Community Cast Talks Return of Season 3 with Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts
After a three month break and much belly aching from fans, the cult hit Community returns to NBC tonight, March 15th, at 8/7 central, with Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts. Season 3 will now play itself out in its entirety, but NBC is waiting until the very last episode to decide whether or not it wants to bring back the Greendale 7 for what would be their fourth year at community college in the fall of 2012.
A Fourth Season is in no way a sure thing, which means that the Season 3 finale may very well be the series finale. We recently caught up with a couple of cast members on the eve of their return to find out what we can expect in the following weeks, how their uncertain fate played into the story arch, and where they'd like to see their characters go after leaving Greendale.
Here are our conversations with Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Jim Rash.
How does the expulsion play through these last couple of episodes?
Jim Rash: What can I say? Definitely, the teaser spoils the fact that the Greendale 7, as we've come to know them, have to leave Greendale. The Expulsion does factor heavily, because they are obviously off campus. They are finishing off what John Goodman started in the beginning. That he was going to thwart my power and destroy my school. With him gone, the school is in dire need of the Greendale 7's help!
How does the Season 3 finale play to a Season 4 while bringing closure for the fans in case the series is cancelled?
Jim Rash: I think you always want to have a cliffhanger. In the off chance we won't be back, we want to have a bookend for all of the characters. Whether it be life goes on, or whatever. We did have to do that delicate balance of preparing for both.
Are you guys hoping to move further away from campus if Season 4 becomes a sure thing?
Jim Rash: In the third season, we've already seen more home life stuff. With Abed and Troy moving in together. And Annie moving in. With the fourth season, we hope to bring the school chapter to some kind of close. They will spend four years at this college. I am hoping that fact helps us seal one more year. So we can see them before they move on.
If the characters leave campus, what does that mean for The Dean?
Jim Rash: I think I would be that character who stays on no matter what. The school will always be here. With The Dean. Unless he gets to marry Jeff, which maybe he will try, here in the fourth season. Other than that, I think his groove would just be accepting Greendale for what it is. What he thought it could be.
Giancarlo Esposito is coming on here towards the end of Season 3. Did you guys have any good Breaking Bad jokes for him?
Jim Rash: I don't think we go that meta with bringing up Breaking Bad. Then again, I wasn't shooting with him. I don't know what they ultimately got.
Can you give me a little sneak preview of what the rest of Season 3 as in store?
Jim Rash: I think we have ten to twelve episodes shot. There is a lot of stuff already out there. We have, what I think is, one of the better episodes. Which is a Law and Order spoof. We also have this blanket war that happens after another bad choice by The Dean. On top of that, you see a lot of growth from the Troy and Abed relationship. And obviously John Goodman is back, which brings this all to a close.!
Yvette Nicole Brown
What can you tell fans about the Season 3 finale? Jim Rash has eluded to the fact that there will be a couple of cliffhangers, yet there is closure as well, in case you guys aren't ask to return to Greendale...
Yvette Nicole Brown: I think Dan Harmon is a genius. He realized that it's fifty-fifty right now. The way he handles the finale is that there is enough for us to come back to. We are also confident enough about the closure...To know that people will breath a sigh of relief and go, "Ah, that was satisfying." We played both sides. Dan Harmon tied up half of the stories. Half of them are still blowing in the wind. If this doesn't go on forever, you can still image good things for the people whose stories weren't all tied up in a bow at the end.
If you guys don't return, fans are going to want Community: The Movie. We've seen it happen with Arrested Development. Are you prepared for years of people asking you when Community: The Movie is going to happen?
Yvette Nicole Brown: Dan Harmon said that if we do get a fourth season, he will have us come in on the first episode saying that we would never speak about that summer. That would be the summer we never speak of. So the movie would be this flashback to the horrible summer we never spoke about in this fourth season. That is what he is thinking about. The movie would be more expansive. We'd see everyone's home. We'd get to see who these people really are outside the campus. I'd really like to get these guys on location, and see how wacky they are out in the world. I think a movie would be great. I think it would give the writers a long time to think about what they could do. And it would free us up. We are kind of chained to our sets at Paramount. I think there is a lot more to the Greendale campus that we are going to see.
Say there is a Season 4, and you guys slowly start to graduate...What happens to the study group?
