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Published on May 17, 2024
'Abbott Elementary' Charms with Philly's Smith Memorial Playground Episode, Despite Off-Location ShootSource: Davidt8, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It's no secret that "Abbott Elementary" has a knack for showcasing Philly gems, and the latest episode is no exception—except, it didn't exactly take place where it claims. Despite the charm of Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse featured in the show's newest jaunt, it turns out the filming location was elsewhere. This little sleight of hand may have viewers tilting their heads, but the essence of the beloved Philly spot managed to shine through the screen, as reported by the PhillyVoice.

On this endearing field trip, the tension between the series leads Jeanine, played by Quinta Brunson, and Gregory, portrayed by Tyler James Williams, bubbled to the surface yet again. Amid the chaos of squabbling teachers and carefree kids, the two nearly got to finally confront their feelings on a zoom down that iconic, albeit simulated, wooden slide. But before Gregory could properly reveal his thoughts, they were hastily interrupted—courtesy of their colleagues—demonstrating, perhaps, the perpetual complexity of workplace relationships.

On the educational side, the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse holds a certain mystique for those in the know. "There are people that know Smith deeply, with the generational connection going back many years," Frances Hoover, executive director of Smith told the Inquirer. She adds that there's a sizable portion of Philly natives that remain oblivious to its existence. It's this blend of deep-seated nostalgia and under-the-radar allure that "Abbott Elementary" was betting on to resonate with its audience.

But perhaps the episode's most telling moment came from the wisdom of the fictional Mr. Morton, whose line about workplace romance served to echo the thoughts of many. "Never date someone you work with," he explained, reminiscing over the complications that come when office and personal lives collide too closely. The show has a way of deftly marrying humor with real-life lessons, a trend that continues to endear it to its growing fan base.