Creator, writer, executive producer and star Quinta Brunson took the stage to celebrate the show’s big win with co-stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, Janelle James and Tyler James Williams.
The series is in full swing with its second season, which Brunson previously revealed that fans will see a new side of their favorite onscreen characters as the show ventures beyond the elementary school and into their homes.
Williams told ET ahead of the season premiere that the move from classroom to home opens a “new world” for the comedy series.
“I think it expands the world significantly — we’re playing with not just going home but then seeing them out in other locations, which I think we don’t think about a lot with our teachers,” the former child star noted. “I didn’t realize until we started this season [where] we had an episode about prepping and getting started [for a new school year], and I’m like, in my head I always just thought they lived [at school]. They were just always at the school, like you can’t possibly have lives outside of this! We get to see that and it makes them more real and tangible, and it kinda shows how their personal lives affect how they do their jobs.”
Fans have gotten peeks at the lives of Ralph’s Barbara, Perfetti’s Jacob, Williams’ Gregory and James’ Ava outside the school before, even meeting Barbara’s daughter, Taylor (Iyana Halley). But season 2 will go beyond mere glimpses.
Brunson has been notably excited about venturing into the teachers’ lives, telling ET that homes are “special places” that provide insight into characters’ mindsets like nothing else.
“For me, in the first season, I really wanted Abbott to feel like the home of this show. I wanted the audience to feel like Abbott is their home, these are their coworkers, the halls that they walked in, and I think that we accomplished that,” she explained. “So now it feels that we can get more personal with these characters and instead of giving that upfront, I decided to delve into the personal lives a bit more in season 2.”
“I think the brilliant thing about season 2 is that our writers and Quinta have really kind of severed expectations when it comes to a sense,” Perfetti added. “We’re obviously going to be hanging out at school but we’re going to be figuring out why these people are the way that they are and they chose the storylines and plots that kind of subvert expectations and are really specific — not kind of like quintessential school tropes, you know.”
Even the school’s ever-aloof janitor is getting in on the fun, with William Stanford Davis promising that fans will be “really surprised” by the things the eccentric custodian, Mr. Johnson, gets into. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” the new series regular vowed.
Brunson also explained that, to her, the most important part of the formula is that people enjoy the series. “Even when the pilot first premiered and not that many people knew about the show yet — watching people respond to that and just genuinely enjoy watching it [was big],” she recalled, remembering when a fan stopped her at Universal Studios to share her love for the series after the pilot premiered on ABC.
“This one girl had seen it the night before and was over the moon about just the pilot. She didn’t know me, she didn’t know about BuzzFeed, she didn’t know about anything and that really solidified for me that we had something special,” she shared. “Something that made this girl remember my face from the pilot and she didn’t know I made the show but she didn’t have to. She just enjoyed the show she watched so much that it had stuck with her.”
The 80th Golden Globe Awards air live on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.