As mentioned in the review of tonight’s “Community,” I was on the set for the filming of the Britta/Annie oil wrestling scene, and even got roped into being an extra.
I got to talking with Gillian Jacobs afterwards while she was waiting for the next scene, and our conversation morphed into a brief interview, which she was sport enough to do while still drenched in oil.
On the career scale, where does this rank among the strangest things you’ve been asked to do?
This scene ranks. I mean, I’ve been asked to do some strange things in my career. But we’ve topped ourselves from last year’s kiddie pool wrestling scene. This is about a 9, I would have to say. Definitely.
(Laughs) How are you going to ask me questions right now? You don’t have to make eye contact.
I can totally make eye contact. So let me ask you this: last year, it seemed as if it was taking the writers a little while to find Britta. Was that your feeling, being in it?
I would say that we sort of set up a dynamic in the pilot, we then played out for a few episodes. And then we all collectively – audience, writers, everyone – realized it needed to diversify. It couldn’t just be about her correcting Jeff Winger. I was as surprised as anyone week by week when I got the scripts at the table read, and suddenly I’m the butt of all the jokes, and the humorless one and everything. But it was really great for me, because it made the character more complex. And it also made her more sympathetic. She was fallible, and she was trying and failing, and people were making fun of her.
Bag-el, buzz kill, throwing dead bodies out of windows.
But I can’t think of a character like Britta before, that I’ve seen.
Yeah, which I think is maybe part of the reason why she may take some adjusting to. Dan Harmon says, “She’s like a non-sitcom character in a sitcom.” But obviously (pointing to all the oil), we find ways to get her involved in all the absurdity and hijinx in a way that feels right. And I’m there to be a part of all the adventures.
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org