Just when I was feeling lost in a mid-season miasma of Real Housewives reruns and audiobooks of celebrity memoirs, salvation arrived in TV form—or, in the form of Quinta Brunson’s sitcom Abbott Elementary, to be specific. The show, which stars Brunson as a second-grade teacher in an underfunded Philadelphia school, is laugh-out-loud funny, painfully real, and will be familiar to almost anyone with experience navigating the complex and often fraught U.S. school system.
Ahead of Abbott Elementary’s season finale on Tuesday, April 12, Vogue spoke to Brunson about the show’s success, her inspiration, and the response she’s gotten from real-life teachers. Read the full interview below.
Vogue: Abbott came back from a hiatus on March 22. How have things been since then?
It’s been great. You know, I was just as upset about that hiatus as everyone else, because it’s been so nice to enjoy the show we made with the people and watch the audience enjoy it as much as we do. So I missed that over those three weeks. I was like, “Oh man, I guess I’m going to be really hurting when this first season is done,” but that’s okay.
Did you get a lot of outreach from fans while the show was off the air?
Oh, yeah, definitely. We are so fortunate to have all of these people who really enjoy the show, so there was a lot of “When is it coming back?” and lot of outreach that was just flat-out angry, honestly, and like, “What the fuck?” I was like, yeah, fair. That’s warranted. A hiatus is something that happens in network TV all the time, but a lot of people who are watching our show might not be watching a lot of other network TV.
I was going to ask about that! How does it feel to have that rarest of things in 2022, a network hit?
It’s so cool. I can’t say that I think that much about it, but I’ve seen the headlines and what people are saying about it, and of course I hear feedback from ABC and Warner Brothers, who are over the moon. I still think about it as just being happy that we have this show that people like, and it’s that simple to me, no matter where it would have been—although it was always intended for network TV, and specifically ABC. I’m just happy people are enjoying the show, and that’s what I try to focus on.