Goddammit. I’m excited for Community. After an uninspiring season four, I was ready for the show to be done, bringing us ever closer to a future in which we completely ignore network sitcoms (minus your occasional Parks or New Girl). It had three amazing seasons, but without its fired showrunner, Dan Harmon, as well as Chris McKenna, who wrote Community‘s two best episodes (“Paradigms of Human Memory” and “Remedial Chaos Theory”), there was no reason it needed another one, except for shallow syndicated ones, i.e. $$$. But then Harmon came back, as did McKenna, and at the show’s Comic-Con panel yesterday, with the entire cast (sans Donald Glover and Joel McHale) they said all the right things. Especially the part where Harmon called himself a “creepy jerk.”
1. Back 2 Basics
What does Harmon’s return mean for the show? “New levels of anxiety that will no doubt trickle into the show,” Harmon says. “Nobody wants to not fail more than me at this point, because it’s kind of a weird story. I really really have to make these 13 count. I don’t consider them the last 13. I’m going to do everything I can to get us the sixth season.” Was he thinking about what the next season would be when he wasn’t working on the show? No. He had plans for season 4 when he was still working on season 3, but the actual season 4 has rendered his plans “out the window. This is a whole new thing. We have to re-ground, re-establish these characters, get back to the emotional basics and then have the most fun we can have.” (Via)
2. Upcoming Themed Episodes
“We’re going to have an animated episode. The reason I can scoop that is that we have to know we’re going to do that way in advance.” He also says there’s a “D&D part two” episode on the writers’ whiteboard, sandwiched between two normal episodes. (Via)
3. Nothing’s Done Yet
Harmon says they’re taking a different approach in the writers room this season. Because they’re only filming 13 episodes, they’re going to break all the stories first, and they already know roughly what all the episodes will be. (“We have a couple of slates on the board that just say ‘normal episode,'” he explains.) They don’t have any scripts done yet, but they have a few outlines done already. (Via)
4. Season 4? Never Heard of It.
A fan asks Harmon about his unflattering comments about season 4, phrasing it more kindly than Harmon. Will he do anything in season 5 to undo the choices of season 4? Harmon says no; he’ll keep following the trajectory. He says that “when I said that naughty stuff,” he was talking about his own experience watching it in the filter of his podcast. “When I do Community, I’m making this show to adjust for the despicable person I am, and make a Valentine for people. Community is never going to hurt you; I probably am, maybe in a car.” He apologizes to fans if he hurt any of their feelings with those comments. “A fan of Community does not have to be a fan of Dan Harmon, and vice versa,” he adds. “I am a creepy jerk.” (Via)
5. Ken Jeong Is One Lucky Man
Do any of the actors want to see their characters do something new this season? Rash: “Well, my first passion is cage-fighting…” He loves that the dean’s fetishes keep changing, and would like to see a new confusing fascination. Brown wants to meet Shirley’s sister, who was referred to briefly in season 1 as having a bad relationship with her; “Sherri Shepard is probably available.” Brie would like to see Annie be empowered, because she’s been very distracted by boys for a while. Jeong just wants to do whatever Harmon tells him to do, and thanks McHale for bringing Harmon back. They also shout out to Glover. Pudi is hoping to discover that Jamie Lee Curtis is his mom, but likes “not knowing what we’re doing.” (As he’s giving this answer, Brie and Jeong are goofing around, with Brie sucking on her index finger and then placing it in Jeong’s mouth; to Pudi’s credit, he just keeps going and going, even as Brie gives him a wet willie with the Jeong-contaminated finger.) (Via)
Turn that last sentence into an entire season, and you’ve got a Big Bang Theory-level hit.