Alison Brie will be a guest on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” this week! She will be appearing on the show airing Thursday, March 7th on the CBS network. Check your local TV listings for exact air times in your area!
The Alison Brie Central photo gallery has been updated with 380 high definition screen captures of Alison Brie in last week’s episode of “Community”.
» Alison Brie Central > Series Television > Community > Season Four > 4×04 – Alternative History of the German Invasion
It’s the final year of academe and that has some of our friends fretting about the future.
Danny Pudi and Alison Brie, who play Abed and Annie respectively, were in Toronto this week and spoke with Monsters and Critics about the show, its refusal to conform and prospects for the future.
Monsters and Critics: There’s nothing like Community on TV where you can expect an epic 30 minute movie and vaudeville show.
Alison Brie – Cool! Yay! It’s something we take extreme pride in; the gift that Dan Harmon gave us in creating the show and setting the precedent for pushing the borders of what can exist on network television.
Danny Pudi – What can you do in 22 minutes? That for us has been a consistent and exciting challenge every week. Early on I used to think coming back from the fourth fifth or sixth table read thinking “Wow, that’s still funny”. It’s getting weirder. I can’t believe I’m getting to do that! What? We’re gonna do that? The writers text me “How’s your Christian Bale impression?” “What Christian Bale impression?”
Alison Brie- And then a year later they ask me “How’s your Christian Bale impersonation?” Uh oh! Here we go. So for an actor it can’t be any more exciting to work on a show like this.
Monsters and Critics: And on Community, you can wear so many personas, your characters and the ones you winkingly assume.
Alison Brie – Yes. It’s always a really cool challenge when we do extreme genre episodes because on the one hand, it’s exciting. We’re never bored, we get to play so many kids of characters within the constraints of our charcaters and that’s where it’s interesting. You do a Law & Order episode and you’re focusing so hard to get it right and we’re watching it and studying them and we’re all big fans and fans of research. We watch and bring that element. But at the same time you have to keep in kind where your character is coming from and keep it true to that character that exists on this other show so it’s a treat, a fun acting exercise.
Danny Pudi – It’s a fun workshop.
Monsters and Critics: I’ll admit to you I get confused sometimes. All of a sudden it’s Abed’s TV show and there’s a laugh track. What?
Danny Pudi – Well I’m confused all the time. People need to know it’s not just the viewer, it’s us too. That’s the joy of our show. Personally, I enjoy messiness and uncertainty in real life and you don’t have all the answers. It’s nice to be part of a show which allows those moments to breathe a little bit.
Even though it is extreme and bizarre, it’s lifelike. That’s a crazy thing to say, isn’t it?
Alison Brie – It’s true because we always work hard, however far we take these episodes, to keep them grounded them in the character. There is always character development and it’s always happening in a plausible fashion within the realm of this school we’ve created. The group is going to space and you see our interpretation of our group going to space and you believe it.
Danny Pudi – We’re doing a Claymation episode then you see our version of a Claymation episode and say “That’s pretty dark” but there is a lost reference, Peirce is coming out of the washroom zipping up his pants but it relates…
Alison Brie – … back to his mom which is why he maintains that reliability.
Monsters and Critics: And what about the German episode? Not the Nazi episode, the German episode; that was bold.
Danny Pudi – The Alternative history of the German invasion.
And quite coy.
Alison Brie – We like to take it up to the line and the about ten feet further.
Danny Pudi– We slow down a little bit before the line and then we just burst over it. It’s part of the joy of being on the show with these brilliant comedians. Dan Harmon and the writers are incredible. You’re able to go to places wondering if we can go to them. “Are you sure?” It’s part of being on a show that’s been under the radar for so long that I think we’re allowed to go to these places because now people expect it.
Monsters and Critics: What do you mean under the radar?
Alison Brie – I think we are an underdog show. We don’t have the ratings that say a Big Bang Theory has, so we don’t have outside certain circles.
Danny Pudi – Average TV viewers I’m not sure.
Alison Brie – As far as large network television goes were on the smaller scale which has worked to our advantage. NBC has been gracious to give us that extreme bit of freedom to explore new territory as opposed to shows that have that mass viewership and then have to stay in a safe zone because their viewers expect the same thing.
Monsters and Critics: You’re lucky. It’s a small thing sometimes the opening is only three seconds long. That’s bold.
Danny Pudi – There is an episode where Jack Black joined us when he didn’t want to throw off the rhythm or the timing of and that played into the opening. Those little things, those tidbits about the show that sometimes I miss, until I watch it and I’m like “That was so great”…
Alison Brie- … because of the levels of jokes that exist on the show. We’re not only having that joke in the moment, there is larger joke commenting on the show you’re watching, this machine that is making the television show, the awareness of television shows existing.
Monsters and Critics: The characters must be so ingrained in you after four intense years. Do you sometimes go “Hang on, no, that’s not right for my character”?
Alison Brie – This season’s more than ever because there were a lot of changes that took place. We were empowering ourselves to speak up for ourselves and our characters in Season Four. We’re very protective of our characters. “Hmmm. Maybe she’ll say this but in this way” or pitching alt jokes on the set. “This feels more the style of joke that your character does or that is in my wheelhouse an actor.”
Danny Pudi – They were looking to us to tell them if there were moments that felt a little unnatural.
Monsters and Critics: The last year at school makes people anxious. They have to get out of that cocoon and perform and there’s an undertone of regret.
Alison Brie – Not regret, just a different way the characters are experiencing school this year. Every other school year has had a sort of lighter, more wayward quality. This year is decision-making time. “Am I graduating, changing my major, do I have more to do here?” We ended the season with some students graduating and some not graduating so it’s not about ending. It’s not a season that is leading to an ending of the school year for everyone.
Danny Pudi – The beauty of Community College is that can stay as long as you want, take another course in different capacities that helps our show in some ways. But there is that heavy awareness in the room the real world id out there. What’s next?
Annie and Abed in the moooorning!
“Community” stars Alison Brie and Danny Pudi gave a conference call early this morning and we got up even earlier to log in for a question with them. As fans and press have watched the first three episodes under new showrunners, Pudi and Brie reflected on how things have changed and what’s remained the same, what’s coming up this season and some secrets about classic “Community” episodes like “Virtual Systems Analysis” and “Introduction to Statistics.”
Q: I think all of us wondered if the new showrunners would try to keep the show more traditional, keep it in the community college, but they’re really still pushing and going to new places. Were you worried about that and fighting to keep the ambition alive?
Alison Brie: Yeah, I think it’s a tough tin to learn that your showrunner is not coming back to the show and Dan was such a big part of the show. So I think we were a little nervous, but that’s not a new feeling having worked on our show for four years now.
When we met the new guys, they really stressed how much they loved the show and wanted to keep it the same. Some of our writers were the same. We certainly were very vocal this season to speak to what our characters would or wouldn’t do. We were all working together to keep the show intact.
Danny Pudi: “Community” itself, the show, is a very specific, different kind of comedy too. For all of us there was a lot of fear that the show, is it going to maintain its level and also will people get it? I think for us the one thing that we wanted to do and make sure that comes across the year is our genuine love for the show comes across. I think you’ll see that.
There is an extra level of responsibility we have as actors to really make sure we’re staying true to these people and the world around greendale. You can’t replace Dan Harmon. He created something amazing.
Q: You had a great episode together last season with Annie and Abed in the Dreamatorium. Will we see that resonate more this season?
Alison Brie: I loved shooting that episode. Obviously Danny and I love each other. There’s no one I’d rather be locked in there with, but I also though it was a really great way, obviously Troy and Abed is a unit and Troy is adventuring with Abed all the time, but you don’t get to see other people go into that world. By having Annie go in there, you let the audience go in there and journey into Abed’s mind which is a place we’re never really privy to.
It’s really special because Annie and Abed have distinct differences in their characters but also have similarities in their lack of being able to relate to people. Annie’s never had a lot friends. Abed has never had this many friends at one time, so in certain ways they’re similar sort of outcasts and it was fun to get to watch them get to know each other.
Danny Pudi: It’s fun to see how they both face their neuroses in terms of they both love control. That’s something you get to really explore that in the Dreamatorium. What happens when someone else is like, “Well, I get the Dreamatorium. I know how it works. Why can’t I just hold this quantum spanner like this?”
Overall in acting, I think one of the things that’s really special about that episode which people don’t know about is that we didn’t have a working script for the entire week and Dan Harmon would give us pages on the day as we went. It was largely Alison, I and Tristram Shapeero our director in the Dreamatorium piecing it all together.
Alison Brie: We’d get pages and shoot it 10 minutes later so it was an amazing acting exercise. Danny and I would do impressions of ourselves for each other, so that we knew how to play each other.
Danny Pudi: Every five minutes or so I’d be like, wait a minute, so this is me as Abed playing Annie, or is this Annie as Abed? It’s one of those episodes only Dan could write.
Q: Will that be referenced this season, that connection they formed in that episode?
Alison Brie: I don’t think that it’s really a through line for the fourth season, but certainly when you see these characters relate with each other in the fourth season, there’s a significant closeness now that’s happened. It’s almost like Annie has entered into Troy territory. Obviously not, no one can be Tory, but since she moved in, Annie entered their world.
Danny Pudi: There’s also a language between Annie and Abed. I look a the timeline episode where I say she should move in. This year I say, “You should take forensics.” I think there’s something nice that we understand each other and see each other thriving. I think a lot of that is because of the Dreamatorium. We know that we both have this very specific world view.
Alison Brie: And even in small ways, there are things in episodes that just references that Annie and Abed are very close. Like in the Halloween episode that just aired a couple weeks ago, Abed references that they’re watching “Cougar Town” together now and do a glass clink. They’re having little idiosyncrasies like Troy and Abed.
Danny Pudi: And watching Annie is now my second or third favorite show. Third favorite show. “Inspector Spacetime,” “Cougar Town” and you.
The Alison Brie Central photo gallery has been updated with 322 high definition screen captures of Alison Brie in last night’s episode of “Community”.
» Alison Brie Central > Series Television > Community > Season Four > 4×03 – Conventions of Space and Time