Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wednesday’s Abbott Elementary premiere. Proceed at your own risk!
Janine was feeling pretty good about herself during Abbott Elementary‘s Season 2 premiere, and why wouldn’t she be? After all, the teacher had scored quite the coup: She got Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty to agree to make an appearance during the first week of school!
But alas, Janine’s break up with Tariq affected her more than she wanted to admit because she got the dates wrong, and the local celebrity showed up a week early during the teachers’ Development Day. It was a bummer for Janine, but a major win for creator and star Quinta Brunson, who was very excited about the guest star during a Television Critics Assoc. virtual press tour panel.
“He is very special to us. He is the biggest celeb cameo of all time,” Brunson enthused, before revealing that the mascot was supposed to appear during last season.
“We almost had Gritty for the pilot of our show. He’s been invested from the beginning, before you guys even knew about the show,” Brunson shared. “So it was wonderful to get this opportunity to have him be involved. Gritty is just as vital to the particular Philadelphian spirit of this show as the Eagles are or cheesesteak or pretzels, etc. So getting him was like a dream come true. I was over the moon. I was starstruck.”
Tyler James Williams — whose character Gregory at first didn’t get the appeal of the fuzzy mascot — called Gritty “a phenom that I feel like relates to everybody on a human level, a cellular level. That doesn’t need to be explained,” the actor said.
Added Lisa Ann Walter, who plays Melissa: “Gritty is undeniable. But I will say that, in person, he is even better. Because his improv is stellar. Gritty is a comedy genius.”
Abbott Elementary fans, what did you think of the cameo and the season opener? Grade it below, then hit the comments!