‘Community’ interview: Joel McHale, Dan Harmon on season 3 return

The return is near…

Community” is finally returning to NBC with new episodes on March 15 — so what better way to get us even more excited for it than to hear what star Joel McHale and creator Dan Harmon have to say?

During a conference call with reporters on Friday, we had the opportunity to get a pair of quotes about some of what is coming up — with a little bit of humor to boot:

Carter – With the professors on this show being so beloved, is there any chance that we are going to see Michael K. Williams and John Oliver both back at some point before the end of the season?

Dan Harmon – Michael K. Williams comes back for a final triumph in the ‘Law & Order’ episode. He’s great in it. The difficulty with him is scheduling and a preexisting agreement base. I would love to have had him for 12 episodes if not more for the third season and have him be a fixture; base the stories around his biology class and his character.

The truth is that we had to finagle to get like three episodes out of him, so that’s the trouble with guest stars and it’s the same thing with John Oliver. You see him on the show and it’s like Jon Stewart doing us a huge favor [in] letting him go, and John Oliver doing us a huge favor and making it work with his schedule. Because of Michael K. Williams and John Goodman’s involvement this year, John Oliver we sort of put on the bench, to use a familiar phrase, because it’s too hard when you start compounding all that juggling. You [end up] having episodes where you say ‘okay, you have to use John Goodman for two days and you have to use John Oliver for half a day and it has to be in the cafeteria. Now, write and episode!’ You don’t want to get into that corner.

John Oliver is sorely missed this season, by the writers, myself, by the audience, by the cast I’m sure. We would love to see him return when we get our fourth season.

Joel, you guys have already spoofed ‘Glee’ and you have ‘Law & Order’ coming up. Are there any other shows that you would like to see the ‘Community’ world have a bit of fun with?

Joel McHale – I would like to spoof ‘Hillbilly Handfishin” (yes, this is a real show). I don’t know if you’ve seen ‘Hillbilly Handfishin’,’ but the hillbillies stand in a river, and they go into mudholes and pull out catfish.

Harmon – Yeah, I’ve seen that … I think it would be cheating, and I don’t know how we would do it, but [I’d be happy to do] ‘Gilligan’s Island’ because I basically realized yesterday — I found an old document from when I was designing the characters — that I completely just ripped off ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ I split up the Howells, made Ginger the Radiohead fan. That was the configuration of the characters, so it would be really easy to have them be ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ but I don’t know how you do that without being ridiculous. On one hand you want to see something like that, but after about five seconds what would that be?

McHale – How about ‘Flipper’? That also takes place in water…

Harmon – Maybe when we get a fourth season, I kind of want to see if we can do like a full-blown ‘Scooby-Doo’ episode.  Or maybe do something in that very familiar style … like a 70’s gang of sleuths animated in that style. Maybe just thinly justify it, but do an episode where maybe you guys break down in a van and spend the night in a haunted house solving a mystery. It seems like you have permission to do stuff like that on Halloween.

Just in case you haven’t seen them yet, you can check out the web series “Abed’s Master Key” below — the third part contains a rather hilarious jab at Jim Rash jabbing Angelina Jolie at the Oscars. (Mind = blown.)

Photo: NBC

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!