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