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Abbott Elementary “Story Samurai” Review: Corny Connections

Abbott Elementary “Story Samurai” Spoilers Ahead

Chris Perfetti as Jacob Hill in Abbott Elementary "Story Samurai"
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

While we’re already being thrust toward TV heartbreaks early into the season, we can always count on our favorite teachers to deliver the laughs, no matter how corny. Abbott Elementary Season 2, Episode 3, “Story Samurai,” is as corny as it gets, tackling why it’s essential to be aware of it and to embrace it.

The episode appropriately centers around sweet baby goat Jacob, and the realization that he’s too corny for his own good at times, a white teacher working at a predominantly Black school—the Hillary Swank in Freedom Writers. And as Janine tries to tell him all this, Ava uses it to her advantage; meanwhile, Melissa is overwhelmed while teaching two grades.

QUINTA BRUNSON, CHRIS PERFETTI, JANELLE JAMES in Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 3
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

Abbott Elementary essentially solidifies that being corny isn’t a bad thing through this episode. Some people simply…are, like Jacob, Janine, and even this writer. But there’s a fine line between not being aware of it and taking it too far, which often comes from the lack of awareness. 

And while Jacob isn’t totally aware of it, Janine thinks she’s doing him a favor by convincing him not to perform with the Story Samurais. But with subtle nudging from Gregory and a comment from a student about how much they appreciate Jacob as he is, Janine realizes that his decision to embrace the corniness will be the strength he needs to be the best version of himself. Volunteering him to perform in the end, thus, results in the laughs they all need, along with the showcase that corniness works when it’s a conscious decision to embrace the niche of it all.

In a nutshell, Abbott Elementary is corny as a TV series, but it’s the very awareness and conscious effort to tell inspiring stories that make it the riveting gem that it is. It understands what viewers need to see in a world with gruesome television on every channel, and it strives towards telling a more straightforward side of life through clever writing that leaps off the screen even if a reference or two don’t hit the mark. It understands the importance of character-driven narratives taking the driver’s seat to the plot, which is precisely why it’s both ridiculously hilarious and deeply comforting week after week.

LISA ANN WALTER in Abbott Elementary "Story Samurai"
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

What an episode like “Story Samurai” also highlights exceptionally well is the importance of asking for help. Melissa Schemmenti is capable of anything and everything she sets her mind to, but that fact doesn’t denote that she should bounce toward eventual burnout. Barbara reiterates that when a school is willing to help, she should take it. It doesn’t make her any less of a powerhouse as a woman or as capable as a teacher. It’s a lot.

As the entirety of the episode showcased, all the teachers are feeling overwhelmed with their classrooms, and thereby, the series addressing Melissa’s exhaustion made for a compelling arc in an already gripping episode. Plus, I’m thrilled to see what Ashley (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) will bring to the equation on a series like this, where every character is easy to love.

At the end of the day, Abbott Elementary beautifully exhibits what it means to be a true work family by allowing characters to consistently be there for one another right when they need them the most. The corny community they have in each other makes our viewing experience as fans much more engaging, as well as brilliantly comical. It’s true—the second season is already better and brighter than the first. 

Further Thoughts

  • I want Jacob’s flannel from this episode. It’s the perfect autumn piece.
  • Anyone else still thinking about the cold open from last week’s episode? I am.
  • Mr. Johnson and the scarf is my new favorite pairing.
  • I’m really glad Gregory didn’t offer his jacket to Janine when she was cold because I would’ve lost my sh-stripes. Stripes. Yes, that.
  • The Blind Side taking it too far. The show remains unstoppably genius.

Now streaming on Hulu or ABCWhat are your thoughts on Abbott Elementary’s “Story Samurai?” Let us know in the comments below.


Gissane Sophia View All

Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.

She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.

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