Community considered, but ultimately backed out of, doing an entire Nicolas Cage episode
As we reported back in November, a group of concerned Community fans worried about our culture’s severe dearth of Community-related discussion put together CommuniCon, a safe place where Community fans could find fellow Community fans and talk about how much they like Community. This weekend it actually happened, and it seems other people showed up too—including a panel of writers, a “No Small Parts” panel of actors like Charley “Fat Neil” Koontz, surprise appearances from Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown, and, perhaps most importantly erstwhile showrunner Dan Harmon, who was given a microphone and unlimited time to talk about the show he no longer runs. Fortunately, for those who couldn’t make it to the convention, the Internet exists, and it continues to do an almost-as-decent job of cataloging people’s thoughts on Community.
First up, Zap2It compiled a few highlights from the panel featuring writers Chris McKenna, Megan Ganz, Andy Bobrow, Steve Basilone, and Tim Saccardo, where we learned that—in addition to their usual worrying about whether everyone will hate season four, and confirming that they specifically wrote scenarios that kept Chevy Chase separate from the rest of the cast—they all think of Leonard as a 1,000-year-old man and “the secret protector” of Greendale. But perhaps an even more entertaining revelation, and the one that seems most specifically calculated to drive the Internet into a self-immolating frenzy today, is the fact that Harmon and the writers apparently always wanted to do a Nicolas Cage episode, and yet, frustratingly, didn’t. From Flavorwire’s (very thorough) Harmon transcript:
For two seasons we wanted to do an episode where Jeff Winger pretended there was a class called ‘Nicolas Cage Appreciation,’ and then the Dean caught them and as punishment to them he was going to make that a real class and force them to watch all the Nicolas Cage movies in one night. The thing about Nicolas Cage movies is… unless you’re a total cynical dick, you have to embrace the fact that Nicolas Cage is a pretty good actor. He’s done a lot of weird, dumb movies, but that was supposed to be the point of the episode — that Nicolas Cage is a metaphor for God, or for society, or for the self, or something. It’s like — what is Nicolas Cage? What is he? Is he an idiot? Or a genius? Can you write him off, or is he inexplicably bound to your soul?
The writers elaborated that the task of watching all of Nicolas Cage’s “romances” was to fall to Annie, eventually driving her insane with philosophical quandaries and probably also Rosie Perez in It Could Happen To You. Not that any of this is important, of course: Even with Harmon still in control, the show backed down from its Nicolas Cage idea, unwilling to confront the only entity more winkingly meta than itself. Still, it’s probably for the best, as the onslaught of Community/Nicolas Cage GIFs would surely be the Internet’s sobering moment of clarity, after which people would just start using this thing solely for maps and weather alerts.