‘Abbott Elementary’ Season 3: Thank goodness it’s back

Spoiler alert! The following contains details from the Season 3 premiere of “Abbott Elementary.”

It’s so good to be back in West Philly.

After a long hiatus, caused in part by last summer’s writers’ and actors’ strikes, ABC’s Emmy-winning hit “Abbott Elementary” is finally back in the classroom (Wednesdays, 9 EST/PST). And it’s been far too long of a wait for one of the best, most joyous shows on television. In the cold months of winter, while the news is bleak, it’s so good to be back in the underfunded halls of “Abbott,” with creator/star Quinta Brunson and the rest. It’s comfort TV, without the “guilty pleasure” attached.

Quinta Brunson as Janine in "Abbott Elementary."

The Season 3 premiere saw some big changes at “Abbott.” Brunson’s Janine accepted a fellowship to work for the school district for a year instead of in the classroom. Her will they/won’t they romantic tension with Gregory Eddie (Tyler James Williams) ended with a “won’t they” at the end of Season 2, and it seems like they’re staying apart after the premiere reveals Gregory awkwardly rejecting an advance from Janine. Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) starts to believe new blood in the school district administration might actually make a difference. Slacker principal Ava (Janelle James) briefly tries her hand at being a too-strict boss, and Melissa (Lisa Ann Walters) ends things with her boyfriend after he tries to convince her to marry him. And Janine’s new school district co-worker might just end up being her new love interest, too.

Lisa Ann Walter as Miss Schemetti, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara, Tyler James Williams as Mr. Eddie and Janelle James as Ava in "Abbott Elementary."

The wonderful thing about a sitcom like “Abbott” is its consistency. Like great workplace comedies before it, such as “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation,” “Abbott” found an easy flow with its characters and quips and managed to sustain it through two seasons. Judging by Wednesday’s return, Season 3 won’t be any different. It revels in the universal (Gregory and Janine’s frustrating romantic ineptitude) and the specific (a few hundred Philadelphia references, including cameos from Philadelphia Eagles Jalen Hurts, Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham in the premiere).

First appeared on www.usatoday.com

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