Isn’t ironic that lately, the cast of Community has been criticized as being empty caricatures of their former selves, and now during Tuesday night’s PaleyFest panel, the cast and producers debuted a never-before-seen first look at the study group in puppet form. What followed was an announcement informing us that the ever-meta characters of the internet’s favourite sitcom will be transformed into actual puppets next month. The episode, airing in April, features the previously announced guest appearance of Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander, who will play a friendly mountain man. In the episode, the study group recounts their adventures in the woods, which has left them feeling a little too touchy and thus a little awkward. The episode is said to encourage them to speak about their experience and shed light on the ever growing problem of child abuse. This isn’t the first time that the comedy has transformed its cast into another form for the entirety of an episode: Jeff and his study group were also seen as stop-motion animation creations in season 2′s “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” and as 8-bit video game characters in season 3′s “Digital Estate Planning.”
Other announcements for this season include:
It’s father time: Thursday’s Thanksgiving episode marking the introduction of James Brolin as Jeff Winger’s father and Workaholics star Adam Devine as Jeff’s younger brother.
The origin story: An episode focusing on the group before they were introduced to each other.
The Dean writes an episode: Jim Rash, an Oscar-winning scribe for The Descendants, penned an episode that pays homage to Freaky Friday. In this episode, Troy and Abed switch bodies.
More Shirley: Yvette Nicole Brown teased that there’s something coming up that’s “bigger coming than Malcolm-Jamal Warner playing my husband.
Graduation: The cast didn’t answer if the group would graduate or not, but did tell everyone to stay tuned.
The absence of creator Dan Harmon:[callout]“I mean the good news is that some of the writers from Dan’s time stayed, and that was really important to help guide scripts,” McHale told EW. “Megan Ganz has written some that are just, I think, awesome. And Dan said in a couple interviews, ‘If you listen to Megan things will be okay.’ So I was really happy with some of it. We’ll see what the public thinks.” [/callout]