Today’s raucous Vulture Festival LA panel featuring the team behind NBC’s meta-comedy Community (2009-2015) was billed as a reunion but the event did not really answer the real “reunion” question — that is, whether the cast and creatives will ever reunite to make a Community movie.
Show creator Dan Harmon and EP/writer Chris McKenna were joined on the panel by cast members Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Jim Rash, Yvette Nicole Brown and Ken Jeong. At the end of a panel filled with inside jokes and tales about cast members’ favorite episodes, Harmon gave an equivocal — meta — answer to the question of whether the band is ever getting back together again for a feature film.
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Harmon called the constant guessing about a future feature “a weird Ouija board thing.” “Who is supposed to say, ‘everyone do this’?” he fretted. “That’s what I’ve always said. I don’t know how it starts.”
“I think it starts with you, Dan,” Brie said sweetly.
“Yeah, then I write it and half the people are like, ‘meh, I don’t want to do it’,” Harmon protested halfheartedly.
Clearly, more than half the cast nodded or expressed their agreement that they indeed would do the movie if asked — even though McHale cracked wise about the amount of money it would take.
Brown put the sentiment into words for everyone. “I just would love to have everybody back again,” she said. “It was a lot of long hours, but we had a lot of fun. It’s a family, so that would be fun.”
Harmon, who was notably fired and rehired as showrunner, was predictably outspoken about his attitudes about studios and networks. “Why am I back — what kind of back-alley deal did we do?” he joked of his return. “I don’t know why I got my job back.”
Still, Harmon and cast members waxed emotional about the importance of the show to their lives and careers.
“At a certain point when the fans started organizing their own conventions, I think I realized there was no guarantee that anything I did going forward was going to have this kind of impact,” said Jacobs. “That’s separate from success…I recognized at the time there was no guarantee that there was anything that I would do that would mean as much to people…this has to be #1.”
Harmon, who went on to become co-creator of the animated series Rick and Morty, joked: “Look, live-action doesn’t move as much merchandise, it’s 15% of an emotional backend.” But he became serious about the impact of Community.
“This is absolutely the thing… of which I am most proud, forever and ever.” Harmon said. “Network TV is not necessarily dead, but it’s turned into a different thing with [all the] streaming platforms now. We were there with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and we were there at the end of this crazy era — the end of must-see TV,” he said.
“We helped kill it,” added Jacobs.