Community Season 4: Alison Brie and Danny Pudi Discuss the New Season

Community has come back to their loyal fans, and TV Equals was on hand to learn more about this new season from Alison Brie and Danny Pudi. During the conference call, the two talked about what it’s been like without former showrunner Dan Harmon, Abed episodes and Annie’s on-and-off relationship with Jeff.

Working without Harmon

This season is, of course, different in the fact that Harmon is no longer steering the show. Brie said that the new showrunners and cast have been working together to keep the show as preserved as they can.

“I think…it’s a tough thing to learn that your showrunner’s not coming back to the show and Dan was such a big part of the show. But 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,” said Brie. “When we met the new guys, they really stressed how much they loved the show and wanted to keep it to the same and some of our writers were the same…we were certainly really vocal this season to really speak to what our characters would or wouldn’t do…so we were all working together to keep the show intact.”

Added responsibility

According to Pudi, the actors are now like stewards for their characters and the show now that the show is soldiering on without its original leader.

Community itself is…very specific…so for all of us, I think there was a lot of fear…Would the show maintain it’s level and also, would people get it? I think for us, the one thing we wanted to do and come across this year is that our genuine love for the show comes across. I think you’ll see that. There’s an extra level of responsibility we have, too, as actors, to really make sure we’re still staying true to who these people are and the world around Greendale. But you definitely can’t replace Dan Harmon. He created something that’s pretty amazing and I’m forever thankful for that.

The Dreamatorium

We’ve seen Annie and Abed interact before, but not like when they went into the Dreamatorium, where they both learned things about themselves and each other.

“I loved shooting that episode. Obviously Danny and I love each other,” said Brie when discussing the Dreamatorium episode. “…Obviously Troy and Abed are sort of unit and Troy is adventuring with Abed all the time, but you don’t really get to see other people going into that world…By having Annie go in there, you got to let the whole audience go in there and really take this journey into Abed’s mind, which is a place we’re never really privy to. I think it was really special because I think Annie and Abed have distinct differences in their characters but [they] also have similarities in their lack of being able to relate to other people and Annie’s never had a lot of friends and I think Abed’s never had this many friends at one time. So, in certain ways, they’re similar…outcasts and it was fun to watch them get to know each other.”

“Yeah, I think it’s fun to see how they have to face both [of] their neuroses. They both love control and it’s something you get to really explore in that episode.”

Annie and Abed’s relationship post-Dreamtorium

So, now that Annie and Abed have bonded over their common interests and bad control habits, just how will Abed and Annie’s relationship develop this season?

“I don’t think it’s really a throughline for the fourth season, but certainly, when you see these characters relate in the fourth season, there’s a closeness, a significant closeness now that’s happening,” said Brie. “It’s almost like Annie has entered into Troy territory. Obviously nobody can be a Troy, but…since Annie moved in, she’s really kind of entered [Troy and Abed’s] world and is accepted in that world, so that understanding exists within the character in the fourth season.”

“There’s something kind of nice in that we understand each other and where we see each other thriving, and I think a lot of that is because of the Dreamatorium. We know that we both have this very specific worldview,” added Pudi.

Jeff and Annie’s relationship

Annie and Jeff’s relationship has always been on the verge of starting, but will it actually begin sometime this season? Brie said it won’t, but other things will happen.

“This season is sort of a fun season for Jeff and Annie fans because, as usual, their relationship doesn’t really progress. I think [there’s been] a progression in terms of Annie’s maturity and their maturity as friends in terms of her admitting she sort of has this crush on Jeff and I think Annie will always have a crush on Jeff,” said Brie. “I don’t know if Jeff will ever be fully comfortable really getting together with Annie. It’s not as primary a focus on Jeff’s radar as it is on Annie’s…So I think this season is sort of like them acknowledging and…kind of moving past it and just being good friends. But at the same time for fans, there are some…interesting things between Joel [McHale] and I.”

Abed-centric episodes

Some of the most creative episodes are the ones involving Abed and the way he sees the world. Pudi talked about what it’s like to do those episodes.

“I don’t want to say a shift, but maybe starting in Season Three, especially, [the show] started to dive deeper into Abed’s mind, which, in some ways, it’s been great because it allows us to go into these really interesting worlds,” he said. “…Sometimes I’m…relived when it’s not an Abed-centric episode. For instance, when we do the documentary episode; I’m excited I’m behind the camera literally in the episode because it allows me a week to not have to memorize monologues from a movie I haven’t seen.”

Community airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.