Abbott Elementary “Fundraiser” Spoilers Ahead
Abbott Elementary Season 2, Episode 13, “Fundraiser,” is all about perspective and vocalizing the things that are too difficult to discuss. Except, that’s not really what’s happening despite the overt importance of it clearly on display for some characters. Yes, we’re talking about Gregory Eddie here. But where the kids are concerned, this week’s episode is also about what they can teach the adults in their lives and how teaching isn’t just about what happens in the classroom but outside of it.
In the effort to sell candy (days we all remember extremely well), each teacher (and Ava) go about it differently. Mr. Johnson and Jacob fight through custody battles over a cat they found, and Gregory’s jealousy comes front and center after he realizes that Janine and his friend Maurice are talking. In other words, Abbott Elementary’s “Fundraiser” is taking us one step closer to confessions and feelings galore.
Abbott Elementary “Fundraiser” aka What Not to Do
One of the show’s strengths is how it handles Barbara Howard’s character development, continually giving Sheryl Lee Ralph more brilliant material to work with. When Barbara makes a mistake, she atones for it—really and truly, in and outside of the church. She’s neither a walking saint nor a hypocrite, but the kind of human being who showcases that no matter how much life experience one has, there’s always room for growth. When Ava teaches a kid how to utilize his skills for more money, it comes at the expense of inadvertently humiliating Barbara in front of someone she knew from church. Now, while Barbara’s anger is entirely understandable, for once (okay, maybe twice), so is Ava’s stand here in wanting to teach children how to survive.
But in this episode, the women needed to not only talk things through but to do what they do best at Abbott and put the kids first. And putting them first essentially means swallowing one’s pride to apologize and ensuring that the student knows they always have a safe place if they’re ever in need of something. This situation also does a great job of reminding us of what Ava goes through at home with her grandmother and the things she’s had to endure to make a name for herself in order to survive. There are things about her that should never change because she’s too good in this role to become someone else, but these little glimmers of humanity continue to make her one heck of a character.
The series probably didn’t intend for viewers to hyper-fixate on the fact that Gregory has seen Janine eat ribs, but here we are—I’m afraid it’s all I’m going to think about until we somehow get a flashback of that scene. It’s riveting that she’s not only still communicating with Maurice but that Gregory’s jealousy is entirely on display. Last week’s episode, “Fight,” did a subtle job of showcasing that there’s still a bit of awkwardness between the two, but diving fully into Gregory getting tongue-tied because he doesn’t know what to say is a choice that I’m going to respect.
But it’s also interesting that Janine does the exact opposite of what Gregory says, which is so fascinating because a) she’s Janine, and she’s going to do whatever she wants, but b) is she hoping to make Maurice like her less? What I would give to read her mind at that moment, but considering that she wanted something that wouldn’t be messy only to then fully embrace the mess at the date tells us that maybe, just maybe, she’s not in this either. And even though we knew this, it’s still interesting to see it because it continues to make Gregory and Janine’s slow burn much more promising. When these two finally get together, none of us are going to know how to handle it.
Abbott Elementary’s “Fundraiser” understands the importance of having characters stand their ground in the areas that matter most to them. It understands why weighing options matters and why sitting on certain decisions is more important than jumping head first. The episode jokes about it through Mr. Johnson and Jacob, but at the end of the day, for any dynamic to remain solid, both parties need to be open to honest conversations.
- I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE RIBS, FRIENDS. I NEED TO KNOW.
- Genuinely upset by the fact that Jacob and Mr. Johnson are no longer sharing custody over the cat.
- Melissa being bad at impressions is both the most appropriate and bonkers character trait.
- I now need all of my friends to only send me audio recordings of them laughing. Lol and LMAO will no longer work.
- Does anyone remember those catalogs full of various items that we had to go around selling stuff from? And the items always took ages to arrive.
- JACOB KNOWS. I REPEAT JACOB KNOWS. AND JACOB ISN’T STAYING QUIET ABOUT IT. BLESS THIS DAY. BLESS THIS EPISODE. BLESS JACOB!