The Highs and Lows Of The First Season Of Abbott Elementary and Quinta Brunson

Abbott Elementary has been regarded as one of the year’s new standout shows. Audiences became enthralled in the lives of the fictional Philadelphia elementary school. Critics all over also raved about the show as well as the performances of all the actors involved. Just recently, the cast and crew got the news that they have much to celebrate with the numerous amounts of Primetime Emmy Award nominations received. But as it always seems to go, the high moments are often sullied with low periods.  

Abbott Elementary would be nothing without its esteemed creator, Quinta Brunson. The Philadelphia native also produced, wrote, and held a starring role in the ABC sitcom.  

Brunson is the product of social media as she quickly rose to fame on Instagram in 2014. You may recall the infamous phrase that arrested social media, “He Got Moneyyyy.” This was taken from the viral sensation that she created, “The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date,” inspired by her time being a struggling creative after relocating to Los Angeles.  

From there, Quinta Brunson moved on to become one of the youngest showrunners in Buzzfeed’s history. During this period, she created two series, Up For Adoption and Broke, for which she was nominated for a Streamy Award in the Best Acting in a Comedy category.

In 2018, Quinta Brunson decided to depart from Buzzfeed and landed opportunities with a few of her projects being shot for pilot episodes. However, nothing really lifted off the ground for a while. But she’d begun to act in various shows like New Girl, iZombie, and Single Parents. Then in 2019, she started to write and co-star in HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show.

The first season of the show received widespread acclaim. It also made history as the first Black-led sketch series to become nominated for a Primetime Emmy. However, Quinta Brunson soon made her departure to commit to her upcoming show, which would change her life even more.

Abbott Elementary debuted on December 7, 2021, to stunning reviews. The show, which also stars Tyler James Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and breakout star Janelle James, was initially called Harrity Elementary.” Soon, according to Deadline, the mockumentary series was given a pilot order in February 2021 and would eventually go into production. 

Tuesday nights were soon a very highly anticipated night for the ABC network, thanks to the show. Although Abbott Elementary’s ratings were lesser in number, in a short time, those numbers quadrupled, reports Deadline.

Over time, each episode brought more and more ratings for the show. Finally, according to Variety, the finale brought in impressive numbers that also broke records over a span of weeks. Eventually, the initially reported statistics were revised to show a 200% increase.   

With all of the newfound success Quinta Brunson experienced with the show, she didn’t hoard it all to herself. On the contrary, she partnered with Box Tops for Education in May for Teacher Appreciation Month to raise awareness for educators and all they do for schools and their students. In addition, they donated $20,000 to her former middle school, Andrew Hamilton Middle School, in Philadelphia.

A daughter of an educator, Quinta Brunson shared her excitement to partner with the organization to raise awareness. “I’m proud to partner with Box Tops on our shared mission of giving back and showing appreciation for teachers,” she said in a statement to Businesswire.

Abbott Elementary also introduced many iconic actors to some and reintroduced to others. Tyler James Williams from Everybody Hates Chris and the legendary Tony Award-nominated Sheryl Lee Ralph joined the main cast. Both are no strangers to television as well.

Rapper, actor, and comedian Zach Fox appears in multiple episodes in a recurring role as Quinta Brunson’s boyfriend in the show. One of the most talked-about characters by critics and fans alike is Principle Ava, played by comedian Janelle James.  

With all the success the show received, it was fully recognized by the Emmys. Abbott Elementary was nominated for six awards, including for Outstanding Comedy Series. In addition, Quinta Brunson was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.  

Brunson took to Twitter to share her excitement about the news. “Crying shaking and throwing up has new meaning to me because I real life did all three. Still speechless,” she wrote. “Congrats to the entire staff and cast of Abbott Elementary. And I want to share this moment with all of the people who watch and love the show. Emmy nominated, baby!” In a follow-up tweet, she thanked all of her supporters for the encouraging words.

Janelle James, Tyler James Williams, and Sheryl Lee Ralph also received their first Emmy nominations. In addition, Abbott Elementary has been nominated for multiple Black Reel Television Awards, Hollywood Critics Association Awards, and Television Critics Association Awards.

But there’s now a bit of a downside to it all. According to multiple reports, Quinta Brunson is now being sued along with ABC for copyright infringement. Radar Online reports that a woman named Christine Davis alleges that her show’s premise was copied for Abbott Elementary, which can be read here.

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