On Wednesday, Deadline reported that Chevy Chase was dropping out of “Community” after a three and a half seasons filled with creative clashes and public feuds. Chase will leave the show immediately, not appearing in the one or two episodes that have yet to be shot in the 13-episode fourth season (slated to premiere February 7th).
Chase has not been shy about expressing his displeasure with the show’s particular sense of humor and the sitcom form itself, but it’s his battles with departed showrunner/creator Dan Harmon (best exemplified in an ugly leaked voicemail) that have come to define his stint as moist towelette fortune heir Pierce Hawthorne, even bleeding into the show, with the character’s peevish obliviousness took on an edge of actual antagonism as the seasons progressed.
Even with Harmon gone and new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port in place, Chase is apparently unwilling to stick out the season — which, depending on how the perpetually ratings-challenged series performs, could be its last. Still, in honor of Chase’s departure, here’s at look at Pierce’s five greatest moments:
Season 1, Episode 8: “Home Economics”
It takes a truly warped sense of friendship to join someone’s ex’s band in order to help them perform a break-up song when you set out to smooth things over between them. But even funnier than Pierce playing keyboards and singing backup (“she’s a G D B”) in “Gettin’ Rid of Britta” with Britta’s ex-boyfriend Vaughn (Eric Christian Olsen) is his becoming the subject of the follow-up “Pierce, You’re a B” after a songwriting credits disagreement.
Season 1, Episode 21: “Contemporary American Poultry”
What began with Harmon making fun of the use of a Britishism by someone on Twitter worked its way into the show in a perfect example of Pierce’s eager attempts to fit into a community college whose attendees skew much younger than him — while everyone is annoyed at his attempts to coin and use the phrase “streets ahead,” Pierce smugly proves the phrase’s usefulness by showing it can also by flipped to “streets behind.”
Season 2, Episode 17: “Intro to Political Science”
Having started off as obliviously offensive and sporadically racist, Pierce’s descent into actual villainly reached its nadir when he inserted himself into a D&D game the study group had organized to make the potentially suicidal Fat Neil (Charley Koontz) feel better about himself in “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.” While Pierce might make a better baddie than a clown, he’s funnier tormenting Neil’s girlfriend Vicki (Danielle Kaplowitz) in Greendale’s student body president debate.
Season 3, Episode 12: “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts”
Physical comedy has always been one of Chase’s strengths, and certainly seems like something that comes more naturally to him than the winking, referential laughs “Community” prefers. This bit, in which he battles a soft serve machine in the cafeteria while trying not to attract attention, showcases how the performer and the show could still come together in a very funny place.
Season 3, Episode 18: “Course Listing Unavailable”
Best funeral speech ever? For once Pierce’s emotional callousness is in line with the feelings of the crowd at Star-Burns’ (Dino Stamatopoulos) funeral — and it’s seems weirdly appropriate that the moment Pierce best fits in is one in which he sparks a riot.