Six seasons and a movie. That's Community's rallying cry, hashtag and goal, but for now it's only a reality in Abed's Dreamatorium.Yvette Nicole Brown isn't mourning. "Four years is great! We made it to syndication, we got to meet all of you guys," she told fans at Tuesday's Paley Festival honoring Community. "As an actor, it's hard to have friends -- who are more talented than you, more beautiful than you or whatever -- that aren't working ... We're in the gravy years of our careers and the gravy years of this show. So if we get to continue another year, it would be an awesome blessing... but remember that whatever happens in May ... we did it together and that's a great thing."Brown's sunny outlook, however, doesn't really answer the big question on fans' minds: Will Community be renewed for a fifth season? Unfortunately, the Paley panel, valiantly moderated by TV Guide Magazine's Mike Schneider, was short on answers regarding Season 5, departing star Chevy Chase or the reception to new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio's work on Season 4 thus far. The biggest piece of news (beyond the return of some paintball and the monkey named Annie's Boobs) came in the form of several felt folk. The panel sneak-previewed a Community opening sequence in which all members of the study group are translated into puppet form for an episode that will premiere in April and guest-star Jason Alexander. The former Seinfeld star will play a mountain man who meets the study group after they crash-land from a balloon ride. The puppets come in when Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) urges them to work out their feelings about the experience through the use of puppets. Alison Brie and fellow co-star Danny Pudi, watch the entire Community Paley Fest panel replay on Hulu. For more scoop, check out what the stars told TVGuide.com on the PaleyFest red carpet:Shirley's two worlds collide We'll see Shirley's domestic life (adorned in gingham) on Thursday's new episode, in which she and her friends eat Thanksgiving with her in-laws. The situation highlights how Shirley is torn between family and her study group. "Shirley wishes she could spend more time with her family. I think she's realizing that a lot of her time is spent with the study group," Brown said. "She makes a comment in one of the episodes, 'This is why I can't hang with you guys on the weekend. I could spend this time with my kids while you guys are at Inspector-con with Jeff taking his shirt off.' She's starting to prioritize, and I think that's her way of saying goodbye to this season of her life."A love interest for Abed "There's some exploration this year," Pudi confirmed."I think you kind of know exactly how Abed would approach it: so very not smooth."Troy and Abed swap places Rash, who won an adapted screenplay Oscar, wrote this season's 10th episode. "It's a weird tribute to the Freaky Friday situation of them switching bodies," Rash said. "The Dean's involved in a side of the body-switching thing, but it's basically a Troy-and-Abed story." Pudi, who plays Abed said, "It's very strange.to watch Donald [Glover] play Abed. Every time you see someone doing you... you are taken out of your element a little bit, and your character is put under a microscope. You start really questioning every decision you ever made as an actor. Thanks for making me way funnier than I am!" Ken Jeong) But it will be brief! "Quite a few study group members will rotate through Shirley's Sandwiches," Brown said. "It's what happens on campus: You get a job on campus."The end? "It's a really fulfilling finale this year," Brown said. "Everyone is there. There are some goodbyes. It's a college campus, it's a moving organism. People rotate in and rotate out. It's a sweet finale, and if it ends up being a show finale, it's fulfilling. If it's just this season's finale, it's fulfilling. Our writers have really gotten used to the bubble that is our show. So they tend to always write a finale that is open and closed at the same time." Pudi added, "We always come back to the heart of the show."
Community airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.