Abbott Elementary is not only the network comedy’s saving grace, but it might just be one of the funniest shows on TV today. When it burst onto the scene in late 2021 with a special premiere episode, word of mouth catapulted it to the top of everyone’s radar, making it an instant hit when it premiered officially in January of 2022. The show’s stellar writing, courtesy of showrunner and star Quinta Brunson, won her an Emmy award this year (the first of many I’m sure!), capturing the hearts of not only the audience, but the Academy as well.
Of course, Abbott is hilarious on the page, but the delivery of these iconic lines matters too, with the cast perfectly highlighting just how hilarious every element of this show is. Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Chris Perfetti make up an absolute dream team of a cast, elevating every moment to its full potential. In honor of the second season’s premiere on September 21st, here are the 10 best quotes (so far) from ABC’s Abbott Elementary (which is also streaming on Hulu):
“Do you like pie?” Jacob asks Gregory. “Fruit should not be hot.” – Season 1, Episode 9
When all the other teachers at Abbott press Gregory about his lunch, it’s revealed that not only does he not like pizza, but he also has strong feelings about pie. As a fellow pie hater, Gregory’s simple explanation for his own disdain is perfect, and stands out as the most memorable and iconic one-liners from the show. Williams’ matter-of-fact delivery works incredibly well here, creating the perfect no-nonsense screencap.
“Whatever it takes to keep you out of my hair,” Mr. Johnson tells one of the students he’s currently watching. Her response? “Sir, you are bald.” – Season 1, Episode 13
Kids say the darndest things, especially at Abbott Elementary, but none more so than this clap back towards Mr. Johnson. While trying to entertain the kids left behind from the field trip (one of them turned in a permission slip signed “Chad’s mom”), Mr. Johnson fields questions of what the bored students can do to fill the time, resulting in this hilarious moment. This scene highlights just how perfectly the kids are utilized in the series, and how much they add to every episode.
“[Gesturing to the word ‘Illuminati’] That’s who runs the world, kids.” – Season 1, Episode 1
When a teacher kicks a student and leaves Abbott, Mr. Johnson the janitor, played by William Stanford Davis, fills in for her class, giving the kids a lesson on the real world. Mr. Johnson quickly became a fan favorite character during the first season of the show, and this moment from the Pilot ensured that status from the very first episode, while also making for the perfect screencap for all your out-of-context Abbott needs.
“You know I’m a feminist. That’s why I let you pay for all my stuff.” – Season 1, Episode 13
When Tariq and Janine broke up in the Season 1 finale, it was the best possible ending to their relationship. After a season full of awful anti-drug rap performances and questionable treatment, Tariq was politely asked to leave Janine’s life, but he didn’t go without saying one of the funniest lines uttered on the show.
“Well, have a great day, Ava,” Janine tells her boss. “Don’t tell me what kind of day to have. Getting all presumptuous and rude.” – Season 1, Episode 7
After Janine’s much cooler college friend is hired on as the new art teacher, it becomes increasingly clear that she is not a great match for Abbott, despite Ava taking a liking to her. I’m not sure I’ll ever say “have a great day!” without thinking of this scene. The absurdity of Ava’s lines are sometimes over the top, but her frustration and annoyance at Janine comes through perfectly in this hilariously awkward exchange.
“You know, Thursday is low-key the sexiest day of the week.” – Season 1, Episode 9
When Melissa announces that she has a hot date on Thursday with Vending Machine Guy, Ava drops this iconic line. Though, in retort, Melissa says that Saturday is the sexiest day of the week, lamenting, “it’s not called Thursday night fever.” For Abbott Elementary fans, Wednesday should be the sexiest day of the week, as the show enters into its highly-lauded Wednesday night timeslot.
“Sweet baby Jesus and the grown one too!” – Season 1, Episode 11
After a new trend called “desking” ravages the desks of Abbot Elementary, Janine and Jacob attempt to curb the kids’ obsession by doing a presentation attempting to be cool with the kids. Of course, this horribly backfires, resulting in even Mrs. Howard’s desks getting desked, an act of blasphemy against the well-respected teacher. This incredible moment was probably one of the top contributing factors to Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Emmy win.
“Oh, my god! She pale like a zombie! You know they eat the hottest people first. Let me back my tasty ass up.” – Season 1, Episode 2
Janine, with her heart of gold, attempts to fix a hallway light that went out, as Mr. Johnson was taking his sweet time getting around to fixing it. Of course, on one of the hottest days of the year, Janine’s efforts result in the entire school blowing a fuse. Hot, stressed, and hungry, Janine passes out in Gregory’s arms. Ava sees this as the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, offering up some great advise for all hot people in The Walking Dead.
“I do my work. I go home.” – Season 1, Episode 1
Out of all the characters on Abbott, Barbara’s confessional introduction might be the best. She introduces herself as a woman of God who gets her nails done every week, and, most importantly, does her work and then goes home. After decades in the teaching game, we could all take a page out of Barbara’s book when it comes to setting proper boundaries with our jobs, even if we love them.
“Normally I encourage cheating, but girl, you gots to let me know.” – Season 1, Episode 4
When Barbara has trouble understanding the new technology at Abbott, she just starts putting numbers into the system, completely unaware of what that actually means for her students. Turns out, it means they are in the maximum percentiles, setting school records. Barbara finally comes clean about not knowing how to work the new programs, and Ava, of course, says that Barbara’s cheating would have been completely fine—had she just given her a heads up.
Anna Govert is an entertainment writer based in middle-of-nowhere Indiana. For any and all thoughts about TV, film, and the wonderful insanity of Riverdale, you can follow her @annagovert;.
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