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Pierce Hawthorne Drops Out: Chevy Chase Leaves “Community”

Well, you can’t say you didn’t see it coming, but Chevy Chase has left Community “by mutual agreement,” as The Hollywood Reporter termed it. Make of that what you will. He’d already shot most of Season 4’s episodes, with only one or two left.

There’s no need to recount the history, and with the show’s future uncertain, it’s also unclear as to whether they’ll need to write Pierce out of the show or not. However that plays out, there was always some sentiment — including from Chase himself — that the character wasn’t going in the right direction, while others liked him as a dark counterpoint to the others in the study group, whatever the backstage mood might have been. Will you miss either the character or the actor? Have your say in the comments below….

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33 comments

  • I have always loved Chevy Chase, and the show really benefited from having him around. I dont keep up with a lot of Hollywood Gossip, so I don’t know much of why he left or was sent away, but it’s a darn shame that he, and his character, by extension) wasn’t treated better by the writers. In the beginning when everyone was getting along his character kept the show rolling by having that contrarian person who was so opposite everyone else by age, or political persuasion, And yet meshed easily into the group.
    But even I heard about the chanting at the wrap party, and no matter how vile the person, nobody deserves that, especially with their wife and child present- I had hoped the show would develop a modicum of civility and work to retain him, but of course, I was disappointed, sorely. I think I have to cancel my TiVo on the show now, because no matter how funny (or unfunny without Chevy Chase, from what I HAVE seen of the season), I can’t support any show with such despicable values, as corny as that sounds.

  • Pierce ties the whole show together Chevy chase has earned the right to let a slur slip I’m sure he was in character he seems to be written. As a racist old man with a lot of quarks I thought the good actors stayed in character the death of pierce is the death of community at least theirs most of 4 seasons we can hold on to it reminds me of the death of chef on South Park it was the last episode I watched I hope it’s a stunt to get people interested

  • I love Chevy Chase and Community, but I do think the writers were beating a dead horse with the ‘Evil Pierce’ thing. It was actually the one part of the show that most people didn’t like, and it almost seemed as if they were doing it to Chase out of spite. I honestly don’t think it will be the same without him. I was one of those petitioning to get the show back on the air, and I have to say, it’s been a little bit disappointing. This will undoubtedly kill this show, it’s a shame :-/

  • Pierce hadn’t been great since, like, episode two. While it’s fun to have him be this sort of supervillian-esque guy, he was much better as a bumbling fool who just wanted to be accepted. It allows more growth of character.

  • Chevy rules and it was good to have him back for a while. He will be greatly missed and I am bummed to hear that he is leaving the show. That said I am not surprised as you could see and sense it coming. BUMMER.

  • For the guy who complained about Chevy refusing to do an episode tag:

    Community’s episode tags are almost always done on the fly, and mostly irrelevant to the story. If it was really that important, Harmon, any producer, the director, or somebody in a position of power would’ve stopped Chevy from leaving. They just let him go and then bitched about him.

    Chevy is an older guy, who mainly left set at 5pm (if I heard right). They could’ve shot the tag earlier in the day.

    Plus that tag was totally pointless. The episode wrapped with Pierce somewhat resolving his issues with his dad, and gaining a half brother. Another dumb moment of 8bit graphic wasn’t going to change or add to what happened.

  • @Ross I believe it was the network who sort of forced Chevy Chase onto the show. I could be wrong but I remember hearing that the higher ups wanted a high profile actor on the show and they wanted that actor to be Chevy.

    @John P. Totally agree with you about el tigre. He used to be badass crazy, now he is pathetic crazy. In the first season when he forced Pierce and Troy to dress up in pant suits and dance with him was great! Now he is just a little sad.

  • I’ve never watched the show, but even I can tell that the root cause is that it’s a show being run by ignorant children who talked a brilliant comedy writer into the part, and then ignored his opinions. If all you want is a competent older actor to show up & stick to the script, you don’t hire a Chevy Chase.

  • I only wish this had happened at the end of season 2, wherein the actor and the character was given a perfect and profound exit. Struggling with how to properly “use” an actor and write to their strengths is one thing, but it had reached a point where Chase’s “genius” was hurting the show, not helping. Learning about his refusal to do the original, wonderful tag for “Digital Estate Planning” was the last straw for me with that guy. Yes, Chevy is funny. Yes, he’s done great work on Community, but he’s also a big, selfish child who had little to no respect for the show and therefore, should have moved on two seasons ago.

    I agree that Pierce had gone in an unappealing direction, but I mainly feel that way exclusively to season 2. The character had crossed a line into over-the-top, cartoon supervillainy and his lamentation seemed to be, “Everyone treats me like crap, so I’m going to be horrible to them.” No, Dude. Everyone treats you like crap BECAUSE you’re a horrible person. I much preferred Pierce when he was in the same boat as the rest of the study group and he KNEW that. He accepted it. I loved that big slice of humble pie he had in season 3 when he begged Shirley to let him invest in her sandwich shop, because he wanted to do something good for someone, to gain purpose and value and to feel good about himself again in the process.

    It’s similar to the issue I have with the character of Chang now. In one of Chang’s first appearances, when he uses the name “Starburns”, he’s informed “My name is Alex”, to which he responds, “Oh yeah? Then maybe you should spend every morning shaving THAT into your face.” To me, that crystallized the character as this insane hard ass who even though he was a crappy Spanish teacher at Greendale, he at least stood up to the lunacy he was forced to deal with.

    Now? He’s this obnoxious, pathetic loser who would probably shave stars into his sideburns just to be liked. There’s also the fact that he too has crossed over into cartoon supervillainy AND he’s become this loud and idiotic kind of crazy. Split personality, kidnapping the Dean, finding any excuse to take his clothes off? What the hell happened to you, El Tigre?

    Again, don’t get me wrong. All of this stuff IS funny, I just feel like a little Chang goes a LONG way and he never should have been brought to the forefront like that. It would be like having Rich or Vaughn show up in a bunch of consecutive episodes. I feel these, like Chang, are meant to be characters in the periphery. Folks that show up every once in a while, serve a purpose for that occasion and then go away for a bit until they’re needed again.

    Personally, I think we could use more Professor Duncan. Now THERE’S a character that’s not around enough. :)

  • I would miss Pierce if Chevy Chase wasn’t such a jerk. But considering his comment regarding the show itself and its crew, can’t be happier to see him leave. Maybe they’ll bring back Harmon now…

  • People keep ragging on Chevy and saying they’re glad he’s leaving because they think he’s a jerk, but they clearly don’t know the context at all.

    First of all, Dan Harmon is kind of a crazy person. Have you listened to his podcast? It’s funny, but he is a rambling mess of a person. He was not a good person to work for. There’s a reason he was fired. And it’s the same reason the writers left every season.

    There’s also a reason Chevy didn’t like being on set: people treated him like shit. Harmon embarrassed him in front of his family and a party full of people. The younger actors CONSTANTLY made fun of him for being old and “out of touch”. The writers were trying to turn his character into a racist (rather than just dumb and tactless), and when he rebelled against it, he got labeled a racist.

    Clearly he did not like being on set, and it’s not because he’s a jerk. It’s because people treated him like one.

  • I already had super low expectations of this season, and now my expectations are in the toilet.

    I’m a huge fan of Chevy and I firmly believe that these people saying he’s a jerk or hard to work with just don’t know how to work with him. He’s got a very cynical sense of humor, and it seems like nobody will listen to his suggestions about the character. He’s like Dennis Rodman, incredibly talented but you have to work with and around him to get that magic.

    Harmon and other writers on the commentaries said they’d think of side plots so Chevy would be by himself. They basically wrote him out of the show already. Him being outside of the group (even when not being a jerk) throws off what the show started as. That sacrifices the character’s growth, makes him a permanent scapegoat, and the butt of every joke.

    Chevy clearly cared about his character arc (as evidenced by the n-word thing), but people on the show just seemed to write him off and not give him a voice that he should have in the creative process.

    Sad stuff.

  • I’m surprised he hung around THIS long, and not just because of the Dan Harmon thing. Whenever I saw him in interviews or behind-the-scenes bits, I got the feeling he could just take it (the show) or leave it, which always made me wonder WHY he took the gig in the first place.

    What’s the name of the elderly character on the show who critiques potato chips and the like on YouTube? The more prominent his character became, the more I sensed he was there to one day replace Chase in the study group.

  • Considering the subtlety with which the cast & writers have alluded to difficulty working with Chase (eg: both Yvette Nicole Brown & Dan Harmon in reddit AMAs) I don’t really think this is a bad thing.

  • This will completely chang the tenor of the show.
    See ‘The Art of Discourse’, 1.22: no Pierce, no scapegoat, no fun.
    Community is being stripped of its limbs.
    Oy vey.

  • Honestly, I thought it was all part of the character.

    From the start, he was the constant “frienemy” of the whole group, and I thought the unpredictable story lines were still flexible enough that he filled a role from time to time that no other character truly could.

    Cloris Leachman’s character in “Raising Hope” comes to mind as another great character where part of the charm is that you have NO F***ING CLUE what she’s gonna say or do (then again, unlike Chase’s character, age/illness was written as an early explanation for her ridiculousness in the first season).

    I’m a big fan of Chase, and a big fan of Community. I wish great things for everyone involved with or without Pierce.

  • Sooooo, does this mean the return of Dan Harmon? Just kidding, I know there is no way Sony is bringing him back. I for one liked Pierce because he was the dark horse of the group. There were so many great moments because of how stubborn and unlikeable of a character he was. We can’t all act like we haven’t met someone like him before.

  • Chevy Chase has every right to quietly move on … he’s @ an Age now where he can afford to be more picky about what roles he takes (I was glad to see him on Television & would <3 to see Chevy Chase + Dan Aykroyd in one more film before its too late) …

  • I love Chevy Chase and I’ll miss seeing him on the show, but he definitely had the most uncomfortable character in there–the type of person I would avoid like the plague in real life. (Oh god I just realized I do actually have a friend like Chang. Ohgod.)