When we last left Greendale
Community College, anarchy reigned. After a marginally
successful flirtation with some new show runners following series
creator Dan Harmon's being shown the door at the end of season
three, Jeff Winger and his study group had graduated, the college
was a wreck and the quirky series' reputation was somewhat
tarnished, but far from ruined.
Sounds like time for a
The first and most exciting shot
across the Community bow was when NBC rehired Harmon and much
of the original crew responsible for making the show such a cult
favorite. Harmon decided not to ignore last year's
uneven-but-sporadically good story arc, instead he hit the reboot
button on his mind and rethought the whole concept.
The new season of Community
starts three years after we left off (in Greendale years, it's been
a matter of months in the real world). Jeff Winger (Joel
McHale) has become an unsuccessful ambulance chaser and the rest of
his study group (Gillian Jacobs, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Alison
Brie and Yvette Nichole Brown) has settled into mind-numbing
post-grad existences. Winger returns to Greendale determined
to bring it down legally, but thanks to the desperate need of the
Dean (Jim Rash) he ends up taking a teaching position. And his
study group follows him back to the school... well, just because
they have nothing better to do.
A couple of weeks before the fifth
season premiere, we were one of a whole bunch of media outlets that
called in to pick the brains of series stars Joel McHale and Jim
Rash about the new era of Greendale, and also listen to them
good-naturedly bicker about everything from Oscars to nudity to
ankles to bake sales.
Jim Rash: Hello. Say hello, Joel.
(in high-pitched voice) Hi.
(normally) Thatís how I talk in interviews on the phone because
I donít know how to behave. Itís like a radio play.
(chuckles) Yeah. Iíll do the foley stuff.
Joel McHale: So I guess Jim and I will just do a
little acting now?
Looking from the outside in has been a very surreal experience. I
donít know if thereís ever been a show with so many
behind-the-scenes stories that are almost as fascinating as the
actual storylines. Whatís it been for you guys inside that bubble?
Have there been moments youíve sat back and said ďThis is crazy!Ē or
has too much been made out of it?
Jim, you go first.
Jim Rash: Oh, bless you. What a sweet, sweet gesture.
(laughs) No, I think [it was] partly blown out of proportion, in
the sense that I think we were that show that has been under the
radar for so long in as far as ratings-wise and weíve always been
blessed to be able to come back. We never really know where weíre
going. So I feel like in a weird way the drama kept us out there in
the [public eye].
Joel McHale: Yes.
Jim Rash: What was that?
Joel McHale: I said ďYes.Ē I agree with you, Jim.
Yes. Oh, thank you. That just sort of kept us out
there. It was like our drama behind the stage was keeping
Community on peopleís minds outside of fans, I guess.
Joel McHale: And I would say that, especially this
year with Dan [Harmon] back, the scripts have been so great that it
becomes... with all the things that have happened with the show,
when the materialís so good you forget about that stuff. Last year
was kind of the crazy year, but now that Dan is back itís like the
monarchy has been restored and things are as they should be. So in
that sense, the sense of relief that Iíve had this year has been
That being said, last season took a lot of hits. I actually thought
it was pretty good. Iím wondering in reflection did it really feel
like it was creatively missing something? Or do you think it took
some unfair knocks?
Well, I feel you canít not have Danís mind, the
creatorís mind, and not feel that thereís some kind of difference. I
think that as great as a task that was before them and as great as
these writers were that weíve had over all of our seasons, the
mathís fantastic. But Danís brain you canít replicate and his
vision. I think itís part of the whole staff to go into that vision
and help service it. But without him you donít really have your
guide through that. There were so many things that were already
created by the first three seasons: as far as the depth of the
characters, the world, how things work, how it operates, how it can
be both fantastical but at the same time character-grounded. Those
things are all there. But without somebody who has this approach to
make it so dense and deep with layers, itís difficult. Itís a
Herculean task that I certainly wouldnít want to take on. But I
think we did our best, you know?
Yes and like a show like Breaking Bad
or Arrested Development, you need where it comes from one
place. That would be Dan or Mitch Hurwitz [for Arrested
Development] or Vince Gilligan [for Breaking Bad]. There
was some really good stuff last year, but it did not have the
direction that the other seasons had.
You guys have got an absurd number of great guest stars for this new
season. Iím curious first of all which of the bunch were the most
fun to work with? But Iím also wondering if you ever felt that there
were so many that it distracted from the core ensemble of the show?
