Happy October 19th! That's right, today in our hearts and minds, it is finally the day we've all been waiting for: the return of Community! Sure, the calendar might say it's actually February 7th, but we're all in the right state of mind: gleeful over the return Greendale's finest to the small screen. Many hearts were broken and set adrift when sister-in-fan-favoritism 30 Rock worked its final night cheese nary a week ago. But faith in the almighty peacock was temporarily restored when we remembered that Britta, Annie, Troy, Abed, Shirley, Jeff, Dean Pelton, and yes, even Pierce would soon be entering the study group's senior year.
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Lucky for everyone out there (including your fair author), we got a chance to sit down with Joel McHale, Jim Rash, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Gillian Jacobs to get the [ice cream] scoop on what to expect tonight. And yes, ice cream plays a part in it. "The class we don’t get into is so epic," Brown said. "It’s probably my favorite joke class that we’ve had on Community."
Brown is, of course, speaking about the History of Ice Cream, a class our Greendale Seven hoped would involve "just eat[ing] ice cream," Jacobs explained. Which certainly sounds like a potential GCC offering. But all isn't as easy-breezy as it seems, because "Jeff is trying to graduate early — the little snake," joked Brie. Apparently, our favorite students don't take it quite so well. (Would you?!) "The study group is dealing with their feelings about [graduation], [at the same time that they] don’t get into a class that we really wanted," Brie added.
But once Jeff's motives to take the class are revealed — so that they can all take one final class together, and that he can finish up his history credits and actually graduate early — the group is less than keen on the cream. "So it's like Jeff [is] trying to get into that class, and the rest of the study group [is] not really caring so much," Brie said.
And that's because senior year might not be everyone's idea of a good thing — an anxiety that seems to mirror the fear fans have over this season being the show's last. And it's those very same fans and their "very vocal" (according to McHale) opinions that Brown feels have been missing from filming this go-around. "The only thing that’s missing — because we’re not airing [during filming] — is that third part of our little group, which is the audience telling us what they think," she said.
This is a deviation from the norm, because in past seasons they were used to the "audience going ‘yay!’ or ‘boo!’ and we [could] course correct. We found out in the middle of last season that it’s hard when you don’t have the fans' opinions." Brown explained that she used to "go right on Twitter and look at the hashtags to see what they were saying" and that without that it "feels different."
RELATED: Cast of 'Community' Hold Adorable Kittens Because: Internet — VIDEO
But the cast's fan heartbreak seemed to be the only thing that felt different for Season 4 — even with the loss of showrunner Dan Harmon. "It doesn’t really feel that different, and that is not to diminish Dan Harmon’s heart and soul over this show," explained Brown. "We of course feel the loss of Dan. But as far as our day-to-day life ... it feels the same."
McHale echoed her sentiment. "Our crew was always together, forever, so in that sense it didn’t change much at all. In that sense it was exactly the same." But not so fast! "The catering’s changed." Oh, now you tell us, McHale! This changes everything! Is Shirley running the catering now? We know she's a business woman!
The Oscar-winning scribe Rash, who wrote his first episode for the series this season (the finale episode, for those who like to think ahead), chalks it up to the strong feelings everyone working on Community feels. "We’re all personally attached to this, and we’re all taking care of it together, you know?" he said. "It’s been a very open dialogue about ‘would you say this? Would your character sound like this?' There’s always going to be slight growing pains with any kind of change, but I feel like we all came in and were like, ‘we’re here to protect what we were blessed to be given’ and that’s just been the goal. From [episode] 401 to [the finale]."
RELATED: Chevy Chase Dropping Out of 'Community'
The cast also spoke about some of the upcoming episodes' bigger moments — including an arrogant ancient history professor in Malcolm McDowell, an Inspector Spacetime superfan in Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer, and a rival for Troy in Matt Lucas' Toby — with excitement and glee. McHale said that having Helfer in the episode was akin to "having Johnny Depp at the Pirates of the Caribbean Con." Fandoms collide! So many fandoms. Everyone collectively "loved Matt Lucas!" and hinted that we will first see his character Toby during the big convention.
And true to form, cosplay was, well, at play. "They hired background actors that had their own costumes … people that did their own cosplay," Brown said. She recounted a particularly terrifying-sounding costume that gave her pause. "There was one guy I wouldn’t look in the eye because I don’t know if he was a droid or a demon or what," she said. "He had completely black [and] ice blue eyes, and a tail. I was like 'Hey...hey...God Bless.' They were scary… but they were at home making their own make-up and coming in like that. It was so cool." Needless to say, keep your eyes peeled for that monster.
Scarier still? The darkest timeline, of course! And what does it have in store for Season 4? "You know, I think some of that stuff does surface," Brie explained, vaguely. "Because Abed — in his mind — opened up the darkest timeline, it just still tinkers around in there. So there’s little winks at it now and again. You may see it, a little bit more ... and a bit more later." At this point, the actress began laughing semi-maniacally.
