Attention Greendale students: Community is finally back! This week, the series returns to NBC's Thursday primetime line-up for the first time since May 2012. To get us even more psyched for the long-delayed season premiere, study group members Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs called us up to chat about their senior year, Britta and Annie's evolving friendship, and why they can't help reading fan-written Community porn.
TWoP: You finished filming the season a while ago now. Are you excited that people are finally going to be able to see it?
Alison Brie: Yeah, we're so full of anticipation. I'm glad the day is finally here because we've been waiting so long to see these episodes. So I'm really excited and I feel like everybody is really excited.
TWoP: Certainly the fanbase is going crazy.
Alison: Absolutely! And the fans are the only reason we're on the air. It's always been popular online, but the thing that's only started happening this year for me is that I've been out in public and people have come up to me and been like, "One more week!" That's all they say, and I'm like "Yeah!" And we have a little moment. It's really cool.
TWoP: It's a good thing you know what they're talking about. That sentence could go a number of different ways.
Gillian: Yeah, "One more week... till you die!" [Laughs]
TWoP: It's been fun to watch how Britta and Annie's friendship has evolved over the course of the show. Has that been equally enjoyable for you both to play?
Gillian: I like that it flipped at a certain point and Annie started mentoring Britta.
Allison: Yeah, it's always been a sisterly relationship. It was a bit competitive at first with Jeff, but we got that out of the way very quickly and then it was always Annie looking up to Britta. And now it's flipped around and it's like, "Maybe I can give her some advice."
Gillian: Yeah, it took Annie a little too long to realize that Britta didn't know what the hell was going on. I really enjoyed the "Blade" episode last season where she was calling me a lying junkie and locking me in her bedroom. And it's interesting to see that dynamic play out this season with Britta joining the Troy/Abed/Annie household sometimes.
TWoP: Community is a big target for 'shippers, who have paired up pretty much every study group partner at this point. Have you ever seen any Annie/Britta shipping?
Alison: Oh yeah.
Gillian: Yeah, definitely. Alison and I did a photo shoot for GQ that probably prompted a lot of that shipping. I think we've seen every possible fan combination. Donald [Glover] sent me some fan porn of Troy and Britta that someone had sent to him.
Alison: I saw some with Troy and Abed.
TWoP: So you do read Community fan fic?
Alison: Just the porn. [Laughs]
Gillian: I read enough to know what it was and then I was like, "Oh my!"
Alison: I just saw pictures! Mine was like pornographic cartoons.
Gillian: Oh, mine was a written-out thing. I just scanned it.
TWoP: Maybe someone can go through and change all the names, publish it and it can become the next 50 Shades of Grey.
Gillian: Yup -- Seven Shades of Weird.
TWoP: Are there any Season 4 episodes that you're really excited for fans to see?
Alison: The Halloween episode is really cool. It has a kind of Scooby-Doo vibe and people who know the study group know that kind of clicks nicely with our dynamic already. It makes a lot of sense to have us in a Scooby-Doo situation. We go to Pierce's mansion and everything is super-weird and very '80s. That was really fun. I also love the finale that we shot this season. It's kind of going to tap into some of that darkest timeline stuff and things that the fans who have been watching from the show from the beginning will really love. So stick through all 13 episodes, guys! You can make it.
TWoP: It's it weird to think that viewers will be watching the Halloween episode five months after Halloween?
Alison: I think it makes it extra special! [Laughs] It just gives everybody another chance to celebrate those holidays that we love so much.
Gillian: Once again, we're the most unique show on television! We're celebrating Halloween in March.
TWoP: Obviously there were some major changes that occurred during the off season. How difficult was it to get back into the groove when you came back to start Season 4?
Alison: Once you get all of us into a room, it's pretty much the same. It just takes a couple seconds. For us as a group, our dynamic hasn't really changed. We feel like we have these other brothers and sisters now. Day in and day out, Season 4 was still long hours and it was still weird and it was still Community.
TWoP: The chemistry amongst the cast has always been so great to watch. Do you guys spend a lot of time hanging out together off-set?
Alison: We definitely try to see each other as much as possible. It's tough, because during filming, you see each other every single day for hours and hours and know every detail about each other's lives. And then when we break, everyone has other stuff going on, which is great, but everyone's busy with their own things and we don't see each other as much as we would like.
Gillian: We do get some good email chains and mass group texts going. I think that it's always strange for us to not be shooting, because you sort of mark the time of the year by the season of Community. Like, we'd normally be shooting right now. I drove by the Paramount lot yesterday and it felt pretty weird to be driving by and not pulling inside to go to set.
TWoP: Have you heard whether or not the show has been picked up for another season or are you still in the dark?
In Unison: Yeah...
Gillian: It might not be until May that we know what's going on.
Alison: But we love being in the dark. It's where we live. It's our natural state of being. We're the Mole People of television.
TWoP: Besides Community, what are some of your other favorite shows on the air right now?
Gillian: RuPaul's Drag Race!
Alison: I love Girls. And I loved, loved, loved 30 Rock.
Gillian: Yeah, I cried at the finale. I was weeping and made people feel weird.
Alison: I cried at the finale, too!
Gillian: Also, that 30 Rock finale spoke to us as actors on Community in such a specific way. It wasn't intended to, but all the stuff about being on a show that's maybe underwatched, but means so much to the people on it rang true. I was crying. I was sobbing.
Alison: Me too. I didn't cry until the end and then it kind of hit me and I tried to hide it.
Gillian: That scene with Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan in the strip club killed me. And of course it was in a strip club!
TWoP: So you weren't like "Great, that show is finally over. Now we're definitely getting that timeslot!"
In Unison: No!
Gillian: That was the show I was obsessed with before Community. I couldn't wait for it every week and I quoted it constantly.
Alison: I feel like 30 Rock and The Office were part of what made me excited to book a show that was going to be on Thursday nights on NBC. Those were the things I was looking up to and thinking, "Oh my God... we're going to be like that show."
TWoP: Speaking of Girls, were you excited to watch Donald's guest spot?
Gillian: Definitely! I couldn't watch that sex scene though.
Alison: Oh my God! I feel like I knew it was going to happen and was still so shocked!
Gillian: Yeah, it was like "There he is! Oh my! They're naked and they're doing it. Okay!" I closed my eyes.
Alison: I didn't. I rewound it and watched it like, three times. [Laughs]