On Monday, the first episode of Community’s fourth season, “The Way We Were,” was released.
In it, the cast reunites for the first time since season four ended and discuss the challenges of living with two different musical styles.
The episode’s opening credits include footage of Community cast members performing a song titled “Songs for People Who Don’t Know Us,” as they sing in front of a wall of photos of Community members.
The footage is the first glimpse of Community and Community’s Community alum Joe Manganiello, who voices Joe.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Manganielli told THR he wanted to create a new version of the Community character for his character to represent what people are seeing of him now: “I think we need to really take this character and say, ‘Who is Joe?'”
The episode marks the first appearance of Joe since he was killed off in season four’s “The Lazarus Effect” episode, but he returns in the season’s finale.
He’s voiced by John Lithgow.
When asked about the song, Mangiello shared a sentiment that he feels is common among Community fans: “It’s funny because when we first saw him in that episode, it was just, like, a photo,” Manganiell said.
“He’s like, ‘You guys are the coolest.’
It was like, Oh, my God.
I think we have the same thing.
And I think it’s a really fun thing to do.
I mean, Joe is an incredible actor, so I’m not trying to say anything bad about him.
But when I think about what we’re all going through, he’s like the most likable, charismatic, charming guy in the world.
And the world needs him more than they need us.”
For a time, Mangio’s performance was seen as a way to help fans get over the loss of the character.
He told THR at the time, “I feel like, for the most part, Joe was really an extension of what I was doing as a kid, which was making people laugh.
And then to have it be so much fun and so relatable to people that were watching that on a daily basis, I think is a little bit of a relief.”
The episode was met with mixed reactions from fans.
Community cast member Kevin McHale told EW, “It was really funny to me.
I thought it was great, and I love Joe, so it was really great to see that.”
Writer and executive producer Dan Harmon, who also co-created the show, echoed that sentiment, telling THR, “Joe Manganiella was the most incredible part of Joe and that’s why I was so thrilled that we got to bring him back.
He had such an incredible talent and I’m glad that we’re going to continue to play with that.”
Joe was first portrayed by Zachary Quinto in the 2009 film The Lazarus Effect.
He then appeared on Community in season five, where he was played by a different actor.
Joe was later replaced by actor Josh Holloway in season six.