Community at PaleyFest

There are a few SoCal events every year that I now attend regularly; The Thrilling Adventure Hour, for one, Comic-Con for another. Thanks to my friend Vlada from Staying In, I’m also a regular attendee at events for the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio). In addition to their fall pilot screenings and special events year round, the Paley Center also hosts the annual Paley Festival, and Tuesday night I went to the Saban Theatre on Wilshire for their panel on Community.

Which shows Paley features during PaleyFest changes every year, but Community was invited back for the second year in a row – whether or not it has the ratings numbers, there’s no denying the show has the fans.

The producers screened tonight’s episode “Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy” which features Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse) in a hilarious turn as an accented video-game buddy of Troy and Abed who hooks up with Britta – despite the boys begging Britta to keep her man-ruining hands off their guy friends. Meanwhile Shirley attempts to get Chang to sign away his potential parental rights, and Jeff sees an opportunity to get Chang off his couch.

Cast members Alison Brie (Annie) and Donald Glover (Troy) weren’t able to attend (Brie was filming Scream 4 and Glover was rehearsing his hosting gig for the MTV Woodie Awards), but the rest of the cast plus producers Dan Harmon, Joe and Anthony Russo, and Garrett Dononvan filled the stage. This year’s panel seemed to go much smoother, and I don’t know if that’s because the cast is more comfortable together after a second year, the moderator – Todd Van der Werff – kept a tight leash on the Q & A, or someone put Chevy Chase in an invisible control collar.

A few tidbits dropped during the panel:

  • Yvette Nicole Brown loves Malcolm Jamal Warner, who plays Shirley’s ex-husband Andre; she says the chemistry is entirely on her part from having loved him so long.  And according to Dan Harmon, Shirley is going to “drop the papoose” before the end of the season.
  • Gillian Jacobs loves playing the character that no one wants around. She says it’s “a dream come true” to go from the girl on the pedestal in the pilot, to the girl who ruins everything.
  • The 1 hour season finale sequel to “Modern Warfare” is Community‘s homage to Sergio Leone and spaghetti westerns, which thrilled Danny Pudi no end.
  • Apparently Dan Harmon became Howard Hughes when he wrote S1, unused to working with other people. For S2, he finally decided to take advantage of the talented people who’d been hired to help him.
  • Community is doing a fake clip show with ~75 scenes of brand new footage that is supposed to have taken place in the last two years – during episodes that don’t actually exist.
  • Donald Glover is the best ad-libber, and Ken Jeong has to chant, “Cancer. Dead Babies. Cancer. Dead Babies.” to keep from cracking himself up during some takes.
  • There was some talk (that was loudly approved) of an episode that opens with the study group, but follows Dean Pelton after the teaser instead.

Breaking news as of noon today is that Community was picked up for a 3rd season along with The Office and Parks and Recreation. (Now Dan Harmon, who claims he used every idea he had in Season 2, will have to sell his soul to some devils for even bigger and bolder episodes.) Since I’m not an entertainment reporter, I’ll leave you with these links to those who are:

Hollywood Reporter – Community at Paley Fest

LA Examiner – Community Cast Teases End of Season Two

This article has 2 Comments

  1. I can only die laughing or crying about Dan Harmon saying that he’s taking advantage. If he means taking advantage of our sanity, well, that’s true.

    1. He was just talking about the writers’ room. Presumably, he sees your department as a magic, bottomless bag of brilliance.

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