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.
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.
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.