‘Community’ Animated Promotional Shorts Premiering Online This Week

Community is coming back to television in less than two weeks. It’s about time. For so long I’ve missed hanging out in the halls and on the grounds of Greendale Community College with Jeff and the gang. It’s been three months since the show went on hiatus and a lot has happened in that time. Dean Pelton even won an Oscar. Truly amazing.

NBC is rolling out the red carpet, or rather raising the Greendale butt flag (E Pluribus Anus), for Community‘s return by releasing a three-part series of animated promotional shorts this week, with each short to premiere over three consecutive days.

Titled “Abed’s Master Key,” each two-minute segment follows fan favorite character Abed (Danny Pudi) as he gets hired to be a personal assistant to Greendale Dean Pelton (Jim Rash, recent Academy Award recipient for co-writing Alexander Payne’s The Descendants). Entrusted with a master key to the school Abed abuses his power as the service of his friends in the study group and soon begins to corrupt the soul of headstrong Britta (Gillian Jacobs).

The cast of Community will provide the voices for their characters in the shorts, which will be written by Dave Seger and Tom Kauffmann, the creators of the web series Ikea Heights.

Sony Pictures Television senior vice president of U.S. marketing Chris Van Amburg had this to say about the promotional shorts:

“These animated shorts are a vital component to our multi-pronged campaign aimed at driving awareness to the show’s return to NBC on March 15. The “˜Community’ actors and team were eager to lend their voices and support to an effort intended to engage their loyal fan base that has rabidly kept the show thriving via flash mobs, fan art, viral videos, dedicated fan sites and on Facebook and Twitter.”

The plot of the show’s mid-season premiere, “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts,” revolves around the renewal of Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) and Shirley’s (Yvette Nicole Brown) nuptials, a blessed event that brings out the best (and possibility the worst) in the Greendale gang. Annie (Alison Brie) and Britta get into wedding-planning mode while Jeff (Joel McHale) prepares a speech, Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed practice acting normal, and Pierce (Chevy Chase) and Shirley present a sandwich-shop proposal to Dean Pelton.

The first part of “Abed’s Master Key” will premiere on NBC.com, the free Hulu, and the subscriber-only Hulu Plus this Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Community returns to NBC on Thursday, March 15, 2012.

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