Abbott Elementary Creator Explains How the Show Handled the LGBTQ+ Character’s Story in a New Way


Season 1 of Abbott Elementary School was filled with many standout moments, such as Janine’s big decision in the final. Another one that surprised viewers, however, came in the eighth episode, during which Jacob revealed he had a boyfriend. It’s a development that adds a new layer to the history teacher and has drawn an enthusiastic response from her friend Janine. Ultimately, the plot ended up being a nice change of pace from traditional LGBTQ+ stories on the small screen. And series creator and star Quinta Brunson explained how the series tackled the subject in a nuanced way.

For most viewers, finding out that Abbott’s resident awkward progressive is gay wasn’t a big deal, compared to such storylines of yesteryear. It was subtle and authentic, which was exactly what Quinta Brunson was looking for. the Abbott Elementary School The actress and producer revealed to The New York Times Magazine why the sixth-grade history teacher’s story was one of her proudest moments from Season 1:

But another thing I was proud of – maybe it’s not internet humor, but I think it’s internet culture – was the episode where we found out that one of our characters was gay. It was important for us not to make it a “coming out” story. Instead, it felt like Janine and Jacob were people who probably grew up with gay people or queers in their lives. They won’t have a coming-out discussion. He represented my generation in a way that I had yet to see on network TV. Just a fact and no big deal. I was proud of that.

As the star mentioned, Gen X and Millennials have a much different relationship with the LGBTQ+ community than some of the previous generations, so it made sense to Abbott Elementary Schoolhistory to unfold as it did. It happened naturally, without fanfare. You have to give props to the show’s writers, who were in tune enough with today’s attitudes to capture that on screen.

There are certainly a number of notable tropes that have been present with “exit” stories over the years. Often in TV shows they fall into one of two camps: the tragic coming-out story filled with angst and torture or one that shows a character suddenly defined by their sexuality. By going with neither, the comedy series ensured that Jacob wouldn’t come off as a caricature or a conspiracy. And I have to add that when her boyfriend, Zach, appears in the next episode, it also feels natural. Hopefully, the ABC sitcom will explore their relationship further when it returns for Season 2 during the 2022-23 TV season.

The comedy series has really made an impact in different ways. For example, the Alphabet Network and Quinta Brunson have come together to help real-life teachers by providing much-needed supplies. Given the show’s desire for true representation, its affection for its subject matter, its humor and its heart, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of TV’s best comedies.

You can catch up Abbott Elementary School Season 1 by subscribing to Hulu and find out what other shows are airing and returning this year by taking a look at CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule.


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