Tag Archives: Community

Gillian Jacobs: Undaunted by Ratings, ‘Community’ Gets Spooky in Addition to Kooky

(clockwise from right) Gillian Jacobs, Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover NBC photo

NBC’s off-beat “Community” continues to be an island of freshness and originality in a sea of TV sameness.  It’s beloved by critics and loyal fans alike.  Now, if only they could get anybody else to watch.  The numbers continue to be weak against competition including “The Big Bang Theory” and “The X Factor” (not to mention post-season baseball).  But that’s what a DVR is for, right? 

Still, the mood on the set is positive, according to the show’s Gillian Jacobs.  “We’re very proud of the show we create.  That’s about all we can control in the whole equation, so that’s what we focus on,” she notes. 

 Tonight’s (10/27) Halloween-themed episode, “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps” is another inventive piece by creator Dan Harmon.  It’s a scary story-telling anthology that “gives you a chance to peek into people’s minds,” as Jacobs sees it.  

“After having two big party episodes back-to-back the last couple of years, it’s important to try and change it up,” adds the actress, who plays billboard vandal-turned-dream girl Britta.  “There’s a great and different structure for this episode that shows character development within the stories.” 

The company is currently shooting its musical Christmas episode, with “Saturday Night Live’s” Taran Killam as Greendale College’s quirky choir director.  The story has the “Community” study group subbing for the school’s glee club — and performing all original songs.  Jacbos says she doesn’t want to give too much away.   

Besides getting the chance to flex her music muscles on the series, the beautiful 29-year-old has been getting in “as much work as possible” in films between “Community” seasons.  She’ll be seen in two high-profile movies next year — “Seeking a Friend At the End of the World” with Steve Carell, Kiera Knightley, Connie Britton and William Peterson.  And “Revenge for Jolly” that boasts a cast including Kristin Wiig and Elijah Wood.

In the first, she plays “a waitress who is high on ecstacy,” she reports.  “She’s not all that far from Britta, but she’s a lot happier.”  In the latter, about a man out to avenge the death of his dog, she plays “a prosititue in a really cheap motel.” 
 What’s with all the lowlife characters?  Isn’t it time for the Juilliard graduate that the New York Times marked as having the glow of a star to play a more elegant role?  A princess or something?  What would she like to do next?

“I’d do that, yes,” she laughs.  “Maybe a princess.”

Joel McHale Talks Making Fun of Kardashians, New ‘Community’ Season

Joel McHale NBC photo

Funny man Joel McHale shrugs off the flurry of headlines that hit the internet after he was quoted saying he’s not allowed to talk about the Kardashians on his E! “The Soup.” 

“That was a misquote.  I make fun of the Kardashians every week, people can tell you.  What I can’t do,” he stresses, “is say anything about their sex tape.  That is the thing I’m not really supposed to talk about or make fun of.”

If ever you’re not sure whether McHale is joking, remember, the smart money is on the side of yes, he is.

But he’s serious when he says he’s grateful that his NBC “Community” is coming back for a third season Sept. 22.  New network chieftain Robert Greenblatt “was instrumental in that, and God bless the man.  We’re so happy to be back.”  Still, the show is in one of the most hotly-contested timeslots on the fall schedule, Thursday nights oppose Simon Cowell’s new “X Factor” on Fox, the “Charlie’s Angels” reboot on ABC — plus “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS and “Vampire Diaries” on the CW.  McHale is also serious when he says he hopes they keep their viewership.

The DVD release of Season 2 this coming Tuesday (9/6) might help that along.  It contains such critics’ and audience favorites of the inventive, off-beat comedy as the zombie Halloween episode, the all-stop-animation Christmas episode, and the two-part “A Fistful of Paintballs” and “For a Few Paintballs More.”

According to McHale, the show is already in production on its fifth episode for the new season.  So he can assure us, “There’s gunplay, there’s fire, there’s live animals — all kinds of crazy stuff is happening” for viewers to look forward to.    

