Community Creator Dan Harmon on What’s in Store for Next Season
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After a brief stop at Comic-Con this weekend, the cast of Community begins production Monday on Season 3 of the much-adored (except by stubborn Emmy voters) NBC comedy. Creator Dan Harmon will no doubt let loose with a few spoilers for the faithful assembled at the Con, but he knows there’s also a loyal core of fans who won’t be able to make the schlep to San Diego. As such, he agreed to take a break from writing next season’s episodes to fill in Vulture readers on what to expect from the new season: new characters, the status of Annie-Abed, and just what he has planned for the show’s annual Halloween episode. For those whose questions didn’t get asked, don’t worry: We promise to track Mr. Harmon down again before the season begins.
So: Annie and Abed. What is the status going into the third season? We saw that amazing kiss. Will there be more, or will this continue your policy of just having everyone hook up with everyone?
The latter. But there’s only so many people, so sooner or later people gotta hook up second times. The first order of business is to make good on the insinuation that we made in the first season that any of these people could end up together, in any combination.
So are the Annie and Abed ‘shippers going to be happy or pissed?
If there [is] an Abed/Annie ‘shipper out there, they would be frustrated that I was doing it in the way that a reset button could be hit on it. Because [in the Season 2 finale] Abed isn’t being Abed, Abed’s being Harrison Ford. But the concept that the writers have talked about for several seasons [is] the idea that Abed would have a persona that Annie might have a relationship with, so to speak. Annie has a very specific taste in men, and Abed doesn’t by default fit that profile. But he’s capable of becoming Jon Hamm, or Jeff Winger, or Hans Solo. We do have more plans for that area. We won’t be hitting on that in the first episode, but there’s lots of fun to be had.
What about the rumors of a new professor? And what will the gang be studying this semester?
They’re going to be taking biology. The general idea with this season is to add — on one hand in a real way, and on the other hand in an absurd way — a certain amount of groundedness and reality to the series. Because the detractors of our show complain that there’s a distancing that takes place because we have such a silliness and far-fetchedness. Doing the themed episodes, and having every episode stand on its own as its own little movie, [they say] that you’re not able to get hooked on the show. If last year we were a bunch of loose pearls that were rolling all over the floor that you could slip on, hopefully this year those pearls will have a string through them that makes them all one thing.
Any other new characters?
[We’re adding] the vice-dean of Greendale’s air conditioning repair annex. The Greendale Community College only has one part of it that is actually nationally renowned, and it’s their air conditioning repair program. And it’s sort of a separate annex on the campus that puts itself above the rest of the school, and ironically has more power than the campus itself. It’s much like a Big Ten university’s football coach having more power than any administrator or faculty. It’s going to be part of a larger story that I think should be really cool.
A dream sequence is just too lame?
Yeah, well you can’t tell the audience — well, you can, but I don’t like to tell the audience — that anything they’re watching doesn’t matter.
What special episodes do you have mapped out so far?
In the first six, you’ll be seeing an episode in which you actually see multiple timelines. And that’s cool. Again, the danger of that is you’re now telling the audience, well, some of this stuff didn’t happen. So why are they supposed to care? The answer, in this case, is that because you’re seeing multiple timelines, you’re seeing different circumstances. And each of those circumstances is bringing preexisting things about the characters out to the surface. So even though this person in this reality didn’t slap this person, we now know this person wants to.
How about Halloween?
We might do a sort of anthology-type Halloween episode. Which means we’ll be telling stories that are just stories, and they don’t matter to the canon of the show. And that’s something you can justify more on Halloween than you can in a regular episode.
Okay, back to Vulture readers’ questions. From Falcon15: “Dear Dan Harmon, have you seen the GQ shoot with Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs? Will you please allow that photo shoot to inspire next season’s overarching story line about Annie and Britta’s entrance into the world of lesbian-tinged S&M?”
You’re talking about my daughters, essentially, so back off, mister! They’re out there for you, and I make money off of you leering at them. But I have to be careful about exploiting them myself. It feels very icky. I love those girls and I love those characters, so when I dress Annie up in a cleavage-enhancing outfit, I’m always dying inside. It kills me to have to do it for the public. But I do it sparingly.