You undoubtedly know that NBC fan favorite Community will be coming back on March 15 after its months-long broadcast hiatus. So, in preparation for the television event, most of the show’s cast, as well as Community‘s creator and executive producer Dan Harmon appeared live at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills for a panel discussion at PaleyFest on the evening of March 3. Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong and Danny Pudi spanned the stage to answer some questions and more importantly, to have a little fun.
I’ve collected some of the more interesting tidbits from the event and laid them out here for your perusal. Keep in mind some of this stuff has already been in the ether. I’m not claiming this is all brand new information, so don’t get all huffy in the comments section about how you already knew that Michael Ironside was going to be on the show. Ok. Enjoy!
John Goodman will be back as the dean of the air conditioning repair school. You can also expect to see Rob Corddry, John Hodgman, Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Michael Ironside.
An already enthusiastic drinker, Dan Harmon said he increased is alcoholic intake while shooting the remaining season three episodes we’re about to see. The pressure of shooting without them airing immediately and without the constant viewer feedback put enormous pressure on Harmon and a lot of the cast.
Dan Harmon likes being in a time slot that has proven horrible. Without mentioning 30 Rock by name, his implication was that even a show as popular as Tina Fey’s creation can suffer at 8 pm. (30 Rock has been scoring some of their lowest ratings of all time).
Ken Jeong (Chang) often causes cast members to break character on set. The main reason is something his castmates have dubbed “Chang Tongue.” Alison Brie (Annie) says this is when Jeong — on camera or off — maintains a “dead, flaccid mouth, with his tongue a little out.” Brie illustrates below, with Dan Harmon looking on.
Dan Harmon apparently sometimes refers to Ken Jeong as “the guy from The Hangover movies.” Because, he is that guy.
During the show’s broadcast hiatus, Gillian Jacobs (Britta) sent an email to all her castmates on Thanksgiving. The message expressed her love and gratitude for being able to work with such a cool group of people. She was trying to lift spirits. Most of the cast sent her emails back making fun of her– all in good fun, of course.
There’s a scene in the “Geography of Global Conflict” episode where Britta slaps Chang in the face. She reveals the slap wasn’t in the script but that when Ken touched her hair, the first reaction she had was to slap him. “Never touch an actresses hair,” she told the PaleyFest audience. Check out the scene below.
There will be a Law & Order-themed episode. (Which is cool, but 30 Rock‘s most recent episode was a nod to generic detective dramas, if not Law & Order specifically). Rob Schrab, well known as the creator of the Sarah Silverman Program, directed the episode. “It will either be the best or the worst thing on television ever,” Harmon says.
You pronounce Gillian Jacobs’ first name with a hard “G.” Maybe I’m an idiot, but I always thought her name was pronounced “Jillian” and that, for whatever reason, her parents spelled it with a “G,” like Gillian Anderson.
In an upcoming episode, the entire study group will play a video game together. (I hope it’s Donkey Kong).
Joel McHale cried a little when he presented Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) with his Writers Guild Award for The Descendants. Rash, of course, went on to win an Oscar for his writing on the George Clooney movie. Also, Rash brought the Oscar to the PaleyFest panel.
Dan Harmon is not at all happy with the fact Alexander Payne, the director of The Descendants gave the acceptance speech for the movie’s best writing Oscar, instead of having the writers deliver their thank yous. “I was thinking that maybe Alexander Payne should play the Dean,” Harmon said. “He’s a jack of all trades.”
Annie and Abed will spend an entire episode in the Dreamatorium, which viewers were first introduced to during #AnniesMove. See below.
Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) really likes Phylicia Rashad. Also, Bea Arthur.
Alison Brie has a serious infatuation with Yvette Nicole Brown’s boobs. As Brie tells it, there’s a breasts-related game she and Yvette play on set. Sadly Brown stopped Brie from revealing anything further to the PaleyFest crowd. “It has to do with me and Yvette’s breasts,” is all Brie would offer.
There will be four episodes this season with strong pairings between Jeff and Shirley.
David Cross watched Community‘s Christmas episode three times in a row.
The song “Daybreak” by Michael Haggins will be heard in more episodes. (See Troy humming it below).
What are you most looking forward to when Community returns to NBC on March 15?
UPDATE, March 5 – If you hate reading, some sly Community nerd dropped the entire thing on YouTube. Here it is.