Monday, May 7th, 2012

Chase Says He's Underutilized on 'Community' – Is He Right?

Vulture caught up with Chevy Chase this weekend and asked him very point blank questions about Community. Chase obviously didn't want to talk about, but luckily he did talk about it, albeit fairly dickishly:

I don't want to talk about that. Why would I? We don't know if the show has been picked up. Even if it had been picked up, I haven't made a deal. I have to go through all that stuff before I can give you my opinion on the character. It's not easy to answer that, because I haven't made my deal yet.

When asked what he doesn't like about being on the show he responded:

I just don't think the writing of that character reflects what I do comedically, and I love the people I work with. They're all good kids, and they all do very well in their parts. But I don't think anyone has a sense of what to do with me, so I got to play some gray-haired, biased, bigoted guy. I've been too funny in my life to have to play a character who's … moderately funny.

First, awwwwwwwww – he calls his castmates "good kids." Second, is he right?

Yes and no. He is surely correct but he isn't right. Through all the awfulness and grossness, Chevy Chase was once considered to be quite a gifted comedic actor. Does the show play to his strengths? Not really; at least not since the first season, which was heavier on Pierce-centered episodes and allowed Chase to sing and do some really great physical comedy. The show has moved away from this as it started doing more ambitious plots and gags. So, yes, Chase isn't being used up to his potential.

However, maximum Chevy Chase is not in the best interest of the show. Sitcoms are team sports, unlike much of Chase's films that were built around him. Arguably, no actor in that ensemble is used to their complete potential because the show isn't about any one of them, it's the about the show as a whole. The writers are creating a story and a universe, and are using the characters in a way to best to service that goal. No longer are the days of the show built around making its star look as funny as possible (For example: Think of difference in funniness time between Tim Allen on Home Improvement and Zooey Deschanel on The New Girl). Not to mention, it seems like Chase has been an inflexible pain to work with, which would be reason enough not to get him on camera as much, as he won't put as much work into it.

That being said, for as much as Chase hates being in an ensemble, he is in one and he does a solid job at it. If, or when (hopefully), Community returns, I'd want Pierce to be there. He's not the most beloved member of the group but he's still a member of the group.

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  • JoshUng

    The season has been pretty Troy and Abed heavy, so there is a lot less screen time for everybody.  Even Joel McHale, who gets plenty of screen time, seems to be more of a cast member, instead of seeming like the lead like in the first season.

  • Slutface

    His character has changed a lot since the first season. He's more of a buffoon than he was in the first couple of seasons so I think they've written him into a corner. I don't think I'd notice if were off the show at this point.  I wouldn't care either. His character doesn't add very much for me.

  • Anthony

     I think part of the problem is that what Chevy Chase does so well is physical comedy, which doesn't mesh great with
    dialogue-driven humor, especially in a series as plot driven as
    "Community." It also doesn't work well with a lot of fast cuts, an
    editing style that kind of dictates the comedy on shows like "30 Rock"
    and "Community." To top it all off, watching a grown man fall into a
    drum set loses some of its pizzazz when it's on a tiny TV screen and not
    something larger, like a movie screen, even if it is really, really

  • Fawkes

    The big issue is that Chevy is so unprofessional on set the writers have been asked to make sure he has nothing longer than 5 words. If he learned his lines he would get more of them.

    I think he should embrace the new way they use him instead of fighting to play a televised Clark Griswold again. Imagine if Chase approached Pierceinald from a Mr. Burns angle… it would be amazing. Burns on occasion was shown to just be a little boy with too much money, and at other times he was just a monstrous symbol of greed and crapulence. I believe that Chevy could embiggen us all if he would just be professional enough to give a cromulent performance.

  • http://twitter.com/connorratliff Connor Ratliff

    It's sort of amazing that Chase feels so ill-served by being on Community, which is pretty much the only thing he's done that's gotten any kind of positive reaction in the past two decades.  (Unless I'm forgetting something.) 

    Reading his complaints sort of feels akin to if Bill Murray had started bitching when Wes Anderson started casting him in movies that there weren't enough chances for him to make Ghostbusters-style wisecracks. 

    I think Chase is as well-used on Community as he could be.  It doesn't seem like he's anybody's favorite character, but I think he's a good part of the ensemble and he's funny on it.  That's more than I can say for anything else I've seen Chase do in years. 

    I'd love for someone to ask Chase to point to an example of what it is he thinks he should be doing now. 

  • MakesNoScents

    I just can't stand this shit anymore. The show isn't funny enough to warrant this much off-screen attention. When was the last time you heard of such extensive  on-set problems with Parks & Recreation or The Office? And both of those shows have consistently funnier than anything Community has ever done. It's just all become to inside baseball for me. I don't give a fuck about how the writer and actor of a show are getting along. I REALLY DON'T GIVE THE SMALLEST FUCK. 

    • Guest

      Kinda seems like you do.

    • joeybot

       And I don't think those shows really have many on-set problems, which is why you don't hear about them.  Chase is a notorious asshole who no one wants to work with, look where his career went.  Look how many of his old co-stars from SNL or anywhere else showed up at his Friars Club Roast.  NONE.

  • http://twitter.com/beermestrength beermestrength

    Arguably, no actor in that ensemble is used to their complete potential because the show isn't about any one of them, it's the about the show as a whole."

    That sums it up perfectly…and unfortunately, that is the one thing you will never be able to convince Chase of. And @twitter-116640323:disqus is right in saying that Chase should be not only happy with his role on the show, but grateful. He fits well within an amazing ensemble cast and has the support (although Chevy would disagree) of a tremendous writing staff that makes him consistently funny.