Ashley on ‘Abbott Elementary’ Is Our New Favorite TV Character

We’ve spent the last year getting to know the core Abbott Elementary cast, and, now, there’s another lovable goofball in the teacher’s lounge. After teasing her two episodes ago, the series has fully introduced Ashley (Keyla Monterroso Mejia), Melissa’s (Lisa Ann Walter) brand new aide.

Of course, Ashley can’t actually be a helpful aide. That would make things far too easy for Melissa, who’s known for her no-nonsense teaching vibe and overall outlook on life. Melissa has been averse to this whole aide idea from the beginning: Though she’s stretched thin teaching a second and a third grade class at once, she’d rather be independent and in charge.

But in the third episode of the season, the class gets too tricky to manage. At the end of the episode, Ava (Janelle James) forces an aide into Melissa’s classroom, and we get to meet her for just a minute. Ashley Garcia certainly doesn’t seem to be the ideal fit for the cranky educator—she comes in singing Jennifer Lopez and goofing around.

We got to know Melissa and her complex family background in last week’s ingenious Parent Trap-themed episode, and, now, we’re back in her classroom. Ashley wreaks havoc on the equilibrium Melissa established (or, at least, has been trying to establish), playing games with coins and making a skeleton dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Body.”

“Let’s learn about the human body-ody-ody-ody,” Ashley shouts while Melissa, furious, nearly snaps a yard stick in half.

Ashley sounds a lot like a character we already know on Abbott Elementary: Principal Ava Coleman. Preoccupied by the ever-alluring pop culture zeitgeist—I can’t blame them, I’d constantly be referencing Taylor Swift’s Midnights if I was teaching students how to tell time—both Ava and Ashley can’t be bothered to actually do their job. And guess what? The pair quickly bond after Melissa asks Ava to get rid of her new aide.

Chaos beyond Melissa’s wildest nightmares ensues. Ashley, enamored by Ava’s “vintage” resale auctions (read: Zara 2019), decides she’d rather be the principal’s assistant. She prints out labels, preps packages to sell, and steams Ava’s clothes. Ashley, already a hilarious character, is made better by her quick connection to Ava, a match made in scammer heaven.

Who is the comedic mastermind behind this new character? Keyla Monterroso Mejia plays Ashley, an actress you may recognize from Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Monterroso Mejia played Maria Sofia in the most recent season of the show, a bad actress Larry David is forced to cast in his upcoming (fictional) TV show.

Luckily, Monterroso Mejia isn’t a terrible performer in real life; she makes a great addition to the Abbott Elementary cast. (You can also catch Monterroso Mejia in the upcoming Toni Collete/Anna Faris comedy The Estate.)

Melissa’s rift with Ashley isn’t totally solved by the end of this episode, so here’s hoping there’s more of her in weeks to come. We’re especially rooting for her to be in the next episode, “Candy Zombies,” which will be Abbott’s very first Halloween special. Ava’s already planning a couple’s costume for her and the new bestie. How exciting!

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