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'Community's' Yvette Nicole Brown Talks Holiday Episode, the Return of Malcolm-Jamal Warner

The actress gives THR some fun details on the episodes to come and explains why we'll have to wait to see what goes down between Shirley and Andre.

Yvette Nicole Brown Community - P 2011
NBC

Season 2 was quite revelatory for Shirley on NBC's Community. She had a baby and rekindled her relationship with the baby's father, her ex-husband Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner). But as the series moves toward the holidays we'll get to see other sides of the character, starting with Thursday's episode when we discover that she and Jeff (Joel McHale) share a secret past.

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"What the writer’s came up with is really good, so I don’t want to blow it for you, and I don’t want to blow it for the people," Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s just ridiculously funny.  It’s really funny.  It’s really funny, and the way it’s tied together is genius. It’s not something that you would ever expect."

It wouldn't be the first time the show has thrown two characters into a situation that we didn't see coming. But, it will be one of the rare times Jeff and Shirley share story line together.

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"We all break up into two’s and three’s every now and again, but this is only my second time I got to work with Joel," Brown points out. "The first time I worked with him was in the first season, and we didn’t really know each other that well yet, so it was like I was getting to know Joel at the same time Shirley was getting to know Jeff. But now, I know him. I know him really well. I know him ridiculously well, so it was a lot more fun this time around to get to play with him."

Shirley will get more chances to play around as the season progresses -- particularly on the upcoming holiday episode. Saturday Night Live's Taran Killam guest stars as Greendale's choir director and he's able to convince the study group to help put on a holiday show.

"Shirley’s a Christmas queen in that episode," Brown reveals. "There’s a lot of shenanigans in that episode, a lot of music, a lot of foolishness, and a lot of mayhem. A lot of mayhem in that episode. Mayhem is my word."

"My favorite part of that episode is I got to work with someone who is personally important in my life in this episode in a scene," she teases.  "That was the best part for me. Oh, delicious, right? Who can it be?"

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And while she was on the topic of people who are special to her, we had to ask about Warner's return to the role of Shirley's love interest, Andre. The character made the big change from horrible deadbeat cheater to a man who was absolutely going to stick around to be there for his children. But, is that about to change?

"I think there’s a bit of closure…well, closure’s a bad word. That’s not the right word," she explains. "There’s a bit of growth in Shirley’s relationship with Andre. You get to see more of why they were together and where they’re going from here... In this episode that’s coming up, that we just shot, you’ll see how that relationship has progressed.  It’s always great when Malcolm’s back."

Of course, we're going to have to wait a bit for Warner's episode. NBC has shelved the series for the foreseeable midseason and has yet to announce when it will return.

"Malcolm is actually returning in one of the episodes after Christmas, so I don’t know when we’ll see him," she says. "It’s such a good episode, and we’ll have to wait for NBC to find a place for us to see that one... two episodes before Christmas that have not been seen, and then, you know, lights out for Community and Greendale for a little while."

Community airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.