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Abbott Elementary Season 3’s Best New Character Sets Up A Great Villain Arc


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Warning: Spoilers ahead for Abbott Elementary season 3, episodes 1 & 2, “Career Day Part 1 & 2”




  • New character Manny could be a surprise villain in Abbott Elementary season 3, challenging the protagonist’s relationship and creating conflict within the school district.
  • Manny’s arrival could potentially affect the romance between Janine and Gregory, leading Janine to develop feelings for Manny and creating tension in their dynamic.
  • Manny’s character reinforces the show’s focus on the systemic issues within the American education system, highlighting the limitations of individual efforts to bring meaningful change to underfunded schools.

Abbott Elementary season 3 introduced a handful of new characters, which could set up a surprise villain arc for one newcomer. In a crowded landscape of network TV sitcoms, Abbott Elementary managed to garner both critical acclaim and impressive ratings in its first two seasons. The show’s third outing also started strong, with a double bill of episodes that completely changed Janine’s journey and her relationship with her potential love interest, Gregory.

While Abbott Elementary season 4 might pair off Gregory and Janine, the season 3 premiere put a pretty major roadblock in the way of their potential relationship. Janine spoke to Gregory about exploring their romantic feelings after their summer break, only for him to rebuff her and say they were better off as friends. This coincided with the arrival of three new characters in the form of school district employees, including one who may not be as sweet as he seems.

Abbott Elementary’s Manny Could Be Season 3’s New Villain

Josh Segarra’s charming school district employee seems too good to be true

Josh Segarra's Manny smiles in Abbott Elementary season 3 episode 1

The school district has historically been inefficient, uncaring, and unresponsive when it comes to providing for Abbott Elementary. As such, it is fair to say that Josh Segarra’s Danny wasn’t what viewers expected from the district’s human face. Instead, he was so sweet and sincere that he managed to charm even Ms. Howard, and Manny won over Janine almost instantly, thanks to their shared love of pedagogy. While Abbott Elementary season 3’s best story seemed destined to be Janine and Gregory’s slow-burn romance, Manny’s arrival complicated this narrative. Gregory putting a “period” on their shared feelings for each other didn’t help.

However, at the end of the day, Manny still represents the school district historically responsible for much of Abbott’s under-resourcing, lack of funding, and limited amenities. While he talked a big game and seemed completely honest in his intentions to help Abbott, Manny may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This could prove to be a great villain arc in Abbott Elementary season 3, as Janine now works with the school district. The combination of her desire to improve the school and her ego means that she is likely to side with Manny and the district over her old co-workers.

Manny’s Abbott Elementary Role Could Affect Janine & Gregory’s Relationship Story

Janine could fall for her new co-worker after falling out with Gregory

Not only could this new arrival make Janine more likely to turn on her co-workers, but Manny might also ruin Janine and Gregory’s romance. Segarra’s new character could get between them since he arrived just after Gregory told Janine that he would prefer to put their mutual attraction on pause. While Abbott Elementary’s Gregory Eddie is charismatic, he didn’t swoop into Janine’s life, immediately offer a ton of positive reinforcement, provide her a pay rise, and give her an impressive new job. As such, it would be pretty understandable if Janine found herself enamored with Manny.

This would be a clever way to keep Janine and Gregory apart without frustrating viewers who don’t want a retread of season 2. If season 3 sees Janine slowly grow less invested in Abbott as she is wooed by the school district job, she could naturally grow more distant from Gregory as she begins to spend more time with Manny. Until now, it seemed like Gregory becoming Abbott Elementary’s principal would be the only way to get between the pair, but this development would challenge Janine’s growth as choosing between Abbott and the district would call her ideals into question.

Abbott Elementary Season 3’s Manny Plot Reinforces Its Best Recurring Story

The sitcom’s focus on systemic issues is strengthened by this new character

Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues in Abbott Elementary

Most workplace sitcoms that depict state institutions, from Brooklyn 99 to Parks and Recreation, portray their flaws as minor, harmless, or one-off instances without existential ramifications. In contrast, Abbott Elementary has managed the impressive feat of depicting the American education system as a fundamentally underfunded, overworked, and poorly organized institution without losing its sense of humor. Manny’s presence can continue this approach in Abbott Elementary season 3, as Janine could discover the limitations of her new role working for the school district.

Abbott Elementary has consistently made it clear that it is a systemic lack of funding and follow-through that makes the school struggle, and no charismatic individual can change that. As such, Abbott Elementary season 3 needs to stick to this principle by proving that Manny’s sweet-talking and seemingly sincere efforts aren’t enough to affect meaningful change. He may prove to be an outright villainous figure, or he might just be naive. Either way, Abbott Elementary season 3 can send a powerful message about the state of education by proving that Manny’s intentions aren’t enough on their own.

New episodes of
Abbott Elementary
air Wednesday nights at 9pm ET on ABC.

Abbott Elementary TV Poster

Abbott Elementary

Release Date
December 7, 2021

Quinta Brunson , Tyler James Williams , Janelle James , Lisa Ann Walter , Chris Perfetti , Sheryl Lee Ralph , William Stanford Davis


Quinta Brunson

Quinta Brunson

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