Gillian Jacobs on the 'melancholy' final season of Community, possible movie: 'We're all down'
Watch Jacobs join EW's BINGE of Community to discuss Britta's evolution and the emotional series finale.
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- Yahoo Screen
To celebrate Community finally arriving on Netflix, EW is binging the beloved comedy with the cast and creator.
We've reached the end of the Community road...for now.
On EW's BINGE of Community, hosts Chancellor Agard and Derek Lawrence have been looking back on the cult classic comedy, touching on everything from the pilot to the first paintball episode to the "gas leak year." For the sixth and final season, star Gillian Jacobs, who played the increasingly wacky Britta Perry, talked us through the last semester.
"I think it's a little melancholy," she says of season 6, which was picked up by the now-defunct Yahoo Screen after NBC canceled the series. "Once again, it's grappling with the meta themes of what it was like for us to be doing the sixth season on a new platform without cast members who had left. And should the show continue, would the show continue, what is the show, who are we? All of those themes are in the season. And just some really silly, funny stuff. Looking back, not being on network television anymore allowed us to just do what really whatever."
Jacobs believes the transition to Yahoo was an easy one for the cast and crew considering how much change they'd become accustomed to, whether it was creator Dan Harmon being fired and then rehired or the departures of original stars Yvette Nicole Brown, Chevy Chase, and Donald Glover. "I know a lot of people didn't watch [season 6] the first time around and it was hard for people to find and they didn't know it was happening," explains Jacobs. "We were shooting in a completely different place, which is why you don't see those classic shots of us exiting the library anymore. We were in the basement of what had been a parking garage that was converted into sound stages. And we really realized that the first time we used smoke in a scene and it set off all the fire alarms and we had to evacuate. And we were like, 'We are shooting in a basement, and this feels very Community.'"
Throughout Community's run, no character evolved more than Britta. Appearing on BINGE's series premiere episode, Harmon admitted that he felt some pressure based on the success of The Office to have his own version of Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer). The pilot set Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta to be just that, but Harmon faced a harsh realization once he started his writer's room and wanted to know what they thought about the characters. "When I said, 'What about Britta,' [writer-producer] Hilary Winston said, 'I don't like her,'" recalls Harmon. "Listening to Hilary talk about Britta, which started with like, 'I wouldn't trust her if I was a woman. I understand that she means well and that she's saying the kinds of things that you're supposed to say as a woman, but that's what makes me not trust her. I need a confidante behind the scenes, because the truth is, I do want to talk about shoes sometimes and I feel like she might sell me out if I did that — and I wouldn't go pee with her.' Stuff like that starts to dimensionalize Britta right away."
While Britta and Jeff would occasionally still be romantically intertwined, that relationship wasn't a defining characteristic for them, and Britta became weirder and weirder, even as she continued to be "the worst" — or as Troy (Donald Glover) once called her, "the AT&T of people." As the show went on, to "Britta" something became synonymous with it imploding spectacularly. But Jacobs embraced her new and improved character.
"I think I just felt more free by the end," she admits. "I noticed when I was watching season six again, I'm really having fun as a performer, which is a weird thing to comment on your own performance. But I see how goofy I am, and I think when I started the show, the character was not like that, but also as an actor I felt the least experienced in terms of comedy. I had not really done comedy ever before, and I'm in scenes with Donald and Jim Rash, and all these people who were incredible. So I was very intimidated by it early on and I would get kind of nervous if they gave me a big set piece to do. I remember I had to do a scene where I try and steal a frog in one of the early seasons. And I was really nervous shooting that because I didn't really know how to do physical comedy or make this bit work and I was by myself. But I watch the sixth season and I'm like, oh, by that time, I'm just having fun and I'm doing weird line readings and I'm doing goofy physicality and sometimes it's just in my reaction shots of the backs of scenes."
Talking to Jacobs about season 6 and her comfort level, the topic of a Community movie had to come up. So, will they eventually find a way to fulfill the famous #sixseasonsandamovie prophecy?
"I think we're all down for it," she says. "It just requires a script and a budget. [Laughs] So I think if there was a movie, we would all do it. I don't want to speak for everyone. I would do the movie, absolutely. I feel very lucky to have gotten that pilot. I mean, I get so sentimental when I talk about this stuff because, for all of us, this could've gone a different way. I could have not gotten the part. I think it was a real special combination of people and time."
For more from Jacobs, including her experience filming the series finale, watch the latest installment of EW's BINGE of Community above.
That's a wrap on Community — and us. But, before we go, we'll leave you with this very important message: "Pop pop!"