Over the weekend, the Greendale Human Beings traveled to WonderCon to spend some quality time with fans. “Community” creator Dan Harmon headlined a panel, which featured actors Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, and Ken Jeong as well as writers Chris McKenna and Steve Basilone. They screened an upcoming episode for the audience and teased some future stories. They even spoke about a new (corporate) friend that’s joining the show.
Check out our panel highlights…
Subway eat fresh
When “Community” returned from hiatus, viewers quickly discovered a new cast mate — Subway. Harmon explained the reasoning behind its addition to the show.
Dan Harmon: Subway, they’re out there. They’re pretty liberal and progressive about their product placement. I’ve done a lot of successful integrated marketing and stuff before so I’m not one of those writers that’s afraid of it ruining everything. But I have to have 100 percent control over that stuff. So we just kept saying ‘no’ to Subway and then someone finally said, ‘What if we gave you this amount of money and we didn’t care what you did?’ And I was like, ‘OK, that we can do.’ We can tell a story that way. It’s not like we want to vilify our product placement but we do need to tell a story with it.
An unlikely partnership
Now that Subway’s taken over the cafeteria, Shirley and Pierce have scrapped their idea for a sandwich shop… or have they?
Yvette Nicole Brown: Shirley and Pierce are kind of like oil and water. I think it’s fun to see them together because I don’t think she likes him very much. Does she like him very much?
Harmon: Well she’s human so no.
Brown: I think they’re going to go down the road to try and make Shirley’s Sandwiches a reality but because this is Greendale things don’t always go as planned. There’s a good chance that it will go awry in some way.
Jeff and Shirley?
Earlier this season, we learned Shirley and Jeff have a past together. The Foosball episode really focused on them and their friendship, but since then they’ve barely spoken outside the group. But don’t worry, there’s more “Jirly” on the way.
Brown: We found out there’s a nice little sweetness about Shirley and Jeff (Joel McHale) together. Thankfully the writers have written maybe three or four more times this season where we get to see them together in some capacity.
Harmon: Yeah, I just figured that out about smack in the middle of this season. Like Oh yeah, we gotta get back to that gossip story from the first season when you became a confidante of his. Your characters are in a similar age bracket… yes I’ll prattle on about that.
You totally Britta’d it
Britta is the ultimate party pooper. But her portrayer Gillian Jacobs loves the character, even though she’s anti-everything.
Gillian Jacobs: I like her indignation. I like her fallibility, her stubbornness, and I like her tough skin because she withstands a lot of abuse and doesn’t learn from it [laughs]. She keeps going down that road. I just love playing Britta. I think it’s a gift as an actress to play a character like this. I’m so glad that people have embraced the Britta-ness of Britta. I love the character so much.
Chang for the future
Chang has evolved from a Spanish instructor, to a lowly student, and now a Greendale security guard. What version does Ken Jeong like best?
Ken Jeong: This incarnation of Chang has been my favorite because it combines the authority from season one with the patheticness of season two and splits the difference with season three with being a security guard. When Dan told me over the summer I’d be a security guard I instantly got it. I just saw it happening. I just can’t wait for you guys to see it.
Community’s odds for renewal
“Community’s” been on the chopping block since day one. Its ratings have never been stellar but they’ve been consistent. The series has a core group of fans that are unwavering and want six seasons and a movie. Last year, when NBC took the show off their schedule, people were livid. Fans campaigned to get it back on the air and it happened! It returned March 15 and scored its highest rating to date (4.9 million). So what does that mean for its shaky future?
Harmon: I said a 60/40 [chance] to the press before. I’m going to bump it up as a special event to 70/30.
“Community” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.