Full disclosure: The line to get into Ballroom 20 was very, very long this morning, and the Community panel (the first of the day) had the audacity to start without me. I was about 20 minutes late, and I don’t know what excitement happened without me. It is probably for the best, since I was a rubbernecker looking to see how they would deal with the recent ugly firing of Community creator Dan Harmon. (Answer: They addressed it without really discussing it, even when I wasn’t there. Not surprising.)
There was a big group: Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi; writers Megan Ganz and Andy Bobrow; producer Russ Krasnoff and new showrunners David Guarascio and Moss Port. I hope you’ll forgive my tardiness and hit the jump for an abbreviated bullet-point recap, along with a brand new gag reel.
- Right as I walked in, they were talking about meeting Jeff’s father. This could be a genuine tidbit, but it ended with the reveal that he will be played by Eddie Murphy. McHale: “Pluto Nash himself!” I think this started off serious.
- The “Pillows and Blankets” episode in season three was partly inspired by an argument behind the scenes for the season two episode “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design.” Harmon initially wanted a pillow fort for that episode, but the production designers preferred a blanket fort because it would be much easier to set up. Harmon and other writers were surprisingly crestfallen that they couldn’t get the blanket fort, which is exactly how Abed would feel about pillows vs. blankets.
- They showed a gag reel that you can watch below. The highlight was Brie’s impressive freestyle rap. Even though the panel laid down a beat for her, she would not rap again live for us. Pudi tried to make up for Brie’s stubbornness by roping McHale into an impromptu rendition of the rap from the Christmas musical episode. Pudi stumbled over it, but A for effort as always.
- The natural follow-up to last season’s Law and Order episode is a Law and Order: SVU parody. Unfortunately that means sex crimes that would, according to the panel, inevitably involve Jeff and the dean. Ick.
- Port and Guarascio recognize the pressure they face in taking over for Harmon. But before they were ever approached with the opportunity, they admired the show: “We are fans of the show first… How fun would it be to write for them?” Later Port stumbled over an explanation of what it was like to come on to the show before blurting, “What I mean to say is, we’re not going to screw it up.”
- Pudi did his Batman impression: “Thank you, fans. Thank you, Comic-Con. Four seasons and a porno. Six seasons and a movie. Abed is Batman now.” Not sure why I transcribed all that, but I highly recommend reading it with the Batman voice in your head.
- There will be commentaries on every episode of the season 3 DVD, which comes out August 14. There are also deleted scenes, 20 minutes of outtakes, and a behind-the-scenes-look at building the pillow and blanket forts.
- Krasnoff talked about how Harmon pitched him separate ideas that deal with aliens and time travel. Harmon eventually figured out a way to put all those elements into Community. At this point, Brown longingly cooed, “Daaaan Haaaarmon.” That was met with applause from the audience.
As for what we can expect in season 4:
- We will see the “twisted world” that is Pierce’s mansion.
- Maybe we’ll meet Jeff’s father?
- There will be an episode set at an Inspector Spacetime convention. The Comic-Con audience naturally loved that announcement. Ganz quipped, “We’re going to go twice after that reaction.”
- Guarascio pandered, “Do you like it when the show does a little inventive animation?”
- Ending after four seasons would coincide nicely with the timeline of a community college education. But Guarascio wants to leave the door opening, indicating they would be willing to continue the show whether or not the characters were all still attending Greendale together or not.
Plot aside, I just hope that Community resembles the show we know and love when it comes back in the fall. If not—oh well, it was a great three years.