Abbott Elementary “Principal’s Office” Review: Learning New Things

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY - “Principal’s Office” – After Gregory sends a disruptive student to the principal’s office, he’s dismayed to find out the kids actually enjoy spending the supposed disciplinary time with Ava. Meanwhile, Melissa invites Janine over to her house to teach her how to cook, but Janine becomes determined to reunite Melissa with her estranged sister on “Abbott Elementary,” WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12 (9:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on ABC.
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

Abbott Elementary “Principal’s Office” Spoilers Ahead

Abbott Elementary Season 2, Episode 4, “Principal’s Office,” once again showcases how unfit Ava is for her position. Still, it’s abundantly clear that this is precisely why she’s around and why we can’t ever get rid of her. (At least, I hope that’s the case.) We must always keep her around, even when Gregory Eddie eventually becomes principal. 

I’m a little surprised by this episode’s approach because, knowing Abbott Elementary, I presumed that the disruptive behavior would lead to a more significant revelation of sorts and address learning behaviors many of us possess. And though that isn’t the case, I’m hoping something like it follows because this show is too good at taking fundamental real-life components and weaving them expertly into a sitcom. 

However, just as last week’s “Story Samurai” showcases exhaustion through Melissa’s character, this week gives us a small glimpse into Gregory’s life outside the school grounds. His father still seems displeased with his career path, and there’s much at stake with what he likes and doesn’t. As a man who doesn’t like confrontation, it’s fascinating how he takes this approach with his student, Micah. Still, this arc will undoubtedly help Gregory grow more assertive in order to one day take on the principal’s mantle.

Jacob, Janine, and Melissa in Abbott Elementary 2x04
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

There’s nothing quite as extraordinary as Melissa Schemmenti in a blue denim button-down, hair-tied inside of her own house. Parent Trap fans were geeking out when the photos were released because she looked so much like Chessy. And though she’s a lot less forgiving than how Chessy would be, Abbott Elementary’s “Principal’s Office” gave us a glimpse inside Melissa’s heart and how much she’s truly willing to do for those she cares about. 

As we learn, the reason Melissa and her sister aren’t on speaking terms is because when their grandmother got sick, Melissa was the only one taking care of her. While I can understand Krista Marie not wanting to see someone she loves in a vulnerable state, such as suffering from an illness, it wasn’t fair to Melissa that Krista Marie never addressed her actions adequately. There are various ways to help people, even if you are incapable of directly being their caretaker. Krista Marie could have done better, so yes, to a degree, Melissa is correct.

 QUINTA BRUNSON, LISA ANN WALTER in Abbott Elementary "Principal's Office"
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

Still, much of this episode showcases the kind of caretaker Melissa truly is because after learning that Janine doesn’t know how to cook because her mother never taught her, she offers to do so herself. Truly, bless the writers because getting to see Lisa Ann Walter curse like a sailor in her own home was a ridiculously fantastic blessing. (As was getting to watch her vulnerability come front and center when she vocalized that she did, in fact, miss her sister.)

Cooking at Melissa’s should be a staple in this show; once every few episodes, we go over to her house and watch as she whips something together while Janine and Jacob try to follow in her footsteps.

In true Janine fashion, she projects her own heartaches onto someone else. However, in the end, it works for their benefit because, at least this way, Melissa admitting that she misses her sister can free herself from the burdens of harboring anger. It could be so fascinating to watch both of them continue to go head to head with each other while dramatically crying at the end of the night.

Abbott Elementary’s “Principal’s Office” also details that there are still things we don’t yet know about our lead characters. Abbott is a work family for everyone (viewers included), but Janine, especially as she navigates through her losses this way. And with Janine and Gregory especially, the absentee parent could continue to be a riveting arc to dig further into. A work and home life balance that this show continues to touch on makes each episode better than the one before as it allows viewers to continue getting to know these characters more.

Further Thoughts

  • Has Hannah Waddingham seen Mr. Johnson do the shame walk? Someone should send it to her!
  • Also, at this point, I’m not sure who ships Janine and Gregory more, the fans or Mr. Johnson. Take your pick.
  • Any time someone on TV makes a Chucky Cheese comment…I don’t know, it’s just great…really great.
  • I also would’ve loved going to the Principal’s Office if it meant coming back with lollipops.
  • Janine being proud of her spaghetti made my whole heart so happy.
  • It’s okay, Jacob, I don’t know anything about wine either.
  • Seriously, Melissa Schemmenti’s cooking show spin-off — LET’S GO!
  • BARBARA’S SONG. I’m usually not a fan of people singing happy birthday but would give anything for it to come from Barbara Howard.

Now streaming on Hulu or ABC: What are your thoughts on Abbott Elementary’s “Principal’s Office?”


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