No, not at all. I would say it only
supported it. And I think the guest stars, because Danís writing is
so terrific, even though there are a lot of guest stars, he doesnít
fall into that trap at all - not even near the trap - of people
using guest stars to make up for storytelling. All these guest stars
only absolutely support and enhance it. Our guest stores are so
creative, like Vince Gilligan and Mitch Hurwitz and Chris Elliot and
Paul Williams. I mean, talk about a crazy group of people,
including Gina Gershon and the incredible, beautiful, lovely Brie
Larson. I think itís the most creative guest stars of the last... I
donít know, Iím going to go with the last 100 years of television.
100 years, Joel?
I donít care.
Thatís amazing. I would agree. I donít need to add
Do you have any particular favorites of the bunch to work with?
Well, Joel has the most interaction with the largest
bunch. What was yours?
Yes, I will say itís hard to choose a
favorite. I didnít get to work with Vince Gilligan, but they all
really... and Iím not trying to be diplomatic here... I will say
that Mitch Hurwitz made me - Mitch Hurwitz and Chris Elliot...
Leslie Schwartz (NBC Publicist):
...and excuse me, Walton Goggins, thank
you, Leslie, geeze Louise. I mean, boy, itís hard to [choose]. As
you can see, Iím stammering, because itís really hard. Itís like
picking amongst your children.
Itís the Sophieís Choice
of guest stars, guys.
So to answer your question: (mock
angrily) No! I canít pick one.
Oh my god, Joel. You got so angry.
So pissed. I'm very sorry and I hope you can still enjoy your
I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how they
decided to deal with Pierceís character this season. I thought the
episode was really funny, but just wanted to get you guysí take on
that decision, how they decided to write his character off?
Well, as far as why, with the departure of Chevy
from the show, I think that was a way to service both how he
affected the study group - the character of Pierce - and how they
would move forward from this moment. I think that itís always
difficult when a transition period happens. Obviously, five episodes
in with we deal with the transition of Troy [Donald Glover] leaving
the school. I think itís about passage of time. Itís the same thing
as deciding that all the fourth season had happened the way it
happened and then use the ramifications of the choices made there
into the fifth season. It was approaching it from the growth of the
characters and what it meant for them and the impact of a singular
guy on the rest of them. Same thing that will be dealt with the Troy
Yes, I think from season four there was
a lot of unanswered questions. Pierceís departure was kind of abrupt
and it needed to be addressed. It would have been easy for Dan to
say everything was a dream upon his return. But the way he handled
it was masterful. And it really answered all the questions that I
think fans will have and had after itís appeared. Youíve seen the
whole thing, yes?
Yes, well the first three of the season. Iíve seen that whole
Yes, I mean, the ending scene with
Walton Goggins is one of the best scenes weíve ever done, I think.
Itís so funny, right?
Walton is so funny and itís such an
incredibly great reveal of how he died. I mean, when I read that, I
mean, I stood up and screamed ďTouchdown!Ē It just dealt with it so
well. On top of that, you know, Dan called the first episode as a
re-piloting as he calls it. The second episode is a re-establishing
the ground-ness, I guess you could say, of the characters. So that
episode is a bottle episode except for the tag scene. We learned so
much about everybody through Pierceís death. It was just perfectly
run and perfectly executed. That episode - it just cooks, so Iím
really excited for people to watch it at 8:30, January 2nd on NBC.
Itís actually 8:00.
No, that oneís the second episode.
Oh yes, youíre right. I apologize.
(teasing) Come on, do your job.
I was just going to ask you guys, weíve talked a little bit about
all the behind-the-scenes stuff but just personally, how does it
feel to be in this season? Was there a point where you thought this
would not be possible and you would not be back on-set and doing
this show again?
I feel like at the end of each year we have that
little emotional ďWill we be back?Ē process through our mind. But I
think that this whole year felt like a gift. It felt like you were
being handed material that was I would argue some of the best of all
the seasons. I feel like the growth of this year for all the
characters and for Community in general is pretty paramount.
In the sense that we really went very far as far as hitting big epic
episodes, but also really paying homage to these characters that we
started with five years ago.
As Jim just said it always seems like
every season we donít know if weíre coming back. If we donít have
that feeling then I donít know what it would be like.
It would feel weird. It would feel almost anti-Community
if we were assured of anything.
Yes, imagine if we were on The Big
Bang Theory, where we like ďWe can do this until weíre 60 if we
Joel, over the last four years youíve seen Jeff really come to into
his own as being a much more dimensional person. Last year we saw
him leave Greendale and resolve issues with his father. With him
coming back as a teacher I was wondering what Dan really wanted to
accomplish in helping him to mature once more as a person. Also I
was wondering how his relationship with the rest of the cast is
affected with his new position of authority?
All very good questions. I would say
that this year, Jeff, now heís a professor, is once again somewhat
destabilized. His immaturities are exposed, a whole new set of them.
There were a number of things that got taken care of last year.
Theyíre not things that just get wrapped up. As in real life, people
are able to overcome some things, but itís not something like,
ďWell, that was done and now Iím fixed.Ē Itís more like you are
constantly finding new things to fix and hopefully make that person
healthier. But Jeff has had years of selfishness. A bunch of that
is exposed this year. And it was very fun to play. Thereís no doubt,
though, that he loves this study group. He has to really comes to
terms with how he feels about the school ultimately. I think Dan
just absolutely lays those things out well for Jeff to have to deal
with. As an actor was really fun to deal with.
Jim, the Dean seemed extremely excited to see Jeff once more. I was
wondering if you thought there were any plans for the two of them to
develop and grow together as characters? What Deanís growth might be
for this season or how he might progress further into character?
Well this year, much like the re-pilot theme, I
think one of the things that we get back to a little bit with season
five is that authority figure side of the Dean. Although heís
well-intentioned and makes huge mistakes, he does love the school.
(laughs) I think heís obviously giddy that Jeff is back, both
as an entity but also in the idea of helping save the school, which
is once again in jeopardy. And continues to be: I think itís in a
constant state of ďin jeopardy.Ē This year definitely leads up to
something big in the sense of the loss that the Dean would feel with
the school not being around or these people not being around him. He
has sort of folded into their family by force. Obviously the
fascination with Jeff continues and will continue, Iím sure.
Can you believe that?
Yes. Itís still there. Thatís actually, I think, a
request of Joel, I think that Dan was not sure about it. Then Joel
said ďI really want the Dean to still be obsessed with Jeff.Ē I was
like ďI don't care. I can go either way.Ē Joel just keeps pushing
I will punch you...
Thatís correct, right Joel?
I donít know where youíre getting this.
But itís weird to me...
Iím getting it from a place called ďReality.Ē Itís a
file I have right here.
Listen, itís weird to me that you
constantly were like, ďI think the Dean needs to win an Oscar this
year and he needs to show it to everyone.Ē
Jim Rash: (laughs) Hey, Iím just spitballing ideas,
Oh, now youíre.... Okay, sure. The Dean
makes an independent film that everybody sees.
That didnít go over well.
It did not go over well. (laughs again)
Anyway, I think itís getting back to being an authority figure, to
segue back to what I was saying.
Do you think the Dean is at his happiest when Jeff is around with
him to obsess over? Or do you think thereís something, somewhere
that he can progress in a life independent of Jeff Wingerís
Well, I think involvement with Jeff and the study
group is something that is where heís at his happiest. To just be
included. That just goes to speak to him as a person. He probably
has a need there that is not fulfilled yet. Of course these unlucky
few who decided on that study room table became the focus. In season
three I even established that I told them about the fire before I
told anybody else. By default, I am forcing my way into their
family. So I think he is happiest when he is included, whether by
his own doing or they actually let him in.
Jim, being that you are an Oscar winner, youíve written one episode
Community] before. But do you feel the urge to write more for the
No. I mean, I had such a great time being allowed to
write last year and was proud to be a part of at least the
Community history. But, to be honest Iím already envious of the
stuff we sat down to read this year. I feel like Danís brain, Chris
McKennaís brain and the brains that they have hired - Iím always in
awe of that. I would probably do some bad imitation of it if I even
attempted. So I enjoy the road they take us on. In other words, they
donít need my bald head.
Do you guys always stick to the script?
For the most part, yes. I would say 99 point
something percent of the time weíre just doing Danís and Chrisí and
the writersí words. Wouldnít you say, Joel?
Yes. Thereís this weird thing where
people, like, ďDo you guys just kind of make it up as you go along?Ē
Iím not sure why. I guess thereís a lot of that. But no, I mean,
[it] is not an improvised comedy, and all the stuff that Dan is
saying in every episode, theyíre very deliberate parts of the
train-track that is being laid down to get to the end of this
season. I know this is going to sound really grandiose but itís as
specific as Shakespeare was with his words. Thereís really nothing
thatís left. Thereís no excess. So, no, thereís not much improvising
going on. But as you can see from the performances, they look like
theyíre improvised because the actors are so damn good.
