I’ve covered a few PaleyFest events already this year from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood (check out my recaps of the “Veronica Mars,” “Parks and Rec,” and “Lost” panels), and though the festival continues for another couple of evenings, last night’s panel for NBC’s “Community” is the last one I’ll be able to cover in 2014. In a way, I’m glad that it was my final panel for this year, because “Community” has been one of my favorite shows since it first aired (minus last year’s gas leak, of course) and it was awesome to see restored creator/showrunner Dan Harmon sharing the stage with the cast and talking openly about coming back to the show and the challenges that presented.
The evening began with a screening of part one of the two-part season finale, set to air a few weeks from now. There are some great jokes in there (including a fantastic dig at the Britta/Troy relationship from last year), and let’s just say there are some memorable moments for “Community” fans, especially those of you who are on board with the Jeff/Britta relationship. Before that episode airs, though, we’re going to see an animated episode of the series in the style of the old “G.I. Joe” cartoon from the 1980s, and at the very end of the panel, we were shown the full opening credits sequence of what that would look like, along with a quick PSA that made its way online late last night:
Then the panelists took the stage: executive producer/showrunner Chris McKenna, creator/co-showrunner Dan Harmon, Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Danny Pudi (Abed), Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley), Jim Rash (Dean Pelton), Joel McHale (Jeff), and moderator Michael Schneider from TV Guide Magazine.
As for whether or not those talks about six seasons and a movie are actually true, Harmon wouldn’t commit on the record because they don’t officially know if they’ve been renewed yet. But Gillian Jacobs, who plays Britta, seemed pretty confident, generating a big cheer from the crowd when she said, “It’s happening. Come on!” If the show does get cancelled, it’s likely that fans will still get their wish in some form or another though: a site like Netflix or Hulu could step in and produce the final season, and Harmon joked about how each member of the crowd could create one frame for the “Community” movie and it’d be finished quickly.
But Harmon wouldn’t even be around if it wasn’t for star Joel McHale, who plays Jeff Winger on the series. McHale spoke about the Harmon-less fourth season of the show, and how he was instrumental in bringing the series creator back into the fold, and the rest of the cast spoke about this season’s loss of Donald Glover, the return of Brie Larson, and much more. I’ll let you guys watch it for yourselves:
Harmon also created a hilarious “character” named Harvey Hollywood later in the panel, when someone asked him if he thought “Community” would have gone the way of “Veronica Mars” or “Firefly” if it had been on the air a few years earlier:
And if you know anything about Dan Harmon, you’ll know he’s not averse to getting a few digs in here and there, too. He gently ribbed “The Big Bang Theory,” making fun of that show’s laugh track, and also took a tiny swipe at “Happy Endings,” saying that this season’s “MeowMeowBeenz” episode of “Community” could have been like any other sitcom (name dropping “Happy Endings”), but halfway through, he was compelled to add a Logan’s Run element to the story.
Ultimately, it was a great opportunity to be able to sit in a room with some of my favorite actors and the true creative genius that is Dan Harmon as they spoke about their show and how, against all odds, it’s continued to survive. Here’s to #sixseasonsandamovie.
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