Roush Review: Workplace Humor in “Abbott Elementary”, “American Auto” | Characteristics

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Do you think your work leaves something to be desired?

Try to be a teacher in chronically underfunded Philadelphia Abbott Elementary, or put out dumpster fires at the executive offices of the Detroit-based company’s mercenaries american automobile. These sitcoms in the workplace (on ABC and CNB, respectively) couldn’t be more different socio-economically, but each shines a light on the human condition with humor as they face adversity each week.

Or inhuman, in the case of american automobile, which was created by Hypermarket‘s Justin Spitzer as the reverse side of his enduring comedy about frontline workers subjected to the distant whims of superiors. “How can we really put a price on the death of people? Asks Jack (White Tie), an empathetic ordinary man who, in the pilot episode (airing in December), was impulsively promoted from the assembly line to the C suite of hapless carmaker Payne Motors by incompetent new CEO Katherine. fan of the “Hastings cars, a role that is a perfect showcase for the brilliantly brittle Saturday Night Live veteran Ana Gasteyer.

Jack’s working-class background stands in stark contrast to that of his blatantly inept white-collar colleagues, who invariably come to terms with any crisis – a costly reminder (hence the death debate), a lack of LGBTQ representation in the world. marketing, in tonight’s episode Collective Bargaining – and explode it into a potential PR disaster. As they continue to fail upwards, isolated in their ivory towers and private jets, you will less remember the Scranton misfits in Office that of Veep‘s toxic politicians out of touch. Or, during this week’s disastrous earnings call, desperate minions from Succession, who are also shown to constantly yearn for a moral vacuum. (Katherine, who came to Detroit from the pharmaceutical industry, thinks people don’t like her because she’s a “boss girl.”)

Strong distribution, including Michael B. Washington as a compelling design engineer who does not hesitate to use his double minority identity (gay, black) to his advantage and Hypermarket‘s Jon barinholtz as the obnoxiously rude descendant of Payne’s founding family, is challenged to hold the cynical center of a show where nearly everyone is a self-centered creep. Same Harriet dyer as Sadie, the communications director for Reason’s Voice who had a one-night stand with Jack (which everyone assumes is an ongoing affair), is compromised, though she is aware of herself to confess, perhaps half-jokingly, “9 to 6, I’m a robot.” After 6 years, I am dangerously unstable, a depressing human shell.

american automobile (Greg Gayne / NBC)

I wouldn’t buy a used car from these people, but I would love to watch them dig their own graves in a future automobile graveyard.

There is a lot more heart in Abbott Elementary, an immediately endearing outsider story created by the star of the series Quinta brunson (A black lady sketch show), who charmingly plays stubbornly optimistic second-grade teacher Janine Teagues. Using an all-too-familiar mock-documentary format, Brunson reveals the often-failed dreams of public school staff who have learned to cope with little. (Much of it reminded me Climb the bottom stairs. Look for it or better yet, read it.)

As a seasoned kindergarten teacher and reluctant mentor, Barbara Howard (the great Sheryl Lee Ralph) said to Janine cruel and condescendingly, “The job is to work with what you have so that you don’t let yourself down.” Barbara is a wonderful foil to the eager to please Janine, who continues to look for moments to prove her worth to her aloof role model. (In the next few episodes, Janine goes too far when making a video to help Barbara achieve her school supply wishlist, and in the best episode of five I’ve seen, takes the opportunity to guide an overwhelmed Barbara through a confusing new high-tech education system.)

A lot of AbbottJanine’s comedy comes from Janine’s refusal to settle in, most memorable when she’s grappling with a notoriously disruptive student. The set is great, including Lisa Ann Walter as a hard cookie teacher from South Philly, Chris Perfetti as a neurotic history teacher overcompensating for what he sees as his white privilege, Tyler james williams like the new quietly ambitious replacement that makes Janine shine, and especially the hilarious Janelle james as Ava, the school principal casually and without scruples. When told about an unattended classroom, she joked, “It’s not like anything can go wrong in five minutes. “

Ava would be home on american automobile.

american automobile, First time period, Tuesday Jan.4, 8 / 7c, NBC

Abbott Elementary, Period premiere, Tuesday January 4, 9 / 8c, ABC

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