Joel McHale: Jeff Goes Through Hell This Year
Tonight's Halloween episode of Community has a lot to live up to -- it not only comes on the heels of last week's universally praised alternate timeline episode, but after last year's much-adored zombie outing. Needless to say, Greendale better be scary good tonight.
And having gotten a sneak peek at tonight's episode, I can confirm that Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps is a worthy heir to both predecessors (it features the study group telling scary stories, resulting in seven tales of terror). To find out where Community is headed from here, I caught up with star Joel McHale who teased Jeff's hellish year, how his father issues factor in and why Dean Pelton's not-so-secret crush might finally come to fruition.
Insider.com: Last week's alternate timeline episode featured a vignette where everyone was happiest when Jeff left the room. What did you make of that?
Joel McHale: Obviously he didn't know what the audience knew about all the other timelines, but it was like a Bill Murray in Groundhog Day moment -- he wasn’t fully aware but the audience definitely got an inkling that he could be the problem here. I find that fascinating and seeing how he deals with it promises to be equally interesting. Jeff is obviously very connected to the group, seeing as he brought them all together, but I think it would be a very scary prospect for Jeff if he realized he was the one keeping them from being a cohesive, working group. Dan [Harmon, creator] said earlier this year that Jeff would go through hell this season and this is the beginning of that journey. I'm all for it.
Insider: And for the record, Joel's feelings on the song Roxanne?
Joel: For the record, I love the song Roxanne – I think it's a perfect song.
Insider: With Jeff's journey this year, what can fans expect?
Joel: You'll see Jeff go crazy again, in a way, when faced with how grand his ego is. Wait until you see some of the crazy s*** we have loaded. When faced with having to work on things, he can react badly, and this season forces him to face those things. Although we haven't gotten there yet, I think this season will culminate with his father issues. I'm very excited to meet whoever that is going to be and see how that works out.
Insider: Any dream casting?
Joel: I would like it to be Bill Murray. Or James Cagney. Maybe Spencer Tracy [laughs]. The list is long, but I think Bill Murray comes to mind because Dan Harmon named Jeff after him. I know whoever they choose will be perfect because Dan can write for anyone.
Insider: Tonight is the Halloween episode, which is always a subdued outing at Greendale.
Joel: Yes, it's like going to the bingo hall. Although if we did that, it'd be crazy too. It's like staying at home, with the TV off and reading [laughs]. This year's premise is that we're all telling different stories, which is great because it's an amazing jumping off point for some pretty crazy stories. I think my favorite is Pierce's. It's not the action film that was last year's zombie episode, but in a lot of ways, it's crazier. You'll see us dressed in 80s outfits, teenage slasher costumes, Dean Pelton as the devil and Britta drenched in blood.
Insider: One of tonight's vignettes features Jeff, as a vampire, refusing to defile Annie's neck -- so he settles for Britta. I think the 'shippers are gonna have a field day with that one.
Joel: Oh, that was all on purpose. But don't forget, that story is from Annie's point of view, so it's how she feels about Britta in a fantasy way.
Insider: What else should fans look forward to?
Joel: There is a commercial we shoot for Greendale that Dean Pelton directs, which will probably be one of the darkest episodes we ever have ever shot. Almost everyone is mentally tortured during the filming of this thing, but Jeff has a very strong ulterior motive when it comes to working with Dean Pelton. He's going to give the Dean what he wants, because Jeff knows exactly what will happen at the end. Or at least, he thinks he knows.
Community airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC