Joel McHale's Community Season 5 Study Guide: A Mysterious Prof, a Moral Quandry & Romance?

community-season-5-spoilers-joel-mchaleIt’s been a while since you’ve been in school mode — Community-wise, that is — but don’t worry.

TVLine recently sat down with star Joel McHale to prepare a brief syllabus of what you can expect from the NBC comedy’s upcoming fifth season.

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The hour-long opener, which airs Thursday (8/7c), is “a re-piloting of the show,” McHale says. “What’s really cool is that there’s a bunch of new information that happened while we’re away that now informs the characters.”

Below, the actor shares some scoop on the Greendale Gang’s reunion, gives up the goods on a few of this season’s guest stars and explains why reading this season’s scripts “is like a gift.” Read on, and cram away.

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REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO HOODWINKED | As the premiere opens, “Everyone has already finished with Greendale, and they’ve come back,” McHale says. “Jeff gets lured into coming back because Rob Corddry, [who plays] his old partner, figures out a way that Greendale can be sued into oblivion and we can make a ton of money and put them out of business.” Since Jeff’s do-good intentions didn’t work out, he’s financially strapped and “faced with this massive decision,” he says. “The group catches wind of it and assumes he’s trying to help the school, but in fact he’s doing the opposite.”

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TAKE THAT TO THE BANKS | Breaking Bad fan favorite Jonathan Banks makes his debut Thursday as mysterious criminology professor Buzz Hickey, who’ll appear in several episodes this season. “He is so dynamic, so good and truly funny,” McHale says of the man behind Greendale’s newest faculty member. “I think [he has] a hard note to play because the commitment has to be 100 percent while the world around us is not necessarily reality. He’s playing it perfectly.”

FOCUS ON YOUR STUDIES | Stop doodling those hearts on your notes. “The romantic stuff, so far, has not been the focus,” says the actor, “because there was a lot of it [last season].”

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DAN’S THE MAN | “The show is in Dan’s head; it always has been,” McHale says, clearly pleased that series creator Dan Harmon is back in the mix. “That’s the only place that it ever came out of. It’s so specific to his voice.” As a result, “The scripts are some of the best we have ever done, by a mile! When we do our table reads, it is like opening a gift.” McHale also offered up accolades for executive producer Chris McKenna, who penned Thursday’s first episode “Repilot,” as well as some encouragement for Human Beings everywhere. “He and Dan work really well together and are on the same wavelength. I think we will do six seasons and a movie — or seven seasons and a movie. It’ll be great.”– With reporting by Meg Masters

Comments (21)


    Comment by David4 – December 29, 2013 12:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • #oreightornine #letsnotpigeonhole

      Comment by JB Smooove – December 29, 2013 02:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t understand, so they are all done with their degree and they all come back to Greendale why…? I mean, I trust in Dan Harmon but this does sound weird (atm).

    Comment by Anna – December 29, 2013 01:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree with this. I kind of wish they would do the spring semester to continue the 4th season school year. Also would explain that Donald Clover could leave early because of early graduation.

      Comment by David4 – December 29, 2013 11:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hate McHale after his VGX “performance”.

    Comment by jimbo – December 29, 2013 01:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He was the only thing that was decent about VGX.

      Comment by d4h8a15r16m23a42 – December 29, 2013 01:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I have no idea what this is…what happened?

      Comment by Angela – December 29, 2013 02:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • google it

        Comment by sum – December 29, 2013 04:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Ah, well, I’m not a gamer, so…*Shrugs*. I have no stake in that debate.
          I do find it amusing that people are shocked that he was being snarky, though. That’s kind of his thing.

          Comment by Angela – December 29, 2013 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The moronic thing is if you do a little digging he clearly knew better than the crap he was saying. It’s like he was forced at gunpoint to do what he did, and a theory running around is someone had a say in his final material.

      Comment by Spinning Maze – December 29, 2013 04:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • As a gamer myself, I was not offended the least. Why might you ask? Because you have to realize that this was a failure on a production level. If you listened to Geoff Keighley’s interview podcast post-show, you would know that the guy is all about the game industry crossing over to other industries. His main goal is to ALWAYS make his industry bigger. That is why the VGA’s and VGX have always appealed to the Spike Audience, and why there has always been a big emphasis on celebrities. Geoff himself said that he loves when celebrities get involved, because it means that more brands (corporations) will want to get involved within the industry. So that said, getting Joel McHale on the show was a last minute thing, and was done so solely for the purpose of what I just said above (to appeal to those outside the industry).

      You do realize that a lot of the jokes where Joel was reading the teleprompter was actually written by the people that ran the show. Yeah, he thought they were awful too (you could see it in his eyes, as he read them). He knew the entire production of the show was half assed, and he couldn’t believe how bad it was being run. So before you get upset at Joel for the “gamers are basement dwellers” jokes, you should know that it was the people that were running the show that wrote those jokes. Why? Because they are appealing to the Spike audience, who are “testotrone driven manly men”. Have you ever seen the shows on Spike TV? lmao. So that is why you got those horrendous jokes.

