In "G.I. Jeff", Wingman gets court marshalled for shooting and killing Destro while he's parachuting from his downed aircraft. While this is done due to the Thou Shalt Not Kill aspect of the setting, Wingman actually would likely have gotten court marshaled or at least gotten in serious trouble. Killing an enemy combatant ejecting from his downed aircraft is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
At one point Britta says her favorite member of the X-Men is X-Man, in attempt to sound geeky. Yeah, about that...
Acclaimed Flop: The series got rave reviews during its run on NBC but suffered from middling ratings and a lack of award success. It still managed to air five seasons before being cancelled and ultimately picked up for a sixth season on Yahoo.
A number of incidental details about actors transfer to their characters. For example, both Abed and Danny Pudi are half-Polish on their mother's side. Troy, like Donald Glover, was raised a Jehovah's Witness. Annie has a Jewish mother, like Alison Brie. Annie also mentions her birthday as being in late December (specifically the 19th, as shown in "Basic Crisis Room Decorum"), not far off from Alison Brie's birthday (December 29th).
Pierce Hawthorne is supposed to have made his fortune with a moist-towelette company called "Hawthorne Wipes." Chevy Chase, in real-life, also has a family fortune derived from a personal sanitation product. His real name is Cornelius Crane Chase, and he is the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane, who was heir to the Crane Plumbing company, which manufactures and distributes plumbing fixtures and products (most notably, toilets for home and commercial markets) in North America.
According to Abed, Britta was born on October 19, 1980. In real-life, Gillian Jacobs was born on October 19, 1982.
The overwhelming fan response to the semi-accidental Jeff/Annie pairing influenced writers to make them into the primary Will They or Won't They? couple of the series. This video inspired a montage in the same vein, though in the show played for laughs, in Season 2. The creator says that Dan Harmon himself shouted out to them on Twitter before the episode aired, letting them know he had a surprise for them.
Banned Episode: Season two's "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" was pulled from Netflix and Hulu streaming on June 2020. The episode had Chang as a dark elf, which the other characters see as blackface. However, this ban does not extend to the DVD sets or Amazon Prime, so it is available there legally if you want it.
The interiors of the DVD cases are designed as yearbooks, Greendale brochures and even Abed's notebook from "Cooperative Calligraphy".
Among the many tidbits included are (presumably canon) hometowns for the main characters. Strangely, everyone is kinda paired off in this respect: Jeff and Shirley are from Denver, Abed and Britta from Riverside, Annie and Troy from Greendale itself, and Pierce and Chang are from out-of-state (Wyoming and California respectively).
Season 3 episode "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" shows shared flashbacks of Shirley and Jeff as children, and while they don't specify that it's Denver it does confirm that they grew up in the same place.
California Doubling: The college is supposed to be located in suburban Denver, but palm trees and cars with California plates are often visible in exterior shots. According to Dan Harmon on the DVD Commentary, the reason it doesn't snow during the show is because global warming hit Greendale pretty hard.
In one episode, Britta and Troy discover they're taking two different dance classes, tap and modern interpretation respectively. During the climax, Gillian Jacobs and Donald Glover get to show their struts in modern dance when Troy steps in to save Britta's tap performance after she sees Jeff's new flame and freezes in place. Both the in-universe and real-life audience are impressed, even Pierce.
Likewise, in "Regional Holiday Music," Donald Glover shows off that he is a rapid-fire singer that can switch genres at the drop of a hat.
The very first tag of the series shows off Donald Glover and Danny Pudi's rapping and beatboxing skills with the Spanish rap.
Creative Differences: Chevy Chase was frequently dismissive of the quality of the show, with numerous reports of backstage arguments about the direction of the show and his character and a notable feud with creator Dan Harmon. His decision to quit the show in November 2012 came from Chase's displeasure and Pierce's increased bigotry. He was willing to film a brief cameo appearance in the Season 5 premiere, however, suggesting that the rift between himself and Harmon has been exaggerated to a degree.
Outside of praising the other members of the cast, Chevy Chase rarely seemed to have much in the way of praise to say about the show. Seems to have lightened up as of 2020 - while he hasn't joined any of their reunions, he or his social media team frequently repost content from the show involving Pierce.
Dino Stamatopoulosexpressed discomfort with playing Star-Burns, citing the amount of hours required to wait on set, his dislike of having to be touched so often so that the make-up for his character could be applied, difficulty with learning his (limited) lines, annoyance with Joel McHale (specifically regarding a conversation about Stamatopoulos' teeth), and feeling like there wasn't really much to the character. He also expressed anger when Dan Harmon was fired from the show following Season 3, and refused to reprise the role until Harmon was eventually brought back on for Season 5.
Yvette Nicole Brown took issue with Shirley having sex with Chang in Season 2, deeming it to be something her character never would have done.
Dan Harmon had a major backlash to Season 4 when he finally watched it after being rehired to the show for the fifth season, to the point where he actually apologized over it.
On that note, while they haven't come right out and said they dislike it, the cast acknowledge that Season 4 wasn't very up to par due to Harmon's lack of involvement.
