PaleyFest '11: Six Surprising Spoilers From the Community Panel

Community took the stage at PaleyFest ’11 Tuesday night, and it may have been the highlight of the entire festival. Minus two of its brightest stars (Alison Brie and Donald Glover), Joel McHale and Co., including boss-man Dan Harmon, laughed their way through a panel that featured Greendale scoop, baby blabber and an audience member “Pop! Pop!”-in’.

Flashback Fun | I have many more details to come on Community‘s upcoming flashback episode (first revealed in Tuesday’s Ask Ausiello), but as a quick tease I’ll give you this: The half-hour episode is a “memory clip-show,” revealed showrunner Harmon. It’s shot in the vein of the classic sitcom, á la Family Ties, with an emotional look-back at past moments. The episode consists of nearly 78 separate scenes, and Yvette Nicole Brown added that fans should keep an eye out for “rich,” fun Easter eggs in the background of each sequence

Season Three Speculation | NBC hasn’t officially announced a Community pickup, but Harmon says they are “optimistic.” And if things go as we hope and another season is on the way? “Well, I made sure I did everything I could possibly do this season,” Harmon joked. “So, if we get a third season…it’s gonna be bo-ring.”

Shirley’s Bundle of Joy | Shirley’s baby-to-be storyline will not go unfinished, Harmon assured. In Thursday’s episode, the gang throws her a lovely little baby shower. Of course, potential baby daddies Chang (Ken Jeong) and Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) will be present, so expect things to go awry. And somewhere between this week’s episode and the paintball-filled season finale, Shirley will give birth. So, who’s the father? I’m told it will obvious as soon as the baby arrives.

Abed’s the Boss? | TVLine also exclusively revealed that Abed will soon enroll in a Who’s the Boss? history class. But what’s the purpose of such a thing? “Abed will in fact discover who is the boss,” executive producer Garret Donovan said with a laugh.

Peace for Pierce | Let’s face it: Pierce (Chevy Chase) has become a bully. The study group has touched on this fact in recent episodes, but will the villainous behavior continue? Having been on set for Community‘s second season finale, I can tell you that Pierce’s relationship with the group is still a bit spotty. But, offered Donovan, “Definitely down the road, we address that.” And just for fun, when asked about any real-life comparisons to Pierce, Chase said, “I like playing that because I’m just playing me.”

The Best of the Rest | Get ready to see some beloved Britta awkwardness in this Thursday’s episode when the poor girl embarrasses herself with a song and dance routine. Meanwhile, McHale told the crowd that he’s sure we’ll meet Jeff’s dad someday. Personally thinks his pa will turn out to be recent guest star LeVar Burton. Brilliant, right? Love Dean Pelton (Jim Rash)? Expect to see much more of him — namely his midriff. The scene-stealer teased that the crew came to him and said, “Next to Joel, we just think you’re the sexiest person,” and thus, his impending tummy-showing wardrobe was born. Harmon also admitted to toying with the idea of an all-Dean episode in the future. Frequent Community directors Joe and Another Russo revealed that if you’re a fan of the “Pop! Pop!” get ready for Magnitude’s “funniest” moment yet during the season finale. Of Pierce’s part in the next paintball war, Chase told fans, “I do something in it that will surprise all of you. I won’t say Josh Holloway is involved, but you’ll see.” (FYI, I watched the cast shoot this scene — it does not disappoint!) The incomparable Ken Jeong revealed that his Community bosses “tell me when to Chang it up or tone it down,” depending on the episode. Of course, in this week’s episode, the Chang factor is way up.

Hit the comments with your Community thoughts, and catch a new episode Thursday at 8/7c on NBC!