Community: Gillian Jacobs and Jim Rash Answer Burning Questions about the Season [Interview]

It's been one hell of a year for Greendale Community College.


Always a niche comedy on the NBC schedule, Community got so pounded on Thursday nights by CBS's The Big Bang Theory last fall that it was taken off the schedule for the winter. Luckily, fans panicked and let the network know -- loudly -- that they wanted #SixSeasonsandaMovie for their beloved show and that the darkest timeline (i.e. cancellation) would not conquer. The attenion worked and Community was just picked up for a fourth eeason with 13 new episodes. Whether the show will get more life than that remains to be seen, but cast members Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry) and Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) are very grateful their "little show that could" will get to tell 13 more stories with the Greendale gang.

In a recent conference call, Jacobs and Rash talked about their highlights of the season, how much they appreciate the fans and what they'd like to explore with their characters in Season Four.

On their highlights of Season Three:

Gillian Jacobs: Well, I guess it’s kind of a cliché at this point but my appearance in the Christmas pageant definitely springs to mind when I think of this season. Dancing around in a skin-tight brown unitard, that’s pretty memorable. I felt like Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo up there. So the combination of embarrassment and adrenaline made it pretty memorable.

Jim Rash: For me I guess memorable only because we did it over and over and over again and it might have been because they were just sort of punishing me but I guess I’m going to call it Dean’s spastic orgasm. I was falling to the ground because we did that over and over again and it really wasn’t even different coverage it just seemed like I was being asked to keep going and basically having my full release moment, I’ll call it, on the floor. So that was fun.

On Britta being the character everyone loves to hate:

Jacobs: I think it’s like that family dynamic where everybody picks on one member of the family, but at the end of the day they’re essential and everybody does love them deep down. And I think Britta is a loud mouth a lot of the times, so she draws attention to herself. But, she’s very stubborn and she has a surprisingly thick skin, so you know she may get hurt, but she doesn’t really seem to be deterred by their scorn. I kind of admire that about her. I’m far more sensitive. She’s got a thick skin.

On Dean Pelton becoming more of the study group:

Rash: It’s sort of nice to see as the Dean gets involved with the study group as we try to reclaim Greendale. What you will see in the finale is sort of the closest that Dean has come to be included in the study group with their plan to win back their school, which of course he was the reason that they have to, but you know hopefully they won’t remember that.

On Britta's feminist evolution in Season Three:

Jacobs: I just feel really blessed with some really great material that I was given that allowed Britta to further develop and unleash my awkward dancing on the world. So, I have really enjoyed her growth and evolution and development and I think that this show is not conventional by any stretch of the imagination. The role of traditional love interest really has no place on this show. We have to subvert it and change it and so Britta has to be awkward and silly and strident at times and deeply flawed. And it’s really great to play a multi-dimensional character with shortcomings as strengths, and I’m really grateful that I don’t just pine after Jeff Winger.

On Dean Pelton's best outfits:

Rash: Probably the Gaga outfit from Halloween was fantastic and hard to top because that jacket they had made for it. Tina Turner was good as well. That skirt was just one squat away from revealing everything. It was very short. But I really can’t complain. All of the costumes are too enjoyable to put on.

On what the Dean would have worn to the Oscars:

Rash: I feel he might have followed the idea of maybe he should just paint himself in gold, and then sort of a gown of gold and gold gloves; just really celebrate a sort of on the nose interpretation of the statue. That’s what would I imagine.

About the fans rallying around Community:

I’ve never been a part of something before that had this kind of devoted fan base. I sort of feel like we’re almost like a sci-fi show like we have the level of devotion that you would kind of stereotypically associate with like a sci-fi show and that’s been really remarkable to see it develop because I don’t know how many actors on sitcoms get to experience this. And I highly recommend it! All you actors out there, get on a show with a rabid fan-base; that’s my recommendation."

On their hopes for Season Four:

Jacobs: I’d like to meet Britta’s family. I think that would probably be pretty fun and give some more insight into how Britta ended up the way she is. I always think it’s fun when we get to see glimpses of the characters’ families and we got to meet Pierce’s dad this season, and we’ve met Chang’s brother. I’d really love to meet Britta’s family.

Rash: This season they sort of explored pairing off certain characters and sort of mining what happens when those two, like with Jeff and Shirley and with Britta and Troy in a possible relationship. I think I would love to see like more of that because it always evolves and changes and finds new things for these characters. Now, as far as the Dean, I mean how can I not want him forced on Jeff’s character again, or to see his living arrangements where the Dean lives and how seedy it might be.

On the theme they'd like to do in Season Four:

Jacobs: I think daytime soap would be really good.

Rash: I think it would be good with just some full on organ music the whole time. Yes, and most likely the Dean would insist that somehow in that soap version he and Jeffrey fought in a water fountain.

Jacobs: Somebody would have to play twins, right, themselves and their own twin.

On how fans can help keep the show alive in Season Four:

Rash: Well, we’ve survived little changes and moves and our fans seem to follow us, so that’s how we’re going to just hope they find us again and I’m sure they will. They’re a very tenacious group.

Jacobs: Somebody suggested buying the episodes on iTunes if you have extra cash. I think continuing to buy the DVD’s, buy the episodes on iTunes, buy the merchandise and I think show NBC and Sony that you’re willing to spend money on the show. If you are going to DVR it, I hate to say this, but don’t fast forward through the ads because it sort of disqualifies your viewing on DVR. So please don’t fast forward the ads and then I think your viewing will count. That’s something I learned recently.

By Tara Bennett

About the author

is an author (The Lost Encyclopedia), a national entertainment journalist and a media studies adjunct professor at Rowan University. She's been a film, TV and pop culture junkie for as long as she can remember and she's got the old TV Guide's to prove it. Pray for her thighs as she spends far too much time at her desk writing or her couch watching what she loves.

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On: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Great interview, tara !

Amongst a bevvy of great characters, Dean Pelton is really standout. I love watching Rash / the writers push him into new and weirder territory. 

On: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Mark D Curran said:

Can you believe the guy is an Academy Award winner? :P Jim Rash has more than earned his star billing in the credits this season - between his spastic orgasming and his "Kissed by a Rose" duet with Jeff, I think he's been my favourite character this season. After this interview, there's no way they'll pass up the opportunity to spray paint him gold.


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