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A conversation with Joel McHale

The ”Community” star spills on what’s in store this season

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Sum up season 3 in five words.

Romantic relationships, air-conditioning, fire, turtle.

Who ends up winning the battle between the new biology teacher [Michael K. Williams] and Jeff?

We’re into episode 5, and so far the teacher is winning. [Jeff] doesn’t know what to make of him, because he doesn’t deal with people that have done 25-to-life and are now in charge of things in his life. There’s this funny exchange where he’s really intense and I’m like, ”Hey, Sean Penn called, and he says to dial it back a little bit.” And he’s just staring at me. And I go, ”Sean Penn is an actor known for his intense roles.” And he goes [angrily], ”I know who Sean Penn is! I’ve seen Milk!” The more scary he gets, the funnier it is.

Dan Harmon said Troy will also jockey with Jeff for alpha position.

It makes sense, because Troy was a successful football player, and that will be part of how [Jeff’s] going through hell — dealing with a younger, athletic, better-looking guy.

What’s the weirdest scene you’ve shot this season?

There’s a scene with Pierce [Chevy Chase] where he’s over 100 years old that is crazy, and it may not even be taking place on this planet. I actually could not tell you, because I don’t know.

First Britta [Gillian Jacobs]. Then Professor Slater [Lauren Stamile]. Then Annie [Alison Brie]. Who’s next for Jeff?

It’s going back to Annie. That said, because Britta and Jeff have had secret sex for a year, it’s not as simple as you think. It’s so funny to get people’s different reactions. It’s always like, ”Oh, they’re so cute together” or ”He’s a pedophile.”

Will this be the year that Jeff gives in to Dean Pelton’s advances?

As long as he’s gentle.