Comic-Con 2012: “Community” Panel

Guarascio and Port promise they're "not going to screw it up".

When it was first announced that new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port would be on the Community panel at Comic Con, there was some chatter concerning whether or not it was a good idea, given how vocal the fans have been about how they replaced Dan Harmon rather unceremoniously. Would they be booed off the stage?  Pelted with fake goatees or bottles of Ketel One vodka?

As it turns out, their introduction to the stage was rather uneventful - polite but not very enthusiastic applause, a noticeable difference from how the cast members and writers were received.  Their (relatively few) contributions were greeted the same; pleasant laughs and applause at their jokes and assurances that the show wouldn't change, and that Greendale would remain the same weird and wonderful place we love.

The cast, however, can say pretty much anything and get a big cheer. Their hijinks were pretty much the same as they always are at these sort of things, albeit somewhat muted given the smaller lineup (while Chevy's absence wasn't surprising, Donald Glover, Jim Rash, and Ken Jeong - often the more outrageous of the bunch during panels - were not part of the show due to previous engagements).  You can really see how great their chemistry is, which is a key ingredient to the show's success - it's a true joy to see how well they get along and create spontaneous comedy so effortlessly.

Sadly, 4th season information was scarce - they don't begin shooting for another month, and they haven't even had their first table read.  A few hints were dropped, however: Troy and Britta's burgeoning romance will continue, the German foosball bullies will return, there will be animation in the season opener, and Jeff's father WILL be seen after being teased in the previous two seasons.  During the roundtables, a few possible dream choices were offered alongside perrenial favorite Bill Murray: John Lithgow, Martin Short, and Steve Martin (interesting that besides Lithgow, all choices are past co-stars with Chevy (Pierce being a self-appointed father figure for Jeff, it will be fun to see one of his old pals in what I assume would be an antagonistic meeting).

Speaking of Pierce, they also promised an episode where we get to see the Hawthorne mansion in full for the first time, and that it would be just as nightmarish and bizarre as Troy has told us.  One thing NOT happening is Britta moving in with Troy, which some fans thought was happening in season 3's finale (she was just helping him move).  Considering the question of whether Chevy would even be back at all, it's good to know they're looking to finally explore his home life outside of the school/study group. Another episode will apparently find them all going to a Inspector Spacetime convention - I was one of few who didn't applaud loudly at that (seriously? You guys want a whole episode about this overused gag?).

Footage-wise, we were treated to the new remix by DJ Steve Porter, which was possibly the best yet, combining both the usual celebration of the previous season as well as a reminder about the show's switch to Friday.  We also saw what I assume was only a chunk of the gag reel (it seemed shorter than the others) and a fan video about the Six Seasons And A Movie Art Show that occurred in LA a few weeks ago.  And on the subject of fans, writer Megan Ganz explained a little shoutout to the fans that probably went unnoticed: when they first introduced Spacetime on the show, fans immediately began writing fan fiction and wikipedia entries on the fictional show, but all of them had written "Blorgon" as "Blogon".  And to her surprise, when she pointed out the typo, they instantly fixed every usage of the word in this material, which is why, as Abed explained late in Season 3, "Blogon is Blorgon for 'Thank you'." It's a very sweet gesture that really proves how much the fans are not only appreciated, but directly influence some of the show's jokes.

Overall it was an enjoyable panel that skirted around potential drama, and despite the lack of Dan Harmon, seemed to be worth the wait for those who had camped out overnight to ensure that they had a seat.  Season 3 comes out on DVD on August 14th, the show returns October 19th.