Season 3 of 'Abbott Elementary' premieres on February 7 on ABC
In PEOPLE's exclusive behind-the-scenes preview of Wednesday's premiere, star and creator Quinta Brunson says she's "very excited" to put step back into character as wholesome elementary school teacher Janine Teagues.
"Third seasons are always very fun in my opinion, because third seasons are when you really get to up the ante," adds Brunson, 34.
In one of many snippets of some of the laugh lines to come in season 3, Ava Coleman (Janelle James) gets a stern look from veteran teacher Barbara Howard (Sheryl Lee Ralph) after the unorthodox principal pitches a way for Barbara to join one of the year's biggest pop culture moments.
"Ava I've already told you, I'm not interested in auditioning for The Golden Bachelorette," she says, adding of her husband: "Gerald is still very much alive!"
Else Chris Perfetti, who plays lovably corny educator Jacob Hill, shares that the cast has "set up some amazing expectations" and "boundaries we will hopefully flip on its head" in season 3.
As an example, Janine shakes it up in a conversation with will-they-won't-they colleague Gregory Eddie (Tyler James Williams) when she blurts out, "F--- yeah!"
Gregory's eyes pop at the out-of-character obcenity from Janine, who quickly explains, she's "trying out cursing."
"We're getting in the groove, we're locked in," says Williams, 31. "It feels like a family atmosphere at work, and I think that comes through on screen when people see it."
William Stanford Davis, who plays Abbott's favorite janitor Mr. Johnson, says he "can't wait to get on set" and bring his character "back to life again."
Sure enough, the next scene features Mr. Johnson bursting into Ava's office decked out with Usher concert tickets and a T-shirt with the Super Bowl LVIII performer on it. For added effect, the custodian sticks his tongue out while in homage to the "Yeah!" singer.
Finally, James teases her character's "evolution" before Ava is seen wearing a blinged-out Harvard sweatshirt while sharing lessons her character has learned about being principal of Abbott Elementary.
"Turns out I've been doing it all wrong," she laughs. "Somebody should have told me."
"It's good to be back making this show," says Lisa Ann Walter, who plays Melissa Schemmenti. "I think it's really needed right now in the world just to add some laughs and some love."
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Abbott Elementary season 3 premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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