Abbott Elementary scored the highest comedy ratings on ABC since the Modern Family series finale in April 2020. The mockumentary series has only released nine episodes, giving it more time to break additional records as time goes on.
The cast’s chemistry and comedic timing contribute to the show’s high ratings. One of its outstanding characters is Principal Ava Coleman, played by comedian Janelle James. Ava Coleman is one of the funniest characters on TV. The principal is usually preoccupied and out-of-touch, bringing several funny moments to the show.
During Wishlist week at Abbott Elementary, Janine reaches out to Ava for help in creating TikTok videos. Ava is a pro at creating content and engaging viewers. One of her top clips was her “Soften Elbows” video, which was done to the tune of “Black and Yellow.”
What makes this moment hysterically funny is her dedication and confidence in making TikToks. The school principal has a green screen and ring light in her office. Comparing herself to the Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, shows just how hilarious Principal Ava is.
Janine asks Ava for money to get a new rug for her classroom. Ava dismisses the request and uses the $3,000 the school district sends to buy a large sign of herself. Janine sends an email complaining about Ava to the superintendent, but it bounces back to Ava, who calls a trust meeting.
Ava is hurt by Janine’s actions but does not effectively communicate this. This line shows a glimpse of how Ava gives feedback. She thoroughly insults her in front of the other teachers, and when they gasp, she calls it constructive. There is nothing productive about this feedback, but it does bring laughter.
Gregory Eddie is the new substitute teacher at Abbott Elementary, and Ava cannot keep her lusty comments to herself. Surprisingly, she has not been reported to HR yet.
Principal Ava openly flirts with Greg, creating some of the best camera glances. Speaking to The GATE, James shared that it was easy to act flirtatious. “The way that I had to dig deep for the cheerfulness, I didn’t have to do that at all for the flirting because that’s what I am. I am a flirt.” This line is just one of many funny exchanges between Ava and Greg.
Principal Ava surprises the teachers when she agrees to help Janine with the step team. Ava is usually self-absorbed and only does things that will benefit her. Janine and Ava do not see eye to eye in their approach to coaching. Janine prefers structure, and Ava likes to gossip with the students.
One of the elements that make this show unique is the Philadelphia references. Mentioning the cherished icon of Philadelphia, Allen Iverson, in a dating reference is on-brand for Ava. Ava’s use of Iverson’s nickname while discussing the failed relationship with students captures her wittiness.
Janine causes an outage while trying to fix the flickering light in the hallway. Ava runs down the hallway wearing a headband light when the power goes out. She may not be prepared for the ordinary occurrences in the school, but she is ready for the zombies.
Fans love Ava because she will passionately express that Train to Busan, an incredible zombie movie, is the reason why she is a doomsday prepper. She has a pattern of landing jokes that include pop culture. The rolls of toilet paper in the background make this scene even more hilarious as she delivers the line in an interview.
One of the most demanding kids in the school, Courtney, transfers to Janine’s class. She can influence the entire class and distract them from doing their classwork. Despite being disruptive, Courtney excels in academics. Janine and Melissa realize that Courtney causes chaos because she is not challenged enough.
It took Janine and Melissa an entire episode to develop a solution that Ava had in her desk all along. Courtney needing to skip a grade should have already happened as it was in her file. There is great humor in this mistake, with Ava blaming her weekend attendance at the Essence Festival.
Janine is always running to Ava when she has a new idea that she wants to implement. This time, she came up with an inclusive plan to ensure that all students participate in special activities and classes with Jacob.
Janine’s excitement tends to leave her out of breath, creating the perfect moment for one of Ava’s infamous one-liners. The awkward situations curated by Ava’s actions and bluntness are some of the best moments in the sitcom. The characters’ reactions and their chemistry with each other make the show easily rewatchable.
It is rare for Ava to take an interest in Abbott’s students, so when she engages with Malcolm, the new arrival, she showcases her creative insults. Malcolm is a straight-A student who comes from a private school. Ava, who enjoys taking credit for everyone else’s work, sees Malcolm as a trophy.
Ava does not care who she offends. She will insult the kids, the teachers, and everyone else. She has many qualities people would find hard to like, but viewers cannot help but laugh. Even when her staff stares at her with disdain, she flips her hair and gives the camera a look that makes her one of the best characters on Abbott Elementary.
Ava introduces a new tech reading program that creates barriers to success for some veteran teachers, especially Barbara. Barbara is frustrated by the new program and inputs random data instead of asking for help. Just her luck, because her class gets the highest reading scores in the building due to her scoring technique.
Ava is incredibly hilarious in the “New Tech” episode. James’ rhythmic delivery is praise-worthy in her reaction to Barbara’s cheating scandal. An ordinary principal would have most likely reprimanded their staff for Barbara’s actions, but there is nothing normal about Ava. She will win by any means necessary; she just has to be kept in the loop.
The first episode of Abbott Elementary reveals how Ava became principal. The district initially hired Gregory as principal for Abbott, but the offer was rescinded. Immediately after this was announced, Ava shared her short journey of simply blackmailing the superintendent to become the principal.
Ava exposes this information with a gleeful smile, unconcerned about any consequences. This quote ties everything together in a comedic way. It makes it easier to understand why one can find Ava using a foot spa bath massager in her office.
NEXT: 5 Ways Abbott Elementary Is Like The Office (& 5 Ways It’s Unique)