Can you guys talk a little bit about the costumes or lack of
costumes or unusual accessories in one of the first new episodes
that weíll see?
Have you seen any of the episodes yet?
Go ahead, Jim.
You go, Joel.
Joel McHale: Well as you know I dress in a different
outfit for... oh boy. All I can really say generally is that the
show has such a big world and can go so many different places.
Thereís one episode in particular, the one that Mitch Hurwitz is in,
that goes the furthest. I donít know how much I can say, just saying
that when you tune in you will not really believe that this is a
half-hour comedy. So thatís kind of in general.
Yes, I mean, I think the wonderful thing about
Community is that with each genre-shifting moment, we live in a
world where these costumes appear upon our cast. This other world is
developed within minutes. I mean, it goes back to paintball: in what
was maybe a two-hour period, anarchy had hit. This year I think we
go into all types of interesting worlds. For me, I just get down to
ugly white undies and I wear the same pair of shoes as the Dean
every day. I mean, I have one pair of shoes. They maybe cost a
dollar to make. Joel, Iím sure, is super-envious.
My clothes are all highly flammable. So Iím the most
unsafe person on the set. I mean, I literally am a walking disaster
of a bomb just ready to ignite. Itís a little less ďcostumes for the
DeanĒ this year. There are a couple little ones here - peppered here
and there. I think that for Dan, part of the re-pilot was to make
sure that none of us were just a one-sentence character, which we
never were in the very beginning or throughout the series. But, itís
nice to remind ourselves that weíre all one thing. We did a lot of
costumes last year. So I think that while I have a couple little
things here and there, itís nice. I get to wear those dollar shoes.
You have so many cool guest stars. We talked about that. Iím
wondering, can you give me like three names of people that you are
pretty sure you couldnít ever get on the show?
Couldnít? I think weíll never get Gene Hackman.
He wonít come out of retirement for us. Who else
wonít we get?
Basil Rathbone. Probably because heís
Weíll never get Nathan Fillion, Iíll
tell you that. Weíll never get a live killer whale, I know that.
No, letís hope not.
With the departure of Chevy and the reduced role of Donald Glover,
has the chemistry changed between the cast? If so, has Dan Harmonís
return as showrunner offset that burden?
Jim Rash: I would say both those absences and Troyís
departure have not so much changed, but - I mean, itís the same sort
of word, but evolved - the study groupís connections. Particularly -
you get to figure out what Abed is without Troy. I think they do a
very good job of watching this guy transition into the next chapter
of his life without his best friend. The same thing with Pierceís
absence and having other characters complete the study room table.
As the study room table becomes a whole other entity, I think it
really speaks to the idea of the evolution of a series. The rules
keep getting changed on us, which is very much like reality. And
people adjust. So I feel like, if anything, it always opens up new
doors when something happens like the death of someone or the
departure of someone. It only helps to explore what happens when
that happens to Jeffís character and Britta and all these
characters? I feel like thatís always a wealth of great change for a
Yes, and Dan doesnít shy away from those
things and he never has.
Just like when Britta and Jeff through
the first season it was like ďWill they? Wonít they?Ē And Dan goes
ďOh they will, and they have been for a year.Ē Itís the same way
with Pierceís departure. People die in real life. And people have to
deal with it.
Wait, what? Wait! What???
Okay, Jim, they donít just go to a happy
place where their body is put into a closet for a while and then
they come back later.
You are lying. We all become cartoons.
Okay, Iím just making this up then. No,
but Dan will just go headlong into those things. Iíll talk about
Jonathan Banks here for a minute. Jonathan Banksí presence in this
show is just absolutely, out-of-this-world tremendous. Not only is
he such an incredible actor, he is really funny. Itís just a whole
different wonderful vibe. Youíll see how - and youíve already seen
in these first few episodes - how his character just sings through
this thing. I didnít mention him with the guest stars earlier,
because I count him as a series regular [rather] than a guest star.
Then with Troyís departure, as Jim just said, you thought that Danny
Pudi was awesome before. He is incredible with being this character
that is socially different than everybody but is dealing with these
big, heavy emotions. Boy, does he do it. I mean, heís just
As weíve talked about, the show has had its ups and downs. The
hardcore fans have stuck by the show. Now youíre talking about how
the season premiere is a ďre-piloting.Ē How would you encourage
someone new to the show to give it a chance?
