Back in October 2023, Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson told Deadline that the ABC comedy will remain on the school calendar for season 3. However, this did present a creative question: How would the writers explain the time jump in the show's universe since the new season would need to start in the back half of the school year?
The season 3 opener, "Career Day," answers this questions masterfully as it takes place in two time periods. We learn that that camera crew that have been following Abbott's staff for the past couple of years did start filming them again in the fall as scheduled. However, after they left the gang's favorite eatery at night in West Philly, they were robbed when they didn't follow Jacob's instructions on how to get back to their place safely.
It took the camera crew five months to save up for new cameras so they could resume their documentary. That's why they're meeting back up with Abbott's staff in February. We also know it's the second year of the month because of the Black History Month section on Jacob's board in his classroom.
The episode jumps back and forth from the past to the present, cluing us into what the crew were able to capture and how much has changed since they've been gone. The biggest change is that Janine isn't teaching at Abbott Elementary because she accepted a fellowship to work with the school district. A substitute is educating her class as she learns how to assist, provide for, grow, and advance the district as a whole.
The premiere also explains how Ava went from being a reformed, rule following principal interested in being attentive to her school back to the hilarious slacker who loves a good scheme and hustle. It takes the '90s rap classic, "Back That Azz Up," to reset her to the Ava we know.
We'll have to wait and see if we'll continue to be filled in on what happened in that five month gap via flashes back to that time or if "Career Day" will be the only season 3 episode that does this. Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more Abbott Elementary news and coverage.