WonderCon: ‘Community’ Panel Report

The Greendale Human Beings invade Anaheim and Britta gets a surprising new love interest.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

NBC may have Britta’d the midseason season schedule by putting "Community" on hiatus; but last Sunday in Anaheim, it was series creator Dan Harmon who got the last laugh.

At WonderCon, Harmon received a hero's welcome after "Community" popped ("Pop… POP!") in the ratings and even edged out a demo win over "American Idol." Joining Harmon onstage were writers Chris McKenna and Steve Basilone along with cast members Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown and Ken Jeong.

But first, a special preview episode of "Community" was screened for the large crowd. Entitled "Digital Exploration of Interior Design," the episode kicks off a two-parter that rocks the Greendale study group to their core.


SPOILER WARNING For "Digital Exploration of Interior Design"


The episode finds Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover) at odds over competing Pillow and Blanket forts, orchestrated by the evil Vice Dean Robert Laybourne (John Goodman). Meanwhile, Shirley (Brown) and Pierce (Chevy Chase) come up with a way to get the new Subway thrown off of the Greendale campus while Annie (Alison Brie) attempts to help Jeff (Joel McHale) deal with the unexpected death of someone he barely knows.

Oh… and Britta (Jacobs) finds love with the surprisingly friendly ******; which quickly gets messy and complicated.


End Spoiler Warning!

Harmon noted that the Subway storyline is a result of integrated product placement and he proudly stated that Subway gave them complete creative control over how the company was portrayed in the episode. And let's just say that it isn't the most flattering portrayal of a sponsor, but it is funny. Harmon also stated that the unlikely partnership between Shirley and Pierce would continue for now, despite Brown's assertion that Shirley doesn't like Pierce very much.

However, Brown was happier to reveal that Shirley and Jeff will get more screentime together in upcoming episodes, as a followup to the friendship they struck up during the Foosball episode.

Jeong also teased forthcoming developments for Chang; which apparently includes Chang somehow commanding a small army of followers on the campus security force. Jeong said that this is his favorite incarnation of Chang because it combines Chang's authority from season one with his desperation and patheticness of season two.

As for Jacobs, she embraced the absurdities of Britta and said that she loves playing her fallibility, her stubbornness and her indignation. Britta doesn't learn from her mistakes and yet the audience still loves her. Harmon noted that he didn't really get Britta as a character until Hilary Winston — one of the writers from the first season — told him that she didn't like Britta because she seemed like someone whom she couldn't trust. Thus Harmon made Britta into the woman that most women don't like… within the world of the show.

Harmon also said that the episode order was tweaked so that the first episode back from the hiatus was a more grounded installment so as not to scare off any potential new viewers. Judging from the episode screened at the panel, the patented insanity of the series will make a strong comeback.

As for "Community‘s" odds for renewal, Harmon was very optimistic in the face of the show's latest performance in the ratings. Harmon bumped the chances of "Community" season 4 to 70% likely to happen. However, Harmon also stated that their odds could easily drop if people don't keep turning in live or if the ratings crash.

So mark your calenders and watch "Community" live on Thursday nights at 8pm, only on NBC!