The episodes speak for themselves. You
donít have to watch from the beginning to enjoy the show. You might
be a little lost on some of the inside jokes that are made, but not
that lost. These are some of the best episodes we have ever done and
I think they stand alone. That said, I think itís also the job of
NBC to keep pumping us out there/ Put us out there, that this is a
highly enjoyable show. Just getting the word out about the show is
Yes, and I think that granted you can say ďOh, the
idea of a re-pilot is weíve got to get new people. We need to expand
our audience,Ē and all the things that you would love for your
series with little or no effort. Regardless of calling it a
re-pilot, itís not just to add people. Itís also to raise the stakes
for our characters. Jeffís already going to a new place with this.
Where he starts is lower. [He] has hit rock-bottom and this is a
whole new world for him. Also just what goes through his mind in the
pilot episode alone: about his allegiance to the school or not to
the school for his own selfish reasons, his attachment to these
people, to them wanting to come back, for what reasons. I mean, I
think it is more than just for new people. Itís really for the fans
to see the evolution of these people if the stakes are raised in
You guys have already completed filming for this season, is that
Do you guys then move on to different projects or do you become a
fan? How do you approach it? Are you guys
Community fans now, like the rest of us? Or is it
just another job thatís in the books?
was another job you would be devoid of joy or emotions. No, because
itís only 13 weeks, we started in August and we ended in early
December. Jim goes off and makes movies and writes movies and wins
Oscars. I do The Soup and I try to be in movies as much as I
can. Then you really can only hope for it to come back, because I
love doing this show. I know that when Community is over, it
will be a near-impossible task to duplicate the quality of the show.
To go into another show with this sort of quality. I would say as a
fan of the show, I look forward to every year coming back and seeing
whatís next for us to do as characters.
Yes, and itís nice when youíre experiencing all of
these episodes with the fans at the same time, because we havenít
seen anything completed. Weíre going to be seeing it the same way
everyone else sees it. We donít also have that ability to hear what
the fans are saying as youíre shooting. In other words weíre just
going to put it out there and experience it all together. So I think
in that way weíre already huge fans. And I know Joel likes to watch
himself, so, I mean, I think, like for him...
...heíll just sit there in front of the TV and then,
like, text me and say, like ďHow great was I in that?Ē
Thatís pretty much him: not just a fan of the show
but of himself.
Iím not going to be shooting movies, Iím going to be
Jim likes watching himself but that
Oscar gets in the way so much because he puts it right...
No, you know what? In your face: Iím just going to
be doing bake sales while weíre off, just tons of bake sales.
Yes, in the shape of Oscars.
All right, and next question?
Whatís it like having an Oscar? Go
ahead, shoot, Jim.
Jim, I actually met with you in New York this summer when
The Way, Way Back was coming out.
And like Joel said heís also doing some other movies with Robin
Williams and Eric Bana coming up. Between the show and your film
work and also TV hosting and everything, how do you juggle all that
stuff? And do you ever get to sleep?
Well Iíll let you go, Joel, because I donít think
you do sleep.
I donít. Especially last, because my dog
two days ago got neutered. So heís been whimpering a lot and thatís
been this great... no. Well, itís always different every week. I
donít necessarily have the balance down right. My major goal is to
see my wife and children as much as possible. Then, Jim always wants
to get on the phone and talk about his Oscar, which takes up about
two or three hours.
Yes, or Joel just wants to get on the phone and talk
Think of it. Think of it!
No, Iím not saying that. (laughs, then yells in
mock frustration) Leslie, mind your business.
No, so I count myself as incredibly
blessed, because I get to work. I remember a lot of time before I
got The Soup or Community where I spent most of my
time not working and trying to get it. So to have it is a huge
blessing. If I ever get the balance Iíll be very happy. But I
havenít yet. But believe me, working on Community I skip to
the set each day. And itís - for as long as they have us on...
He literally. Heís being honest. He literally skips
Itís one of the more sad visuals Iíve ever seen.
Jim canít skip, because heís got his
Oscar in his back pocket.
You know what? Thatís not even funny, because Iíve had some weird
surgery that gives me the inability to skip. Thatís... oh, how
So tell me right now without pause what
your weird surgery is.
The weird surgery was I wasnít sure if you need
ankles and I got them removed. That was wrong: you do need ankles.
They put them back and now I canít skip. In your face.
You sound like an idiot. In your face.
What an idiot. An Oscar winner guy who
doesnít think you need to have ankles. In your face.
That was my journey. That was my journey.
Over the years the series has had some classic sort of Ďthemeí
episodes: the paintball episode, the video game episode, the
Law and Order episode. Can we look forward to any of those this
Iím sorry, did you say Dean episode or just theme
Theme. Theme episode.
