Abbott Elementary already has an awesome main cast, but they’re really winning the guest star game too. The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri recently appeared as Quinta Brunson’s character’s estranged sister, and now Taraji P. Henson has been cast as their mother. Tarahi will appear in an episode called “Mom,” which will air on April 12. I love this casting!
Abbott Elementary in the role of Janine’s (Quinta Brunson) estranged mother.
“I was so exited to join Quinta and the amazing cast!” Henson, 52, said in a special video message at PaleyFest in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 1.
The panel for the hit ABC series also included cast members Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter and William Stanford Davis. Janelle James and Chris Perfetti appeared via webcam while Brunson, 33, and the Empire alum pre-recorded their messages.
Henson will appear in an episode titled “Mom,” which is set to air on April 12. The exciting casting news comes after Ayo Edebiri made her onscreen debut as Janine’s sister, Ayesha, last month. The Bear star, 27, previously made a cameo when fans saw the sibling duo have an awkward conversation over FaceTime.
Janine’s strained relationship with her mother and sister has been a minor story line in past episodes. Although the teacher was able to work out her issues with Ayesha, Brunson hinted that Janine would still have to face her mom.
“I think relationships with mothers are very defining, especially for someone who is then taking care of children — like Janine, who’s caring for kids,” the Golden Globe winner told Reuters in September 2022. “It connects a lot to her relationships in the school. I know a lot of women in my life who have had very complicated relationships with their moms unfortunately.”
According to Brunson, it felt important to show the aftermath of how the personal trauma affected Janine. That same month, the screenwriter teased what else fans of the critically acclaimed comedy series could expect in season 2.
“We’ll be going home and out with them more. In the first season, I really wanted people to fall in love with Abbott the school and the staff. We wanted people to feel like they wanted to work at or went to Abbott,” she shared with Entertainment Weekly. “This season, they know us well. They know the teachers well. They know the school well. Now, we can go out to events and parties, into our characters’ houses and be outside more. But I still believe a workplace comedy should take place in the workplace. So, it’s not like we’ll be turned into a whole other show.”
Looking at the photo the Abbott Elementary Twitter posted, that’s pretty good mother/daughter casting! Though it’s Taraji P. Henson, so it’s good no matter what. This may have waned a bit in the streaming era, but I’ve always loved when network TV shows do stunt casting for sweeps. That way you end up seeing people who aren’t normally on TV and it’s fun. It will be cool to see Taraji on the show and her dynamic with Quinta’s Janine character. In addition to having a strained relationship with her sister, Janine is also estranged from her mother, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I like that the show is expanding past the characters’ lives at school, since obviously their personal lives influence their professional lives and vice versa.
'I have a show called "Abbott Elementary," like say "Friends." Instead of New York, it's in Philadelphia. And instead of not having Black people, it does!' – Quinta Brunson's opening monologue on #SNL pic.twitter.com/bvHEEp985I
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 2, 2023
— sheryl lee ralph (@thesherylralph) April 2, 2023