Abbott Elementary consistently knocks it out of the park each week; this week is no exception. “Attack Ad” is a hilarious, cleverly-written episode that boasts strong comedic performances. We’re blessed with two surprises: the return of Tariq (Zack Fox) and the introduction of Draemond (Leslie Odom Jr.), who might prove to be a seasonal antagonist for this bunch.
Us Granine shippers get a few crumbs of satiety in the form of Gregory (Tyler James Williams) knowing Janine’s (Quinta Brunson) favorite movie and both obsessing over the other’s love life. Well, Janine suffers in silence while Gregory tries to steer the former away from her ex-boyfriend. All in all, “Attack Ad” is a solid outing.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of quotes (and moments around the quotes) I loved from this week’s episode of Abbott Elementary. Class is in session!
MELISSA: Was there a bit about me gambling? ‘Cause a parent said something that almost triggered my fight-or-fight response.
GREGORY: You mean “fight or flight.”
MELISSA: No. I’m not a flippin’ bird, Gregory.
Melissa Schemmenti (Lisa Ann Walter), I envy you. I wish my trauma response was “fight” instead of “freeze.” I especially enjoyed this quote because it fits Melissa to a tee. Don’t mess with this Philly 11 — she’s not a flippin’ bird! Gregory’s breaking-the-fourth-wall reaction is the perfect button for this moment. Some of these bits wouldn’t land if lesser actors performed them.
TARIQ: Keep it on the down low, but I’m in talks to play Nick Cannon’s next baby shower.
Oh, Tariq. How I’ve missed thee. Zack Fox steals every scene. I hope they find ways to bring him back despite Janine and Tariq’s split. This quote proves Abbott Elementary possesses a prescience beyond our understanding. They knew Nick Cannon would be expecting baby number 11 this week. This line and Fox’s delivery made me laugh out loud.
GREGORY: I just like coming out to the garden. I don’t ever touch it or do anything to make it better.
Tyler James Williams is an underrated force to be reckoned with on this show. While his dialogue is undoubtedly funny, I feel the bulk of that humor comes from Williams’ impeccable performance. His facial expressions, physicality and mannerisms, as Gregory, are pitch-perfect. He tries so desperately to conceal his knack for gardening. And the fact that Tariq still refers to him as a talent manager? The cherry on top of the comedy sundae.
JANINE: Sometimes, it’s nice to be reminded you made the right decision. My sandwich is half-eaten, but my cup is half-full.
This line is proof positive of Janine’s growth between this season and the last. Janine profoundly resonates with me as a character while inspiring me to sever ties with anything poisoning my spirit. It’s not an easy thing to do. Setting boundaries for your well-being is incredibly challenging, especially if you’re a first-class people pleaser. Tariq’s behavior bolsters her decision to break up with him. It’s all for the best.
JANINE: I’m probably just gonna go home and watch a movie.
JANINE: It is my favorite.
Okay, this one isn’t so much about the quote itself but the subtext surging beneath it, what it means for these characters from a narrative standpoint and that it’s a callback to an earlier scene in the episode. Tariq struggles to name Janine’s favorite movie even though they were together for a decade. Yet Gregory, having worked with Janine for only a year, knows her likes, dislikes and more. His delighted expression after stating her favorite film is so gratifying.
Abbott Elementary does a brilliant job of methodically crafting this slow-burning, will-they-won’t-they romance. Sure, it’s a tired sitcom trope, but there’s something magical about watching two characters in blissful ignorance of how perfect they are together. You just want to reach through the screen and shake them awake.
I believe both characters are aware of their feelings but afraid to act on them. Quinta Brunson and co. are undoubtedly building toward a satisfying, climactic moment between these two.
What are your favorite quotes from “Attack Ad”? Sound off in the comments below!
Abbott Elementary airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on ABC, with next-day streaming on Hulu.