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From Donald Glover to fourth season, Community writer answers all on Reddit
The live-interview session helped confirm the struggling NBC show’s cult-like status on the Web.
There’s probably no TV show on the air today that understands engaging the Web as well as NBC’s cult phenomenon Community. Case in point, one of the show’s writers, Megan Ganz, did a live interview on Reddit.
The comedy is loaded with Easter eggs and smart allusions to pop and geek culture. Each episode is ready-made for dissection by a rabid, obsessive online fan base, from nearly endless animated GIFS to 1,300 word oral histories on minor characters. The show’s producers smartly fuel the online obsessives with webisodes and other Web-exclusive content.
Community’s unofficial Reddit section is a repository for the fans’ Web culture and boasts 30,000 subscribers. Community’s creator, Dan Harmon, who’s active on Twitter, did a live interview, or AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) at r/community about eight months ago. That’s great for hardcore fans but not really for broader exposure.
So it’s surprising that Ganz is the first person from the show to do an AMA at the much larger and influential r/IAmA section.
That’s especially true considering the show’s uncertain future, as the Nielsen ratings for its first two seasons have proven so anemic that NBC briefly pulled the show from its midseason lineup earlier this year. The company reversed that decision, thanks largely to an outraged response from fans online, but NBC hasn’t made any guarantees about a fourth season.
Ganz’s thread quickly shot to the top of Reddit. For Community fans, the witty Ganz, who was previously a writer for The Onion, provided another window into the show’s creative process. But if fans were expecting news about a fourth season, they were sorely disappointed.
Here are some of our favorite exchanges from Ganz’s AMA. Click on the user names to see each question’s discussion on Reddit.
Q: How confident are you of a fourth season? (ChubbsfromTeenWolf)
A: Reasonably? I think there are so many factors at play (mostly beyond my understanding) that worrying doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s like worrying you might get hit by a bus; is that any excuse not to live?
Q: Is there anything we a fans can do to help NBC bring back Community? (ArturoBadfinger)
A: Everything you’ve been doing! You guys are amazing, and you are spreading the word about the show. Also, seeing your zeal has been a much needed boost to the writers. We’re finishing the rest of the season “in the dark,” so it’s good to know there’s people out there who are excited about what we’re doing.
Q: How much influence did Donald Glover and Danny Pudi have on the roles of Troy and Abed? (thewhizkid28)
A: Donald Glover had a lot. To see how much, just watch any season three episode, and then the pilot. His character became infused with a lot of the innocence (and fearlessness) that Donald has. Danny Pudi is very different from Abed, which is a testament to his acting abilities. But I think his warmth has shone through Abed’s character, especially episodes like second season Christmas and “Critical Film Studies”, when we get a glimpse past the Spock and into his heart.
Q: What is the Community writer’s room/ atmosphere like? How does it compare to the room/ atmosphere at The Onion? (patfeehan)
A: The Community writers spends a LOT more time together than The Onion writers did. At the paper, we would have a couple hours of meetings a day, and do the rest of our writing separately. At Community, we spend all day long in the same room, talking about the episodes, so there isn’t a distinction between when we’re working and when we’re fucking around. Everything is more fluid. Which is probably why we hang out more outside of work too. The Onion was this meeting, this meeting, that meeting, goodbye I’m going home. And on Fridays we’d drink whiskey and talk, and reconnect.
Both rooms are full of screamingly funny people. I consider myself lucky to have had a chair in both of them.
Q: How does it feel to be part of a show that has such a cult following? (GeeKalod)
A: It’s great. I’m a nerd on a show for nerds. A show that I myself am nerdy about. I buy the t-shirts, I listen to the commentary, and I stalk Dan Harmon like it’s my job. (It kind of is.)
Kevin Morris is a veteran web reporter and editor who specializes in longform journalism. He led the Daily Dot’s esports vertical and, following its acquisition by GAMURS in late 2016, launched Dot Esports, where he serves as the site’s editor-in-chief.