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October 7, 2015

'Community' Season 3 Preview: New Teachers, Romance & Something Called Torg

by Maggie Furlong, posted Sep 22nd 2011 12:00PM
'Community' Season 3 starts off with a hallucination, some epic TV references and a quick and fun musical number (Thurs., Sept. 22, 8PM ET on NBC) -- and that's just in the first episode.

I visited the set to find out more about the season premiere, titled 'Biology 101,' and what else is coming up for our favorite Greendale Human Beings.

'Community' cast
We know Annie gets a new nemesis in "Asian Annie," Chang is now a security guard and Troy and Abed are roommates (with Annie moving in with them soon, too), but what's changed for the rest of the study group?

Pierce is back in the group, but I won't say how; Jeff is butting heads with the rule-following, tough-talking new teacher (Michael K. Williams); Britta is making some surprising life decisions; and Shirley is back to being the group's den mother, since we won't really hear much about her real mothering responsibilities.

There's been talk that there won't be as many big themed episodes this season, but when I caught up with the cast, they all said that while there may not be any zombies or paintball games or space buses, they're pushing the limits of what big episodes can be.

Keep reading for more scoop on the new season from stars Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown and Chevy Chase, including very cryptic talk about someone or something called Torg. Yes, Torg. (I don't know either.)

Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne, 'Community'So Pierce gets right back into the fold this season, huh?
Pudi: "Yeah, we're kind of getting right back to it. It's resolved very quickly."

Glover: "Yeah, it's not f***ing 'Desperate Housewives.' it's not like, 'Oh we'll draw this out for an episode or two.' [Laughs] We address it and move on, like real life."

Chase: "Oh yeah ... first show Pierce got right back in. I can't remember how though. I try to forget each show after I do it."

What's Annie up to this season?
Brie: "Annie is always trying to grow as a person. She just has a lot of trouble. I think she's much more mature now than when we first met her two years ago, but she still just struggles with things -- kind of letting go, relaxing, not being a control freak and not being competitive. She's got that new nemesis this season, Asian Annie. That was a really fun episode to shoot, because as much as Annie tries to just be a normal person, the crazy like leaks out. In that episode, it just comes spilling everywhere. I love Annie most when she's at her craziest."

Shirley & Andre, 'Community'How's Shirley now that she's got Andre back and her three sons at home?
Brown: "Shirley has been loving on her man and taking are of those three children. But she's back, and there's not been much mention of her kids or her hubby [laughs], which is funny. I remember when people found out she was having another kid, they were like, 'Oh god, is she gonna be walking around with a Baby Bjorn? Is she gonna be all about the baby?' And I'm like Shirley had two kids before and we never saw them, she never referenced them ... so it's going to be a kid-free zone, I believe."

The only person we haven't heard any big storyline teases about is Britta ...
Jacobs: "Hmm ... maybe I have the biggest reveal of all. Britta is going to try to find some focus and direction in her life this year. So we'll see how well that goes ... best laid plans, right? That's what Britta's grappling with right now. Right now [the group is] not ready for employment. Not even like volunteer work. I don't think they would make it ... we would be turned away by a non-profit. [Laughs] We're not ready for the real world yet!"

John Oliver as Prof. Ian Duncan, 'Community'We keep hearing about Jeff and Annie this season -- might Britta be getting a new man?
Jacobs: "I want Britta to be happy. It would be fun if she had a boyfriend, but she has really bad taste in men, and I don't think she knows how to be in a relationship. I don't know -- could you see it happening? Maybe some more therapy, and not from Professor Ian Duncan. Maybe some proper therapy. [Laughs] I hate 'The Daily Show'! They keep [John Oliver] under lock and key. We love him."

Annie & BrittaHow are Annie and Britta getting along this season?
Brie: "I think that this season, Annie and Britta are kind of closer than ever. The first year, they just seemed so different and kind of couldn't find a common ground. And then in our second year, there was drama with Jeff, so it was hard to get over that. This year, they're kind of at a happy place being girlfriends. I feel like Annie really looks up to Britta and kind of wants to be like her and takes her advice, and at the same time, totally judges her. But all the characters kind of judge Britta, because she's the worst. But it's been pretty harmonious so far this season between the two of them."

Annie & Jeff, 'Community'And so now will Britta have a new man? I think fans are ready for Jeff and Annie to get hot and heavy without any distractions.
Brie: "It's really not my place to talk about other characters' love lives, but there may be other romantic interests for Britta. And Jeff and Annie ... you know, they still might have a little something going on. The flame has not been extinguished. And more than ever this year they're kind of addressing it. I'm not saying that they're just going to be together. I'm just saying they're addressing their chemistry in a more grown-up way than ever before."

Troy & Abed, 'Community'I got to see Troy and Abed's new apartment ...
Pudi: "It's pretty fancy, right? There's some good vintage furniture in there. And the bunk beds are actually pretty comfortable."

Glover: "They are. It's a hot seat in between shots ... we have trailers, but the house feels more cozy. Our trailers have like freaky pictures of Indians in them."

Pudi: "Yeah, it's much more safe and calming to sleep next to a poster of 'Vibes,' versus a picture of an aggravated Native American."

Glover: "Holding his daughter."

Pudi: "We have literally like photos of the Trail of Tears."

Glover: "It's terrifying."

