Television February 28, 2023
Chris Perfetti Teases ‘Unpredictable’ Arc Ahead on ‘Abbott Elementary’
Chris Perfetti is opening up about “Abbott Elementary’s” big win at the 2023 SAG Awards, and teasing an upcoming “unpredictable” arc for the show.
The show, on which Perfetti appears with Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Janelle James and William Stanford Davis, took home Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series on Sunday, and Perfetti said it “feels incredible.”
“I’m very grateful to be a part of this community and to be a part of this union,” said Chris, who plays teacher Jacob Hill. “It feels kind of surreal. [A SAG Award is] in many ways the highest compliment, because everybody else who is going to say something about your work, kind of, for better or for worse, has an agenda that may be vastly different from your own. Being recognized by fellow actors is just incredibly humbling.”
As for all the critical acclaim the show has received, Chris said, “I think it’s just further proof to me that all of our instincts from day one were right. I think what sticks out about this experience is that it is this reminder that what we have here, what I have in this ensemble and in this crew, is incredibly rare. And you don’t really know it until it happens.”
In this week’s episode, Jacob secures a visit from a fictional mural arts program, however, he doesn’t agree with their choice of design and tries to influence it.
Get hyped! An all-new #AbbottElementary is coming to your screens this Wednesday! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/F2Cz5E6WFz— Abbott Elementary (@AbbottElemABC) February 27, 2023 @AbbottElemABC
Perfetti said of the episode, “I think Jacob is really excited because, like many of the things that Jacob is excited about, I think he thinks that this is a real watershed moment for his class and his legacy as a teacher.”
He added, “The stakes are always through the roof for Jacob. I think that he thinks he is saving the world. And I think that you can make the argument that, in a way, he is. This experience with Mural Arts is kind of like a vehicle to achieve everything that Jacob hopes for, and so, there is a lot of potential there.”
As for what’s ahead this season, Chris hinted, “I feel like this episode is kind of the beginning of the arc of the season starting to bend in an unpredictable or more exciting way. This is, in many ways, the climax of a lot of the themes that have come up throughout the rest of the season. I think every character is being squeezed in a way, in this episode, that I think will hopefully make people squirm in their seats a little bit. This is, in a depressing way, the beginning of the end — in just this season to be clear. There is a lot of exciting things that happen. I think we really get to see how uncomfortable all these characters are, and hopefully, that is a recipe for comedy and pathos.”
Where do we see Jacob as Season 2 progresses into Season 3?
“I don’t know… As much as I am rooting for the evolution of Jacob, I feel like what is so exciting about playing this character is that the writers have drawn such opposing forces around him — his instincts and his environment are so often at odds that it is an incredibly fun thing to play,” he said. “So, I hope that Jacob doesn’t change radically overnight but, just as a person, I am sort of rooting for Jacob to take his foot off the gas a little bit and kind of trust that he has everything that he needs as opposed to trying to muscle everything into being.”
Watch ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and on demand, and on Hulu the next day.