It's five months later than anticipated, but the quirky comedy Community will finally debut its fourth season on NBC Thursday night. And as a low-rated show that has always relied on a fervent fan base to survive, everyone involved in crafting the wacky adventures of the motley crew of students at Greendale Community College is pitching in to help activate that cult viewership -- even the often unseen members of the writing staff.
Six writers, including the now-departed Megan Ganz (who has gone to Modern Family following the Community wrap) participated in a chat with fans on Reddit on Wednesday, dishing details about unused ideas, off-screen difficulties and on-set antics. Here are the highlights:
-- NBC, they say, did not want to run with the now-famous Dungeons & Dragons-themed episode that ran in season two. "Thankfully, Dan rejected their rejection," Ganz said.
-- Do Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Jeff (Joel McHale) have a sex tape, and does Abed (Danny Pudi) possess it? Ganz: "We have discussed this in the writers' room, actually. The general consensus was: definitely."
-- How did they deal with Chevy Chase's exit before the season ended? "There are a couple episodes where we had to cover his untimely absence, but his departure is dealt with in the finale. It might be a bit quick and possibly unfulfilling, but I had exactly one day to come up with something to cover it (mid-filming)."
-- It was a corporate decision to bring back the diabolical Chang (Ken Jeong): "Well, Sony and NBC I guess, since Ken Jeong is under contract with the show. But I think we found a really funny way to get him back at school, considering that he left last season as a pyro-homocidal maniac. Plus, no one wanted to lose Chang. He's the crazy glue that holds our group together."
-- A bit cut between curmudgeon Leonard and Annie (Alison Brie) ends with Leonard telling Annie, "You look like you should be tattooed on a sailor."
-- Writer Tim Saccardo is a Reddit naif: "Somebody gave me 'a month's worth of gold.' What the hell does that mean?!"
-- The new showrunners are less open about their ... genitals? "Moses Port and David Guarascio give us significantly less updates on their bodily functions. Dan was very open that way."
-- Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed spinoff idea: "I hope I'm not stepping on his future development, but I think Dan always pictured them opening a detective agency. With Annie and her chloroform, of course."
-- The "Remedial Chaos Theory" episode, which consisted of several timelines and alternate worlds, was all Harmon's idea. "in between seasons two and three, Dan had some kind of drunk brainstorm, which I believe he texted to Megan. Basically it hit him that you could use some kind of simple mechanism, like a game night, and explore different realities based on which character wasn't in the room. Dan, Megan and McKenna I think were the driving forces in breaking that story from there. They are Gods in my book."