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Thanks to Andy for the heads up.

Danny Pudi has gotten to go to some very odd and very fascinating places as Abed Nadir in Community, and that looks to continue in a big way in Season 5. This season, Abed will be saying goodbye to his best friend, Troy, as Donald Glover leaves the series. When I visited the set of the show this fall, a few weeks after Glover had wrapped up his work, I spoke to Pudi about what to expect in the new season and what it’s like exploring Abed without Troy in his life.

IGN TV: How’s Season 5 been going for you so far?

Danny Pudi: I'm glad to be back. This is I think the eighth episode this season, something like that? I'm still being surprised, which is wonderful. If we're looking at it, this would be episode number 92 of Community. The fact that I'm still being surprised is... I mean, yesterday there were two scenes where it was very hard for me to keep a straight face. So that is a wonderful thing.

IGN: Obviously, the big question right now is, what is it like having Dan [Harmon] back?

Pudi: It's amazing. I think that's a big part of why I'm saying these things, with Dan and Chris McKenna. It just breathes new life. It's another way to bring new life back to this group, which is so nice. The thing about our show is week to week it is so new and different. It feels spontaneous. It's good to keep having new energy here. It's just exciting. From the beginning, this all spawned out of Dan's twisted and funny and beautiful view of humanity. Especially for me personally, playing Abed, there's no one who's written dialogue for Abed in a way as honestly and as personal to me as Dan. So having that back is just exciting. It's really, really exciting. And with everything that's happened this year. It's been a really weird year, with Chevy leaving and now with Donald leaving, us never knowing if we're going to be on the air or not. It's just nice to have Dan back, because there's a little bit of "we're starting again from the beginning." We're re-grounding ourselves, and it's really good. The thing that I love about our show is I get to say that we're in our fifth season, we're starting syndication, and I still feel like we're just starting. That's really, really exciting. It's been really, really good -- and weird, which I love. It's very weird this year. It's a really fun, weird year.


Community returns next week, for its much-anticipated Season 5. When I visited the set of the show this fall, I spoke to Alison Brie about a big season that sees the return of series creator Dan Harmon and the introduction of Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks in a notable new recurring role as a Greendale professor, while Donald Glover makes his exit from the show. We also spoke about some of the show’s guest stars this season and how Annie Edison is doing this year.

IGN TV: So what's it like having Dan back this season?

Alison Brie: It's incredible! It's been really incredible. The material this year I think is better than any other season. Everything's just super sharp. Dan's back, we're only doing 13 [episodes], and I think he had a year off, and now he has so much work to do and feels like there's so little time to do it, so every week we're getting these great episodes. That's not to say they're all huge, thematic episodes, but just good, just hitting all the angles. Obviously we've had a lot to deal with story-wise in terms of Pierce not being around and Troy leaving and things like that. So we're getting all that stuff done in really cool ways.

IGN: That leads me to my next question, which is, with those characters leaving, how is the group dealing with the changes?

Brie: You know, it's fine. We've all learned that working on Community means constant change all the time. So I think now, this year, it's offset by us being so excited to have Dan back, and the material is so great. So there's not really time to wallow in like, "Oh, not everyone's here!" We've gotten all these great people here, like Jonathan Banks, who's doing so many episodes this season, and he's incredible. We've had so many cool guest stars coming in. I mean, Nathan Fillion pops by, Tim and Eric are here this week. Also, John Oliver is doing a lot of episodes. You'll find that the Dean and Chang are much more involved. So the group is just sort of... "Chang'd." [Laughs]

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