'Community' at PaleyFest: Five things we learned

NBC

The cast and showrunners of NBC’s cult comedy series Community hit the stage at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood last night to talk season five as part of PaleyFest’s 2014 lineup. Here’s five of the most interesting things we learned:

Is Britta/Jeff meant to last?
The panel’s audience was treated to a screening of the first half of this year’s two-part season finale. One scene in particular — which found Britta and Jeff contemplating taking a huge next step in their relationship — had the pair’s shippers going wild. Despite this, Community creator Dan Harmon warned fans to take what they saw with a grain of salt. “If Community’s been adamant about anything, it’s that relationships mean nothing,” said Harmon. “Emotions mean everything, and sometimes emotions get exasperated by other people.” Meanwhile, when moderator Michael Schneider asked Joel McHale how he felt about Jeff and Britta, the actor cheekily replied, “All I’m trying to do as Jeff is be as good in bed as Troy was.”

Donald Glover’s exit was sad — but also inspired some great material
Speak of the devil: Donald Glover left the series this year, after five seasons of playing Troy Barnes. His costar Danny Pudi said that while Glover’s departure was sad, having Troy around for the season’s first five episodes was the situation’s silver lining. “That was the best, because we could send him off in a good way,” said Pudi. “It was nice to be able to grieve on set as characters and as friends.” Pudi added that Troy’s exit allowed the show to highlight Abed’s character growth and his ability to use what he’s learned from his friendship with Troy in other social situations Harmon also touched on the subject very briefly, saying they made sure to tackle Glover’s departure head-on. “We were frank about it — there was no weird manipulations. It was very straightforward in a very frank way,” Harmon said. “Sometimes people just go away — that’s absolutely part of life. So we knew, on one hand, that this was something that we don’t want to happen. And on the other hand, we knew there was energy coming from it that we could use to tell stories.”

Joel McHale gets credit for reuniting Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna
If you, like most other Community fans, are happy to have creator Dan Harmon back for Season 5, you have none other than Joel McHale to thank. According to executive producer Chris McKenna, constant phone calls from Community‘s star prompted him to contact Harmon for a meeting in the first place. McHale says he served as McKenna and Harmon’s mediator because he felt season 4 just wasn’t the show they all fell in love with. McHale also felt like Community “wasn’t worth continuing unless [Harmon] came back.”

There will be another animated episode
In addition to the finale screening, PaleyFest also gave fans a sneak peak at the series’ new animated episode. According to Harmon, the upcoming episode is a spoof of the ’80s G.I. Joe cartoon series — something the writers chose because they felt viewers wouldn’t necessarily have to be familiar with the source material to understand the parody.

So — six seasons and a movie?
Jeff Winger and the gang are tasked with saving Greendale once more in Community‘s fifth season finale. The question on every fan’s mind, though, is whether NBC will save the comedy by renewing it for a sixth season. While the network has yet to announce whether Community will return, actress Gillian Jacobs drew copious cheers by declaring, “It’s happening. Come on!” Harmon also weighed in, saying, “We’re on our fifth year of near-cancellation. The only thing weirder than getting a sixth season would be not getting a sixth season.”

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