Abbott Elementary Star Responds To The Office Comparisons


Abbott Elementary star Tyler James Williams comments on the recent ABC hit being compared to The Office and its iconic mockumentary style.

Abbott Elementary star Tyler James Williams comments on the recent ABC hit being compared to The Office. Abbott Elementary focuses on the teachers and staff that help run a public elementary school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Quinta Brunson is the series’s creator and stars as the main character, Janine, an optimistic and sometimes naive new teacher.

Williams comes into the series as substitute teacher Gregory but soon becomes a mainstay and a potential love interest for Janine even though she already has a boyfriend. Throughout each episode, the series has several asides from characters in a mockumentary style explaining their feelings about certain situations directly to the camera. The series also features characters forgetting about cameras following them, only to be “caught” while, say, staring admiringly at Janine in the case of Williams’ character Gregory.

Variety recently spoke with Williams about this mockumentary-style in Abbott Elementary, and fans have compared the series to The Office. Williams says that The Office influences the series, as it helmed the mockumentary style of television for a very long time. He also notes that a cinematographer and director on The Office, Randall Einhorn, executive produced and directed several episodes of Abbott Elementary. In terms of how far this influence goes, Williams details that he made a concerted effort to no longer watch The Office while filming Abbott Elementary to have his performance not be influenced too much, even subconsciously, by The Office.

Williams also mentions that comparing a new show like Abbott Elementary to such a popular one as The Office is incredibly gratifying. He would like to see Abbott Elementary hold itself to the same high standard. The slow-burning romance that fans of The Office are familiar with in the dynamic between Jim and Pam in earlier seasons is undoubtedly echoed in Abbott Elementary, albeit with a twist. Rather than Jim and Pam playing pranks together on other coworkers and both being on a whole unsatisfied in their workplace, Janine and Gregory act more as both foils and bolsters to each other. Sometimes Janine’s optimism carries her away to unrealistic places, and she needs grounding from Gregory’s logical and straight-to-the-point demeanor. However, sometimes Gregory needs Janine’s creativity and positive outlook to see opportunities he otherwise would discard as impossible or unreasonable.

Fans of Abbott Elementary season 1 will have more to look forward to as it is renewed for season 2. Abbott Elementary Season 2 will likely entail more direct-to-camera interviews from characters in the mockumentary style that fans of both The Office and Abbott Elementary love. Hopefully, there will also be more romantic moments “secretly” caught by the mockumentary crew between Janine and Gregory as their relationship develops. Fans will have to hope and wait until Abbott Elementary season 2 premieres.


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