The offbeat and quirky second-year NBC comedy Community that’s generated a growing cult following for its zany, genre-expanding style, has plans for a forthcoming episode to surround the legendary role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons – with its cast playing it for the entire half-hour. “They’ll just be sitting at a table playing,” creator/showrunner Dan Harmon said of the series that last season centered one memorable episode around paintball, during a TCA session in Pasadena late this afternoon. “But there are (things done stylistically) that will make it really interesting.”
This is the same series that just featured a Christmas episode shot entirely in claymation and stop-motion animation, another with Betty White doing rap and a third filmed entirely within one room that showcased a monkey stealing pens.
Community is “a huge experiment,” Harmon stressed. “Every time we do something different and have success with it, each subsequent thing becomes less and less of a gamble. If I’d had to play by the same rules as traditional sitcom writers, I’d have wound up making a bad sitcom. Fortunately, I haven’t had to.”
One critic asked Harmon if, with Comcast’s takeover of NBC looming and a new programming chief, Bob Greenblatt, poised to take the reins, he feared that a series as unconventional as Community could be at risk. “You know, I’m just a farm boy living his dream,” Harmon replied. “I will tell you that NBC is just so focused on whether or not the show is good. They’re dedicated to quality. It’s like they don’t know what a horrible strategy that is for building ratings. All I know is that I’m getting to do the show I want to do. I’ve got two seasons that no one can take away from me and everything else is gravy.”