This week, ABC's hit comedy Abbott Elementary poked fun at white liberal attitudes toward black people. The series is about a struggling Philadelphia public school with a mostly black student population.
On Wednesday's episode, "Fundraiser," the school tries to sell candy to raise money for a field trip to the Franklin Institute.
Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph), a seasoned teacher and no-nonsense church-going woman, is frustrated that sales aren't going well. She accepts help from the school's principal, Ava (Janelle James).
Ava teaches Barbara's students how to scam people for money. She reels in Jacob (Chris Perfetti), the school's super-woke white history teacher, for the lesson. Left-wing Jacob is always eager to prove his "anti-racist" bona fides:
Ava: Nobody likes to buy things from happy people, so I suggest you come up with an illness for yourself. My go-to is polio.
Barbara: Ava, no.
Ava: Barb, polio is back. Poke yourself in the eyes if you have to. Tears might as well have dollar signs in them. And you're gonna wanna look out for liberal white people.
Jacob: Actually, I consider myself to be a progressive.
Child: Is there a difference?
Ava: You'll be able to spot them, because they'll be making this face. If you can't sell candy bars to them, you're unteachable.
Jacob: Oh, Malika, are you okay?
Malika: No. But I'd feel a lot better if you bought some candy from me, an at-risk black youth.
Barbara: All right, that's it! You've gone too far. May I have a word with you, Ava?
Ava: We'll be right back.
Jacob: Ava, I thought you wanted me here for an educational emergency.
Ava: Oh, you played your part. Thank you.
Liberal whites weren't the only targets of Ava's jokes. Earlier in the episode, Ava tells Barbara, "I just took a few of the kids under my wing, and we sold out faster than a black politician."
Abbott Elementary works because it primarily focuses on making the audience laugh through real and relatable characters. It's not a political show, but when it does make a political joke, it tends to take risks and hit the target.
A comedy that plays its scenes for laughs is a rare treat on television. Let's hope Abbott Elementary stays that way.