'Community's' Jim Rash Hopes For More One-on-One Time With Jeff

Jim Rash Community Christmas Episode - H 2011

Jim Rash Community Christmas Episode - H 2011

Dean Pelton entered Season 3 with a lot of big plans on NBC's Community. Yet, it seems that he has been hitting roadblocks all season as he tries to bring Greendale Community College to the next level. First, he has to deal with the general apathy of the student body, including the study group, and then he ran into the brick wall that was Vice Dean Laybourne (guest star John Goodman). But with the holidays here, he won’t let anything thwart this season’s Christmas pageant.

PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes on the 'Community' Set

“Another object of his affection is played by Taran Killam, from Saturday Night Live, who plays a Glee sort of instructor,” Jim Rash, who plays Dean Pelton, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “So, our gang has to step up to help out with our holiday pageant. And it means a lot to Taran’s character, so it means a lot to the dean – which may or may not be a good thing.”

THR spoke to Rash about the impending midseason hiatus and what we can expect from his character when the series returns.

What’s your general feeling around Community’s break from airing?

Jim Rash: Part of you is just frustrated, because you know that it’s a shock to people who are fans of the show, and everyone worries that their show is not going to be back. It’s like you want to try the best to keep the momentum of your show and figure out how can we grow, and it’s always hard to take time off. Not necessarily for us from making them, but them from airing. I think it’s optimistic, and we’re still doing the show and loving doing it, so we’re obviously doing everything we can to keep us around, you know?

STORY: Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011

Absolutely. Let’s talk about what else we can look forward to when the series returns. What can we expect from the conflict between Dean Pelton and Vice Dean Laybourne?

Rash: Well, the John Goodman story is growing nicely and sort of piece-by-piece. You know, he started with me, obviously, being pissed off; and then, we’ve seen him go to Troy [Donald Glover] to sort of pull him to the dark side, basically the Air Conditioning Annex, of which Troy said no. And he said he wouldn’t give up, and he has not. So, I know we just finished shooting one more with him where he continues that promise that he will not stop. So, it ain’t over yet. My hope is that we’ll come to some kind of faceoff in the finale. I hope that I get to faceoff with that man.

There’s been more emphasis on Dean Pelton’s interactions with Jeff (Joel McHale) this season. What do you hope will come of that?

Rash: On the Jeff front, it’s been sort of nice, getting to have our sort of blackmail mall date, if you will, and there’s sort of a little bit more of an understanding of me after the documentary episode. I hope at some point to get some -- and I don’t mean this in a weird way -- one-on-one time for Jeff to really understand the Dean, you know, for all of his ab touching and inappropriateness [laughs] and for that relationship to evolve.

Watch a preview of Community’s holiday episode below. It airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro