It’s been a rollercoaster ride for “Community” fans since day one. Could “The Soup’s” Joel McHale carry off an acting gig? Who was right in the feud between co-star Chevy Chase and showrunner Dan Harmon? Would the show be canceled (this one came up over and over again)? Would the show lose its edge after Harmon was replaced by “Just Shoot Me’s” Moses Port and David Guarascio? But true devotees have weathered the myriad of storms over the years.
In a recent conference call interview two of the show’s stars, Alison Brie and Danny Pudi, talked about how the changes affected them. As Alison confessed, “It’s a tough thing to learn that your showrunner is not coming back to the show... So we were a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect. But that’s not really a new feeling, having worked on our show for four years now.”
But the actress, who plays Annie Edison, acknowledged, “When we met the new guys they really stressed a lot how much they loved the show and wanted to keep it the same. And some of our writers were still the same.”
Plus the actors felt comfortable sticking up for what they felt was right. As Brie recounted, “We all were certainly very vocal this season to speak to what our characters would or wouldn’t do and the way things might go on the show. So we were all working together to keep the show intact.
Danny agreed, “Yes ‘Community’ itself, the show, is a very specific, different kind of [show], too. So for all of us, yes, there was a lot of fear that the show isn’t going to maintain its level. And also, will people get it?”
There was something else that was critical to the cast. As Danny remarked, “For us the one thing that we wanted to do and make sure this year is that our genuine love for the show comes across. And you’ll see that with us this year. Still there is an extra level of responsibility we have to us as actors to really make sure that we’re still staying true to who these people are and the world around Greendale.”
Still the stars clearly still miss their old boss. Danny noted, “But it’s definitely like you can’t replace Dan Harmon. And he created something that’s pretty amazing and so and we’re forever thankful for that.”
As the series settles in with it’s new Executive Producers, the characters continue to evolve. Alison discussed the status of her onscreen persona’s romantic life, “This season is a fun season for Jeff and Annie fans because as usual their relationship doesn’t really progress.”
Brie conceded, “[A recent] episode showed a progression in terms of Annie’s maturity and their maturity as friends in terms of her admitting that she has a crush on Jeff. Annie will always have a crush on Jeff and I don’t know that Jeff will ever be fully comfortable really getting together with Annie, or if it’s not as primary a focus on Jeff’s radar as it probably is on Annie’s and that’s fair. So this season is them just acknowledging and almost moving past it in some ways to being good friends.”
Of course Danny’s character Abed Nadir is going through his over evolution. “In some ways what we setup for Season 4 is embracing change. Specifically within the world of Abed you see that right away in the premiere in Season 4 is going to his happy place, especially every time anyone mentions that it’s our senior year, which is scary.”
Pudi added, “With Abed we’ve explored change a few different times already. In the My Dinner with Andre’ episode it ends with Abed saying that changing really isn’t his jam. He’s more of a fast blinking stoic type. And the thing about senior year at Greendale is that whether or not we change much as individuals our circumstances change and our environments change. So that is something that we have to at least address. So there is part of that.”
Tune in to “Community” every Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on NBC.
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