You guys are helping Annie move in with you today, which is for Episode 6, but when do we first see their new place?
Pudi: "In the third episode."

John GoodmanI'm so excited to see John Goodman in action at Greendale!
Brie: "We haven't had a scene together yet. I'm just crossing my fingers every time we have a table read ... but then I've also been a little relieved because I feel like I would be super nervous. He is so good!"

Jacobs: "I have not had the pleasure yet of actually even meeting him. I'm also very scared of people, so I'd probably hide if I knew he was on set because I can never think of anything to say to anyone. I get really tongue-tied. He's John Goodman! Just because he comes to Greendale doesn't mean that he didn't do 'Roseanne' and 'The Big Lebowski' and everything else."

Michael K. WilliamsAnd Michael K. Williams as an ex-con and the gang's new biology teacher? Brilliant.
Glover: "He's really good ... he's really funny."

Pudi: "Yeah, he's got a couple of really funny monologues. He's done two or three episodes with us so far ..."

Brie: "I think he might be back for more. He seems to always have fun here -- we haven't broken him yet. But we will -- don't worry, we break them all!"

Jacobs: "It was funny -- I took my friend who was visiting from New York to one of the Emmy parties last weekend, and all she wanted in the world was to meet Omar [from 'The Wire']. I was able to introduce her to Michael, and she played it cool. It was really fun to be able to be like, 'Oh yeah, I know him. I can go up and say hi to him.' He's so sweet and lovely and not scary in real life that he's just a pleasure to have around. But who wants sweet [on TV], right? I know Michael wants to come back for more. He's pushing to be released from his 'Boardwalk Empire' schedule a little bit more so he can do more episodes with us. Wouldn't that be incredible?"

Martin StarrMartin Starr from 'Party Down' is a big fan favorite as well.
Brie: "I just adore him. He's, like, kind of a cool teacher. Martin is so good at just creating very distinct, idiosyncratic characters. It's not an archetype -- it's just Martin doing something that no one else would do. He was great over here."

Pudi: "He's great. He's really funny. He mostly did stuff with Jeff and Annie, because that's sort of a debate episode with Asian Annie. And we have another student that's named Todd."

Glover: "'My insulin shot!' [Laughs]"

Pudi: "'Offense taken!'"

Leonard & Starburns, 'Community'We always love seeing the other randoms at Greendale.
Pudi: "The group now is so comfortable at Greendale that we sort of think ... we act like stars of a show. Other people are like, 'You're just students here. We don't care about your drama, your blanket fort adventures ... As far as Starburns is concerned, people are tuning in to watch him every week. And Leonard."

Glover: "I'd watch the Magnitude show."

Pudi: "I would totally watch that. I would love to watch The Vicky and Magnitude Hour."

Glover: "Hour!"

Pudi: "Yeah, that's an hour-long."

Glover: "That's like the spin-off to 'Bones.' Like 'Pop, pop! Oh my god, a body! Someone was stabbed in the cafeteria!' Um, I think me and Danny have to go write something right now ... "

'Community'What's been your favorite episode of this season so far?
Brie: "We have one in particular ... I wouldn't totally call it a genre episode. It's more about the format of the show, and stuff kind of being ... it's not huge in scope. The whole school isn't turning into zombies -- it's not that kind of episode. It's kind of a very subdued episode, but the way that it's structured is different and interesting. It's kind of a timeline episode. And the one we just read today, which will be our seventh episode, seems like it'll be really interesting. And dark. Everyone kind of goes to a dark place. I always kind of like when we do those episodes, like when we went to the bar for Troy's birthday. That was really dark, and when we were shooting it, I almost thought it was too dark, but I watched it later and thought, no it's not, because this group has a lot of heart and the jokes are in there. They're just darker than our normal happy sunshine jokes."

Brown: "We have had a dance already this season. And there is a big event, conceptually, that's going to happen. We're not on a space bus -- nothing like that has happened yet -- but there is at least one episode so far that's really stylistically interesting. You will have to pay close attention to everything. But it's not because they're in space or lost in a parking lot or whatever. It's in one location and it's very intense. I think people will really like that episode."

Pudi: "I think Halloween is my favorite so far. It's almost sort of bottle episode-y. Those are the ones that are really explorations into the characters' minds, which I think is pretty cool. We tell scary stories in the Halloween episode. I laughed a lot watching us shoot that one ..."

Brie: "Our Halloween episode is kind of great. Nothing is too crazy out there, and yet everything kind of also is. They were like, 'We're not gonna have too many giant themed episodes this year,' but we still totally have. Our writers cannot deny their own creativity! But this year it's more psychological ... it's interesting to see all these things from the different characters' perspectives. It gives you a lot of insight into who these people really are and what their ideas are about each other. We're all sort of playing roles in each others' fantasies, essentially."

Anything else new and exciting?
Jacobs: "There's a character named Torg who I'm going to tease who I've been spending a lot of time with. [Laughs] Torg!"

Brown: "It's a very close relationship."

Glover: "He's something that Chevy really loves."

Pudi: "Not Pierce. Chevy Chase, the actor."

Glover: "He won't let it go. It premieres in Episode 3, and it is weird how much he loves Torg."

Pudi: "To Chevy, it's just as real as you and I."

Glover: "But to anyone who can buy little trinkets at a Wal-Mart, it's a thing."

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