If there’s any character on NBC’s “Community” that fans have asked us to find out more about, it’s Abed.
In many ways, Abed (played by Danny Pudi) has been like the chorus in a Greek tragedy, which speaks for the audience, but the show has begun to explore his character and develop it as in Thursday’s (Nov. 4) episode called “Aerodynamics of Gender” with guest star Hilary Duff.
“Abed was always a commenter in the beginning,” executive producer Dan Harmon tells Zap2it. “He was sidekick kind of a character. But that was there as a safety valve for anybody who was so sick of TV and didn’t trust it anymore. Here he was a fan of everything in the past and also now a fan of what you were watching with him.”
Harmon describes Abed as his way of connecting to an audience – a character that the viewers, who may be wary of a new show, can relate to.
“It’s really hard to launch what you want to be like a classic sitcom,” says Harmon. “Where people just trust the characters, believe they’re real and stuff. Abed was an emergency sort of nitro tank for that. You know his ability to sort of caress the fourth wall, thereby shoring it up in my opinion.”
Yet, Abed, to the surprise of viewers and seemingly Harmon, himself, began to grow past that role – as characters tend to do once its writers breathe life into them. Harmon remembers when the change occurred in last season’s “Chicken Fingers” episode when Abed challenged Jeff’s (played by Joel McHale) leadership of the study group.
“As of ‘Chicken Fingers,’ my kind of secret there,” Harmon explains. “I’m really more identifying with Abed and becoming him more. He’s me now in many ways. Everybody has some kind of trait that I am making fun of about myself. But Abed really kind of has a lot in common with me, so that’s really all I can say. He is sort of the umbilical point through which the writers are able to be invested in the show.”
Watch as Abed goes head-to-head with guest star Hilary Duff: