As the NBC sitcom “Community” reaches the end of its second season, the show has put its characters in some truly unique scenarios. Entire episodes have been devoted to zombie outbreaks, missions into space, and claymation Christmas specials.
One of the show’s most famous episodes is “Modern Warfare,” which aired in the first season. In this episode, the show’s central study group found themselves in the midst of a campus-wide paintball battle. Tonight the show begins its two-part second season finale which will bring paintball-filled action to the fictional Greendale Community College once more.
Alison Brie, who plays the young Annie Edison on the “Community,” said in a conference call that the new paintball episode looks to take the premise in an entirely new direction. On top of that, it will feature former “Lost” cast member Josh Holloway as a guest star.
“You could feel the collective excitement about Josh Holloway when he was there,” Brie said. “It was great to have this breath of fresh air come into the cast and just be so excited about every scene that we were doing.”
Brie said that most members of the “Community” cast are huge “Lost” fans, and much of the time on set was spent asking Holloway questions about the show.
Brie is just one member of an ensemble cast that includes Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover and Chevy Chase.
Together they make up the study group that has always been the main focus of the show.
Brie said the season finale is incredibly important to the development of her character.
“She’s a girl who’s been through a lot,” she said. “I think that Annie is just on a constant journey towards maturity and figuring out who she is. I don’t think she’s really quite there yet.”
She describes her character as always determined, yet imperfect.
“She doesn’t like to lose,” Brie said. “Her downfall, I guess, is that she’s easily distracted by boys.”
The second season of “Community” has focused a great deal on tensions within the study group. At times, the group has seemed on the brink of a breakup. Brie said that the finale deals directly with these conflicts.
“The finale definitely addresses that idea about maybe certain people in the group sort of having trouble with other people,” she said. “It’s not just all flashy paintball action stuff. There is really a lot of emotional stuff going on in these last couple episodes.”
Despite the fictional conflict portrayed on the show, Brie said that the entire cast has become very good friends. Even when they aren’t working on the show, they will frequently text message each other and stay in touch.
“One of the best things about working on the show has really been just making some of my best friends,” she said. “The fact that we all get along so well is pretty rare.”
“Community” has never been a show that has done particularly well in the ratings. Yet it has built up a loyal fan base both on the Internet and college campuses across the country. Brie said that she is recognized far more often when making a movie in a college town such as Ann Arbor, Mich., than when she is home in Los Angeles.
“I just adore our fans,” she said. “They’re just so dedicated to watching the show.”
While many actors choose to ignore most things said about them on the Internet, Brie chooses to seek them out. She uses her Twitter account to communicate with fans and see what “Community” devotees have to say.
“Fans on Twitter are so great about sending links to different articles or fan art or things like that,” she said.
With the season finale about to air, Brie promises many surprises for those who tune in. When she first received the script for the episode, some of the developments were so shocking that she thought the writers might have been pulling a prank on her.
“There just are twists and turns that I did not see coming,” she said. “There’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. I’m not sure people will know which way it’s going to go. I may not know which way it’s going to go.”
The romantic life of Brie’s character has always been one of interest to fans of the show. However, she is careful not to spoil any developments the season finale may hold.
“She could end up with anybody,” she said. “You never know.”
Part one of the “Community” season finale airs today at 8 p.m. on NBC. Part two airs at the same time on May 12.