Abbott Elementary “Step Class” Spoilers Ahead
Week after week, ABC’s Abbott Elementary continues to improve through the kind of episodes that remind us why wholesome comedies are so crucial in the world of television. There are detailed conversations about food this week in “Step Class,” but more than anything, the episode shows us that Ava Coleman (Janelle James) is more than just a bully and the kind of principal who takes advantage of her position.
Comedies often do the best job of showcasing that behind every tough exterior or even an aloof personality, there’s darkness the person is carrying that no one knows about. It was frustrating to watch Ava take over Janine’s routine in step class, but it was even more hurtful to see that Barbara and Melissa might’ve been right. Only by the end of the episode the audience learns that Ava did, in fact, have the type of emergency that she should’ve responded to. This wasn’t an attempt to feed into her selfish plan—it was an act that showed us that there’s a heart beyond her mean girl shell.
While the arc might feed into a cliche with characters like Ava, as a series and an episode, Abbott Elementary’s “Step Class” reminds us that believing in people could work wonders. People like Janine consistently provide a safe space for people like Ava to feel as though they can grow and evolve. While she didn’t have to clarify precisely what was wrong with her grandmother, showing us that this is something she deals with in private is the kind of life lesson that shouldn’t get tiring.
We shouldn’t have to get weary of hearing that people go through things we are unaware of because there’s no universal truth we’re all aware of quite like it. While it’s no excuse for Ava’s unkindness or her selfish behavior, it still shows us that she is capable of growth. She is capable of becoming better because the people around her could believe in her abilities as a woman and a principal. This growth might not happen for a while, but as Janine states, she’s taking the right step.
Abbott Elementary’s “Step Class” is also the episode that showcases everyone (except maybe Barbara) has a weird quirk about them. So what if Gregory is a picky eater? Many people are, and most people also have reasons for it—so long as you don’t make the world see it only your way, that’s what matters. Keeley Jones from Ted Lasso can’t stand martini olives. According to my senses, the smell of apple cider vinegar is the worst thing in the entire world. Yes, a boiled chicken sandwich sounds horrific, but to each his own.
In an episode about believing in people, this conversation clarifies that this group could do well with trusting each other with their quirks. Gregory should’ve made it clear that he didn’t like pizza in the first place, but more than anything, people should normalize that, especially when it comes to food, a person’s preference shouldn’t insult your own. Signed, the girl who loves pineapple on her pizza. (But will Gregory try pizza again with Janine? We saw those heart eyes while she wasn’t looking, and it’s only a matter of time.)
The teachers at Abbott are well on their way towards making an impact on the students and growing as stronger, better individuals because of the friendships they’re fortifying with each other. They can see each other’s quirks, flaws, and strengths, and they value them, especially when they see that there’s room to evolve. They might never get to a point where they’ll stop mocking each other, but mutual and genuine respect differentiates their bonds from other workplaces (including ones in the real world).