Abbott Elementary “Mural Arts” Review: A Moment in Time

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY - “Mural Arts” - Jacob secures a visit from a mural arts program for his students but doesn’t agree with their chosen design and attempts to influence their decision. Barbara and Melissa learn parents are petitioning to turn Abbott into a Legendary charter school. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1 (9:00-9:31 p.m. EST), on ABC. LISA ANN WALTER, JANELLE JAMES, SHERYL LEE RALPH
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

Abbott Elementary “Mural Arts” Spoilers Ahead

Abbott Elementary Season 2, Episode 17, “Mural Arts,” is the kind of episode that’s an indisputable joy to watch as an adult. We don’t realize it when we’re kids, but the things we get attached to do become some sort of a legacy tied strictly to our nostalgia. And my generation’s is absolutely Rugvermins. I mean, Rugrats. But like Jacob Hill, when we look at today’s legacy-defining cartoons, we judge—in the same way, our parents did in the 90s. Okay, mom and dad, I get it now. Maybe. 

At the end of the day, however, this episode aims to showcase that being a teacher ultimately means respecting students while preparing them for what’s ahead in the future. You can’t tell a kid not to love something. Sure, perhaps, one day they’ll grow out of it, but maybe they won’t, and it’ll be a massive part of their lives years later. (I’m looking at youStar Wars.) And as we grow closer to the threats of turning Abbott into a Charter School, it’s going to be moments like this that ensure parents step in to help out when the dangers become louder. We already had one parent see the direct ramifications of sending their kid to a school where teachers don’t care about them, and with a few episodes of the season left, this is only the beginning. 

Mural Arts Featuring Socks?

(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

Frankly, it’s a good thing that the show uses Jacob in an episode like this because he’s usually the most accommodating teacher when it comes to understanding the younger generations. He’s the one who knows how to find a language that’ll appeal directly to what the kids are into at the moment, and it allows him to be the type of educator they could be more comfortable with. Yet, in Abbott Elementary’s “Mural Arts,” Jacob is the polar opposite, giving his character more ways to be complex through this resistance.

The detail acts as an exhibition of the fact that even teachers are flawed and that there are ways to grow for all of them. In the same way that our teachers never understood the Spongebob craze or even something as bonkers (and brilliant) as CatDog, Jacob doesn’t see the appeal in The Silly Sock Shoe. But the moment he realizes that he’s hurting his kids more by denying them the opportunity to show what truly matters to them today, even if they regret it later, that’s when he understands what the idea of legacy truly means. Sometimes, it is just a moment in time, but that very moment tends to become better as it expands with people, reminding them of where they were and where they’ll end up.

The Moment 

Janine and Gregory in Abbott Elementary "Mural Arts"
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

And ultimately, how Abbott Elementary’s “Mural Arts” uses this idea of a moment in time with Gregory and Janine’s kiss is perfect because it tells us that their eventual relationship will last. They might believe it was a passing bit that showed Janine she isn’t too interested in Mo, but we all know better than that, and we can see it through the episode’s theme. We have to hold on a little bit longer until their awkward moments evolve into something bigger and better. Because, really, they are falling for each other—they’re halfway there, whether they realize it or not. And moments like this will lead them to a better place, but right now, it’s about acting on what matters, which is being transparent with Mo in BONE TOWN. See, this is why the show is a treasure. 

Because even when they get together, Gregory and Janine won’t have to change their ways or personality types to become something they aren’t. They’re still going to awkwardly ask if they can sit somewhere because it’s who they are, and that’s part of their charm here, making their friendship the ultimate anchor in the love that will eventually take over.

Abbott Elementary’s “Mural Arts” is a hilarious episode that moves the plot forward through organic moments, showcasing that though these characters are flawed, they’re tirelessly willing to learn how to improve. And after last week’s “Teacher Conference,” we know that we’re going to need all hands on deck to ensure that Abbott remains the school it is.

Further Thoughts

  • I will never be over Barbara’s RUGVERMIN. Or her accents.
  • Ava: “Shut up, Janine!” / Jacob: “I’m Jacob.” I howled here.
  • B O N E TOWN. OMG. How Tyler James Williams kept a straight face as Gregory’s face went through a whirlwind of emotions is beyond me.
  • “Me and Iggy are re-watching the Star Wars movies, and resisting a massive evil empire seems like a lot.” I mean look, Ava has a point here.
  • Jacob as an Ed, Edd n Eddy stan is my new favorite character detail.

Now streaming on Hulu or ABCWhat are your thoughts on Abbott Elementary‘s “Mural Arts?” Let us know in the comments below.


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