'Community' Star Alison Brie Previews Christmas Episode and Talks Ratings, Love Triangles

"Community"
"Community"
 

NBC's sophomore comedy Community has been holding its own on Thursdays in the ultra-competitive 8 p.m. timeslot, but it has been averaging under 5 million viewers per episode. Though critics adore its self-awareness and relevant pop culture references, great reviews don't always translate into robust ratings.

The Hollywood Reporter's Philiana Ng caught up with Alison Brie this past weekend, who had just finished singing onstage in the Thrilling Adventure Hour show at Los Angeles' Largo at the Coronet. She gave us the scoop on tonight's anticipated stop-motion animated holiday episode "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas," love triangles and even addressed the show's ratings -- briefly.

THR: The experience at Comic-Con this year must have been crazy. There was so much love in that room.

Alison Brie: When we were shooting the show, we were in this little bubble, and we were like, "We hope the people like it." There's Twitter but there [at Comic-Con], it was like an explosion of love. It was really overwhelming.

THR: It was also one of the first times you could see how much support there was.

Brie: Absolutely. It's hard to tell when people talk about ratings and stuff like that; it's these weird numbers. And it's like, "Oh, so I guess people don't really watch it? Or they don't know?"

THR: You can't really control that part, though.

Brie: Exactly, so to have the physical contact with the fans. It was incredible. It was a chance for us to see that we have this great, loyal fanbase that is really excited about the show. It was exciting for us because we just hope that people find it as entertaining as we find it while we're doing it.

THR: Would you want Annie to sing on Community?

Brie: Well, she just got the opportunity to because in our Christmas episode, we all get to sing in that.

THR: Do they sing Christmas carols?

Brie: They're original songs for the show.

THR: Is there anything else coming up on Community that you can reveal?

Brie: We have a lot more episodes that delve more into who these people are. There seems to be a depth to the second season. In the first season it was more about us getting to know each other and now that they all know each other, and they're closer friends; it's sort of like delving deeper into those friendships, but not in a romantic way.
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THR: Because who knew Annie lived in a dingy, little apartment somewhere you never would've thought.

Brie: You're getting all these new clues about the characters, which are actually things that -- it's all sort of been part of this master plan that exists in [creator] Dan Harmon's mind because last season he actually told me, "You know, I always sort of envisioned Annie living above a porn shop in a terrible neighborhood."

THR: But why?

Brie: That's what I said! I said, "Oh, oh geez. Gosh, I didn't gather that at all from the stuff that we've been doing," but that's what's interesting, I think, about the characters on the show. They can all, from the surface, look like stereotypical characters and as we keep going along, you can find out about these things that are part of their lives that are totally unexpected and put their stereotypes on their heads.

THR: And I have to ask about the love triangle. In the last episode ["Mixology Certification"], there was the infamous Jeff-Britta drunken makeout.

Brie: I loved that that was in the script! I think it's a very realistic thing that happens between people who are friends. There are guys and girls. It's not totally plausible that it wouldn't be messy. Jeff has a romantic past now with Britta and Annie, but they continue to be friends in this group so it's realistic to me to think that those emotions would come up again some time and we're just going to try to continue to figure them out.

THR: So far, what is your favorite episode of the season?

Brie: It's really hard to say. This season, I'd watch an episode and go, "Woah, that's my favorite!" But, probably the bottle episode ["Cooperative Calligraphy"]. It was crazy when we shot it; it felt like we were doing a one-act play. We were all in the scene and it was going and going the whole time. Because it was all about the conversation that we continued to have and there was no action outside the study room, it was joke after joke after joke after joke while at the same time, going into these deeper issues like Shirley's possible pregnancy.

THR: Speaking of, will we get back to that?

Brie: It's possible, anything's possible.

THR: Then at the end of the episode, it turns out [the monkey] Annie's Boobs was the one who stole your character's pen.

Brie: Annie's Boobs was the culprit. If you go back, you can actually see his hand stealing it at the beginning of the episode.

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

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