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Novice Karate Group (ages 8 & up)

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John Duran
John Duran

[S2E10] Holiday Hookah

The holidays are near, and for most of the teachers on Abbott Elementary, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Melissa, Barbara and Ava couldn't wait to get into the Christmas spirit on Season 2, Episode 10, "Holiday Hookah," while others especially felt the depressing side of the holiday this year. Regardless of how the staff felt about their holiday plans, it made for a near-perfect Christmas episode.

[S2E10] Holiday Hookah

Besides the plot twist of the year that the ever-so flirtatious and blackmailing Ava has actually been in a relationship for two years (or five years, according to her four-time NBA champion boyfriend, Andre Iguodala), the biggest takeaway of the episode was almost a kiss between Janine and Gregory. The slow-burn is moving at a snail's pace, but bringing it back a step this episode before the teachers departed for holiday break reminded audiences that Christmas isn't always about singing carols. But Jacob's boyfriend would disagree, and it causes Jacob to bring out his own inner Grinch. These storylines might sound downright depressing, but it actually made for a hilarious and bittersweet episode for the Emmy-award winning series.

It's not such great news for the pair, whose ship seems hopeless to sail off with so many obstacles in their way. Janine is still single for the holidays at the end of the night, but Ava's rare moment of kindness to her "work nemesis" brought an unlikely pair together to celebrate Christmas. It might not have been the ending of the school semester Janine had hoped for, but the spirit of Christmas actually made Ava generous. Could the next year be a fresh start for the two?

Moving onto the B-plot, Jacob is Ebenezer Scrooge this year, owing to the fact that he doesn't have any positive memories of Christmas growing up. While completely understandable, he uses his excuse to ruin Melissa and Barbara's holiday lounge dinner. Even Mr. Johnson couldn't take any more of Jacob's insistent reminders of the capitalistic nature of Christmas. Jacob sees the error in his ways and buys scratch-offs, room temperature Yoo-hoo to make up for his negative attitude, and calls up his boyfriend to take part in caroling.

Without the Christmas decorations (plus the shout-outs to Jewish people and Jehovah's Witnesses), this hijinks of "Holiday Hookah" are fairly normal for Abbott Elementary. Just in the previous episode, Ava started out the day ignoring the students she was substituting, and ended up following Janine's detailed Bible for substitutes. This episode had the same formula, beat-by-beat, but the added layer of Christmas on top gave it a much more heartbreaking meaning. When things don't go perfect for the holidays, the celebration goes down the drain and moods are tampered with. But as Abbott Elementary shows, even the unlikeliest of people can play Santa Claus for a day to lighten the mood.

In terms of being a television episode full of \u201Choliday spirit,\u201D \u201CHoliday Hookah\u201D is an interesting one. The A-plot of Janine going out on the town has the trappings of romantic yearning at holiday time\u2014and Christmas bops, including the classic DMX cover of \u201CRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer\u201D\u2014but the plot itself is not about the holidays. (Plenty of other shows, for example, would use this episode as an excuse to include plot mistletoe.) It\u2019s a holiday-set romantic story, but it\u2019s not about the holidays. As for the B-plot, with a self-secluded Jacob crashing Barbara and Melissa\u2019s \u201Cannual Xmas lounge dinner,\u201D that is more outwardly about Christmas itself. But the way Jacob keeps his real issues with the holiday close to the vest\u2014allowing the audience to infer what his family \u201Cfighting\u201D and \u201Cdysfunction\u201D could be but never really have a satisfactory understanding\u2014is stacked on top of some other strangeness about this plot.

On the last day of school before winter break, Janine is convinced by her friend to go to a popular Hookah Club where she runs into unexpected colleagues. Elsewhere, Jacob crashes Barbara and Melissa's traditional holiday dinner and in the process begins to learn the true meaning of Christmas.

This week, travel with Julia, Thom, and Anthony to Philadelphia to discuss the one - and, so far, only - Christmas episode of ABC's hit comedy, "Abbott Elementary"! If you want to follow along at home, the episode they dive deep on is Season 2's Episode 10: "Holiday Hookah"! Not only do they rave about this holiday episode, and the show overall in general, but they also read off Matt Eurich's casting suggestions regarding which teacher on the show corresponds to which elf, and play a bit of audio submitted by the totally rad Gerry D. and his wife, Tiffany, about "Abbott Elementary" and their own teaching experiences!

Also discussed: this year's Oscar's ceremony; Julia's kids' Ireland trip; the local Tulsa production of "Hamilton" that Thom saw; Anthony's mini-reviews of "Scream VI", "Creed III", and "65"; Thom's experience with hookah; and much, much more!

This episode was perfection for Ava and she nailed every hysterical line. She was also used the perfect amount in this week's episode, since last week's Ava-centric episode showed that too much Ava is like too much Jacob (good for Jacob on getting the scratch off tickets, and going to spend the holidays with his boyfriend).

On "Valentine's Day", one of Janine's students has a Valentine's Day crush on her, and after dropping into her conversation with Melissa and getting confused hearing only half of the information, Jacob blurts out that Gregory likes Janine. The adults' own awkward yet partially heartfelt holiday adherence mirrors Donnie's little crush, until he promptly breaks up with Janine after finding a girl his own age in class who looks like her.

"Holiday Hookah" takes place during Abbott's winter break, when the budding relationship between Janine and Gregory starts to deepen, which contributes to Gregory's reputation among the audience. As they run into each other at a hookah bar (and Principal Coleman, too), Janine remains in her teacher mindset as she tries to loosen up and have a good time. On the other hand, Jacob crashes a holiday lunch that Barbara and Melissa organize for themselves every year. 041b061a72


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