He hasn’t had any scenes with “Community’s” latest high-profile new teacher, John Goodman, so far — but he’s enough of a fan that he’s been standing by setside to watch the star of stage, screen and “Roseanne” fame at work.

“He’s great.  He’s playing the Vice Dean of the Air Conditioning Repair School,” reports McHale.  “It turns out there’s this whole other part of the school we didn’t know about that’s the only profitable part of the school.”

Also new to the zany community college at the heart of the comedy is “The Wire’s” Omar Williams.  “He’s the new biology teacher” — who has a criminal background.

‘Community’s’ Yvette Nicole Brown Honored by Real-Life Alma Mater

Yvette Nicole Brown NBC photo

“Community’s” Yvette Nicole Brown heads to Ohio this weekend, where she will be honored with a Distinguished Alumna Award from her real-life alma-mater, the University of Akron.  She’ll also speak to students there.  The school could not have made a better choice.

Besides her talent for being funny, the sparkling personality has a gift for encouraging others in their dreams – and is a walking testimonial to the power of hard work and education.  While attending UA on scholarship, she worked in the dean’s office, pledged a sorority, served as a school ambassador and led campus tours, was a radio DJ — and carried a full load.

These days she’s still working hard (“Community” returns for its new season tonight), but certainly has more financial leeway than back in college days.  She can, for instance, indulge her penchant for Muppets.

“I will not tell you right now how many Kermits are in my house,” she confesses.  “Every incarnation of ‘The Muppet Show’ I have watched.  I love what they embody:  believe in your dreams, take care of each other, build a community, be responsible, don’t make excuses.  It’s all solid stuff.”

We’re sure that when Kermit realizes Yvette is a fan, he’ll be very proud.

‘Community’ Finale a Game-Changer says Yvette Nicole Brown

Yvette Nicole Brown NBC photo

Look out, ‘Community’ fans — tonight’s (5/20) season finale episode ‘is a real game-changer.’ So reports the show’s Yvette Nicole Brown, who adds, ‘The study group as we know it may shift next season. What takes place in the last five to seven minutes of the episode will change the dynamic of a lot of relationships. Some will love it, some hate it. Some will go ‘Yeah! Yeah!’ and some will go, ‘What?”

How does the actress feel about it? ‘I think it’s interesting. I don’t know that I saw it coming,’ she says. ‘It doesn’t involve my character so much, so I get to be more like an observer.’

Whatever the response to the changes, the Joel McHale series featuring Chevy Chase is assured a return next season. Brown, who’s amassing her own following as loopy advice-dispensing, Baptist divorcee Shirley, feels confident her character will ‘continue to have her ups and downs, but whatever she goes through, it will be for good reasons. As crazy as our show is, it has a lot of heart.’

A Christian herself, Brown says that series creator Dan Harmon has been, and continues to be, respectful of her faith as he writes Shirley. ‘If he does something with her that creates a crisis of faith, it will be in a good way and nothing that will go against what I believe,’ she says.

In fact, Harmon has taken some cues from Brown herself when it comes to putting words into her mouth. The effervescent actress admits that friends and family ‘think I’m playing myself. Maybe a cartoon version of me. I don’t think I’m as judgmental as Shirley. My mom is convinced I’m playing her.’ And that view has some merit, Brown admits. Like Shirley, she was a divorced single parent ‘who could be very tough when she felt her babies were threatened. I saw her as sweet, kind of like a Muppet. Shirley also has those two sides.’

F. Gary Gray Revealing New Sides of Foxx, Butler, Twitter

law_abiding_citizen_ver3Director F. Gary Gray is taking a lot of pleasure in the fact that that his upcoming “Law Abiding Citizen” thriller is going to show moviegoers new aspects of both Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler.

“The chemistry between them reminds me of the onscreen chemistry you got with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in ‘Silence of the Lambs,’” Gray says.

The film has Butler as a man who goes on a stunningly planned spree of revenge after one of the men responsible for his family’s killing is set free in a plea deal — arranged by Foxx’s district attorney character.

