Community is no stranger to stylized episodes that play off pop culture moments. They've done stop-motion in the style of Rankin and Bass, they've done Bad Boys action in homage to Michael Bay, and they just did a follow-up to their popular roll playing spoof with /shows/community/Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Now, in the Community Season 5 episode airing April 3, they are taking on the Hasbro cartoons of the 80s with the G.I. Joe-inspired animated adventure G.I. Jeff.
The study group will be reimagined as characters that fit in with the original cartoon series, with each of them getting their own codenames. Jeff (Joel McHale) will become Wingman, who carries a backpack stuffed with wings, Annie is Tight Ship (Alison Brie), Britta (Gillian Jacobs) is Buzzkill and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is now known as Three Kids.
Executive producer Chris McKenna had this to say about the episode:
"[G.I. Joe] was something from our childhood that was very important to us and we had fond memories of it, and we thought it would be a cool way to do another animated episode. Like all Community episodes, it takes on a certain style. This one has a very specific story reason for it. I don't want to give too much away, but our characters find themselves on a The Wizard of Oz-type journey through the world of G.I. Joe. ... There's a mystery that Jeff in particular has to get to the bottom of."
Chris McKenna didn't want to reveal too much about the episode's plot, only giving this away:
"We do a typical G.I. Joe opening where G.I. Joe is battling Cobra, then something very un-G.I. Joe and something very Community happens, and it becomes this inciting incident that gets our characters in hot water in the G.I. Joe realm.
At the end of a day it's a Community episode, and it's actually a significant one."
The creative team spent plenty of time making sure the episode was both a loving tribute to G.I. Joe while also being an episode that would please fans who have never seen the animated 80s mainstay.
Tune into NBC on April 3 to watch the Community gang get animated once again, in a way only they know how.