In a very mild example, Joel McHale has complained (notably on the commentary track for "Advanced Introduction to Finality") that the DVDs only feature the episodes as they originally aired, rather than including extended cuts due to the number of scenes that have to be cut to meet an ever shrinking running time.
Creator Killer: Community's sixth season received the same underwhelming reception the rest of Yahoo Screen's premiere slate did, along with the poorly designed video player saw Yahoo Screen being shut down after less than a year of running. That contributed to the ongoing decline of Yahoo that ended with most of Yahoo being bought by Verizon in 2017.
As of Season 1, Troy and Annie were (respectively) 19 and 18, being played by a 26-year-old and a 27-year-old. Jeff even comments that Annie is still a little too young to be "sexualized," in spite of the actress's age. It's especially weird in light of the fact that Gillian Jacobs is the same age as Alison Brie, but playing a character her own age.
Danny Pudi was 31 at the start of the show while Abed falls under a Vague Age with the implication he isn't too far removed from Annie and Troy. He was living in the dorms with his father paying for tuition, implying he was also a recent high school grad, but in "Mixology Certification" Troy turned 21 (after mentioning he was held back one year in elementary school) and the group goes to a bar, a deal was made to get Annie a fake ID so she could join them while Abed had no issue and seemed familiar with being in a bar.
Season 2 changes some of the focus to $#*! My Dad Says, with a sub plot about Troy's twitter account, Old White Man Says, collecting the insane rantings of Pierce with Pierce wanting to cash in on it with a sitcom. The series premiere of that show was even the same night as the season 2 premiere (which had that Troy subplot).
In part due to the focus on nerdom in general, and later being put up against each other in the same time slot, there is a certain rivalry with The Big Bang Theory. It's probably more apparently between the fandoms rather than anything else.
On the DVD commentaries for Season 1, the producers discuss some of the various ways in which executives got involved in the process. In particular, the scenes between Annie and Pierce in "Advanced Criminal Law" were gradually supposed to get a lot nastier in tone between the two, but the executives balked and requested that they be watered down somewhat.
Originally, NBC execs demanded half of Harmon's writing staff be women. He ended up appreciating their skill and kept hiring a large number of female writers even after the comporate rule was dropped.
Regarding implications by network brass that he'd stay on as a contractually obligated "executive consulting something or other", Harmon wrote on his blog, "Im not saying you cant make a good version of Community without me, but I am definitely saying that you cant make my version of it unless I have the option of saying 'it has to be like this or I quit' roughly 8 times a day."
During the show's run on NBC, the budget was reduced each subsequent season. Hence why the show stopped shooting at outside locations after the first season.
Friday Night Death Slot: It was announced that Community would in fact return for a fourth season... at 8:30 PM on Fridays. Cue fandom terror. And then the show aired in its original Thursday time slot after NBC cancelled a number of their new shows before mid-season.
The feud between Chevy Chase and Dan Harmon has been well documented. Due to the show's grueling filming schedule, Chase would often storm off set before the end of a shoot, which finally came to a head when it made the crew unable to film the planned end tag of "Digital Estate Planning". When Harmon then tried to get the cast & crew to chant "Fuck you Chevy" at the Season 3 wrap party where Chevy's wife and daughter were present, it led to a hate-filled voice mail from Chase to Harmon that Harmon then released publicly on his Harmontown podcast. Chase was also increasingly uncomfortable with his character's bigotry, which saw him blow up on the set midway through Season 4 and drop a racial slur in the context of exclaiming he thought that's what the writers were going to start having Pierce say.
Not to say Chase isn't above acting this way to just the creator/writers. In 2018, Donald Glover admitted that the actor had made racist jokes to him, among which he said that, "People think you're funnier because you're black."
Which isn't to say Harmon was the greatest guy on set either. In 2018, it emerged that he had sexually harassed writer Megan Ganz, which was one of the factors that led to him being fired at the end of Season 3. Harmon later issued an apology for his behavior, which Ganz accepted.
Troy being given Pierce's fortune and it being his reason for leaving Greendale.
Money, Dear Boy: Despite the critical acclaim and passionate fanbase, Chevy Chase has been very outspoken in his disdain for the show, from calling his decision to join a "mistake", to his run-ins with Dan Harmon, to criticizing sitcoms as "the lowest form of television." He cited the paycheck and his castmates as the only things keeping him showing up.
Mutually Fictional: With Cougar Town. Danny Pudi cameoed in the second-season finale of Cougar Town and it's pretty clear that he's playing Abed. That means Abed lied about lying about being an extra on Cougar Town, although the details are a little different than he described in "Critical Film Studies". In Cougar Town, one character referenced buying the Community box set.
Newbie Boom: The series was added to Netflix in April 2020. This added tons of new fans virtually over night and it was in Netflix's Top 10 watched shows for awhile. This has generated renewed interest in a movie.
No Export for You: The Season 5 DVD set launched a week early in Europe, but without any of the bonus features featured on the release. Even more shockingly, is that the extras were not only advertised, but it took complaints from confused customers for websites like Amazon to alter the product listing on their websites.