And perhaps the cherry on top of this ice cream sundae (oof, sorry to rub it in, guys)? We got to see a real teaching moment between Rash and McHale. When speaking about fans and the over-the-top things they do, Rash quipped, "I gave my sperm to one fan … is that weird? She just asked so nicely!" To which McHale instructed, horrified, "Never do that!"
Community returns (at last!) Thursday, Oct. 19, er, Feb. 7th, at 8PM on NBC. Will you be tuning in? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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Last weekend, news broke that the actor behind Greendale Community College's most crotchety old student might be more like his character than we initially thought. Yes, Chevy Chase was infamous for his Saturday Night Live altercations with, well, pretty much everyone, but his threats to leave the world's most lovable study group were a shocker to the show's many devoted fans. Hints of Chase's less-than-stellar on set behavior could be seen in co-star Alison's Brie's "Pierce or Chevy" tweets, (Example: "You're a spoiled Jewish brat!" then pointing to me and Gillian, "Wait, which one's Jewish?" #PierceORChevy) but so far the cast has kept mum about his feud with creator Dan Harmon.
If Chase wises up and makes nice with Harmon, this little debacle could fade away into the dark recesses of television history oblivion. If not, we could have another Nicollette Sheridan situation on our hands. In honor of Chevy and the man he called a "goddamn a**hole alcoholic fat sh*t," let's take a trip down TV feud memory lane.
Nicollette Sheridan versus Marc Cherry
In 2010, Sheridan filed a $20 million lawsuit against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, alleging that she was assaulted by Cherry on set before her "wrongful termination" in 2009. Cherry said that the decision to kill her meddlesome character, Edie Britt, had been made in 2008, and cited her unprofessional behavior as his reasoning. The rest of the cast leapt to Cherry's defense, despite the fact that Sheridan claimed that some of them had been similarly assaulted.
Outcome: The battery charges were thrown out due to lack of evidence, and on March 19, 2012, a mistrial was declared when the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Cherry is no longer involved in the case, but Sheridan and ABC will duke it out again in a few weeks.
Shannen Doherty versus Jennie Garth (And everyone)
In 1994, tragedy struck when one of TV's greatest heroes, Brenda Walsh, left Beverly Hills to study the dramatic arts in London. Maddeningly, this injustice was caused by Shannen Doherty's on set behavior, most famously her arguments with that prissy Dylan-thief, Kelly Taylor (Err, Jennie Garth). Tori Spelling claimed that the two female leads once got in a fistfight, but sporadic lateness and general bad behavior were the publicly accepted impetuses behind her untimely exit.
Outcome: Doherty never returned to the original Beverly Hills, 90210 during the remainder of its six-year run, but she later showed up for a guest stint on its less-than remake, 90210. She starred in Charmed from 1998 until 2001, and similarly left that show amidst rumors of a clash with Alyssa Milano.
Isaiah Washington versus T.R. Knight and Patrick Dempsey
In 2006, the award-winning Isaiah Washington disappointed fans of romance in scrubs everywhere when he used a homophobic slur against his Grey's Anatomy co-star, T.R. Knight. His comments led to an on-set argument with Patrick Dempsey, as well as the public outing of Knight. Washington later apologized, but the damage had already been done: Dr. Burke was officially DOA.
Outcome: Washington finished out the remainder of the season, then faded into obscurity when his contract was not renewed the following year. And Cristina totally moved on.
Janet Hubert versus Will Smith
Prof. Vivian Banks was a staple on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The matriarch of the Banks family loved and supported her children and nephew, through good times, bad times, and Playboy pictorials. Unfortunately, actress Janet Hubert's relationship with the show's star, Will Smith, was troubled. Both Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro (Remember him?) spoke out about the supposedly cuckoo bananas starlet on several occasions.
Outcome: Hubert was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid after three seasons, and has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. As a "wink wink, nudge nudge" gag on the show, the Banks family would look at old family photos and question Viv's changed appearance.
Kim Cattrall versus Sarah Jessica Parker
These Sex and the City ladies were the best of friends on camera, but rumors of an on set rivalry plagued the actresses for years. Kim Cattrall fueled the fire when she took longer than her three co-stars to sign on for the movie and its sequel, sparking additional rumors of Parker-induced jealousy.
Outcome: This time, the outcome was pretty good (Not the movies). Cattrall eventually signed on to both films, and the women have been seen together publicly many times since. According to Cattrall, the haters didn't like to see two successful women getting along, so they made the stories up to fan the flames.
Of course, these are only a few of my favorite television scuffles. We'll always have Sheen versus Lorre, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck versus knowledge. Readers, let us know: What are your favorite TV feuds, and why?
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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.