Abbott Elementary Was Nearly A Cartoon

You might be very into the mockumentary "Office"-esque version of Quinta Brunson's ABC show "Abbott Elementary," but in an alternate universe somewhere, you're sitting down with a delicious after-work beverage to watch a cartoon version of the show. Sure, lots of shows change between developing pitches, shooting pilots, and being bought by a network (or streaming service), but in an IndieWire interview with Brunson, who created and stars in the series, she explained that she originally imagined the series as a cartoon. "I remember having the initial thought for this series by spending time with my mother before her retirement; she was about a year and a year and a half from retiring," she said. 

"I was spending time with her at her school and the idea for the show popped into my head. After doing some tweaking about what kind of comedy this would be, where it would live, I thought of it as possibly a cartoon at the time, because I was working on some other projects and knew I wanted to be a part of it, but making it live action would be harder. So it actually became easier to think of it as a cartoon, but as time went on I wound up developing it into a live-action show."

Don't think about the alternate universe

Brunson's reasoning definitely makes sense, it seems like it would be easier to schedule voiceover work rather than committing to being on set, but it's interesting to think about how telling the story as a comedy could have completely changed major plot lines and characters. As it is right now, "Abbott Elementary" follows a group of well-meaning but unconventional teachers who work at a chronically underfunded elementary school.

They deal with difficult parents, bad budgeting, and snakes accidentally being released throughout the school. You know, normal school stuff. While the show is definitely chock full of ridiculous plot points, would it have taken an even more surreal spin if it was a cartoon and the sky was the limit? Would it even still be a mockumentary? While we can't know the answer to these questions, form does follow function, so the show would absolutely be different from the one you know and (probably) love.

So, enjoy the version of "Abbott Elementary" that you have, and don't think about the many alternate universes out there. They are unknowable and infinite. You can't think about the other presents, you have to live in this one. You know, why don't you put on another episode, that will calm your existential dread.