Go Behind the Scenes of Community with Yvette Nicole Brown
Yvette Nicole Brown of NBC's Community sat down with TVGuide.com, offering a taste of hilarious off-screen antics. Brown also teases what's coming up with her character Shirley, the many relationships at the community college and who may be next to lock lips with Joel McHale.
TVGuide.com: What's the on-set reaction been to the full-season pickup for Community?
Yvette Nicole Brown: It's been amazing. Every week we're finding out that more and more people are watching. We're like, "Really? We got five more people? Awesome!" We're looking at it as a grass-roots movement and every bit by bit we're going to keep growing. Slow and steady wins the race, so we're tortoises, maybe not hares.
NBC picks up Community, Mercy and Parks and Recreation
TVGuide.com: Who's the worst culprit for breaking down during a scene?
Brown: We are a bunch of gigglers. [Danny Pudi] and I have the distinction of being the two that cannot hold it together. When Danny or I are laughing, it's going to run its course. It's not on purpose, but we're two people who just cannot stop laughing. [Alison Brie] never breaks. She will start shenanigans, but she will not participate. [Gillian Jacobs] has the ability to laugh without sound, what gives her away are her shoulders. If I see her shoulders, then I'm gone. It's a chain reaction. Joel never breaks.
TVGuide.com: You're not allowed to look Joel in the eye, right?
Brown: You can't look at him in the eye, which is fine because he's 12[-foot-]2 and I can't see his eyes anyway. I have to call him Mr. McHale or Sir McHale, depending on if he's feeling British that day. He's talented so we put up with it, whatever. [Laughs] Seriously, he's a sweet, sweet man.
TVGuide.com: What shenanigans do the actors get up to on-set?
Brown: A lot of it I cannot tell because it's really not suitable for an interview. Let's just say that we are all blessed to work with really silly people. I think the average mental age of all of us is 12 and a half. You can imagine what we find funny and what we laugh at.
TVGuide.com: Do the actors improv during scenes?
Brown: We do. When we shoot, they always give us a couple of passes to say whatever we want. Anyone who watches this show, always pay attention to the little mumbles that we do; there's gold in those hills. If a scene is ending, pay attention to what everyone is saying under their breaths. It's more to make each other laugh.
TVGuide.com: Your character Shirley seems to be very naïve to the world. Are we going to learn more about her personal life this season?
Brown: Yes. I haven't figured out if Shirley is naïve or protective of what she knows. I think she maybe has gone through some things with her divorce and she doesn't want to give this to everybody right away. The truth of who she is can be found more in the seething anger than in the bubbly nice stuff. As the season goes on, we're going to find out more about her family and what happened with her husband.
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TVGuide.com: Is she at fault for the divorce?
Brown: I don't believe Shirley is at fault ever at any time. I believe Shirley is salt of the Earth. She's a saint. She was a poor bystander in another relationship her husband had. It's tragic. Poor, sweet Shirley.
TVGuide.com: Well, Chevy Chase's character has a crush on Shirley, so at least she has something.
Brown: We're learning this Pierce Hawthorn has a crush on every female. It seemed like it was directed at Shirley, but he really rebounds quickly. He's now bounced on to someone else.
TVGuide.com: The two of you come together in Thursday's episode. What is Pierce helping you with?
Brown: So far Shirley has almost avoided Pierce and his advances, but she has a presentation in her marketing class. She's terrified at speaking in front of large groups. Pierce is an expert at everything, so he and Shirley team up so he can help Shirley get an A in this class.
TVGuide.com: Will he try to romance her?
Brown: I do not believe Pierce will try to romance Shirley ever again. I believe that ship has sailed ... Hear that, writers?
TVGuide.com: A love triangle formed in last week's episode between Brita, Annie and Jeff. Will that continue?
Brown: I think that was just for that episode. There's an age difference involved. Well, we're in Hollywood ... age difference, what is that? I really think people want to see Annie with Troy [Donald Glover]. Annie's had an unrequited crush for years on this guy and I'd love to see that go its natural course. I think Jeff and Brita will, of course, find their way together. That episode was just an anomaly, just like Pierce having a crush on Shirley ... Hear that, writers? [Laughs]
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TVGuide.com: Will there be another kiss between Jeff and Brita?
Brown: I believe there should be a kiss between Jeff and Shirley because he's kissed everyone on the show. Did you hear that, writers? I want to have the McHale experience!
TVGuide.com: What can we look forward to coming up this season?
Brown: Anthony Michael Hall is a guest star in the Christmas episode. Shirley also sings in that episode. She's singing various Christmas carols, some with new lyrics. Shirley finds out that everybody is not Christian, so she has to learn how to be more tolerant and more loving of differences. Shirley really grows from it.
TVGuide.com: How long will they stretch everyone out being in community college?
Brown: I can speak for my character, Shirley never opens her books. I don't know if anyone has noticed this. I think Shirley is going to be there quite awhile, unless she's a savant. The only one that's really in danger of graduating on time is Annie. We could really stretch it out a good six or seven years.