Yvette Nicole Brown: Shelby is the only one that has a thriving family life. She has three kids and a husband. I think she will go back to that life. The danger is that she would go completely back into that life and forget everything that she has learned at Greendale. I would hope that she finds a way to marry the two. That she is able to have a business. She is studying to be a baker, and she is pursuing a business degree. I hope that she can find a way to marry these two ideals, so that she can have a great business, and a great home life. I think the idea is that we will be back at Greendale in some capacity. I think they have left that in tact. Its not like we've marched off the campus, "We will never return!" Season 3 does not have that kind of an ending. It's more open, with more possibilities. It's an open kind of ending. I think its possible that we will move away from the campus, but this will only happen after they've all graduated.
Do you think they'd ever go the route of making you all part of the Greendale staff?
Yvette Nicole Brown: I don't think we would become part of the staff at Greendale. I think if we all finish our degrees and move on...Look, there is no danger of these people graduating. These people don't study. The only one that is really excelling in any way is Annie. Everyone else is clueless. They could be at this campus for six or seven years, the way that Pierce has been. And the way that Leonard has been. Leonard has been there forever. I think there are some great stories outside of the campus that we will see. I think that exists. There is a reason Dan Harmon didn't call the show Community College. He called it Community. It's about this group of people forming a family. A Community can be anything. It could be Jeff's house, it could be at a coffee shop. It doesn't have to be Greendale campus. It is wide open.
Will you guys be doing anymore movie spoofs before Season 3 is out?
Yvette Nicole Brown: There are some spoofs. I can't talk about that. The insane asylum goes back to the flashback episode that we did. That is all I can say. Its one thing to be a spoiler, its another thing to be a ruiner. I really want the fans to enjoy what they see. They just need to watch and pay attention to everything they do see.
Jim Rash says that he didn't get to shoot anything with Giancarlo Esposito. Did you?
Yvette Nicole Brown: We all worked with him. I am a huge fan of his. I have been a fan of his since he was in School Daze and I was in Junior High. He plays a person in Pierce's life. He is part of Pierce's past. Is he sinister? Is he friend or foe? We don't know. But he brings a lot of gravitas. He is a very weighty man. Just the way he speaks, and the way he carries himself. He is very professional. He got hired, I think...Twelve hours before he came to set. He had chunks and chunks of dialogue. And he came to set off book. The rest of us were like, "We better learn our lines!" Because Giancarlo Esposito was here, and he was on his way to do Once Upon a Time. They were kind enough to let him do that a day later, to let us have him. It was such an honor and a blessing to have him.
Any nods to Breaking Bad?
Yvette Nicole Brown: None of the Breaking Bad jokes made it in. We were all in so much awe that he was there. I think that someone said, "Face off!" Or, "Half off!" At some point. But it was just great to have him.
What is your take on the Season 3 finale?
Gillian Jacobs: This is not a series finale, it is a season finale! I don't want to appease people who think we might not come back. We have to come back! We can't make any concessions to the fact that we might not come back. We have to make the show as creatively and as original as we can. No concessions!
Word is...You guys might not come back...
Gillian Jacobs: They are liars! I am in denial about the possibility that we may not come back. In my mind, the season three finale is just a tee up for season four!
As Season 3 progresses, and we (hopefully) move into Season 4, it looks like you guys are going to be moving further away from the school...
Gillian Jacobs: I really feel like season three has been about us exploring life outside of the school already. Especially with Troy, Abed, and Annie all living together. It has given us that apartment as another mean fixture of the show. It is a place we all get together and hang out, outside of school. We are not really tied to classes anymore. With the exception of who plays our biology teacher this year, we haven't been in the classroom as much. Its not as much as it was in season one and two, with all of us in a class together. That is less important. It is more about the relationships we've developed, and our co-dependency that we've developed outside of the school. I feel like we've already been moving in that direction.
I want to know more about Dan Harmon's idea for a movie. The Summer You Shall Never Speak Of. What does that entail for Britta?
Gillian Jacobs: That is pure conjecture. Theoretical. Probably a lot of really bad things happen. Right? Unspeakably horrible things will happen. Jeff and Britta like to drink, and then things happen. So there will probably be a lot of alcohol involved. Maybe some fire. We have already had fire on the show. Maybe the evil Norwegian Troll doll will wreck the entire group. Maybe he will put a curse on us, and we will have to trek through a magical forest to undo the curse. We will have to find the wizard. We will have to restore harmony to the kingdom.
