Community star Alison Brie on how season 3 'pushed the envelope more than ever'
To celebrate Community finally arriving on Netflix, EW is binging the beloved comedy with the cast and creator.
Community season 3 began with a cheeky musical number that promised the show would be normal that year. Of course, that couldn't have been farther from the truth about a season that featured multiple timelines, a Dreamatorium adventure, a musical episode, and a war between a pillow fort and a blanket fort. In fact, that's why star Alison Brie, who played Annie Edison, believes it's one of the NBC sitcom's "weirdest seasons."
"I actually think that's where we pushed the envelope more than ever," says Brie in the latest installment of EW's BINGE of Community. "Our show has always been made for the fans, and I think that certain shows develop a really close relationship with their fans — this symbiotic relationship — and I think that season 3 is where we really locked into that and, truly going against what we say in that opening number, [owning that] we're making a show for a very specific group of people who we knew got the show and loved the show."
Whenever Community's third season comes up, the conversation almost always begins with the Emmy-nominated "Remedial Chaos Theory." But for Brie, that's the third thing on her mind.
"The very first thing that comes to mind is Ken [Jeong] in a wig as Jeff [Joel McHale], and then a bald cap as the Dean in 'Documentary Film Redux,' she says about the documentary-styled episode that follows the Dean's (Jim Rash) slow descent into auteur madness as he tries to make a new Greendale commercial. "Ken is playing Joel's understudy, and Joel is playing the Dean, and it's in my top two episodes of the season. I love it so much, and Jim Rash is incredible in it. I think of naked Jim smearing ashes all over his body. But just Ken in the wig, in the bald cap, and when he comes out and is like 'Understudy,' that's something I'll never forget."
After "Documentary Film Redux," Brie's second favorite episode of the season is "Basic Lupine Urology" the show's meticulous ode to Law & Order.
"I hadn't really watched a lot of Law and Order before we did that episode, and then I did a deep dive, and rewatching ["Basic Lupine Urology"] years later, I was so proud of the episode," she says. "The way they did even just our intro, it really speaks to Community's commitment always to our send-ups, our homages, really, to different types of shows and things like that. We didn't half-ass it, we really did it all way, and Donald [Glover] and Danny [Pudi] are so funny in that episode trying to get the final cop stinger in every scene, and it's just so well done."
And finally, we arrive at the aforementioned "Remedial Chaos Theory." Set entirely in Troy and Abed's apartment, the iconic (and GIF-able) half-hour jumps around multiple timelines created by Jeff after he rolls a dice to decide who will go downstairs to get the pizza. "I even think that the shoot went on longer than the five days, and we had to go back and pick up scenes at different times. It was more like a weird cursed episode when we were shooting it. It felt super bizarre," Brie recalls, explaining that she and the cast never could've have guessed that it would be the episode that received an Emmy nomination.
For more from Brie on season 3, watch the latest installment of EW's BINGE of Community above. And check back on Monday for season 4's episode with Joel McHale and Jim Rash.