Few shows face as much adversity as “Community” has in the leadup to its fourth season. Previous showrunner Dan Harmon was fired, Chevy Chase created several problems on set and a prolonged hiatus kept the show away from its dedicated fans. Despite these complications, the show has finally returned for a truncated 13-episode run. And while “Community” may no longer be too clever for its own good, it remains faithful to the characters and storylines that have developed over the past few years.
In a conference call, “Community” stars Alison Brie and Danny Pudi talked about the future of the show and how fans can expect to see the show progress in the coming months. Though perhaps inevitable, Dan Harmon’s name came up almost immediately in the conversation.
“I think we were a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but that’s not really a new feeling, having worked on our show for four years now,” Brie said. “So I mean when we met the new guys, they really stressed a lot how much they loved the show and wanted to keep it the same.”
“I think [Harmon] created something that’s pretty amazing and we’re forever thankful for that,” Pudi said.
Brie and Pudi, known for portraying Annie and Abed, respectively, addressed the show’s legacy and how fans and new watchers will come to appreciate the show.
“It will take people some time to catch up with [‘Community’] because it’s something you’re not used to seeing. It’s a little bit of a scary thing,” Brie said. “Sometimes I wonder though, on the other hand, about how the show will age just because so many of our references are current.”
Pudi elaborated on Brie’s response by bringing up the fanaticism surrounding “Arrested Development,” one of his favorite shows.
“I think that part of the reason why I was able to also buy into [‘Arrested Development’] and its [comedy] is because I was able to watch it in bunches,” he said. “It’s a word-of-mouth show, and I was able to kind of go in being like, ‘I’m going to give this show a full chance. I’m going to watch all three seasons right now.’ And immediately I had a common language with a bunch of people who watch [‘Arrested’], and I think there is an amount of that within Community as well.”
In terms of what fans have to look forward to for the rest of season four, Brie spoke enthusiastically about this season’s Christmas episode, which she described as an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope.” In addition, both Brie and Pudi praised the season finale, written by longtime “Community” writer Megan Ganz.
“I think the finale is such a special treat,” said Brie. “It’s one of my favorite episodes this season and I think that it has a lot of elements in it that [are] really just made for the fans.”
Since this episode may in fact be the show’s last, Pudi added, “In some ways [the finale] is a little bit of a love fest.
A version of this article appeared in the March 5 print edition. Jeremy Pick is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.