Joel McHale knows what you’re thinking. “Fans will see these pictures and go, ‘Dammit, they’ve tried to make this show mainstream! They’re trying to steal the Two and a Half Men audience!’” quips the Community star who plays Jeff Winger. “They’re going to be like, ‘What — is this an episode of The Middle?’”
That’s about as likely as, say, Dean Pelton entering a room in low-key fashion. Despite the exit of series creator Dan Harmon and the changing of the guard, Community apparently will still strive to be weird, surprising, and… you know, Community. In the season 4 premiere (NBC, Oct. 19), you will be treated to a parody of — or shall we say, tribute to — The Hunger Games. When the Greendale student records seem to be lost, the Dean (Jim Rash) stages a Hunger Games-like competition to determine enrollment in a class called The History of Ice Cream. (Which raises the question: There’s actually a class at Greendale called The History of Ice Cream? “Ice cream is something that people eat every day and they probably don’t know its origin story,” deadpans McHale. “F— you and your elitist I-don’t-need-to-know-about-my-frozen-treats-and-where-they-came-from attitude.”)
Jeff not only competes in the games, he even performs an elaborate tango with Dean Pelton, who dons multiple dresses in the episode. “He will repulse and arouse you all at once,” notes McHale. “Mostly repulse.” McHale also offers this tease about another part of the premiere: “It is an homage to something that kids in the late ’80s and early ’90s watched on Saturday mornings.”
The Capitol strongly advises you to enjoy the following photos before continuing your countdown to the season premiere.
For more on Community, pick up a copy of this week’s issue of EW.