The Most Endearing Thing on TV This Week: ‘Abbott Elementary’ and ‘Hacks’ Throwing Down on ‘Family Feud’

Did Celebrity Family Feud just call the Emmys comedy race?For the game show’s Season 8 premiere, the team of Hacks threw down with the teachers from Abbott Elementary, tackling epic subjects including plumber’s crack, men in ill-fitting superhero suits, and smelly boyfriends. Truly, any of these topics sound like an episode of either one of

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Did Celebrity Family Feud just call the Emmys comedy race?

For the game show’s Season 8 premiere, the team of Hacks threw down with the teachers from Abbott Elementary, tackling epic subjects including plumber’s crack, men in ill-fitting superhero suits, and smelly boyfriends. Truly, any of these topics sound like an episode of either one of the TV comedies waiting to happen.

Sure, crazier things have happened on Celebrity Family Feud—Kathy Lee Gifford’s son-in-law showed off his, uh, private parts; Kendall Jenner mocked Donald Trump in front of Kanye West—but seeing Sheryl Lee Ralph’s competitive side sure made me giggle. And getting a glimpse of the off-screen friendship between Jean Smart and Poppy Liu put a big grin on my face.

Hacks and Abbott Elementary are two of my very favorite comedy series airing right now, and I know I’m not alone here. If you’re in desperate need of a smile this week—again, I know I’m not alone here—look no further than the most recent Celebrity Family Feud match. You deserve 22 minutes of pure joy.

Jean Smart and Poppy Liu: Cutest celebrity besties?

Christopher Willard

While Family Feud secured most of the biggest cast members for each team, a few familiar faces were missing—namely, Hannah Einbinder of Hacks and Janelle James from Abbott. Still, the teams were stacked: Jean Smart, Poppy Liu, Christopher McDonald, Mark Indelicato, and Rose Abdoo held down the Hacks side, while Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter, and Sheryl Lee Ralph took care of Abbott’s hand.

The most delightful surprise was a special guest on Abbott’s side: Ms. Joyce Abbott, the teacher who inspired Brunson to craft the beloved ABC sitcom. I felt a lump in my throat when I saw Brunson’s own dear teacher appear determined to win a hefty donation to DonorsChoose, a non-profit that specializes in donations to public school classroom projects. I would give anything to play Family Feud with my elementary school teachers!

This episode of Celebrity Family Feud is worth watching for the first head-to-head alone. Two comedy icons battle each other at the podium: We’re talking Quinta Brunson and Jean Smart here, folks. While either could surely launch the perfect punchline about a magical plumber’s crack—the first prompt given in the game—the stakes were high, and the Hacks crew walked away with the win in the first round. The team had Smart to thank, too, as the actress was able to nab the top answer: A plumber pulls a plunger out of his crack for a magic trick. Duh.

Ultimately (and GoldDerby should be taking notes here), while Abbott Elementary had a hefty lead throughout the entire show, Hacks ran away with the win thanks to one sweep near the end of the competition. Could this mean Hacks is going to steal all of the Emmys from Abbott Elementary? If I were a betting woman, I’d be putting my money on Hacks, based on this Family Feud performance.

What makes for an even stronger case is the performance the Hacks team puts up for Fast Money—they’re unstoppable. Jean Smart and Christopher McDonald, who play fabulous lovers/enemies in Hacks, go up to the plate for Feeding America. And boy, do they deliver, going past the 200-points mark needed to secure the $25,000 cash prize for their charity.

Really, the prize of it all was watching Jean Smart lay down her life on Fast Money. Sure, our beloved Abbott teachers lost, but we all won something perfect in the process. Perhaps the best part of the night was Smart flopping on her answer for “a way you cook potatoes.” While the top answers were “mashed” and “baked,” obviously, Smart opted to guess “scalloped.” With some cheese? Those are the best.

Survey said: NOPE. Sadly, no one agreed with her, earning the team zero points in the biggest injustice of the night. But it doesn’t matter, because they won overall—and at the very least, we’ve now seen Deborah Vance and Ms. Janine Teagues squaring up on America’s favorite game show. What fun!

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