The show was based on series creator Dan Harmon's life at community college, attempting to reconcile with his girlfriend in Spanish courses. He has also stated the characters are loosely based on the people with whom he hung around, and has nothing to do with his film and television career.
In season five, episode six, "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking," Abed (Danny Pudi) and Rachel (Brie Larson) are seen watching Rick and Morty (2013), which was also created by Dan Harmon. Rick and Morty also features an episode in which its characters are watching an episode of this show.
Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) is supposed to have made his fortune with a moist-towelette company called "Hawthorne Wipes." Chase, in real-life, also has a family fortune derived from a personal sanitation product. His real name is Cornelius Crane Chase, and he is the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane, who was heir to the Crane Plumbing company, which manufactures and distributes plumbing fixtures and products (most notably, toilets for home and commercial markets) in North America.
Dan Harmon was fired after the third season by Sony Pictures Television. Crew members claimed that Harmon caused numerous delays in shooting, and that his work habits caused tension between the writers and him. Harmon was replaced with David Guarascio and Moses Port. Writers Chris McKenna and Dino Stamatopoulos also left. After a low-rated fourth season, Harmon was rehired, and Guarascio and Port were fired. McKenna and Stamatopoulos also returned.
Dan Harmon originally wanted Annie to be played by an Asian or Latina actress. He eventually cast a white actress, Alison Brie, in the role, but later created a character named Annie Kim, played by Irene Choi, who is Asian, as a nod to his original idea.
After five seasons, NBC cancelled this show in May 2014. Sony, the show's production owner, was involved in talks with Hulu, to renew the show for its sixth season. Talks with Hulu collapsed, however, but Yahoo! purchased a thirteen episode order, and renewed the show in June 2014 for a sixth season. Harmon said in a July 2014 San Diego Comic Con panel: "Community season six - now you're watching the way you used to watch, only now it's legal," jokingly referring to how many in its audience watched the show illegally on their computers. "Community" aired new episodes exclusively on the online streaming site, Yahoo! Screen, in March 2015.
Dan Harmon revealed at the 2014 PaleyFest, that Joel McHale lobbied for Harmon to be rehired, after he was fired after the third season. Harmon then met with Chris McKenna and agreed to return for the fifth season.
In 2009, Donald Glover (Troy Barnes) told The New York Daily News, that one of his inspirations for his character, was the character of Brian "Smash" Williams in Friday Night Lights (2006). Glover said, "When you think of the former high school football star, you think six-foot-two, white, meathead, as the model for that kind of character. Since I'm not six-foot-two, or white, I just thought about what I could bring to it. I thought about Smash Williams from 'Friday Night Lights', like the cocky quarterback, and played around with that."
In season one, episode five, "Advanced Criminal Law", Abed (Danny Pudi) says that Troy (Donald Glover) is related to Danny Glover as a joke. However, the rumors of Danny Glover being Donald Glover's father are not true.
Ray Liotta was Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna's first choice for the character of Buzz Hickey in the fifth season. Harmon revealed at 2014 PaleyFest that he was in several phone calls with Liotta, but ended up eventually casting Jonathan Banks.
The Boob-A-Tron 6000, that Abed and Troy have in season one, episode twenty-two, "The Art of Discourse", appears "alive" in a flashback of Annie (Allison Brie) and Jeff (Joel McHale) in season two, episode twenty-one, "Paradigms of Human Memory". This references the conversation between Abed and Troy in "The Art of Discourse", where Abed says that the Boob-A-Tron will come to life when bong water is spilled on its circuitry.
In season six, episode four, "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing", Frankie Dart (Paget Brewster) comments that she is unable to reach the I.T. lady, referencing her first appearance on the show, as I.T. lady Debra Chambers, in season five, episode six, "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking".
In season five, episode six, "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking", the ticker bar at the bottom of a news report about a bear attack at a birthday party says, "Levar Burton and non-celebrity captured by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico." This refers to Troy's departure from the show.
Chevy Chase left the series towards the end of the fourth season. Nevertheless, he agreed to return for a surprise cameo in the fifth season premiere. Although Chase had a public feud with showrunner Dan Harmon, Chase departed during the season Harmon was not running the show. Harmon has later stated their feud was resolved before the story hit the news.
In 2014, Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett) confirmed that she had asked to be released from her sixth season contract, because the demands of caring for her gravely ill father had become overwhelming. She also said that Sony had allowed her to accept a recurring role on a midseason version of The Odd Couple (2015) airing on a different network; Brown explained that The Odd Couple (2015), as a multicamera sitcom, would be less taxing on her schedule than Community, which is a single-camera show.
A list of disclaimers in the end tag of the season six finale, narrated by Dan Harmon: - Dice not included. - Some assembly required. - Lines between perception, desire, and reality may become blurred, redundant, or interchangeable. - Characters may hook-up with no regard for your emotional investment. - Some episodes too conceptual to be funny, some too funny to be immersive, and some so immersive they still aren't funny. - Consistency between seasons may vary. - Viewers may be measured by a secretive obsolete system based on selected participants keeping handwritten journals of what they watch. - Show may be cancelled and moved to the Internet, where it turns out tens of millions were watching the whole time. - May not matter. - Fake commercial may end with disclaimer gag which may descend into vain Chuck Lorre-sque rant by narcissistic creator. - Creator may be unstable. - Therapist may have told creator this is not how you make yourself a good person. - Life may pass by while we ignore or mistreat those close to us. - Those close to us may be those watching. - Those people may want to know I love them, but I may be incapable of saying it. Contains pieces the size of a child's esophagus.
Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver) is absent for seasons three and four, which Troy (Donald Glover) references in season four, episode nine, "Intro to Felt Surrogacy". He later returns to Greendale in season five, saying he had returned to England to care for his sick mother.
In the season five opener, "Repilot", the group discuss how Zach Braff only appears in the first few episodes of the final season of Scrubs (2001). Troy says how ungrateful Zach is, as that show made him. This is a reference to Donald Glover, the actor playing Troy, only appearing in the first five episodes of season five, before leaving.
In season three, episode twenty, "Digital Estate Planning", the study group plays a video game that Pierce's (Chevy Chase's) father designed. While inside the video game, Abed falls in love with a video game character, with whom he then goes on to create video game babies. When the game is over, and Abed is leaving the warehouse in which the game is stored, he secretly copies the game to his USB drive, so he can be with the woman he loves. After the credits of that episode, Troy and Abed walk into the study room and find a baby on the table. When the baby's mother picks the baby up and walks out of the room, you can hear the baby say "cool cool cool." It appears that the woman he loved became a real human being, as did one of his babies.