If you tuned in for the recent season 4 finale of NBC and Sony’s quirky further education sitcom Community and found yourself eager to see more of the show, then you’re in luck, because there’s more on the way. Given that Community has been on unsure ground ever since the mid-season 3 hiatus and the departure of showrunner Dan Harmon at the end of that season, quite a few people were surprised at the announcement that the show would return for a fifth season with at least 13 new episodes.
Among the people who were expecting to hear that the show would be dropped – along with The New Normal, Up All Night and several other NBC shows – was star Ken Jeong, who plays former Spanish “professor” Ben Chang.
Speaking to Screen Rant reporter Amy Nicholson at a Hangover Part III press junket, Jeong admitted that he was shocked by the renewal:
“Yeah—I think the rest of the world is. I had concession tweets ready to go if Community got cancelled. No joke, I’ve never told anybody about this. You just really didn’t know, and I was so ecstatic. I literally had three tweets: shout-out to the fans, shout-out to Dan Harmon, shout-out to the guys. They’re probably still in my email somewhere.”
Jeong was also asked whether his costar Chevy Chase would be leaving the show if Harmon made a return. As many Community fans will remember, the showrunner and actor had a very bitter and very public feud while Harmon was still working on the show. In a nutshell: Chase walked off set before filming the final scene of season three, on the basis that he didn’t have a script to work from; at the season wrap party, Harmon apparently made a “f**k you, Chevy” speech in front of Chase’s wife and daughter, in which he called on the crew to also say “f**k you” to the actor, and in the aftermath of that, Chase left a voicemail on Harmon’s phone (which was later leaked after Harmon played it to a group of laughing friends) in which Chase called Harmon, among other things, “a g**damn alcoholic a**hole fat s**t,” and informed him that his writing was terrible and getting “worse and worse.”
In short, there’s not much love lost between Chase and Harmon, and it’s difficult to imagine NBC and Sony ever convincing the two to work together on a regular basis again. Jeong neatly dodged the question, but with good reason; he says that news sites get their hands on information about the show a long time before he does.
“I haven’t talked to anybody. That’s the thing about Deadline and everything: you guys are getting it before me. People assume that me or McHale have some inside knowledge. We don’t. Remember in 2011 in the third season when they put Community on hold and didn’t come back until, like, March of 2012? None of us knew and I got a tweet from some guy saying, ‘That’s really messed up, bro! Really, not till March?’ I had to call my manager and be like, ‘What’s going on? Are you kidding me?’ I didn’t know. And then on Monday, I called the rest of the cast and I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ They were like, ‘We just found out.’ So I found out from @corvetteguy78.”
So, at this point it’s unclear whether Chase, Harmon, both or neither are going to return for the fifth season of Community, though of the two Harmon seems the more likely to make a return. Pierce had a noticeably diminishing role in the storylines for the show, and Chase has been quite open about his disdain for the show in general, stating that he only stuck around for so long because the cast were fun to work with. In summary, it’s not guaranteed that either Harmon or Chase will return, but it’s almost certain that they won’t both be back.
Are you looking forward to seeing the rest of the study group graduate, or have you lost interest in Community?
Community returns to NBC at 8PM this fall.