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If you have to watch one Hulu show this July, stream this one

A group of women stand before a man in Abbott Elementary.

In the heat of summer, it can be more important than ever to find a show that isn’t just compelling, but also comforting. While TV has evolved into a high art form, there was a time when people watched it at least in part because it felt like a familiar ritual. Shows of that ilk are fewer and farther between today, but they still exist.

One such show, which is also one of the best shows on Hulu, is Abbott Elementary. This mockumentary follows a group of teachers working in a Philadelphia public school as they attempt to get through each day without many resources or much in the way of support. Here are three reasons why it’s more than worthy of your attention.

It features one of the great comedy ensembles ever assembled

Abbott Elementary - Official Teaser Trailer - ABC

Although the show’s lead is creator Quinta Brunson, Abbott is stacked with talent across its supporting cast. Sheryl Lee Ralph is particularly great as Barbara Howard, a veteran teacher who is set in her ways, but is also a brilliant educator. Tyler James Williams is equally great as Gregory, a substitute who starts off skeptical of Abbott, but grows to appreciate its many quirks and charms.

Each member of the cast understands their characters perfectly, and they all know exactly how to get the most out of every single joke.

It’s a sharp, subtly political show

Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara in Abbott Elementary, smiling.
Gilles Mingasson / ABC / ABC

While Abbott is not political in the way something like Veep might be, it is a smart show about the nature of public education and how important it is to American society.

In chronicling the lives of these teachers, who do their work not because they are paid well or because the jobs are always joyous, Abbott reminds us of the sacrifice that public educators make to prepare our children for their future lives. While it can be cynical, Abbott is usually a hopeful show about the importance of education, and it’s the kind of tribute to teachers that they richly deserve.

The writing is almost peerless in the world of comedy

Best of Janine & Barbara from Abbott Elementary | Abbott Elementary | Max

Abbott is, at least in some ways, a kind of throwback. It’s a mockumentary in an era when those are increasingly rare, and it follows most of the conventions of that format. What’s even more surprising, though, is that the format doesn’t feel at all played out or stale in the hands of Abbott‘s incredible writing staff.

The show’s jokes feel completely original, and its insights into the lower middle class lives of its characters feel somewhat revelatory. Even the most tried-and-true element of these shows, the romance, feels somewhat fresh thanks to its two central figures and their somewhat distinct personalities.

Abbott Elementary is streaming on Hulu.

Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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