Community is one of the best comedies on television. But this offseason saw upheaval in the departure of Creator/Executive Producer Dan Harmon. They were so unsure about a return that the last episode of the third season could act as a series finale. Still, a fervent fan base has given the quirky show a fourth season, even if it comes with a move to Fridays. The first table read is set for August 6th with shooting to begin August 13th. Five of the cast sat down to talk about the upcoming season, the departure and the bit of plot they could share (the appearance of Jeff’s dad). More after the break.
Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett)/Alison Brie (Annie Edison)
The pair were as excited about the Community panel as the fans as they feel like this will be where they learn the most about the upcoming season.
In terms of what she’d like to see for her character, Alison Brie said “closure” while Yvette Nicole Brown would like “to see Shirley be successful at her business.” Brie tagged that by saying she’d like to see Annie be successful at love.
Dan Harmon is still in their lives, or as Brown put it, “it’s not like he got shipped off to Siberia.” He told her to tell everyone “don’t feel sorry for me, life is good.” Brie got to be a part of the animated pilot that Harmon did for Adult Swim.
The shift to Friday doesn’t phase them as Thursdays tend to be intensely competitive and most of their audience watches after the air time, though they’d like for the fans to watch live as well. They’re appreciative of the amazing fan base that has kept them on the air.
When asked about the pop culture infused in the show, Brie said, “We have to do a lot of research. I think our fans get a lot more references straight away than we do. Danny has the most research to do. One of the things that is so fun is that we learn so much about pop culture doing the show.” She then confessed that she hadn’t seen a Law and Order episode prior to the Community take on it, though now she’s hooked. Brie dated a nerdy boyfriend in high school so she had played Dungeons and Dragons.
Their dream list for the casting of Jeff’s dad included: Bill Murray, John Lithgow, Martin Short and Steve Martin.
Joel McHale (Jeff Winger)
McHale started off addressing the change in creative leadership saying that he’d worked with them on the 2007 NBC Pilot The It Crowd with Richard Ayoade who will be in The Watch and directed Submarine, one of McHale’s favorite movies. “Moses and David are huge fans of the show. They love the show. They’ve already told us some of the stories and they sound pretty great.” A lot of the writers are back as well. McHale’s excited about the pickup and being back on TV. Harmon just announced the new series he’s doing with Charlie Kaufman.
As sarcastic as you’d want, when asked about his dream casting for Jeff’s dad, McHale said, “Anyone from the original Dream Team of the Olympics would be great. In fact, Dr. J would be a great father for me. I think they should mix it up and maybe make it Jackie Chan… someone you’re not expecting. Michael Fassbender would be terrific. He can do anything. He’s going to be the star of Assassin’s Creed, so it would be great if that actual assassin were my father. Everyone always talked about Bill Murray, because Jeff’s last name is Winger and that was the impetus for the character, so there’s been talk about that. I’m sure it will be a surprise, whoever it will be.”
About season four, he said, “I’m very curious to see how he [Chang] will come back and redeem himself or not redeem himself. If anybody can pull it off, it would be Ken Jeong who is a living genius, so we’ll see…”
As to how the study group is perceived at Greendale, “Wow, they must think we’re like a really attractive and insane girlfriend. Why are these people always in the middle of everything? We have saved the school multiple times as well. We’re like an untrained, really good dog. It’s really good, it might bite you. There are very specific things not to do to it so it won’t attack you. But the Dean’s still the Dean and he’s ruined the school multiple times. Truly ruined it.”
Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry)/Danny Pudi (Abed Nadir)
The banter was in full effect when asked what class the study group would be taking together in season four.
Jacobs, “Oh, we know, but I don’t know that we should tell you.”
Pudi, “Spoiler alert. It’s a very important class.”
Jacobs, “The most important class of them all…”
Pudi, “Some would say.”
Jacobs, “They gave us a couple hints about the season and Danny was in the can. So he missed it.”
Jacobs feels that at this point, Britta is probably leading a psych class, probably a TA even.
They both met the new showrunners today. “Our show is unexpected, it’s always been unexpected. We’ve never known what’s happening, so it’s not like we’re shocked anymore by anything. Didn’t know in season two or three what would happen.”
Jacobs thinks that moving in with Troy may have been a misdirect. “I don’t know if I was moving in with Troy or just helping him move. There are always googly eyes. [“Googly eyes is pure comedy,” added Pudi.] Haven’t you ever helped a friend move that you had a crush on, but you weren’t actually moving in with them or dating them? It’s really fun to move heavy furniture for a person who doesn’t want to date you… That you have a crush on.”
In terms of a Troy and Abed in the Morning spinoff from the hilarious end of episode tags, Pudi said “that would be fun, but that’s not going to happen. Beyond two minutes, there’s nothing in that show.” Jacobs added, “I think also sometimes, with things that fans love, the amount that they’re getting it in is the perfect amount. Those tags are genius and I feel like Dan Harmon and Community took full advantage of the tag and turned them into a little art form.” Pudi then concluded, “We really embrace our thirty seconds at the end of every episode and make it’s a self-contained thirty seconds of full, crazy expression.”
Catch up on all of our continuing Comic-Con coverage here.