve school performance.
Her fellow veterans look at that passion with suspicion, while the last to arrive at the cloister cannot understand that the center remains in the hands of an incapable director.
(on Disney+) was one of last season's breakout comedies in the United States.
The great following of the public on free-to-air television was added to the applause of critics and the recognition of the awards.
Its first season garnered three Emmy Awards and another three Golden Globes, including Best Comedy of the Year.
With its mockumentary format, good-natured characters, and in the long tradition of workplace comedy,
is the heir to recent highly acclaimed free-to-air titles like
, Parks and Recreation
Her creator and protagonist of her, Quinta Brunson (Philadelphia, 33 years old), wanted to pay homage to her own mother, Norma, a teacher at an elementary school, and to all the teachers.
“I was very familiar with the school world, I had spent a lot of time seeing my mother, not only as a student, but also before and after school.
I saw the humor that there is in that world, the heart that there is: it was the perfect place to make a comedy, ”says the actress and screenwriter in an interview by video call in mid-March.
In defense of the cushion series, by Noelia Ramírez
In addition to reflecting a world he knew so well, another goal for Brunson was to vindicate the work of teachers.
In the series there are constant references to the scant funding that the center receives from the state and the job insecurity of its workers.
The protagonist even has a hard time paying the rent.
“Teaching is a profession that is clearly underrated.
We make humor with it, but deep down it's sad.
Teachers deserve to be paid more”, says the actress and screenwriter.
Quinta Brunson, Lisa Ann Walter and Sheryl Lee Ralph play three teachers in 'Abbott College'.Prashant Gupta (ABC)
Almost all of the main characters in
have their correspondent in the Brunson environment.
Barbara, the strict teacher who young Janine sees as a mentor and who earned Sheryl Lee Ralph an Emmy, is based on the creator's mother.
Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) is inspired by a friend of her mother's of the same name.
Principal Ava (Janelle James), a director who worked with her mother.
And Gregory (Tyler James Williams), a friend of Brunson's who ended up being a teacher.
Even Janine, played by the series creator, has her real reference in a "painfully optimistic" friend of Brunson's.
“Her optimism about her bothered me quite a bit.
But deep down I loved it, she was my salvation many times.
It is very important to have someone around who believes that, whatever happens, things can get better, ”she says about her character.
Comedies with optimistic protagonists, such as
far from the cynicism or tragicomedy that have conquered television in recent years, have shown that they are in favor with today's viewers.
“I wouldn't say that cynicism has been abused, but there has been a strong influence of cynicism and black comedy on television.
As someone who enjoys cynical and dark comedy, I think part of the motivation for creating
was that I was looking for more variety on television.
It's one of the reasons why the first season of
hit so hard, it was a refreshing, funny comedy."
be considered as part of the resistance in current television comedy, where the classic format of the
has been giving way to plots with continuity between episodes and a bitter background residue.
“I think classic comedy had started to get undervalued, but instead platforms are trying to get back on that path because there is so much value in the classic three act structure.
It was funny because when
hit Netflix, people were shocked, 'oh my gosh, they're watching
Of course, you can put a chapter, have fun and that's it.
There is a lot of value in a series that you can watch while you eat dinner and in which you understand everything that is happening just by watching one scene.
My 16 year old niece is rediscovering classic comedy.
She has now discovered
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
There is a lot of value in series like this, as much as in
Game of Thrones
or super intense things.
The important thing, once again, is that there is variety”.
From left, Chris Perfetti, Quinta Brunson, Lisa Ann Walter, Tyler James Williams and Sheryl Lee Ralph, in 'Abbott College.' Prashant Gupta (ABC)
The writer mentions the characters in her series as the reason why people seem to have connected so much with her.
“They are very well developed characters.
The writers began to work on them from a very human point of view.
First it was their humanity and then the fact of being teachers.
And the same for the story, we always try to tell stories that anyone can connect with.
We have all had teachers, it is a material with which you identify naturally.
Finally, it is a series that you can watch alone and have fun, but you can also watch with friends, family… I wanted to make a series that people could watch with the whole family if they wanted, with their grandmother, with their eight-year-old children… That It was very important to me."
From internet to television
In her first series as a creator, Quinta Brunson acknowledges that what has cost her the most has been delegating part of the work given the impossibility of covering everything, something that has been accentuated in a second season with more episodes than the first (22 compared to 13 of the initial installment; the first season and, for now, the first 10 episodes of the second are available on Disney+).
Running the show on a series is something new for Brunson, who became known as an internet meme creator.
Between 2014 and 2018 she worked at the
specializing in viral content, where she wrote, produced and starred in short videos.
How does someone go from creating memes to having a hit series on ABC, one of the largest free-to-air broadcasters in the United States?
“I had always wanted to write for television, it was my goal.
or Instagram were platforms to express myself and show my work.
But I've always wanted to write for television.
I had studied the television business to understand well how it works and how a series is made.
I think that made the transition easier, because it is what I had always been preparing for, ”says who in 2022 collected his first Emmy for the script for
Brunson joins the increasingly long list of women writers who have revolutionized television comedy and which already includes names such as Tina Fey, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sharon Horgan, Mindy Kaling, Rachel Bloom or Issa Rae.
What does the look of women contribute to comedy?
“I think it makes us make sure that the female characters are well thought out and well worked out, that they are not secondary and flat characters.
There have already been great series with women at the helm,
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laverne and Shirley
… But then things went awry.
Now we can see the perspective of the women of the new era”.
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