Quinta Bruson is making waves. Not only is her hit show, Abbott Elementary, a comedic success, but she also garnered the admiration of her peers and fans when the show took home three Primetime Emmys for its debut season.
Brunson is the executive producer and a writer for the show, and stars as second-grade teacher Janine Teagues. Before Brunson made it big, she cut her teeth creating viral videos for Buzzfeed. She also soaked in as much movie and television history as she could by taking more than her fair share of studio lot tours in Los Angeles. According to a recent interview, her in-depth knowledge of those tours got her into trouble on at least one occasion.
Brunson loves studio lots and takes tours frequently
Brunson doesn’t have as much free time as she used to. But as she was finding her way in Hollywood, she made it a habit to take numerous studio lot tours that give fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it’s like to work on TV and movie sets. It’s not lost on her that the Warner Brothers’ studio lot now features an enormous poster of her and the rest of the Abbott cast.
“That for me is a ‘pinch me’ moment; to be on the side of the Warner Brothers lot,” Brunson told Jimmy Kimmel in the interview above. “It’s something I hold in high regard.”
Brunson admitted to Kimmel that she used to take frequent studio tours. “I love studio lots. I love them; they’re beautiful,” she said. “It’s where the magic happens and when you get on them it just makes you feel like you love your job again and you know why you fell in love with movies and TV.”
Though Brunson has a loyalty to Warner Brothers since it’s the studio where Abbott is produced, she reluctantly admitted that the Universal Studios lot is her favorite. “It’s fire,” she said. “The rides are great, the studio tour is fantastic. I love it.”
She added an important ‘Jaws’ fact to one tour she was on
Brunson told Kimmel that she bought a pass and used to take tours at least once a month at Universal. It didn’t take her long to become an expert. “I know that tour by heart to the point where if someone gets something wrong, like the tour guide…I have almost been kicked off for correcting them,” she said.
One of the biggest attractions on the tour is a visit to “Jaws Lake,” a pond surrounded by a recreation of the buildings on Martha’s Vineyard made famous by the original Jaws. The shark has taken various forms over the years, according to The Studio Tour, as has the fisherman/diver the shark “attacks” in view of the tourists.
The Jaws feature is a major attraction on the Universal tour, and Brunson knows it. On one tour, Brunson realized her group’s tour guide left out an important piece of trivia. “Jaws is a big deal. And she left out the fact that — you know, the shark, it sunk when they first put it in the water,” she explained. “I think that’s a big fact that people should know. So I just kindly told the rest of my car that she omitted that.”
Brunson didn’t think the tour guide heard her adding the factoid to those within earshot, until the tour was over. “At the end of the tour [the guide] said, ‘Hi, excuse me, yes Quinta I know who you are (because at that time I was viral and stuff), please don’t do that.”
Brunson said her add-on wasn’t meant to undermine the tour guide. “I want everyone to have the best experience,” she laughed. “And I want them to have a good time.”
Season 2 of the award-winning ‘Abbott Elementary’ is already underway
It’s safe to say that these days Brunson is still invested in having a good time. She wants Abbott fans to get the most out of Season 2 of the series. The show returned on September 21 and easily reminded viewers why it’s already an Emmy winner. “The laughs came more frequently in the back half of season one, and this season-two premiere doesn’t skip a beat,” AV Club said of the first episode.
Over the summer, Bruson said that the show’s 22-episode run in its sophomore year would allow for deeper character development. It will also allow for a more relaxed sitcom cadence, similar to Friends or other classics, rather than the breakneck speed from Season 1 that Brunson and the team used to establish Abbott’s core cast.
That said, the first episode was a banger in its own right. Barbara Johnson (Sheryl Lee Ralph) tracks down her missing shoes from an alcohol-laden summer cruise (“Sea Barbara…is different than Land Barbara.”) Janine has an awkward exchange with Gregory (Tyler James Williams) about their relationship statuses during her mandatory teacher mixer. Principal Ava Coleman (Janelle James) throws a tailgate for the teachers…at 9 a.m. And who but Gritty himself (the Philadelphia Flyers’ cultishly popular mascot) shows up — a whole week early. If Episode 1 is the bar, Season 2 is shaping up to surpass all expectations.
Abbott Elementary airs on ABC Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST.