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February 07, 2023

'The Bear' star Ayo Edebiri joins 'Abbott Elementary' cast as Quinta Brunson's onscreen sister

The much-referenced character Ayesha makes her debut in the Valentine's Day episode on Wednesday, Feb. 8

A character that has long been referenced on the popular ABC sitcom "Abbott Elementary" will finally be making an appearance in the next episode.

Ayo Edebiri, the breakout star of Hulu's "The Bear," will join the cast as Ayesha, the sister of Quinta Brunson's character Janine Teagues. She can be seen in the "Valentine's Day" episode of "Abbott Elementary," which airs on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Ayesha has been alluded to throughout the show, as Janine's estranged sister who has moved across the country and rarely returns to Philly. For example, earlier in Season 2, Janine pushes fellow teacher Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) to reconnect with her own estranged sister out of a projected desire to become closer with Ayesha.

Wednesday's episode, which shows the Abbott Elementary staff dealing with Valentine's mishaps, will briefly show Janine speaking to Ayesha via FaceTime. Janine awkwardly wishes her sister a happy birthday as fellow teacher Jacob (Chris Perfetti) looks on in discomfort. Edebiri will return for a more extensive storyline later this season.

Before being nominated for a Critics' Choice Award for her role in "The Bear," Boston native Edebiri began her career as a writer for TV shows "What We Do in the Shadows" and "Dickinson." She eventually transitioned into an onscreen role in the latter. She also recently took on a voice role in animated series "Big Mouth," and is slated to appear in Marvel's upcoming film "Thunderbolts." 

She will next write for “Mulligan,” Tina Fey’s upcoming animated series at Netflix.

Philly native Brunson, the creator and star of "Abbott Elementary," teased the new addition to the cast on Twitter, posting a photo of herself, Edebiri and Janelle James (who plays Principal Ava Coleman).

"Valentine's Day" is, aptly, Episode 2.14. The sitcom is currently more than halfway through airing its second season, which will have 22 episodes, but filming for the season was completed by the end of January.

Brunson's mockumentary set in a Philadelphia public school continues to rack up awards and acclaim, breaking viewership records for the network while earning prestigious awards and nominations. The show has already been renewed for a third season.

"Abbott Elementary" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC and is available to stream on Hulu.

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