Do you think the movie will have any sci-fi elements?
Gillian Jacobs: That would be fun. I feel with Inspector Spacetime and some of the things we have created in the world of the show...That stuff borders on the sci-fi sometimes. We have multiple timelines right now. We might fully embrace some sci-fi elements in the making of a movie.
What is your take on the Summer You Shall Never Speak of?
Joel McHale: What? Was this Dan's idea? Oh...I don't know anything about it. Maybe Jeff is doing something else that summer. No, I haven't heard about. I have no idea. I can't wait to hear more about it. This sounds great. You've got the scoop!
It seems that ever character but Jeff has something going on in life. Where does this leave Jeff once you all graduate?
Joel McHale: Well, that is a good question. Jeff has always lived on a little island by himself. Where he is very selfish all the time. He is going to have a lot to deal with. Because he has grown to love this group. He could go back to his old law firm, because he has been consulting with them. He could just go back and do that. But I'd have to guess that he is going to do something else.
So he lives on the island of characters whose sitcoms got cancelled too soon. Like the Island of Misfit Toys.
Joel McHale: Yes. Maybe there is an island of that.
From what I am being told, the Season 3 finale brings some closure, in case you guys don't return...
Joel McHale: Maybe. Yeah. I don't know really. I guess there is stuff, but it is not so pronounced. There has to be another season. A special at the very least. Here is the problem. I can't remember a lot of the things we shot. We shot so many things all at once. The finale, in theory, does leave the group splintered. If certain things we've learned are true. It's not about the expulsion. That comes sooner than the finale. I am not actually sure where that episode comes in...Here is the problem. We shoot a bunch of episodes at the same time, and then they air them out of order. You can see how that would be a problem...
Any upcoming deaths? We've seen quite a few on Walking Dead recently. You guys going to follow suite?
Joel McHale: I can't believe that there are a lot of deaths on The Walking Dead. The good news is that they can come back...I have the next couple of episodes recorded. Thanks for ruining it. This is a comedy...
Death can be funny...
Joel McHale: Well, it can be. Or sad...There are a few deaths...And a major character does die! (Yawn)
Am I boring you?
Joel McHale: No. I was doing stand-up in Irvine until one in the morning. No, you are not boring me. I can't believe I am talking to the Russian Gymnastics coach...It sounds like you guys at TVweb actually watch the show, which is good. Gosh, I have never talked more without actually saying anything. This is my bad...Here is why I am scared to reveal anything. They tell us we can't say anything, and then you see the trailer, and you are like, "Oh, man, they just showed a lot!" Okay, we get expelled. The insane asylum isn't in the trailer, but it's been in something. There have been pictures. I guess I can't comment on it, other than to say we're back in there. I would love to. Believe me. But I don't want to get in trouble again. I was the one that revealed that someone is going to die. That was back in November. So I was like, "Oh, boy!" I have to keep people interested.!
I'll let you go...
Joel McHale: I don't blame you.
Irvine, California, though?
Joel McHale: I have a big show this Saturday in Palm Springs, so I was doing these smaller shows to remember my act. There are all of these people going, "Wait a minute? I paid money for him to go remember his act?" No! And...My kid was up all night. It was like three in the morning..."Daddy?" "No, Not now, go back to bed!" We just got rid of the pacifiers. Now he is keeping us up...Here is what I will say...Thank god we are coming back, and thank God for the fan support. I am glad they helped the show come back. The twelve episodes that you are going to see...Because we have twelve left...Are all great. The blanket fort war will be epic! There is a Bar Mitzvah where Jeff completely looses his mind. And there is a video game episode coming up that is going to be awesome. And...Law and Order episode is going to be great...Or so I am told. There are a lot of Yams in it. You think I am joking, but there are a shit load of Yams. More Yams than I could ever hope to eat in my entire life.
I don't like Yams.
Joel McHale: I think it's the preparation. Candied Yams are about the worst thing ever invented. There you go...God, I am sorry...
Community returns to NBC tonight, March 15th, at 8/7 central.