Is Abbott Elementary Copying The Office Characters?

Image credit: Legion-Media

ABC's hit is constantly drawing comparisons to the beloved sitcom, and it looks like some of fans' claims may be true.

Quinta Brunson's comedy series about the lives and struggles of a group of dedicated teachers in an underfunded public school became a hit back in 2021, and the show's success was cemented this year with Abbott Elementary winning three Golden Globe Awards.

Written and filmed in the mockumentary style, the show has been haunted by constant comparisons with one of the first comedy series of the kind, The Office.

Before discussing the similarities, it's worth noting that Abbott Elementary is certainly much more than a mindless knockoff of The Office's winning formula: the modern show boasts a brilliant script, inspired acting, and clever adaptation of current events. However, even those fans who appreciate Brunson's original idea can't help but notice that, in addition to shared genre techniques, the series reveals some similarities with The Office — especially in terms of its characters.

First of all, Abbott Elementary's main duo, Gregory Eddie and Janine Teagues, remind the audience of Pam and Jim from The Office in that they are the only "normal" characters on the show. Fans love watching the dynamic between these two, and the feelings Greg harbors for Janine make people think of how Jim felt about Pam. Will these characters be together like their predecessors on The Office? Fans believe so.

Another character, Ava Coleman, was also found to bear strong resemblance to Michael Scott from The Office. Just like the cult show's goofy boss, the school principal seems incapable of doing anything good, but somehow, she manages to hold the whole staff together. Then again, just like Michael, Ava holds a special place in the audience's hearts thanks to her odd charisma and cringe sense of humor.

Besides these, comparisons between other characters didn't appeal to much of the series' fandom: people didn't agree that Jacob Hill was imitating Dwight or that Barbara Howard was a lot like The Office's Angela. Those theories were definitely found unconvincing.

What's more, many fans have pointed out that it's almost impossible to come up with a character's personality from scratch these days, so a successful show relies largely on how its "stock characters" develop through a well-written script. Viewers are keen to see Greg, Janine, and Ava reveal more of their unique personalities in future seasons, and perhaps adding more details to these characters will forever dispel the allegations of their resemblance to The Office staff.