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Quinta Brunson Downplays ‘Abbott Elementary’ Emmy Wins: ‘Perfection Is a Trap’

Awards haven't changed Brunson's plans for her ABC hit: "I really just want to make a good TV show."

Quinta Brunson

Quinta Brunson

Getty Images for EBONY MEDIA GRO

Quinta Brunson did the seemingly impossible with “Abbott Elementary,” creating a network sitcom that broke through with critics and television junkies in the era of Peak TV. Her boldness was vindicated this fall when she won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The show also picked up two more wins in the Casting and Supporting Actress categories, proving that network shows still have a place in the awards race. But that doesn’t mean Brunson is ready to rest on her laurels.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Brunson opened up about reaching the television stratosphere. She explained that, while she’s grateful for the show’s success, she isn’t going to let the adulation cloud her creative vision.

“On one hand, I’m super happy to represent very positive things to people,” Brunson said. “It makes me feel humbled and grateful. I try not to live in it too much because I think it’s a trap. I think perfection is a trap and I think branding’s a trap. But you can’t really control how people see you, good or bad. And so I don’t want to try. I really just want to make a good TV show.”

The show is currently airing its second season, and there is no reason to believe that the series, or its praise, will end any time soon. But where do you go after winning an Emmy? Brunson wants to keep delivering more of the stuff that audiences fell in love with, and she hopes that, with her characters sufficiently developed, she can just focus on the laughs.

“We did a lot of character development in the first season,” she said. “And not that we’re ever going to stop that, clearly, but there are more opportunities to just be plain, flat-out funny. The audience knows these characters now. But I’m worried this season. Even though it’s my goal to not always be working on the serialized [elements], an episode will finish and I’ll be like, ‘Oh my God. Is this too broad?’ It feels scary, in an age of deep art comedies, to do something that’s a little tongue-in-cheek, a little kitschy … and a little pointless.”

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