Theme, you said theme. Oh, I made it about myself
for two seconds. I apologize.
Thatís quite all right.
Theme episode. Well, you definitely get some this
year. As far as the fantastical side and the school being overtaken
with a genre, so to speak, without losing its characters. That you
get, for sure. We definitely do. If we can talk about these things,
I donít know. But, we hit upon some David Fincher worlds and we do
all types of stuff.
Thereís another D&D episode, I donít
know if I can say that. Leslie, you can tell me. Youíre the one.
Yes, weíve already put it out there that
There is an homage to Loganís Run,
if I can say that, but Iím saying it. I donít know whatís going
to happen if I do. Then we do a shot-by-shot redo of the movie -
what is it, that Blue is the Grayest Color or whatever it is?
Very, very sexual.
Yes. Itís like our own 50 Shades. Itís just a
lot of nudity.
A lot of pixilation.
We also are doing a live Sound of
Oh, I wish.
One of the things I was realizing when I started watching episodes
is: does Jeff have a similar trajectory to Chang from the first
season? Or is that asking too much?
Jim Rash: From which season?
From the first season. Like watching Chang downfall in being that
teacher that we respect to being that guy that no-one wants to pay
You respected Chang as a teacher in the
Maybe a little bit. Iíll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Then youíre an insane person.
He was out of his mind as a
You really like abuse.
I actually am a teacher, so kind of.
Wait, you like abusing your children?
Weíve exposed a crime, Jim.
What do you think? I think, Joel, you have more of
an upward climb, wouldnít you say?
Yes, I would say no. Chang is referenced
a couple times. Heís like ďMaybe Iím just insane and out of mind.Ē
Still, I would say that itís a completely different path. Jeff has
all sorts of insecurities and deficiencies from building up walls
around him from trying to act cool and be cool and always
overconfident. Iíd say heís on a completely different path, I would
Iíve been a fan and Iíve attended a couple of
Community cons. How excited
are you guys for the fans to see 503 with the homage to a certain
other actor? Without giving away who it is.
Well, Iím very excited. Have you seen it
Yes, itís the last one that they sent out with the screeners.
Yes. You know how funny it is and I
donít want to ruin it for the people who havenít seen it, so... It
was one of those things where every time I read these scripts that
are our table reads Iím like ďHoly crap, he did it again.Ē Dan just
knows. He just knows, man. Thatís why Dan is Dan. Heís got this
whole world in his brain. I think itís just so funny, because if you
look at some of the things that are said about this actor and what
it is, a lot of them are very true and are actual analysis, which is
Youíve released some really cool holidays in the past. I know youíre
debuting in the mid-season this year. Can we expect to see any
Yes, thereís an Arbor Day...
Weíre hitting all the big ones: Easter...
Yes, National Secretaryís Day. Bring
Your Kid to Work Day...
May Day play day.
Then we celebrate all the Slovenian
Which I was surprised how fun they were.
Fun and I didnít realize that you could
have two holidays a day. In that country they have over 380.
I know. Like letís move there. In seriousness, no.
We tried to stay on our calendar this year. Isnít that right, Joel?
Yes. And, you know, last year there was
a ton of holidays and so youíll see as Dan said, itís a re-piloting
of the show and a re-establishing of the characters. Community
lives because the characters are I believe incredibly grounded. That
means that when that happens that the world can go crazy or just go
way out there, and you will see that in spades this year.
Is there an episode that you guys that are particularly excited for
the fans to see this season?
Thatís tough, because there are probably many. I
personally think only because I wasnít associated the first D&D
round, very excited that I got to be part of the D&D redux. D&D two,
I guess. I feel like that was where Dan and them want to always go
further than we went the first time. I think they do. What about
Again, as you just said, Jim, itís hard
for me to pick out. I am truly excited about all of it. The thing
that I am excited for peopleís reaction to is in the Loganís Run
homage there is one scene in particular that involves choreography
that is definitely the most insane piece of television Iíve ever
been a part of. Iím so excited. I donít know what people are going
to even think. Iím just excited to see what peopleís reactions are
to it, because itís so wonderfully out there.
Theyíve asked a lot of really great questions and stuff about
character development and Iím really interested in all that. But I
really want to ask you what the people really want to know.
Is Joel going to be in his underwear this season?
Joel, Iíll let you take that one because I donít
know if I could keep my lunch down.
Oh. Well, yes. Because, you know, the
Dean wouldnít be into that. And so...
Iím not talking. Iím talking as myself. Go ahead.
...this is the first time in network
television history that I spend an entire episode full-frontal.
You believe me?
Okay good, you donít believe me. Thatís
one of the reasons that I have to go to the gym so often, out of
paranoia that I wonít appear well on screen. So yes, I am pretty
exposed, yes. I would say thereís a lot of exposure.
Well, I mean the good thing about it is that when he
does have to take his shirt off or go to his underwear and his body
wasnít where it needs to be...
...we have the technology to sort of make it better.
You know what Iím saying? Itís like in post Dan will go ďLetís just
fix this, because itís not right.Ē You know, just one of those
You know, Joel does his best but sometimes clothes
come off and it was not what you were hoping for. And we can fix it
in post. That's a good thing. Next question?
Whatís weird to me is that when Jim has
been asked to be not well-clothed, when he takes his shirt off he
has his Oscar duct-taped to his side, which is weird, because duct
tape reacts to your skin pretty harshly. And...
Well I would imagine they would have to do some spanx kind of thing,
like to smooth that out? I donít know. That sounds really bumpy.
Oh it takes way more technology than
that. And thereís other bumps that he has that need actual
Well, thatís why the Deanís clothes are so large and
baggy on me. Itís just to sort of hide imperfections.
One of my favorite parts of every episode is when the Dean comes out
and his over-the-top whatever that heís wearing that week. Have you
had a favorite Dean outfit that you just really love?
Over all the seasons?
Yes, just any time.
Well, theyíve all been fantastic. We have an amazing
wardrobe department that has had to on the fly to create so many
wonderful things and then the writers put them into the scripts. I
always go back to the pretty much every entrance at the our very
first flashback episode, when we were commenting on all the costumes
I come in on. I mean, that whole little line-up of five were great,
from Tina Turner to my Carmen Miranda. All of those. I think Joelís
the one who probably admires them the most.
Yes. I mean, I become so bored...
No, tell them what you said. You just said it
yesterday to me.
Well I say ďThank God for those
outfits,Ē because, Jim, sometimes I can hardly understand a word
heís saying, because Iím honest.
That sounds different than I heard it yesterday. Yesterday it was,
like ďJim, youíre like a wonderfully-wrapped present in costumes. I
canít wait to open them, because the outside is as good as the
inside.Ē Next question.
Literally I was on a plane all day
yesterday. So once again, Jim usually takes his home line and just
puts it against a stuffed animal and then he calls that. Itís weird.
Well I had a great conversation with you. And
yesterday you were a little seal.
You see? Thatís what Iím talking about.
So now itís pretty clear, huh?
All right, end that.
It was a pleasure to talk to you and
allow Jim and I to insult each other.
Joel, I was wondering what was more fun to play, the student or the
Boy, itís neither and both at the same
time, because they both are really fun to play. I got to do really
fun things as a teacher, but as a student I got to do... if you had
said to me that youíre going to be in a zombie apocalypse and get to
play kind of a Bruce Willis action star while youíre on half-hour
sitcom I would say that youíre probably high. But with the teacher,
as weíve been saying this season we re-establish ourselves as
characters. Then things go nuts. It was fun every day, so I cannot
make a distinction.
Did the cast have anything to do with Danís return? Did you guys
send him baked goods, camp out at his house? How did you get him to
Pretty much all of that, right?
I mean, the bake sale went really well.
Yes, it was a very good bake sale. I
make a macaroon that will slay you.
Oh man, youíll die when you eat these.
No. I mean, there was nothing I
particularly laid out. I should have gotten him a beard trimmer.
Certainly Joel probably was paramount in starting
these conversations towards the end of last season I would say.
Imagining a world where everyone, the whole team [returned] - and
that meant some crew people as well that had moved to another show
for season four and are now back with us. It really was not just a
re-pilot but we were putting the family back together. I think Joel
needs to take some of that credit for...
Well, Jim, you were in those lunches,
Jim Rash: Well, fine. But I feel like you were the one who...
Joel McHale: (yells)
Okay. (laughs) Yeah. So that, coupled with
those wonderful baked goods, at least got the conversation going.
Jim and I - much like when youíre
mountain hiking you need to keep your carb intake high, because
youíre burning calories so much.
Yes, which is good until unfortunately, Joel has to
take his shirt off and we have to go into post to fix all those
Right, or when Jimís Oscar falls 400
feet down a cliff and we spend two days getting it. Like Iím going
to pick that thing up. Thank God you didnít drop the Independent
Spirit award. (They both laugh.)
Well I think we nailed it.
We nailed that question.
Thanks for talking to me. And I just have one request, that you guys
should end this interview by singing us ďA Kiss From a Rose.Ē Just
Oh I could. If you pay us. If you pay my
episodic rate, I will.
Boom. I donít even know if I could even get to it.
Iíll be kissed by a rose...
Jim Rash: (sing harmony) Kissed by a rose... (stops
singing) No, itís going to sound terrible. I already know it.
Yes, itís already awful. Reporters are
just jumping off the line. Theyíre like throwing their phones out
Theyíre literally saying ďI did not sign up for
They did it. I did not sign - click.
They donít even finish the sentence.
They didnít even finish their own sentence, they
wanted off so fast.
I bet thereís not even any reporters
(phone rings in the background)
Oh, someoneís calling in, though.
An alien is calling. An alien is calling
I was talking to Gillian [pronounces it Jillian] probably right
around Thanksgiving time...
Gillian, with Ďguh.í
Gillian, thatís what I meant. It was a hard Ďgí or a soft Ďg?í I
always confuse the two sounds.
[ed. note: hard G]
I get it.
Anyway, I was talking to Gillian about what she would say to
skeptical or perhaps disillusioned fans and ways to maybe lure them
back to this season if theyíre still reeling from the abrupt
departure of Dan Harmon. She said that she believes itís convincing
enough an argument that Danís back and that you have some of your
best episodes this season. She suggested that perhaps to convince
people further, you could go to peopleís homes and sing Christmas
carols. Iím not suggesting anything necessarily that extreme, but I
guess Iím asking how would you guys pitch it to perhaps skeptical
fans beyond the obvious points of Dan Harmonís return?
Oh boy. Well, beyond Dan Harmonís return
- what else do you need? More so, we just need to be promoted well.
[That] would I think help us greatly to bring people in. To remind
people that the show is back on January 2nd and doing things like
this. But I think just getting out that general awareness is a key.
But B, throughout the year last year we have, I think, the best fans
in the world. I sadly wasnít able to be at Comic Con, but if Comic
Con was any evidence - I saw some of the video - there looked to be
no problem that people were back and onboard to watch it, evidenced
by them having to turn away 4000 people or something.
Yes, I agree with that. And...
That said, I will go to peopleís homes
while Gillian is singing and I will give them a foot massage.
Yes. And I will go and apologize for the two things
theyíre doing and then do their chores.
Yeah, right. Those chores will be, like
ďHave you ever seen an Oscar before? Oh, hereís one.Ē
Well, you know, as long as you donít take your shirt off and show
them the truth. Next.
Well, look. I can just take the shirt
off, but you have to take the shirt and the girdle off, so.
And my face.
Well, I feel like a lot of the big questions have been asked. So if
itís okay Iím just going to ask about an obscure detail and be kind
of that geek.
At the end of the last season we had this kind of a subliminal
message on the chalkboard, with ďSix Seasons and a MovieĒ slogan in
there. Can I just ask who wrote that and do you think you should try
more subliminal messaging to bring more people on board watching the
Yes, weíre going to use subliminal
messages to command our sleeper cell to awaken all the fans.
I donít know who wrote that?
I think Don [Diers], right?
Yes, I think it was Don, one of our set
dressers. Heís a man in his mid to late-40s who it seems at one
point was pretty athletic.
What are you talking about? Don always writes
something of interest up there. I think that was just his big ďHere
we are, letís make this happen.Ē At this point weíve put that on our
vision boards, ďSix seasons and a movie.Ē And at this point I feel
like we might be proving how completely valid the idea of The
Secret is, that if you put it out there it works. (Joel
Didnít it first come up when Abed was
obsessed with The Cape?
Well, yes. That show would go for six seasons and a
And then we adopted it for Community...
Well, ďSix seasons and a movieĒ is an
original term from Community that Dan wrote, whereas my character
kept saying ďItís going to be off the air in three weeks.Ē
Oh, thatís right.
That was the origin. But you will not be
disappointed as far as seeing tons of cool stuff that will be in the
background, stuff thatís happening. Thatís why when you read Danís
scripts theyíre so wonderfully layered with stuff like that. And
thatís why these worlds are created and theyíre really wonderfully
complete worlds, even though weíre only telling a story in 21 and a
half minutes now.
I know the fans love things like that.
Can't wait for the show to be back.
Oh, believe me, I am looking forward to
January 2nd more than I was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
Yes. Weíre very excited for this year, thatís for
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