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‘Abbott Elementary’: Quinta Brunson Removed 1 Character and It Changed Jacob Hill

The cast of the ABC comedy Abbott Elementary quickly endeared themselves to viewers in the first season. Quinta Brunson created Abbott Elementary and stars as a teacher, with her castmates as fellow teachers and the principal. Brunson said she originally had one more teacher at Abbott Elementary. When she removed that character, she gave some of her qualities to Abbott Elementary teacher Jacob Hill (Chris Perfetti).

Brunson appeared on Entertainment Weekly’s The Awardist podcast on June 13. Discussing the creation of Abbott Elementary, Brunson revealed the teacher you didn’t meet and how Jacob represents her now. ABC has renewed Abbott Elementary for season 2 so it will return this fall. 

Quinta Brunson realized ‘Abbott Elementary’ was growing too big 

Brunson and Perfetti co-star with Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Wiliams, Lisa Anne Walter and Janelle James. Six is a strong ensemble for Abbott Elementary. Seven was upsetting the balance. However, dropping the seventh character was bittersweet because of what she represented. 

“Originally when I came up with the idea, there was actually one more character that I had in it,” Brunson said on The Awardist. “And she was a queer character, a queer teacher. After the first round of development for Abbott, it felt like there were too many main characters and one had to go. So Blair went and the ones you see who are still with us stayed.”

‘Abbott Elementary’ teacher Jacob Hill represents gay

Teachers have praised Abbott Elementary for its representation of underserved, predominantly Black schools. Brunson hated to lose a gay character, so found a way to tell LGBTQ+ stories via Jacob.

“I had the feeling that I wanted to have queer representation with one of our characters,” Brunson said. “I always thought that Jacob as a character would be next in line for that. Before we started fully writing the first season, I brought that into play. All of our writers agreed.”

RELATED: ‘Abbott Elementary’: Everything the ABC Series Gets Right About Philadelphia

Abbott Elementary already cast Perfetti as Jacob in the pilot. Brunson hoped he would be up for the challenge of adding new elements to his character. Fortunately, he was. 

“Then it was a conversation with our actor, Chris Perfetti because that wasn’t there when he auditioned,” Brunson said. “So I wanted to make sure that that was something he was okay with and he was absolutely down.”

Even without a seventh character on Abbott Elementary, Brunson knew she was going to find a way to include LGBTQ+ characters. The way Brunson sees it, it was always part of the show, even though it took her deleting one character and changing another to find it. 

“It’s something we kind of knew from the moment we started the writers room,” Brunson said. “In a way it was always there but it wasn’t. It just came about for his character when we started writing episode 2.”

RELATED: Chris Perfetti Was a Dramatic TV Actor Before ‘Abbott Elementary’



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