“There’s an event that happens at Greendale that causes the gang to be trapped in a spaceship. Will they make it home in time? Will they make it out? All of these questions will be answered in the episode, and it’s kind of an homage to Apollo 13.
“And there’s spacesuits…ish. Everything at Greendale is kind of an ish! So sorta spacesuits and life and death situations. The whole team dynamic is turned on its ear,” Community star Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) told LA TV Insider Examiner during a set visit to Paramount a few weeks ago for the very special episode.
“People probably thought Dan was joking at Comic Con when he said we were going to do an Apollo 13 episode, but I’ve learned that there are no idle threats from Dan Harmon so we’re going to the moon!” Co-star Gillian Jacobs (Britta) added.
“I think it’s kind of perfect because I think after the paintball episode of last year, a lot of people were like ‘Well, where can you go?’ and the logical answer is the moon. So here we go!”
Getting a first-hand look at a rehearsal of one of the scenes within the “space bus,” we can certainly attest that the stakes have been raised with this particular homage episode. Not only are there tense character moments as things go awry, but the whole gang isn’t even together; Abed is separated from the rest of the study group out in “mission control.”
“This is a very exciting time for Abed,” Danny Pudi said. “He’s just like ‘Holy crap!’ It’s almost like a live video game with all of the controls; it’s like a giant Atari…In some ways I’m playing an almost Ed Harris/Gary Sinise type character—a blending of the two. The short sleeve shirts, the ties, the glasses, sweating and hot and all of those fun elements. We’re on the phone doing those kind of things. I’m basically an On Star technician glorified.”
Also, the set that was built is just fantastic. The mission appears to be sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken, as their signage adorns the transport vehicle. And the attention to detail is just precious and precise, with taglines about ‘Biscuit Thrusters’ and ‘Gravy Throttles’ and the listings of the seven herbs and spices in the most random places!
“It’s not a reference I would have thought of, but it does work so well. We tend to be really enthusiastic as characters, and we tend to sort of glob on to things, so we’re going for it,” Jacobs, whose character gets a little closer to Donald Glover’s Troy in this episode, continued.
The episode will air on Thursday, October 14th at 8pm, but Glover previews the episode in the video below.
“This one—the space bus—is the first big [pop culture homage episode of season two],” Brown shared.
“But there’s been rumors of about three other really big ones coming. You know, Dan Harmon said in an interview that people really loved the chicken fingers and they loved the paintball episode, so he figured if people like that then why make it just an event once a year? Let’s throw them in as often as we can because he’s created an environment at Greendale where anything can really happen. I mean, have you met our Dean?” She laughed.
And Jacobs, who admitted she doesn’t always get all of the more subtle references the show makes, knows the fans will be along for the ride—however wacky and off-the-wall it appears: “You have different fans who respond to different things…I think there are some people who really get attached to the characters and the love triangles, and that’s what they’re really engaged in. And then there are others who are in love with the pop culture references. I think the thing that we have going for us is that you can never predict what we’re going to do next. We’ve created a world in which sort of anything can happen, [so] there’s not the sense that it’s the same ‘set up, set up, joke,’ so it keeps people coming back. That’s what makes people tell all of their friends to watch their show and have Community viewing parties…That’s our strong suit: you can’t really predict what we’re going to do.”
So where can Community go from space? Glover thinks perhaps back in time might be the answer, while Pudi wants Abed to be like LOST’s Richard Alpert and just pop up in random photos around Greendale through time— never aging—as if he’s been enrolled there for, like, forty years.
What do you guys think?