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The producers and cast of NBC’s Community returned to L.A.’s PaleyFest 2012 in good spirits on Saturday. After more than two months off the air, the comedy is back on Thursday, March 15 and they’re excited to share what they’ve been working on. Not to mention, one of their own is now an Oscar winner for co-writing The Descendants.
Executive Producer Russ Krasnoff told the audience that NBC likes the show and that they felt confident about a Season 4 renewal. EP Neil Goldman was more careful about the series’ future and urged the show’s fans – who have started Twitter campaigns, petitions, and organized flash mobs — to continue “being loud.”
Here’s more of the best revelations and spoilers from the Community Panel.
1. The hiatus led creator Dan Harmon to Drink… more. The show’s creator explains that the series and the fans have created a sort of symbiotic relationship. So, it was just strange for them not to be getting feedback from the fans while they’re shooting. “I know it’s inconceivable to say this, but I started drinking more,” Harmon joked. “We had a nice relationship with the audience and then we were operating in a vacuum.”
2. It’s not just us: 8 p.m. sucks. After 30 Rock’s ratings faltered in the Thursday at 8 p.m. slot, Harmon feels vindicated in knowing it’s not all his show’s fault. “It’s really, really nice to go back to a time slot that now can be known as a hazardous environment,” Harmon says.
3. What if Dean Pelton led the study group instead of Jeff? “I would eliminate the clothes altogether,” Jim Rash says to audience applause. “And we’d just laugh and collapse into each other.”
4. Gillian Jacobs gives thanks. Ken Jeong described a touching email Jacobs sent to the group on Thanksgiving Day. So, how did the rest of the group respond? “They made fun of me,” Jacobs says.
5. Behold the Oscar. The audience gave Rash a standing ovation when he walked onstage. And later, a man brought in the statuette – which Rash playfully and proudly displayed on the table in front of him. And later when Yvette Nicole Brown described how he had been genuinely modest about the big honor, he placed the Oscar on the floor saying, “Well, this kind of negates what you just said.”
6. Dan Harmon wonders what else Alexander Payne can do. Payne also won an Oscar as a co-writer on The Descendants, which Harmon poked fun at. “Very charismatic guy,” Harmon says. “First director ever to give an acceptance speech for a writing award that I’ve ever seen. I want to see him act, too.”
7. Rule: Never touch an actress’ hair. Jacobs describes how Jeong grabbed her hair and she turned around and delivered a stinging slap. “All you amateur actors out there, don’t touch an actress’ hair. That’s a lesson I learned as a small child,” she remembers. “So, I immediately retaliated and smacked him.”
8. How old is Abed? This question came from a very cute little girl in the audience. Harmon explains the writers’ room hasn’t gotten to that yet. “Until that box is opened, there is no truth about it,” he says. “Speculating with you in conversation, my instinct says he’s probably a little bit, a year or two older than Troy and Annie – who are now 21, 22.”
9. Who does Alison Brie want Annie to end up with? If it were up to the actress, she would have Annie go lesbian with Britta. And then her second choice, drum roll please, Abed. ‘Shippers, go nuts.
10. If there were six seasons and a movie, what would it be about? Harmon says that he’d love to end Season 5 with the study group going on a vague trip. “Then, at the top of the sixth season, they’d come back and they go, ‘We could never talk about what happened.’ And then the movie that comes out shows you what happened,” Harmon explains.
1. Yvette Nicole Brown and the much-awaited proposal. Malcolm-Jamal Warner returns on the March 15 episode and Brown, who has been a longtime fan of the actor, says she kind of directed the scene. “When we were shooting the proposal, I went up to him and said, ‘No pressure, but I need this to be the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me.’ And he did. It was amazing,” Brown says.
2. Chang’s Army? While Jeong was saying that he loves this season’s incarnation of Chang, because he has the authority of Season 1, and he’s pathetic like Season 2 at the same time. At that point, McHale blurts out, “Pathetic, you have an army!” And then he realized he let a spoiler out. Which episode could it be?
3. The Dreamatorium revisited. Apparently, the linen closet AKA Troy and Abed’s “Dreamatorium” will make a return. Annie and Abed will spend a whole episode in it, Harmon says to much applause.
4. A video game episode. The crew plays a video game together. That’s all Harmon said about that. Moving on.
5. The funniest Dean Pelton costume ever? McHale says that we’re in for an amazing treat on the season finale. “There is an outfit which Jim wears where he is blindfolded and they just said, ‘Go Jim.’ It might be the funniest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world.”
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
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