Fans hoping for a “Community” movie announcement are going to have to wait a little longer. The cast and creator Dan Harmon reunited recently for a table read, followed by a Q&A to reminisce about the show — but continue to tap dance around the notion that the second half of the show’s “Six Seasons and a Movie” prophecy might come true.
“We can’t make movies right now,” quipped Donald Glover, who was among the “Community” stars who gathered to read the Season 5 episode “Cooperative Polygraphy,” as part of an event to support COVID-19 relief charities. In particular, the reunion, which streamed on Monday on Sony Pictures TV’s “Community” YouTube page, was a benefit for Frontline Foods and José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, two groups working to get means to frontline responders and vulnerable communities.
But here’s perhaps the breakthrough: During the Q&A, Glover said he would be game for such a film, joining his co-stars, all of whom have reiterated their desire for a “Community” movie. Star Joel McHale has suggested in various interviews that Glover — given his music career as Childish Gambino, his TV career with “Atlanta” and a film docket as well — might be too busy to join in.
Glover, however, was among the “Community” stars expressing quite a bit of nostalgia for the show, which has gained quite a bit more attention in recent weeks after being added to Netflix on April 1.
“Watching it now, I’m like, ‘Oh, this show’s really punk,’” he said. “Really subversive and like kind of punk. We had so much fun and now I’m like, ‘I want to watch this show again, like it was brand new.’”
Glover even recounted the time he and co-star Danny Pudi fell asleep in a corner of the set while shooting the show’s blanket fort in the Season 2 episode “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design.”
“I remember waking up and being like, this is my favorite feeling I’ve ever had,” he said. “I was so happy, and then somebody brought us burgers. I just remember being like, I feel like a child. Getting to play around in this fort, eating burgers, and just laughing with friends. I remember being like, ‘this is special.’”
Creator Dan Harmon admitted that now that so much time has lapsed since the end of “Community” in 2015, he’s found even more appreciation for the show. “When I watch the episodes now, I have these waves come over me of like, first of all, my writers were amazing and probably didn’t get rewarded for it as much as maybe I thought the job was, but second… the whole cast is just like a machine on a basketball court that automatically slam dunks everything that you put onto the court.
“We’ve all had enough success individually that we all know it doesn’t get any better,” he said.
Said Gillian Jacobs: “I think we were lucky to realize that it was special while we were doing it, which you don’t always know it’s the good times when the good times are happening. I just get more sentimental as the years go on.”
Jacobs said as an only child, she had always been a bit of a loner — but “Community” gave her a taste of being part of a large family. “It gave me personally that real life feeling of feeling like part of a group in a way that I don’t think I’d ever really felt like before,” she said.
Yvette Nicole Brown also said that even in hindsight, she felt the long hours working on “Community” were “worth it. If you’re going to leave your family for 16 hours a day, you want to be locked in with this group of people. Every time we’ve come together, if we’re talking on a group chat, or we’re meeting up for some delicious type of meat that Joel encourages us to eat. It’s still that same feeling of people just coming together enjoying the weirdness. Because all of us are crazy. We’re all weird in such unique ways. And we celebrate that weirdness at each of us, which I love.”
Added Jim Rash: “We’re very lucky because we don’t want to leave each other. It feels like we find reasons to get back together which is lovely. And stay in each other’s lives.”
During the reunion, Rash also got a bonus shout-out from Glover. When discussing Rash’s famous “payday rap” on the show as Dean Pelton, real-life famous rapper Glover was enthusiastic: “I’m being dead serious, deadly. That’s the best rap done by anybody dressed like that,” he joked. “When he does it, ‘let me catch my breath,’ it’s so scary and funny. It’s so satisfying because you’re like it feels like he’s being taken over.”
That semi-praise was good enough for Rash: “I’m gonna update my resume, ‘Donald Glover says it’s the best rap in a peanut costume.’”
The stars spent much of the Q&A reminiscing about moments such as the time they first heard Glover’s mix tape; the time Jack Black was a guest, and suddenly the craft services got much better; and all of the inside jokes.
“Everything between us was so sweet,” Alison Brie said. “I felt like I was always sort of learning from everyone. Everyone’s different styles. And that evolved over seasons until we all had this sense of humor together. And anyone who came in we’d be like, ‘sorry, we have inside jokes.”
And now, even their kids are getting into the act. Joel McHale said his kids throw “Community quotes back at him: “My 15 and 12 year old they will walk into the room and go, ‘good news dummies. I spent all my money.’” Jeong’s kids are similarly hooked: “My kids are 12. We’ve been watching the last two years and my kids love the writing. The wordplay and how lyrical the show is.” Pudi said that he’s been watching “Community’ with my kids, but added that it might be “questionable parenting.”
Meanwhile, besides the movie, perhaps the biggest question fans seem to be asking in regards to “Community”: Will we ever get a definitive reveal on the show’s “ass crack bandit”? Alas, it appears that the mystery will continue, Harmon said.
“I would have to watch that episode again and detach myself from it and I could speak as a viewer and say, my pet theory about who it is,” he said. “But it was my job to make sure it could have been anybody. So I don’t know.”
As for what the study group characters might be doing during the pandemic, the stars all had some theories on their characters:
Brown (Shirley): “I think Shirley, like everybody else apparently on Instagram she would be baking a lot of bread. She probably is praying, and her children never age in the ‘Community’ universe so she still has a baby and a 10 year old and a 12 year old, so she’s still home schooling, hopefully with Malcolm Jamal Warner by her side.”
Jacobs (Britta): [asks Harmon] “Britta during the quarantine, she’s trying to protest the protests that are going on to liberate the states,” Harmon said. “So she’s staying 12 feet away.”
Brie (Annie): “Watching Netflix!”
Jeong (Chang): “I think Chang is alive but he found his mannequin leg that he’d been dating for a while and I think he got back together with Veronica.”
Pudi (Abed): “A lot of documentary is happening in this house right now. Documenting a lot of things. He’s probably rewatching different series and ranking them in different orders. So he’s probably watching all the seasons of ‘Community’ and ranking them in his favorite order.”
Rash (Dean Pelton): “He’s definitely quarantined at the school, that’s for sure. Full run of it. He’s probably working on Dean Dangerous and putting it out on Zoom or something. Or maybe he’s practicing entrances into the study group.”
McHale (Winger): “I think he and Keith David (Elroy) decide to actually make the TV show ‘Hard Drive and Wingman.” And they’re shooting in Vietnam. Because when Keith David screamed, ‘Vietnam baby, Vietnam!’ I have ever forgotten it.”
The Q&A came following a table read featuring the cast reading “Cooperative Polygraphy,” a bottle episode that takes place almost entirely in the Greendale Community College library where the show’s study group gathers after the funeral of Pierce (Chevy Chase, who wasn’t in the episode and didn’t participate in the table read). Waiting for them is Pierce’s estate executor, read by “The Mandalorian” star Pedro Pascal, filling in for episode guest star Walton Goggins. Also participating in the table read: The 88’s Keith Slettedahl, who performed the “Community” theme song, “At Least It Was Here.”