      As far as Joel interrupting people, and being obnoxious throughout the night, yeah that was on him. But what did you expect? He was hired to do a gig, and the production was a failure top to bottom. His job is to sarcastically make fun of stuff, and they have him sitting on a couch with a mic, while Geoff is doing interviews with awkward devs? WTF Why was Joel even there for those parts? Why wasn’t he just doing the..”hosting” parts, ie. announcing awards. Oh that’s right, there was no audience. There was no reason for a host like Joel to even be there.

      That’s all I have to say about it. I’ve worked within the film industry, and have had my fair share of production experience. And believe me, I could easily tell that this was a disaster. No one knew what they were doing, and the people that ran the show (including Geoff), should be blamed.

      Comment by Courteous Vampire – December 29, 2013 06:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree with almost everything you said, it was a f’-up on production levels. But: He’s a professional actor. I expect him to do the job he gets paid for professionally. What he did was reading the (definitely Spike-like awful) lines halfheartedly, cracking clichéd jokes about the people who make games and ultimately making his guests (who don’t appear on TV the rest of the year and may not be as experienced as Geoff or Joel himself in front of a TV camera in a huge TV set) feel uncomfortable. If you realize what you do doesn’t really work in that environment, you should adapt and change (or, you know, better prepare for the job you took in the first place). And what he said in the interviews, the really annoying and stupid stuff, was off-script. That was all him and that’s why he came across like a total d-bag.

        Comment by jimbo – December 29, 2013 09:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Fair enough. I just didn’t take it personally. Maybe as a human being, Joel shouldn’t have been rude during the interviews. Maybe he should have accepted that the show was a mess, and he had no business being there. He should have just stayed quiet, or not been snarky/douchey during the interviews. But I still think the entire production was a disaster, and he was just taking a piss out of the whole thing. It was probably wrong for him to do that, given the Devs didn’t deserve that. But on the other hand, Tim Schafer and other devs had posted pics and tweets with Joel, and they said they had nothing but a good time with him. Yeah, no one is going to talk bad about anyone in the business. But they did genuinely seem to have a nice time with him, off cameras. So it seems to me, they weren’t offended by Joel. It only seems like gamers (the people watching) were offended.

          And I totally get that. But I guess i just don’t feel personally offended, to the point that I will never watch his material again, or have ill feelings towards him. I think Geoff Kieghley and the people running the thing are terrible at what they do, and they got reaped what they sowed. One last thing I’ll say is, anyone expecting these awards to be taken seriously, and to be more mature, are forgetting that it’s not the intent of the awards. Sure they say in interviews they want them to be taken seriously. But the awards are on Spike TV, and are aimed directly at that demographic. Geoff even post VGX had said, his main goal is to always have the game industry mix with other industries. That is why he defended that god awful loiter squad segment, and actually said it was good thing that it brought in the “BET” audience. So it’s hard to put all the blame on Joel, when you realize the guys running this really aren’t taking the show serious itself. And in that sense, it was kind of funny to see Joel just giving up on air, and making fun of the whole thing (especially because it was being so poorly run). But I do ultimately agree that he shouldn’t have been as rude as he was to the Devs. That when it came to that stuff, he should have showed more respect.

          Then again, I think the award show should have shown them more respect by not making a circus out of what they do, just for the sake of widening their audience.

          Comment by Courteous Vampire – December 29, 2013 11:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I just checked a gamer message board. Boy, they sure do take themselves seriously! I thought TV message boards could be bad, but whoa-hoe, Nelly!

      Comment by TV Gord – December 30, 2013 07:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It’s hilarious! They got so offended that you can’t really help but laugh. Just Joel being Joel in my book. Carry on.

        Comment by Drewbert – December 31, 2013 07:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bring on the premiere, I am ready. My Troy and Abed in the morning mug is all washed and ready to be filled with Scotch. (or more likely, hot chocolate because I know my condo is going to be freezing due to the weather and me being too cheap to crank up the heat).

    Comment by Britta Unfiltered – December 30, 2013 03:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ” I think we will do six seasons and a movie — or seven seasons and a movie. It’ll be great.”” episode-count wise, the last and current seasons will make up a little bit more than what we would have gotten in a single season (26 episodes versus the standard 22). I don’t think it’s just a matter of getting the six season as it’s a matter of getting the six seasons PLUS the full episode count of 22 episodes per season.

    Comment by Michael Sacal – December 30, 2013 08:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t agree.

      It’s getting six seasons when the show’s ratings never really lent itself to getting a second. It’s about picked up five times and that’s five times beating the odds.

      Obviously more episodes would be better, but I’ll take three full seasons, three .6 seasons and a movie over just a few full seasons.

      Comment by David4 – December 30, 2013 11:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I feel more and more optimistic that Community will go beyond #sixseasonsandamovie. Bringing Dan back was a major turning point and gives me hope that NBC & Sony finally realize the gem they have.

    Comment by Terry DeMarco (@PinotEnvy0306) – December 30, 2013 02:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
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