It's Drawn Comparisons To The Office, But Abbott Elementary's Tyler James Williams Has Some Brand New Thoughts On Where Janine And Gregory Are Going

 Abbott Elementary Season 3 cast shot.
Abbott Elementary Season 3 cast shot.

The wave of new TV premieres continues throughout the early months of 2024, with strike-delayed shows finally making their returns, and that definitely includes Abbott Elementary Season 3, with school back in session starting on February 7. It feels like an eternity since fans went wild over the Season 2 finale, which squashed chances for Quinta Brunson’s Janine and Tyler James Ferguson’s Gregory to turn their feelings into a relationship. And now the Mr. Eddie portrayer has shared a new update about where things are headed.

More so than almost any TV couple in recent years, Abbott’s Janine and Gregory have drawn comparisons to The Office’s Pam and Jim, as far as “will they/won’t they” pairings with oodles of chemistry go. (With Ava earning her own comparisons to Michael Scott in the process.) Speaking with TV Insider, Tyler James Williams confirms that some big moments are coming, but leave it open to interpretation whether or not these future events are what audiences truly desire. In his words:

There’s always movement. It’s just a matter of in what direction… It’s going somewhere. I don’t know if you’re going to like where it’s going. I don’t know if it necessarily is moving forward or moving backward or laterally, but it moves. It’s a very alive situation that they can’t ignore because obviously, they’re coworkers. It’s just a matter of in what direction the writers decide to make that movement happen. And there’s a lot of acrobatics that happened this year. I’ll put it that way.

Is it possible the Everybody Hates Chris vet is implying the Abbott Elementary writers will veer away from The Office character expectations by going backwards with Janine and Gregory's friendship-plus? I mean, it was already soul-crushing enough for Janine to sweep their emotional confessions under the mat, as it were, so I dunno if we all have the emotional bandwidth to have to see them back in awkwardly vague flirtation mode all over again.

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Granted, I can understand why such a painful experience might cause the characters to distance themselves from one another, which would certainly lead to some "acrobatics," as he put it. Few things can make a body more flexible than trying to avoid being seen by someone else.

But even though his comments aren't exactly overflowing with promise for the two teachers' blooming romance, Tyler James Williams could certainly be playing down expectations ahead of the season premiere. While it may not be the best way to get audiences hyped up right this second, keeping hopes limited would pay off big time when the season arrives and starts off with Janine and Gregory getting hot and heavy and eloping in Vegas. Okay so that stuff probably won't happen.

Season 3 will be shorter than Abbott Elementary's first two outings, due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and Williams says that actually helped make the upcoming 14 episodes all the more fresh and important, without any need to stretch to fill space. In his words:

There were certain things that would have been really cool and fun to do that needed a longer arc time that we would rush if we did it in 14 [episodes]. But what I love most because it’s condensed this year is it can pack a punch more every episode. It’s been fun to watch our writers really hit hard every episode, not thinking about how long they have to extend this out, but there were definitely some things that had to change. [We’re] staying true to our usual timeline for the show and trying to follow a school year.

The truncated season should make for some interesting timing situations, since it's not entirely clear how much of the first half of the school year will be shown. When we catch back up with them, will they still be in awkward aftermath mode, or will enough months have passed that they're back to normal, just maybe without as many longing stares? I'm ready to see some acrobatics!

To note, creator, star and EP Quinta Brunson talked about the future of Janine and Gregory's connection going into Season 3, and she played up how important the two characters' friendship and mutual respect for each other would be after their confessional. But those thoughts were shared before any delays were in the cards, so we'll have to wait and see if plans changed at all from then to now.

With episodes available to stream the next day via Hulu subscription, Abbott Elementary Season 3 premieres on Wednesday, February 7, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Head to our 2024 TV premiere schedule to see what other small-screen favorites will be back in the syllabus soon.