Abbott Elementary took the world by surprise last year when it became an instant success on ABC. The workplace comedy, which premiered in December 2021 as a midseason entry, already has one Emmy win to its name and six other nominations. Many fans couldn’t get enough of their favorite fictional elementary school staff in season 1 — and yet, not every episode hit the mark. Here are the best and worst episodes of Abbott Elementary Season 1, according to viewer ratings on IMDb.
‘Abbott Elementary’ Season 1 Episode 8, ‘Work Family,’ is considered the best on IMDb
Out of all 13 episodes in Abbott Elementary Season 1, “Work Family” has the highest average user rating at 8.5 out of 10. In episode 8, Janine (Quinta Brunson) learns that Jacob (Chris Perfetti) has a long-term boyfriend. Upset that she only just found out this detail about her friend, Janine attempts to bring all of her coworkers closer together as a work family. Meanwhile, Gregory (Tyler James Williams) gets teaching advice from Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) and Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) when his class underperforms.
Many of the user reviews on IMDb raved about this episode. One viewer suggested that fans who “are on the fence about liking this show” should check out episode 8. Meanwhile, another person said “Work Family” sparked their interest in Abbott Elementary again after previous episodes left them feeling underwhelmed.
Quinta Brunson is ‘especially proud’ of ‘Work Family’
Brunson, the creator of Abbott Elementary, had her own high praises for “Work Family.” During an appearance on Vanity Fair’s Little Gold Men podcast earlier this summer, the comedian said she felt “especially proud” of this episode for a few reasons. For starters, she loved the way in which Abbott Elementary revealed Jacob’s character as gay.
“One of my favorite things we got to do was introduce that Jacob’s character was gay without making it a coming out story. That was really important to me. There are so many queer people in my life and they’re just in my life,” she said.
Additionally, Brunson admired what this episode did to progress the show’s extended plot lines. “Work Family” showcased the early days of Janine questioning her relationship with her own long-term boyfriend, Tariq (Zack Fox), before their breakup later in season 1. Meanwhile, Gregory’s new teaching methods contributed to his decision to go full-time at the school.
“It’s really about Janine realizing she’s outgrowing her relationship, Gregory learning his place in the school,” Brunson added. “So I was really proud of that entire story and proud of how we really were in a groove when we were writing that one.”
‘Abbott Elementary’ episodes’ Art Teacher’ and ‘New Tech’ are tied for the lowest rating in season 1
As for the “worst” episodes in Abbott Elementary Season 1, it’s a tie between episode 4, “New Tech,” and episode 7, “Art Teacher,” with a 7.6 out of 10 rating on IMDb. However, even as the lowest-rated episodes, these still received rave reviews.
In “New Tech,” Abbott Elementary teachers must learn the ropes of a new computer program at school. Janine is thrilled to help Barbara with her tech struggles, but the kindergarten teacher’s stubborn nature lands her in an awkward situation. One fan wrote on IMDb that “New Tech” is “beautifully executed.”
“From Janine’s naïve awkwardness, to Barbara’s stubbornness, and Ava’s theatrics, this episode does a really good job of showing the characters in the purest form. Not to mention the added element of the students. If you’ve been around kids you know how funny but unaware they are. Which makes the episode all around fun and enjoyable to watch,” the user wrote.
Meanwhile, in “New Teacher,” Janine brings her best friend to Abbott as the new art teacher. Unfortunately, they clash when Sahar (Mitra Jouhari) wants to change a beloved school tradition. Elsewhere, Jacob and Barbara bond over a school garden. While Sahar isn’t the most likable character for many fans, one person on IMDb said she felt like “a real person who anyone would have a difficult time interacting with” and that made Janine’s final stance against Sahar all the more satisfying.
Abbott Elementary Season 2 premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.