School is back in session at Abbott Elementary, and the Emmy-winning show returned with a cameo from hometown hero (or terror, depending on who you ask) Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty.

“I managed to get the only celebrity that matters to come and surprise our kids on the first day of school,” Abbott Elementary creator and star Quinta Brunson’s character Janine Teagues said to open the episode. “America’s favorite orange furry sweetheart: Flyers mascot Gritty!”

Apparently, everyone was into the idea except for fellow teacher Gregory Eddie (Tyler James Williams), who said he doesn’t “get” the fluffy orange monster. And since this a sitcom, there was a mix-up about the timing of Gritty’s visit.

Check out a clip from Gritty’s appearance on Abbott Elementary below.

“Gritty, to me, is such a beautiful representation of Philadelphia,” Brunson said in a behind-the-scenes video. “The way he is joyful, the way he looks, the way he feels, the way he is.”


Sheryl Lee Ralph, who won an Emmy for supporting actress, added, “There are a lot of people who might be iconic in Philadelphia, there are a lot of people that might be loved in Philadelphia. None of them come close to the love and admiration that is given to Gritty.”

During the Emmy Awards earlier this month, Jimmy Kimmel stole some of Brunson’s spotlight while she was accepting her award for writing Abbott Elementary by pretending to pass out on stage. Kimmel later apologized after Brunson jokingly interrupted his monologue during her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!