In anticipation of the return of “Community,” Zap2it got a chance to chat with stars Joel McHale (Jeff Winger) and Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry). We chatted about the fans and how their efforts saved the show, their Thursday night slot and what’s coming up for the show that you will watch live! We demand it!
McHale talks about the fans and their effort to get the show back. “It’s been our savior. It’s been great. And the other thing was that, with 30 Rock replacing us, if they had destroyed in the ratings, we probably wouldn’t be back. I think it showed that 8 o’clock on Thursdays is a really difficult time with ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘American Idol,’ NFL Football, and now March Madness. It is a tough slot, and it was a relief to us. I would never been happy with anyone’s misfortune, but it’s a network problem more than it is a show problem, especially with the internet response. With our ‘Glee’ episode, there were six trending topics worldwide about the show. There is a gap between the ratings system and how it’s measured, and the people that watch. That makes me feel a lot better about the show.”
They joked about the relationship between Jeff and Britta. McHale says, “Oh, we have a baby. We have two babies.” Jacobs replies, “I have a hysterical pregnancy, and then it turns out that it was just a food baby. I would say that Jeff and Britta have morphed.” McHale explains, “It’s not a romantic relationship. It’s more like we’ve been married for 50 years. We just yell at each other a lot.” Jacobs agrees. “We bring out the worst in each other, so if it’s us versus high school students, we will gang up together to try to take down other people.” “We’re like two people that know each other well, that have gotten together at parties, once in awhile,” says McHale. “We both like to drink, so we drink together a lot. And, when you mix alcohol and Jeff and Britta, bad things or wonderful things happen. But, I would say that the group, as a whole, is less focused on romance right now. We’ve got bigger problems,” says Jacobs.
They talk about worrying about spoilers getting out. Jacobs says, “If we were ‘Lost,’ then it would be another thing and we probably would be shot down dead, where we stood, by network executives. But, for us, having a show that’s been pulled, trying to get people who aren’t the rabid internet fans, and who are just the general public, sometimes takes saying, “An actor that you’re a fan of is guesting on our show.” So, we have to sometimes tease more of our guest stars then we would necessarily want to, or hint at upcoming plotlines. That trailer revealed far more then I thought we’d been sanctioned to reveal, but it also didn’t tell you the specific ins and outs of any one of those episodes.” McHale adds, “That really was like a James Bond movie trailer, where it was like, “Here’s James Bond. He gets together with ladies. He has a lot of cool gadgets, and a lot of stuff explodes. Here’s the entire story in three minutes. Now, you get to pay for the long version.” I think it’s all good. We need that awareness of the show, for a huge section of viewers who are older people, mainly. They have no idea what the show is. One person said to me, ‘It’s called Commodities?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, it’s about commodities exchange. It’s really exciting!’
About the future of the show, Jacobs says, “Nobody knows what the future is, except for wizards. But, a girl said to me one time, ‘I really love your show'” I said, ‘Oh, there’s a new episode on tonight!,’ and she said, ‘I don’t even know what night your show is on.’ People make their careers out of coming up with network TV schedules, and then there is a whole generation of people to whom that is completely irrelevant, but we are able to tap into that. There’s almost this synergistic relationship between us and the fans through Twitter and Facebook, and these websites. I don’t know how networks will monetize that, in the future, but there is a lot of energy and excitement in that direction, and I certainly feel like it has fed our show and done nothing but energize us, as actors. It keeps the excitement up that we have about making the show because, when you see that an episode airs and two hours later there’s a hundred gifts of a moment that we all loved, it’s like, ‘Oh, we weren’t wrong in thinking that that was cool.'”
“Community” on Thursday, March 15th on NBC.