There is a considerable overlap between fans of NBC's Community and fans of comic books. It makes sense — both reward obsessive attention to detail, both revel in their own continuity and sprawling casts, and both breed followings that might not be large but are intensely loyal. Some ties are much less abstract: Community creator Dan Harmon contributed to his long-time creative partner Rob Schrab's comic Scud the Disposable Assassin, and one of the show's main characters has spent the majority of two different episodes in a Batman costume.
The folks behind Community are aware of this connection, and cast and crew have promoted the gleefully "meta" comedy at several comic book conventions, most recently this past weekend's WonderCon in Anaheim. Harmon, plus Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) and Ken Jeong (Chang) answered fan questions and showed an episode debuting March 29, featuring a fast food product placement tie-in rivaling the KFC space flight simulator in season two.
Before the panel — where Harmon told fans he feels there's a "70/30" chance of Community returning for a fourth season — Harmon, Jacobs, Brown and Jeong answered questions from members of the press, and Newsarama was there, asking a few of our own. With new episode "Contemporary Impressionists" airing at 8 tonight on NBC (and apparently featuring Jacobs dressed as Michael Jackson), here are some highlights.Gillian Jacobs on whether or not there's romantic potential between Britta and Troy (Donald Glover), as has been teased throughout the series:
"I feel like this group gets so confused. I don't even know if any of them should be together, because they're not very mature. I don't know if any of them, besides Shirley, has ever really been in a successful relationship — and she was divorced when we first met her, so obviously there were some bumps in that road, too. I don't know long term, but I definitely love that it's a show where there can be tension going in every which way. I'll grab Danny [Pudi]'s arm in one episode, and then it's like, 'Abed and Britta!' Or Paintball 2, at the end of the second season, it's "Annie and Abed!" or 'Jeff and Britta!' or 'Annie and Britta!' It can go any direction on our show, and you don't want to mess with the magic, and the magic is the tension."Yvette Nicole Brown on being typically the most "normal" member of the main cast:
"I wish I could be a little more wacky. I think in the first season, Shirley was a little more wacky. Initially, I think it was going to be Shirley and Annie as partners; buddies, like in the way Troy and Abed are partners. But then they started putting Alison [Brie] more with Joel [McHale], so that kind of left Shirley floating out there without really a partner to go through the series with. I think now they're discovering other people that I can be with. The first season, when they were cops [in the episode "The Science of Illusion"], it shows how wacky Shirley and Annie are together. They're really a little crazy and competitive when they're together."Dan Harmon, who has acted in the past in Channel 101 productions like Laser Fart and Water and Power, on if he'll ever act on Community:
"I won't do that, because the person that would be in charge of determining whether or not I was doing a good job would be me, and I wouldn't know. I can't do that to the show, because there would be a guy on the show who wouldn't be allowed to be fired or adjusted, and it would suck. Or rather, if it did suck, I wouldn't know."
Dan Harmon on Rob Schrab's upcoming Community directorial debut, and why it took until the third season:
"That's a good question. Rob should have been directing episodes from at least the second season, if not the first season onward, once things got under control. For the first season, it was the political matter of, 'Who am I to say who gets to direct episodes?' Second season, I was saying, 'We gotta get Schrab in here,' and there was just a lot of resistance, because there's not a lot of things that the system gets to control on a TV show. One is casting, the other is hiring directors. They just tend to slow everything down for the sake of their own control. It just took a really long time, the way it takes a long time to get your green card, or your driver's license, because you're at the mercy of bureaucrats. Schrab finally came aboard, but the good news is, as I knew he would, he shot one of the best episode of the series. If we get a fourth season, when we get a fourth season, I'd like to start the conversation with, 'How many episodes can we give to Rob Schrab?' 'How many episodes can we give to Tristram Shapeero?' How many episodes can we give to Adam Davidson, Jay Chandrasekhar?' The people who have hit home runs for us, let's just start with giving them as many episodes as we can, and let's fill in the rest with guests."Ken Jeong on if he sees any redemptive or sympathetic qualities in Chang:
"I think he's just kind of crazy all the time, I think he's always been crazy. I think his job, when he had the job, made him more functional with society, but there's always that insanity. Whenever I think of the character, it's always, 'Oh, it's just Chang.' I think the worst thing to do, for me as an actor, is to overanalyze anything. This is a show, this is fiction, this is fun, this is acting, this is all I ever wanted to do with my life. I was a doctor before I did this, and now I'm playing someone completely insane. It's heaven. It's the ultimate compliment when people come up to me and say, 'Oh, I can't believe you're a doctor.' That I have a wife and two daughters, and I'm a family man, people are truly incredulous."Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!