“Community” is no stranger to animation. Prior to Season 5’s “G.I. Jeff” (airing Thursday, April 3), the bizarre comedy had already aired two mainly animated episodes: “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (stop-motion) and “Digital Estate Planning” (8-bit computer graphics).
For the Season 5 version of animation, however, episode 11 is taking the “G.I. Joe” route in tribute to the 1980s animated series.
What’s going on here? “This [episode] has a very specific story reason for it,” executive producer Chris McKenna tells EW.com. “I don’t want to give too much away, but our characters find themselves in a ‘Wizard of Oz’-type journey through the world of ‘G.I. Joe’ … There’s a mystery that Jeff in particular has to get to the bottom of.”
Considering that Jeff Winger would have been about the right age to enjoy “G.I. Joe” cartoons back in the day, that does make sense.
Exactly how much “G.I. Joe” will make it into “G.I. Jeff”? “We do a typical ‘G.I. Joe’ opening where G.I. Joe is battling Cobra. Then something very un-‘G.I. Joe’ and something very ‘Community’ happens,” McKenna explains.
Whatever the case, “G.I. Jeff” will feature special animated versions of its characters, including Wingman (Jeff), Tight Ship (Annie), Buzzkill (Britta, of course) and Three Kids (Shirley).
“Community” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.