October 27, 2016
        "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars        

Community stars on upcoming action and cliffhangers!

Warning: Mild spoilers follow 

Community became a mainstay of NBC’s legendary Thursday night lineup in only its first season on the air. They’re going to end this year with a bang, two actually. The show’s stars Yvette Nicole Brown and Gillian Jacobs previewed the big things to come in the show’s final four episodes when they attended the College Television Awards as presenters.

“There is an episode that is epic in scope, looks like a movie,” Brown said. “There may be some violence, safe 8 o’clock Thursday night violence.”

Since there’s no studio audience, Community already kind of looks like a movie as opposed to old school sitcoms. Jacobs explained more about what makes this upcoming episode so unique.

“We basically shot an action film,” Jacobs said. “I don’t know if she told you about that. We have an episode that’s like a mini action movie that I think rivals anything that’s on TV.”

They already did an episode where Abed (Danny Pudi) makes a movie, but that wasn’t supposed to look like a real movie. The action movie episode is more like Jerry Bruckheimer. “It’s bigger than that,” Brown said. “It’s our movie. It’s our Community movie, epic like a movie in scope. There’s crane shots, there’s a lot. I can’t say anymore and you’re going to love it. That’s all I can say.”

So who gets to be the action hero in the Community action movie? “This one right here,” Jacobs bragged. “I got to be a little bit of a badass which was really, really fun. I felt like Lara Croft at times. I was jumping over things and firing guns and saving people and assassinating people. It was pretty spectacular.”

Everyone in the Greendale Spanish study group gets an action hero moment. “Everybody gets in on the game,” Jacobs said. “Joel McHale starved himself for about two months so he’s surprisingly fit. Joel is kind of an homage to Die Hard in this episode. Anything can happen at Greendale. We seem to have an infinite budget for dances and special events: fairs, family day, STD fairs. We have a lot of money to spare.”

With seven lead characters in the ensemble, most episodes have to spread the wealth. Brown is going to get to show a little more of Shirley soon. “There’s an episode coming up where Shirley shows her dark side,” Brown said. “Not dark side but she really gets upset about something that happens with someone in the study group. It’s a him or me situation. Other than that, I’m kind of doing a lot of supporting with other characters.”

Another episode goes into high school territory. I’m not sure what a prom has to do with college, but it sounds funny. “There’s an episode that has a prom theme,” Brown said. “There may or may not be a giant cookie involved and large stuffed animals. There’s large stuffed animals in that episode. You have to watch and see. You see Shirley in Shirley’s estimation of what a dance attire would be.

Finally, the season finale will leave fans hanging all summer. Community has been renewed for a second season, so they can leave you on a cliffhanger. “Usually there is, right?” Jacobs said. “Probably the fate of the world is at stake, right? Like good versus evil and maybe some aliens involved. No, it’s usually more mundane stuff at community college involving people.”

It is still a cliffhanger though. “Yes, there is a cliffhanger,” Brown said. “There’s a very good cliffhanger. I think it’s drastic. I think it’s very drastic, but that’s me. You might see it and go, ‘What was she talking about?’ I think it’s very drastic and I think some people will love it, some people will hate it but everybody will be talking about it. Everybody that watches the show will be talking about it.”

So if it’s not the fate of the world, as Jacobs suggests, at least the fate of the study group could be at stake. “Oh, in a way,” Jacobs said. “In a sense, yes, the fate of the study group which is more important than the fate of the world.”

That doesn’t impress Brown though. “I think every week something threatens the study group, so I’d say yeah,” Brown said.

The actors will have to wait until the fall to find out what’s in store for their characters too. “I haven’t learned anything about next season,” Brown said. “I know with 22 episodes there’s enough time for everybody’s family hopefully to be introduced in some way, different relationships to start them in so it’s going to be a good run.”

Brown has some suggestions for new characters, and her own casting ideas too. “I’m hoping in second season that we can twist Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s arm,” Brown said. “I know I’ve said it in an interview. Hopefully, he’ll just go, ‘All right, Yvette.’ He doesn’t know me. I just want him to play the husband. I want him to play the husband if we reconcile. If we don’t reconcile, I want him to play Shirley’s love interest. It’s a Cosby Show thing. I don’t need him to come in and leave. I need Malcolm to be around. It’s Cosby Show. Hey, deal. What can I say?”

She’s also thinking long term for Shirley’s romantic prospects. “We haven’t seen Shirley in a relationship. If we see her in a relationship with Malcolm Jamal Warner, I would like it to be a chaste love affair because television has so many people just jumping into bed and you don’t see the other side. It’s possible for somebody to be like, ‘Let’s wait until we get married.’ That’s significant to model for people as well, so I would love if that could be her generation.”

Community airs Thursday nights on NBC.

About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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