[03/03/12 - 11:53 PM]
Live at the Paley Festival: NBC's "Community"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

7:03 PM - Night two of The 29th Annual Paley Festival sees a packed house welcome "Community" creator Dan Harmon, who's flattered the show has been part of the festival for a record third consecutive year. He's brought two treats with him - a teaser for the upcoming "Community" animated webisodes (which you can watch here) and as well as "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts," the episode set to air on March 15.

7:28 PM - Tonight's moderator, the always great Alan Sepinwall, takes the stage to welcome tonight's panelists: Russ Krasnoff! Ken Jeong! Danny Pudi! Garrett Donovan! Yvette Nicole Brown! Dan Harmon! Alison Brie! Neil Goldman! Jim Rash! Joel McHale! Gillian Jacobs! (Chevy Chase and Donald Glover are unfortunately MIA.) There's lots of amusing fake stripping during the introductions. Yup, only at Paleyfest.

7:33 PM - Yvette gives a heartfelt thanks to the fans for their support during the show's hiatus. Dan notes the hardest part has been not having that "feedback loop" with the audience on a weekly basis. "We've had a two and a half year love affair with [our fans and now] we're operating in a vacuum." He adds that he doesn't think the show got better or worse as a result, just different. "Dan was in the writers' room more," Garrett adds, since episodes didn't have to be edited as quickly to make broadcast dates.

7:38 PM - "The second season sort of culminated in Jeff sort of saying 'I love you' to this group on Valentine's Day," Dan says about the journey of Joel's character. "And then he starts to pay a price for that... Jeff Winger starts to become more embarrassed by situations. He starts paying the price for being in a relationship that's forever with [this] group of people."

7:41 PM - Alan asks about why in "Remedial Chaos Theory" when Jeff leaves the room, everybody seems to be having a better time. "That's just like on set," Jim quips. Gillian adds that they love "The Soup" since it keeps him away. Dan says that ultimately Jeff being the leader is a necessary evil, much like the President. "Every four years we go, 'We need this guy... so we can blame all of our problems on him. To make fun of him and draw him with big ears.'" This leads an enraged Dan to overturn his table, only to realize it's a cube and looks the same.

7:45 PM - Could there be another leader of the group, say Chang perhaps? "[He'd bring] absolutely nothing," Ken quips. "Nothing but his lunacy and paranoid schizophrenia." Joel notes that Ken pushes the insanity up with each take, not to mention tries to make whoever's on camera break by staring at them with his tongue out.

7:48 PM - Gillian reveals she sent a heartfelt e-mail to everyone on Thanksgiving saying regardless of what happens with the show, she's so thankful for her time on it and the people she gets to work with. Ken says it brought him to tears. Joel quips it would have too... if he read it.

7:49 PM - Jim gets a standing ovation after Alan brings up his Oscar win for "The Descendants." Shortly thereafter the award itself arrives via stagehand and remains perched in front of Jim for the rest of the panel. "He wrote all of dialogue for George Clooney's wife so don't be too impressed," Joel quips. Dan adds that he's never seen a director [Alexander Payne, who shared it with co-writers Nat Faxon and Rash] win a writing award before.

7:53 PM - Dan says "it's good business" to bring the show back for a fourth season since they'll have enough episodes for syndication. Russ adds that "the people at NBC love the show, we're feeling pretty confident."

7:58 PM - Will Troy and Abed find that special lady? "Just one," Danny jokes. Dan adds that she would either drive them apart or is going to have to be "really accepting of a very special relationship." After Alan notes that it derails any potential Troy/Britta pairing, Gillian says "are any of us good relationship material?" Ken notes that Chang is content with his charred mannequin leg.

8:01 PM - Nicole on the advice she gave Malcolm Jamal Warner for his proposal scene: "I said, 'No pressure but I need you to do the most romantic thing that's ever happened to me.'" This is followed by Alison describing her love affair with Nicole's breasts. "I should come to the set more often," Dan adds.

8:04 PM - What characters would the actors like to see their characters work more with? Nicole says Donald. Ken says Alison.

8:07 PM - Gillian says the best part of having "Britta-ing" be a verb was after the news about their hiatus broke, seeing the headline: NBC is Britta-ing "Community."

8:09 PM - Dan says don't expect the show to ultimately end on some kind of "Newhart" or "St. Elsewhere"-esque reality break, like the final scene ending with "cut" and Abed walking off a soundstage.

8:13 PM - As appreciation for everyone making the drive to come tonight, Dan offers up a few teases for the rest of the season: there's a "Law & Order"-themed episode written by Megan Ganz and directed by Rob Schrab; an episode focusing on Abed and Annie spent entirely in the Dreamatorium; and one in which the cast spends the entire half hour playing a video game.

8:17 PM - Audience Q&A time. A little girl asks how old Abed actually is. Dan jokes he's 39. Or more likely one or two years older than Troy and Annie but he's not discounting the possibility of him being 39.

8:20 PM - Upcoming guest stars, both returning and new, include Giancarlo Esposito, John Hodgman, Michael Ironside, Rob Corddry and John Hodgman.

8:25 PM - What would a "Community" movie be like? Dan says he actually has an idea: end season five on some sitcom trope like "let's all go to Vegas for vacation" and then start the following year with "boy we can never talk about what happened in Vegas." The movie then would be what actually happened.

8:32 PM - Someone asks Gillian to perform Britta's hungry dance and she obliges, much to everyone's amusement.

8:37 PM - A starstruck fan asks for a hug from Danny. Without missing a beat he rushes out into the crowd and gives her one. A great note to end on!

8:41 PM - That's a wrap! Jim will be back for tomorrow afternoon's "Once Upon a Time" panel so stay tuned!

And for more PaleyFest coverage - past and present - visit our Paley Center topic page.

  [march 2012]  


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