After a year-long hiatus riddled with controversy, the Golden Globes finally returned to our television screens to kick off the 2023 awards season under the chaotic guidance of its host Jerrod Carmichael. We may be over the blatant whiteness of Hollywood award shows, but nonetheless, we’re still celebrating the well-deserved wins for one of the best TV shows on the air right now: Abbott Elementary.
Abbott Elementary, an ABC mockumentary sitcom created by comedian and writer Quinta Brunson, documents the shenanigans that unfold in a fictional underfunded inner-city Philadelphia elementary school. Brunson stars as Janine Teagues, a rookie teacher who’s doing the best with what she’s got (and she doesn’t have a lot) in order to make learning more fun and more equitable for her students. Inevitably, Janine’s cheerful approach to teaching starts rubbing off on her somewhat-less enthusiastic cohort, and together, they tackle the highs and lows of public school education.
The show is equal parts hilarious and thought-provoking, making us laugh till we cry while also continually sparking discourse about the clear dysfunction of the American education system. And Abbott Elementary’s unique ability to be so real yet so bring us so much joy is exactly what makes it resonate so deeply with audiences — and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. At the 2023 Golden Globes, the ABC series walked away with three of the night’s biggest wins: Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy (Quinta Brunson), and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical-Comedy or Drama Television Series (Tyler James Williams).
The Abbott Elementary creator (and the internet’s favourite cousin) took the stage solo to accept the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy but was later joined by the rest of her cast (including Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and William Stanford Davis) to give a speech for their collective win in the Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy category.
“I created this show because I love comedy,” Brunson told the star-studded crowd at The Beverly Hilton, shouting out some of the comedy legends in the room who have influenced her career as a comedian. “Comedy is so important to me. It brings us together, it gives us all the same laugh…during a very tough time in this country, I’m so glad that Abbott Elementary is able to make people laugh.”
Everybody knows that Brunson’s vision for Abbott Elementary always included the goal of getting her co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph an Emmy, but it’s totally possible that everyone in the cast will soon be able to win a major Hollywood award because of her show; Tyler James Williams just won his very first Golden Globe last night. We’ve been fans of Williams since the Everybody Hates Chris days, but Abbott Elementary showcases a different side to the veteran actor. As Janine’s kinda-sorta-maybe-almost (God, PLEASE) love interest Gregory Eddie, he’s as charming as he is neurotic (“Fruit should not be hot.”), and each episode that airs gives us yet another reason to be utterly obsessed with him. Williams is a star, and this win is a long time coming. May it be the first of many.
“The magnitude of this moment is not lost on me,” Williams started off his acceptance speech to the applause of his co-stars. “I pray that this is a win for Gregory Eddie, and for his story, and for stories like his. That we may understand that his story is just as important as all of the other stories that have to be told out here.”
Over the past few years, we've been repeatedly reminded of the kinds of narratives that Hollywood recognises as "award-worthy," and we've made a point to divorce ourselves from the idea that stories that don't fit into those categories are somehow any less important; if they speak to us, if they move us, they matter. Period. But even as divested as we are, these Abbott Elementary wins are still worth celebrating. With Golden Globes attached to their names, Brunson, Williams and the other talented stars of this show will be able to grow exponentially in their careers. These wins mean bigger budgets, better TV slots, and more advertising for Abbott Elementary, which ultimately lend to more money and even more work opportunities outside of this show. So yes, award season may be terribly played out, but a win for our faves is a win for us all.
(In other It’s About Damn Time news, Angela Bassett also won a Golden Globe for her pivotal and truly devastating role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as Ramonda, the late matriarch of Wakanda. Despite her matchless resume of excellent television and film performances throughout the years, it’s only Bassett’s second ever Golden Globe; her first was for the Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It? in 1993. Ryan Coogler knows exactly what he did in Wakanda Forever, and some of us are still beefing with him for it to this day, but we might be able to give the MCU director a pass — after all, it did get our queen the win she deserved.)
Next up on the awards circuit? SAG and Oscars nominations announcements. And you already know the vibes: as always, we’re rooting for everybody Black.