PaleyFest 2011: The 'Community' Cast Talk Paintball Redux, Shirley's Baby Daddy and a Very Special Clip Show
by Laura Prudom, posted Mar 16th 2011 11:45AM
The sold-out audience at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills was "Pop-Pop!"-ing last night, as the cast and crew of NBC's 'Community' took to the stage to regale us with anecdotes, spoilers and insanity on the 11th night of PaleyFest 2011.
TV Squad was on hand for the press line and panel, where a surprising number of spoilers hints were dropped in regards to the last few episodes of the season, which will see the mystery surrounding Shirley's baby solved, and homage paid to a number of high-concept movie genres ... All in a day's work for the gang at Greendale! Join us after the jump for more. Spoilers ahead.
Though Alison Brie (Annie) and Donald Glover (Troy) were sadly absent due to filming commitments, the rest of the hilarious cast was on hand to tell us about the last few episodes of the season. We caught up with Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley), Ken Jeong (Chang), Joel McHale (Jeff), Jim Rash (Dean Pelton), Gillian Jacobs (Britta) and Danny Pudi (Abed) to uncover a secret or two ...
Series creator Dan Harmon may be vehemently opposed to spoilers, (his original response to the moderator's query about what we can expect from the rest of the season was that "we'll tell some stories and learn some things" -- very enlightening!) but the creative team did reveal a few juicy tidbits about the remaining seven episodes during the panel. We've got the highlights below.
Who's the Daddy?
As Brown and Jeong hinted on the press line, we can expect to see some momentum in the Shirley/Chang paternity issue as the season comes to a close. In this week's episode, Annie throws a baby shower for our expectant mother, while Chang will go to great lengths to try and prove to Shirley that he can be a responsible father figure. Unfortunately, as Brown pointed out, "Chang is crazy," and his attempts to win Shirley over will likely have the opposite effect.
On the panel, Harmon promised that we will indeed see Shirley "drop the papoose" before the end of the season. "You knew it wasn't going to happen over the summer," he quipped. In fact, TV Squad discovered the exact date we'll get to meet Shirley's bundle of joy during this interview.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Most sitcoms fall back on the classic TV trope of a recycled clip episode once in a while, just to give themselves a narrative break -- but in true 'Community' fashion, the creative team couldn't resist giving the concept a typically Greendale twist in episode 20. "Instead of a regular clip show," Harmon teased, "we decided to try and kill ourselves with a fake clip show. There'll be 75 new scenes in 22 minutes, and we shot a bunch of sh*t you've never seen before from episodes that don't exist."
On the panel, the producers also hinted that we'll see spoofs of 'Small Wonder' and 'Bridge On the River Kwai' this season, and though it wasn't confirmed that those parodies would appear in the "memory" episode, we think it sounds like a comfortable fit. Brown also advised viewers to keep an eye on the background characters and the artwork on the walls during the episode, since it's full of fun Easter eggs and creative nods that fans will enjoy.
Like a 'Boss'
When we talked to Danny Pudi on the press line, he mentioned that Abed's propensity for side adventures without the group would continue, and we'll delve into that in greater depth for episode 219, 'Competitive Wine Tasting'. In it, Pudi shared, Abed will engage in a critical analysis of 'Who's The Boss' when guest star Stephen Tobolowsky appears as the professor of an elective class dedicated to studying the show. Executive producer Garrett Donovan agreed that Abed "will, in fact, discover who is the boss," over the course of the episode.
The Paintball Strikes Back
Season 1 boasted one of the most elaborate, ambitious concepts in sitcom history when the Greendale student body engaged in some 'Modern Warfare' -- and since the 'Community' team isn't one to rest on its laurels, we'll be revisiting the paintball theme for the two-part season 2 finale on May 12. For those expecting another homage to the action genre, though, think again -- this show isn't interested in retreading old ground.
"In my head, it's not a sequel; it's a bookend, it's a companion piece, it has nothing to do with the first one," Ken Jeong told us on the press line. "They're not settling for the same gimmicks, and it's better and it's funnier and it's more fulfilling." Instead of bloodstained vests and slow-mo stunts, the finale will be in the vein of Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns -- and, as the ladies of 'Community' told us before the panel, dreamy 'Lost' alum Josh Holloway will make a special appearance. For fans of scene-stealing Magnitude, last seen in 'Intro to Political Science,' the producers teased that we'll see the character's funniest moment yet in the finale. POP-POP!
It's Not Easy Being Dean
Jim Rash's Dean Pelton brings constant hilarity to the series, whether he's dressing up in his "sister's" inappropriate costumes (Rash warned us that there will be plenty of "midriff" on display in an upcoming episode) or fawning over Jeff Winger, but will we ever see an episode from the Dean's perspective?
"In my mind, I've already been on many adventures in my time desk," Rash quipped during the Q&A, leading Harmon to admit that he's actually considered doing an episode focused on the Dean on a number of occasions. He explained that he's imagined setting up an episode with the study group deciding to do something elaborate, like Troy planning to grow a mustache, before the Dean comes in to make an announcement, as usual, except that the camera then turns to follow him out into the corridor for his own grand adventure. And, of course, by the time the Dean returns to talk to the gang at the episode's end, Troy will have grown a mustache and we'll have missed out on all of the group's adventures. As long as we get to see the creepy, black-lit apartment that Rash teased during our interview, we think it's an excellent idea!
Though NBC has yet to officially announce a third season pickup for the series, Harmon was "optimistic" that we haven't seen the last of the Greendale gang. He did admit that due to his paranoid nature, he's made certain to include every possible idea that he's wanted to do this year in case of a cancellation, "so if we get a third season, it's gonna be boring."
Somehow, we doubt that.
Catch a new episode of 'Community' this Thursday at 8PM ET on NBC. Which episode are you most anticipating as the season begins to wrap up? Who do you think the father of Shirley's baby is? Share your thoughts below!
More PaleyFest coverage:
PaleyFest 2011: 'The Walking Dead' Cast Talk Love Triangles, Action Figures and Season 2
PaleyFest 2011: The 'True Blood' Cast Talk Demon Babies, Witches and Season 4
PaleyFest 2011: The 'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talk Romance, Charlie Sheen and the Return of Tammy
PaleyFest 2011: The 'Supernatural' Cast Talk the Mother of All, Heaven vs. Heaven and a Potential Season 7
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