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Community: Joel McHale Talks Working with Chevy Chase; Chase Leaving

Earlier this month, Community creator Dan Harmon offered his thought process in bringing the saga of the "Greendale Seven" of Joel McHale (Jeff), Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Danny Pudi (Abed), Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley), Alison Brie (Annie), Donald Glover (Troy) & Chevy Chase (dearly-departed Pierce) onto the small screen (more on that in a minute). Now we're hearing from McHale about what the Community experience was like when he checked in with Michael Rosenbaum's (Smallville, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) Inside of You podcast (a personal favorite of ours). Specifically, what it was like working with SNL legend Chase and those rumored (and not so rumored) "interesting" times (translation: "hellish") with him on set.

Our study group is not happy on Community, courtesy of NBCUniversal.
Our study group is not happy on Community, courtesy of NBCUniversal.

Here's a look at the clip, where McHale explains that he believes Chase wasn't a fan of the hours needed to produce each episode that would result in "not great moods" and times when production schedules were shifted to attempt to accommodate. He also discusses Chase's departure under "quite crazy circumstances", that "it could be tough some days; other days, great", and the last time he called his ex-co-star:

During an interview with Vulture's Good One podcast, Harmon revealed that he thinks about the movie "at least once a week" and that "locks are coming away," explaining that "the only problems are becoming the creative ones, which is great because I love those problems. I love having these conversations, and they're being had." But that said, moving forward with a big-screen take on a beloved series that's been off the air for a while (and honestly, didn't have Game of Thrones-level numbers of viewers) raises some questions for Harmon- here are some of the highlights.

Should It Cater to New Viewers or the "Community" Faithful?: "Here's the biggest philosophical question: Are you supposed to service a mythical new viewer? The obvious, dogmatic, practical, off-the-street answer is like, no, you don't. It's fan service. Why would there be a 'Community' movie? Who do you think is going to walk in off the street and buy popcorn and sit and watch a 'Community' movie like that?

Saying that that person doesn't exist is a lot different from asking yourself structurally if you're supposed to design the movie for them because there's a new viewer inside of all of us. If every Marvel movie started with inside references to all 90 other Marvel movies, even if you had seen all of them — even if on one level you'd be like, 'This is the greatest Marvel movie ever because all of the movies are in here'. I think that a part of your brain would be going, Yeah, but it's kind of not a good movie for this reason. It's just speaking in gibberish. What does this mean? I exist in that camp like you?

Formalistically, you owe a movie that I think the fans can not only enjoy, but they can stand back and go, 'You know, the crazy thing about this 'Community' movie is that if you didn't know there was a show, this is an insanely good movie'. There's a reason to watch it and then definitely watch the series because now you're like, 'Holy crap'. I don't know if that's arrogance, pretentiousness, responsibility, self-deprecation, torture. I can't get myself out of that camp.

Finding a Storyline That Would Fit A Six-Years-Later Timeline: "Do you want to see these people play dress-up in their old outfits and come in and go, 'Look at me. Meep meep, moop moop. Look what I used to do'? Yes, to some degree; no, to some degree. And contrary to that, do you want to see these people not doing that and coming in in pantsuits and going, 'I'm an adult now. Meep-meep, moop-moop. Remember when we did this?' Is there a way to provide a little bit of all of it for everybody and come out on the other side, with everybody going, 'Wow, that is like everything I didn't even know I wanted from a Community reunion?' If history is any teacher, what I will try to do is solve all those problems, and I'll end up making a big plate of self-indulgent spaghetti that only five people love."

Image: NBCUniversal

Previously, Harmon took to Instagram to weigh in on the sitcom debate over which show is funnier, Friends or The Office. Well, let's just say that Harmon's going off the grid with his choice- a very personal one that should make Community fans happy. And not just because Harmon was making the case for their beloved series but also for the teasingly optimistic way he wrapped his post that's reignited all of the recent movie talks: "#sixseasonsandasteadybutcautiousbuildofincreasinglyexcitingspeculation":

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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