Switching gears a bit, we have some Abbott fans on staff who had a few questions about the show—specifically about Janine and Sheryl Lee Ralph’s character, Barbara. The two have a sort of mentor/mentee relationship, so we were wondering if you had a similar figure in your life who has guided you throughout your career?
You know, it really is my mom. My mom and I have a very similar push and pull dynamic. It’s the generational push and pull. It’s my optimism vs. her pessimism. Actually, I wouldn’t even consider it pessimism. It’s more that my mom has lived so much more life than me.
The relationship between Barbara and Janine was inspired by my relationship with me and my mom. There are things that she can teach me and has taught me, but also knowing that as I get older, there are things I can teach her as well.
Also, I wanted to show that no one is “right.” I think that in a lot of opposing relationships we always feel like someone has to be right and that’s just not the case. Sometimes it’s not about right and wrong. Two people just may have different approaches to something. It’s really about getting the job done.
That’s what’s significant about Janine and Barbara’s relationship at school. At the end of the day, both characters have the same goal of making sure these kids feel cared for and thinking about how they can do that.
That’s so wise. I wish more people took that perspective within their relationships.
Yeah, and some of it was also inspired by everything I was seeing online. There are so many people just yelling at each other. I want to say, “Guys, what’s going to happen here? What are we going to do about this?”
Everyone wants to be right but being right is not the most important thing. What’s important is trying to work together to accomplish a task.