New 'Community' producers Moses Port and David Guarascio preview season 4
On losing Chevy Chase, preparing for senior year and whether, in hindsight, they'd have chosen to succeed Dan Harmon
All right. So let’s just then jump straight to Britta. She’s the worst.
David Guarascio: Yes.
Beyond her being the worst at everything, where does she fit in?
David Guarascio: It’s the old dead cat bounce. Once you really bottom out as the worst, you’re going to bounce up to something, right? So in finding her worstness, we used it for her to somehow have great victories this year. But she always gets to where she’s going in a very Britta like fashion, which is never in a straight line. But we did find its interesting to have Jeff in a place where he's maybe really opened up enough to use some help from somebody, which he's never been able to do emotionally. And that she would be the one that he would get it from, at the same time that she’s in this relationship with Troy. So without making it a real triangle the way we’ve traditionally seen, to still find there's something emotionally going on between the three of them. So in that sense she really evolves from her worstness to sort of providing the best help she really could at any point during her life in the show.
Moses Port: It also seems like even though she's the worst, there's always been like an emotional truth to her. It seems right that she does have some of the right answers, she may go about it the wrong way but that her thoughts and ideas about things actually are crucial to helping Jeff. She actually can see things right, even though she's so filled up with herself about being a therapist.
David Guarascio: And that something we definitely wanted to dimensionalize that character. What happens in a show, the more a show goes on it get in danger of being more and more one note about their characters and the worse gets worse, and worse, and worse. And then it’s just only that. And then you’ve lost their dimensionality. So giving her some of those victories and having her be a little more integral in to fixing some of the problems around her seemed like a good way to do it.
When you guys were just viewers of the show well before this happened, early on there was the different triangle, which was Jeff and Britta and Annie. And for a while the show was clearly pushing Jeff and Britta and then suddenly they realized with Joel and Alison together, there's something there. What were your thoughts on that and like did you have a preference at the time?
Moses Port: I did, yeah.
David Guarascio: I was surprised by how invested I was in Jeff and Britta. I really actually cared about that relationship. I felt it was one of the most remarkable things that Dan did with the show: as funny and absurd as it could be, I was genuinely invested in that relationship and those characters. So I was definitely rooting for that relationship when it came on.
Moses Port: And what was eye opening coming to the show is knowing how divided the writing staff was about who Jeff should be with.Because there are people who absolutely felt like Britta should be who Jeff is with and people feel like it’s really that Alison Brie should be who Joel's with. Which is why it was fun to write to. That’s why the constant tension is there, it's like there’s people constantly gaining ground and losing ground. It’s kind of like that navigation on the writing staff. What’s the best way to go? Helps kind of create that tension in the show.
There’s been some debate among the fans about whether after the Dreamatorium episode last year, Annie finally let go of whatever feelings she had for Jeff. Has she?
David Guarascio: No.
So let’s talk Annie then. What role is she filling in all of this?
David Guarascio: I guess what I just said is that was no way near over. And this year is about addressing it much more head-on.And still trying to navigate, you know, what her relationship is vis-à-vis Jeff and some of the characters. Britta has this too where she’s really sort of finding more her niche at the college. Annie does as well. And so what’s empowering for them is finding the thing of like, “Okay, I came here for one reason but maybe that’s changed now and I’m actually going to be here for a different reason. Which is going to inform where I’m going the rest of my life.” So there’s that personal growth both with her and Jeff, and part of maturity is accepting what it really is and what it really isn’t. And that doesn’t necessarily happen in just one step. You know we’ve all been in relationships where you’re sure: “I know this is over and this is done and I appreciate it for what it is.” And then a month later, something happens that could be very small that just triggers you again. And those things are just hard to turn off.
And Abed is Abed. Is there anything different about Abed in this season?
Moses Port: I don’t know about different but certainly what he’s facing is, is the end of school going to be the end of them? Someone who’s going to have trouble with change.There’s a lot at stake for him in the fourth year of college.
David Guarascio: And at the same time he faced so many demons last year as a character, to the point where he was literally willing to cut off Jeff’s arm, that we didn’t want to do that again. So while this specter of change and how it affects Abed is always there, maybe the surprise to the year is that he’s dealing with it better than some of the other people around him, because he’s just kind of faced it already in his own very Abed-like fashion through the first few years, particularly last year.