“A lot of times when you hear Gerard Butler’s name, people go into how great-looking he is or how much of a ladies man he is,” Gray observes.  “I think with this, people are really going to get a sense of how much range he has as a serious actor.”

And they’ll get to see Oscar winner Foxx in a role that might previously have been considered “Denzel-like.”

MEANWHILE: Gray has jumped on the Twitter thing in a big way, Tweeting news bites, photos and video throughout production of the “Law Abiding Citizen” psychological thriller.  And now, he’s fallen into using the new medium as a marketing tool.  With the picture in post-production en route to an October premiere, Gray has announced his own contest in which the winner – the person who brings the most followers to Gray’s web page — will get to come to the “Law Abiding Citizen” premiere, complete with travel and accommodations provided.

F. Gary Gray, director of Overture Films' "Law Abiding Citizen"

F. Gary Gray, director of Overture Films' "Law Abiding Citizen"

“There’s been a great response from all over the world,” says Gray, whose credits range from “The Italian Job” and “Be Cool” to his unforgettable video for TLC’sWaterfalls.”  “It really is exciting, and you know what’s really funny?  It wasn’t something that was planned by the head of marketing.  It just kind of happened.  You start to develop a digital kind of relationship with the Twitterers.  It’s reciprocal.

“At any given time, you have access to thousands of opinions, and you can get constructive criticism — mostly constructive,” he goes on.  “That’s pretty hard to beat.  No middle man, no conduit.  It’s not filtered.  It’s raw, real time response.  It’s important for artists to keep their fingers on the public pulse.  This is an effective way to do it.”

Gray has also been doing what might be called Twitter tutoring – answering followers’ questions about how to break into the movie business, about how to get cast in films, about writing, directing – in addition to queries about working with stars like Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, Charlize Theron, John Travolta, Vince Vaughn and many more.  “Last night, I had a marathon Twittering session, a little over two hours.  That was ok, I was at home, I had a snack,” he says.  “I didn’t actually plan it, not at all.  It was just one of those things.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: With Chevy Chase returning to NBC as part of the buzz-worthy fall comedy “Community,” he let it be known at the recent TV critics’ press tour that he’d like to guest host “Saturday Night Live” again – which would be his first such guest hosting in years.

He elaborates that “I may do it now because I have something to plug.  I’ll ask my guys to get on Lorne’s a—,” he says, referring to show producer Lorne Michaels.  “I love going in there and hosting…I’ve watched it with this cast, and been there with this cast because I love these kids, they’re like my kids now, you know.  I think it’s a very good cast.”  As far as the show bringing back memories, however, Chase admits, “Once you lost John (Belushi) and Gilda (Radner), it was tough.  I mean, just emotionally.”

Chevy not only has “Community,” the junior college-set comedy with Joel McHale, coming up.  There’s also next year’s big screen “Hot Tub Time Machine” with John Cusack.  “And it’s wonderful, a lot of fun,” he tells us.  “I play the repairman. The hot tub time machine goes a little berserk and leaves these guys in the ‘80s.  I can’t tell you much more.”

THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS ARE ALIVE: Funny lady Melissa Peterman is bracing herself for the Sing-Along “Sound of Music” show at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday (8/26).  The event is all about the audience’s shared experience, she points out, complete with folks dressing up like Maria Von Trapp, the nuns and other characters – or even objects — from the beloved musical.  “When I first got involved, I knew there was a costume parade, but I didn’t know the degree people went to.  There were costumes that looked like they came from Broadway…The parade took two-and-half hours,” she recalls.  That was four Sing-Alongs ago, and the former “Reba” costar says things move along faster now.

“One of my favorites – I think it was two years ago – the guy dressed up as the carburetor.  It was giant, like 8 feet tall.  I think he won.  Another good one was the guy who came dressed as a plumber with a tag that said ‘Chris’” – Christopher Plummer.  “The big drag queens are amazing and the little kids are so much fun.  It’s a wonderful mix of all sorts of people, families and single people, all ages,” she adds.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster