Perhaps you heard? Community fired some guy and then re-hired some guy. For many fans, this was the greatest news possible for the upcoming fifth season because the "guy" in question is Dan Harmon, the difficult-to-work-with-but-so-great-to-have-working creator of one of network TV's most innovative comedies. 

Harmon made his first major public appearance as reinstated Commmunity showrunner at Comic-Con on Sunday, on the stage of the cavernous Hall H. How Harmon would "behave" was a big question coming into the panel. Would he be the cranky Harmon who's been the subject of many an opinion? Or would his time off have turned him into a kinder, gentler man? What would he say about Season 4? And what are his plans for Season 5? I attended the panel and figured I'd live-blog it, too. So let's stop asking questions, get streets ahead, and start getting some answers! 

– And we're starting, only 15 minutes late! 

– The opening video shows news reports about discontinued junk food being re-released (Coke, the McRib, Twinkies), and a man on the moon planting the E. Pluribus Anus flag. Then highlights, highlights, highlights!!! And then a love letter to fans who helped get the show renewed over and over again. It's a variant of a video we saw before. This one has Twitter testimonials done in the style of Star Wars.


– A mystery man comes out in a cardboard Iron Man outfit while someone off stage makes sweet sound effects. Danny Pudi and Jim Rash pull off his helmet and yep, you guessed it, it's Dan Harmon. He's shouting at us! What's he saying! Something about a Phoenix? Rising from ashes? I'm kind of scared but everyone else seems to be eating it up. 


– A video from Dan's "father" is Joel McHale in black-and-white, talking about Community getting renewed. He introduces the moderator, the ever-present geek-culture Starbucks of a person, Chris Hardwick. More like Chris Hard-worker, right?

– The cast and producers come out: Jim Rash, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs (who looks adorable), Chris McKenna, and Dan Harmon. Loud cheers to all, crescendo-ing with Danny Pudi, I'd say. No Joel McHale, no Donald Glover.

– Dan is back, what does that mean for Community? "New levels of anxiety that will trickle into the show, I'm sure," he says. He talks about the high levels of pressure, and he doesn't consider Season 5 to be the last 13 episodes of the series. He says they're the most important 13 episodes in the history of the show, and that it's time to get back to the emotional basics.

– Season 5 will have an animated episode, but Harmon says he doesn't want to make too many plans. He says Season 3 was over-planned. He wants to get back to the organic feel of Seasons 1 and 2. 

– "I've never felt secure for one single second on this show," Jacobs says. But then she's all like, whatever, this is how I live. This is how I will live. 

– Pudi says Abed isn't alone anymore, the journey from Seasons 1 to 5 has been rad. He says they're truly surprised they're still doing this. 

– Hardwick says Community is the nerdiest show on television, and the crowd WHOOOOOS! What a bunch of nerds. (I whooooooo'd too.)

– Jeong is still a licensed doctor. "So you can still write 'scrips?" Hardwick asks. "Hey, these aren't autographs," Jeong jokes. He also says that he was in Vancouver to promote The Hangover 3 and people were asking for Chang more than his Hangover character.

– Brie said some stuff, but I was too busy taking pictures of her. I'm sure it was in English. Something about Annie maturing and not maturing? I dunno. What? Sorry. Alison Brie is like Medusa except instead of turning to stone you turn to jelly. 

– Brown thanked the fans sincerely, for camping, for waiting in line, for showing love. She truly is an awesome woman. She said she saw a Shirley cosplay and was amazed. 

– Rash, sorry, Academy-Award winner Jim Rash, talked about his famous moment mocking Angelina Jolie at the Oscars. He was told that Jolie and some guy named Brad Pitt thought it was "amusing." Then he talked about trying to channel Harmon when he wrote the Season 4 episode "Basic Human Anatomy." 

– There are no full scripts finished for Season 5, just outlines for several scripts. So... no footage, obviously. 

– Harmon compared the show to a rescue dog that pees every time there's lightning, and he just wants to give it a Milk Bone and let it know he's not going to hurt it. Yep, that sounds about right. So the first few episodes are going to be all about the characters and making them seem like they live near each other. "Get ready for grounded story work!" he exclaimed, joking and realizing how boring that sounds to an audience.

– Annie was a ripoff of Tracy Flick in Election. Britta is an amalgam of Harmon's ex-girlfriends, but she shares Harmon's politics, the girl who rants about stuff but isn't quite up-to-date on the stuff she talks about. Abed represents several different parts of Harmon. "Ken is the guy from the Hangover." Yvette is the part of Harmon who is outspoken and idealistic, and in Season 5, Harmon wants to see it get her into trouble. Jim (the Dean) is the guy who's made up of everything you think should be a secret, your hidden lives come to fruition. Harmon ends this riff with "What am I saying?" 

– Now we're telling Dan Harmon we love him because he essentially asked for it. 

Community is going into to syndication this fall. Starting September 16, the show will air on one of your local stations five days a week. Starting September 20 it'll also air from 9pm to 11pm on Fridays on Comedy Central.

– The fan giveaway was a non-disposable red Solo cup, you know, like the ones you used to get drunk from. Yesterday. By the way, please cut back on your drinking. You're embarrassing yourself. 

– Jacobs made a crack about the Community gag reel, saying it was from her film Choke. You know, like choking and gagging. And it fell kinda flat but adorable just like you'd expect a Jacobs joke to do. 

– The gag reel was set to Brie's freestyle werewolf rap. Lots of people laughing. People blowing lines. You know. Gag reels. 

– And just a reminder, Season 4 DVD will be out on August 4.

– FAN QUESTIONS! These might be weeeeeeeeeeeeeeird! 

– First question: What was your favorite piece of fan art or fan video? Harmon likes the music tribute videos, Brown liked some nesting dolls.

– The second fan question comes from Dino Stomoopopolpolopolis (spell check?), who plays Starburns. He says first of all we can change the hashtag to #UnfuckSony? Then he asks what the writers smoke when they write the show. Then he promotes some of his stuff. And this might be going on a little long. But someone from the show asks if Starburns is coming back and he says he doesn't know. McKenna announces that Dino will be writing full-time on the show. 

– "What's your favorite moment from the show?" Brown: Law & Order and the puppets. Rash: "Remedial Chaos Theory." Pudi: He liked being a vampire and approaching women as different versions of himself, and his conversations during "Critical Film Theory." Brie: Oh jeez, again, I missed what she said. She liked a deep conversation with other characters. [Ed. note because Jen was there too and Joel McHale wasn't around to distract her: Brie talked about the last scene of the Troy's birthday episode, can't remember what it was called at the moment, when Annie and Troy kind of bond as he's dropping her off at home, and how it really hit her that they were creating real emotion on a network comedy.] Jeong: Loved "Modern Warfare." Harmon asks what their favorite moments from Season 4 were... haha. Jacobs loved "Paradigms of Human Memory." Me too, Gillian! McKenna says he loves the Dungeons & Dragons episode. Me too, Chris!!! "There's definitely a spot on the whiteboard that says 'D&D2'," says Harmon. 

– Dino texted Dan while the panel was still going on and asked him to correct some of the promotional shilling he'd rambled off earlier. Southwest corner, not Southeast corner. 

– Harmon says the harder it gets behind the scenes of Community, the funnier the show gets.

– Harmon takes a moment to clarify his comments on Season 4, saying he didn't mean to hurt feelings and that it was part of his weird little potty-mouthed podcast. He says he makes the show to make up for "the despicable person [he is]." He also says, "I am a creepy jerk."

– A fan tells Hardwick he's her idol, and he's the most kickass moderator. Hardwick says, "Well this just got interesting." 

– The conversation shifts to the production team. Boring! Just kidding. Harmon notes that the hallways of Greendale are covered in bulletins that have all sorts of details on them. Pudi says the pillow forts have been exceptional. 

– A fan talks about meeting Jacobs at a Wilco concert. And now things are getting a litttttle creepy. Someone run this guy's plates? Can we get extra security for her? But then he segues into a question about fan interaction and getting recognized. Pudi talks about the time a fan met him while he was peeing at a urinal, and the fan tried to shake hands with him. And then oh boy, that dude's friends are actually here at the panel. 

– A Greendale Human Being is roaming around the audience. 

– What do you guys want to see your characters do this season? Something different? Rash wants to see the Dean get fascinated with something new to unravel some of his demons. Brown wants to meet Shirley's sister, who she apparently doesn't have a good relationship with. She knows her character pretty damn well! Brie wants to see Annie be empowered in some way and find some ambition. Jeong wants to do whatever Harmon wants him to do. Pudi is—there's a nose-picking contest going on between Brie and Jeon I think? Or maybe it's flirting? Oh they're licking their fingers. Annnnnd Brie is sucking on her finger and looking into Jeong's eyes, and now she's sticking her finger in Jeong's mouth, and now she's giving Pudi a Wet Willie. Wow. And all along, Pudi is ad-libbing what he wants Abed to do, but who knows what he's saying?


– McHale could NOT make it here but he really wanted to. He's shooting a movie, and his work could not be rescheduled. Brie shouts out to Glover, but no reason is given for his absence. 

– And it's over. Enjoyable, but we didn't get many new details about Season 5. Doesn't matter that much, though, because this cast is incredible and they know how to work WITH a crowd instead of just how to work a crowd. I give the panel a B-plus. 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/2/2015

Season 6 : Episode 13

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Really, "a mystery man", Tim? That whole audience knew from the second discount Iron Man arrived on the stage - a la Iron Man 2's Stark Expo scene with mouth noises for the suit - who it was, and it was BEAUTIFUL. I recorded audio of it but I doubt there's anything you can hear except the folks around me and myself laughing our asses off. Why did you find it frightening? Because we were a Community cult, because we were banging our giveaway Community red cups in unison, chanting Harmon's name as we slaughtered NBC and Sony executives in a makeshift altar?
Gillian Jacobs' comment about not feeling secure was about the fact that this was her first regular acting job, if I remember correctly. So the quote wasn't a negative about the show, I thought. She was really great though, she's such a trooper for taking a dicky character's behavior on her shoulders when she's much sweeter and less annoying in interviews.
I wanted to ask Pudi what he thought of all the Abed smiling in season 4, but the question line was pretty long, and that was before Dino crashed it. I totally bought Dino's booklet afterwards, too.
I also whooo'd, nerd.
Brie's tale was of her character's arc getting taken off-topic and changing and she wants to... oh, I dunno, I was just happy to be there.
I was surprised how different Brown's real voice was from her Shirley voice. I loved that she owned being mistaken for Sherri Shepherd more than once.
Dan Harmon's "get ready for grounded story work" and the extension of that gag, I wonder if he realized how much the audience was genuinely happy to hear that stuff. Yes, Community in Hall H isn't the biggest insane draw compared to Marvel movies and Warner Bros and such, but Community has characters who are true to themselves which is saying way more than most of those films... IRON MAN 3 with your fake character development that made no sense at all!
Quick question, how smart was it to give away red cups and tell them the audience could use them to get dollar beers from 4 to 5pm after the panel when many of us would be driving home right after that? "REALLY SMART" you say?
Dino Stamopopolous' moment was FAN TASTIC. One of the things he was promoting was a mini comic book he wrote and was illustrated by Leah Tiscione, who was getting each of the $2 he was selling it for outside the panel (which he had to text in to correct the location of, that was beautiful). I got issue 177/500, an autograph, and a dicky comment about walking around jerking off.
What was with every panel I saw this con having way too many "what's your favorite..." questions? I could have spent an hour asking questions and I'd hope most other fans could too, but "what's your favorite time you blinked?" seems to be the one people rush to the mic for. Grrrrrr.
No Tim, it was the SouthEAST corner of Hall H, the Southwest corner is what he said in there but that corner is a loading dock. I know my con really well. I used that knowledge to save Mark Christopher Lawrence ("Big Mike" from Chuck) and his entourage through the lobby on Saturday night after a wall of people stopped us from getting to the 5th street crossing. Apparently, professionals aren't allowed in the lobby after exhibit hall close anymore, but badass con faithful like myself know how to circumvent that (you speak with authority and push through the doors, it was great).
That Greendale Human Being, I was in line with him for 5 hours to get into this panel (ok, I was there for Doctor Who first, which I got skunked on), and he was SO COLD outside in line. We watched him shivering, that little white suit was not much protection from the unseasonable weather.
I just checked my audio, you can't hear what Pudi is saying all the way through, mainly from too much laughter (especially me, sorrrrrry). You can make out about 2/3rds, he's really good, but holy crap I needed those laughs after not making it into Doctor Who.
That B-plus is fair.
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Sweet! I can watch Community again! Thanks Tim!
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I got so mad when I saw that Donald went to another panel for a show he had a small part in but couldn't stick around another day to do the Community panel? To me that is just being ungrateful, this cast is like a family and I don't get why Donald is doing this. Sure I understand he wants to do other things but Joel has 2 shows plus movies, Allison also has 2 shows and the other cast does other things. This is just so frustrating we finally get Dan back only to have things start to come apart!
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Thanks, Tim!
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So is Glover pulling back from Season 5 because he doesn't like working for Harmon, or is that a vicious rumor?
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I think rumor, because majority of people, including other community actors said he wants to focus on his music career and the show he is developing for NBC
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As much as I love the concept episodes that Dan Harmon pulled off in the first 3 seasons, I think making the show a bit more grounded is a good thing, especially after season 4, which was way too focused on forced concept episodes and turning the characters from the first 3 seasons into caricatures. Hopefully we'll be seeing the characters get good stories this season, including those who have been underused/misused (i.e. Shirley and Chang respectively, although if they can't come up with a good story for Chang, I'd rather they reduced his role this season).

I am a little worried about there being an animated episode, because we had the stop-motion episode and animated clips in "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism," and "History 101." And same with the D&D2 comment. However, this is Dan Harmon we're talking about. I trust him a lot more with concept episodes than I would the season 4 showrunners, even when it's a concept we've seen before (see "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux," and "Curriculum Unavailable").

Also, yay for Dino being back, along with Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna. As much as I'm worried about Troy's reduced role, especially after Chevy Chase leaving the show, I am very excited to see competent writers, that worked on the good seasons of the show, working on season 5.
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SO glad to have Harmon back!
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I know Danny Pudi is married, but I think he hooked up with Alison brie or is hooking up, she just clings to him, you don't see that with friends. This interview she would not let go of him http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5IZy2PgEaY
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Haha Starburns isn't the only one questioning what the writers are smoking sometimes when writing an episode of Community..
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OK so I know I was being a real butt about season 4, especially towards the end, but you know what? They've won me back over. I'M HERE, COMMUNITY!!! Take me with you!!
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When the hell are you going to get to Breaking Bad?
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Sorry, but after a mediocre season (at best) and two of the original cast of 7 gone (more or less) and so many people luke-warm about the direction Chang has gone... I don't really see Community coming back from that.

Chevy, fine... he was contributing less and less as the show went on and there was some friction. But Troy? He was an important character and now he's only going to be in a few episodes. Not only is he a good character, but a good amount of the show is the duo between him and Abed. Troy and Abed... like Penn and Teller or Sigfried and Roy.

Unless this season is something amazing or Harmon demanded X seasons more with his contract, I can't see the show going on more than one more season. But that's just my opinion
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They owned the weirdness of Chang's direction changes, but said they couldn't help enjoying the wackier stuff.
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I have too much faith in Harmon.
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They are all adorable. I can't wait for the show to start.
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This is the moment where the second coming of Harmon started to feel real. To think it wasn't that long ago I vowed I wouldn't watch Season 5 but now I know it was be awesome (Glover scarcity aside). This sounds like it was the most entertaining panel ever. I can't believe Brie put her finger in Jeong's mouth, you never know what's been in there.
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The best part of this whole thing is when Dan said he wants to get back to Season 1&2 of Community.
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I definitely rejoiced when I heard that. Please end all the far out, unreal sci-fi aspects of Community and get back to the funny comedic, creative stuff it started out with. So, will look forward for sure if that's all the case.
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Yeah, and I loved Season 3's latter half, but that only sounds reassuring to hear.
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Yay, Harmon!

Yum, Brie!

"A fan tells Hardwick she's his idol..."
Did you mean to say "... he's her idol..."? Otherwise, "Hi. I'm your idol." is a pickup line I tried before and it does NOT work.
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You are correct, but Hardwick is the type of guy who would say such a thing. He's awesome.
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