One of the most interesting colleague dynamics in “Abbott Elementary” is the pairing of Barbara and Melissa. Despite being polar opposites in their approaches to teaching and life in general, the two often manage to find common ground, whether it’s Barbara encouraging Melissa to start dating again or the pair joining forces to take a pessimistic view of Janine’s enthusiasm. In the episode “Work Family,” Barbara learns that Gregory’s class is underperforming in math and offers to give him some pointers. Enlisting Melissa’s help, the trio adds a spot of pizazz to a question about farmer Hank and his many turkeys. As Gregory learns, adding some singing, dancing, and silly voices can engage the kids in applying some critical thinking.
It’s difficult to know where to laugh first — Barbara’s sultry shuffles, Melissa’s pantomime voices, or Gregory’s questioning of his existence straight down the camera. He finally gets into the spirit of things, though his singing voice is best left to be desired. It’s a hilarious look at what lengths teachers will go to in order to get their students to focus, and what happens when they start to lose their minds. If farmer Hank didn’t know what hit him with all those turkeys, he sure isn’t going to have a clue after seeing this.