Gillian Jacobs' friend Pedro Pascal replaces Walton Goggins as Mr. Stone in the 2020 table read for "Cooperative Polygraphy" during the mini-reunion for a benefit for the COVID-19 pandemic frontliners. Jim Rash also replaces Lesley Tsina as Mara (the lie detector lady) there, though it's not quite Acting for Two as Dean Pelton doesn't appear in the episode.
Unconfirmed, but in Season 1 episode 17 has Jeff say to Leonard "I talked to your son on family day" but family day isn't until the next episode
"Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts" and "Contemporary Impressionists" were aired in that order, but swapped on the DVD because this is the order in which they are meant to be watched, which explains why in "Contemporary Impressionists" the study group welcome each other back from their break.
"Digital Estate Planning" was aired after the study group's expulsion from Greendale, but the end tag had Troy and Abed talking in the study room, and no one acted oddly to their presence. The reason for this discrepancy is that an end tag was written for the episode that did not take place in the study room, but Chevy Chase did not want to film it, therefore a new one was written. However, the episode itself also does not make much sense in the timeline of the show as in the previous episode they learned that Chang had replaced the Dean with the Doppel Deaner, and yet the Study Group decided to have this side adventure instead. Possibly justified as it involved the contents of Cornelius Hawthorne's will, and therefore Pierce's inheritance, which probably could not be delayed.
Playing Against Type: Most of Chevy Chase's most well-known characters are generally smooth, suave and the smartest person in the room. Pierce Hawthorne... not so much.
Post-Script Season: The fifth season saw the cast end up failing their goals and back in Greendale.
The Dean Craig Pelton and Professor Ian Duncan are named after Channel 101 stars Dean Pelton and Ian Duncan.
Abed's Britta, Abed's Annie and Abed's Abed are all played by 101ers (Jenny Flack, Kelsy Abbott and Sandeep Parikh, respectively.)
The Cast attended the Channel 101 "Channy" awards: Footage here and here.
Additionally, the other members and acquaintances of Donald Glover's sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy have a cameo helping Pierce write jokes in "Romantic Expressionism". (D.C. Pierson had previously appeared in "Investigative Journalism".)
The firing of Dan Harmon after season 3, the explanation of which didn't become public knowledge until 2018.
Cutting Seasons 4 & 5 down to 13 episodes, so the seasons never managed to build any momentum
The show's cancellation at the end of Season 5 in the face of the long standing fan campaign for 6 seasons.
NBC repeatedly cutting the show's budget - with the move to Yahoo Screen with Season 6, it was noted that they were able to shoot outside for the first timenote Whilst the library exterior is an outdoors set, it's also the entrance to the soundstage the first 5 seasons were shot at since the show's second season.
Troubled Production: As the show continued on there came a lot of reports of behind-the-scenes trouble.
Chevy Chase was rather up front and vocal about his distaste for the show and had a rocky relationship with Dan Harmon. He admitted he didn't have much interest in being on a sitcom, as those tended to have the most grueling schedules. Filming in the study room, covering each cast member around the table, would lead to sixteen to twenty hour days.
The show had a passionate fanbase but the ratings gradually diminished and the show was frequently over budget, which exacerbated NBC's relationship with the show. There were claims of episodes being filmed with unfinished or rewritten scripts and mismanaged production scheduling (one such claim was that several sets were lit, staffed and staged to facilitate one joke featuring multiple Cutaway Gags). Harmon's insistence on having big, expensive episodes with a cinematic look while also mocking the network in the show itself took Biting-the-Hand Humor a little too literally.
In season four Harmon was fired for his behaviour towards a female member of the writing staff, and the continued under new show runners & writers for a half-season worth of episodes to premiere mid season. Harmon was rehired for season five for another half season of episodes, scrambling to accommodate the events of season four into his plans while also retooling the show beyond the study group. The show was eventually picked up to be a Yahoo exclusive for a sixth season, but by then half the cast had left for various personal reasons.
Troy and Pierce were originally going to be frequently paired together for various adventures, but after Donald Glover and Danny Pudi's real-life friendship began to translate into comedic chemistry, the show settled into the signature Troy/Abed dynamic instead.
It was intended for there to be a supporting character named Coach Bartel who was the head of both the Sports and Theatre departments at Greendale. This was scrapped, a character named Coach Bogner being the head of the Sports deparment and another named Sean Garrity becoming the Theatre professor.
The statue in the Greendale courtyard was originally supposed to be Mark Hamill, but he declined (and apparently very graciously, according to Harmon).
The show was originally supposed to tell a self-contained story spanning four seasons with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Harmon's firing for the fourth season destroyed that, so he ended up having to spend most of the fifth season resetting the status quo in order to resume the story where he left off.
In "Repilot" it is ultimately a hologram of Pierce that gets Jeff to abandon the law suit against Greendale. However, the script used at the table read instead featured the in-universe reveal that Star-Burns was alive, and he would serve the same purpose as the hologram; this was likely the plan if Chevy Chase hadn't agreed to shoot the cameo.
Ray Liotta was Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna's first choice for Buzz Hickey in the fifth season. Harmon revealed at 2014 Paley Fest that he was in several phone calls with Liotta, but ended up eventually casting Jonathan Banks.