'Community' cast's Yuletide traditions: Movies, peppermint bark and skinning the Christmas possum
NBC has decided that its comedy "Community" -- about a study group composed of adult misfits in an equally off-kilter community college -- won't return to the airwaves until Feb. 7. Each year, the show films special Halloween and Christmas-themed episodes, which now won't be seen until midwinter or even spring.
But, in the meantime, the denizens of Greendale take a break on the show's sets at Paramount Studios in Hollywood to share their personal holiday traditions and/or favorite foods.
Jim Rash (Dean Pelton; also a voice talent in the animated "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated"; Academy Award winner for co-writing the screenplay for the George Clooney movie "The Descendants"): "We used to make gingerbread houses (growing up in North Carolina). It's a sugar nightmare. I remember doing it with a bunch of kids in the neighborhood, like Easter eggs."
As to what might happen if he made one for the "Community" cast, Rash says, "We'd eat the crap out of that thing, except for Joel McHale, unless it was his cheat day."
Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett; also voice talent in the animated "Pound Puppies"): "Peppermint bark. It's white chocolate with peppermint. It's only around from late November to the end of December, and I can only find it at Starbucks. I look forward to that every year. I'm buying it in bulk this year. It's minty and chocolaty and delicious."
Danny Pudi (Abed Nadir; also in the Web series "The Book Club"): "We celebrate a traditional Polish Christmas in my household. You don't eat meat in a Polish Christmas. It's Wigilia, that's the name of the meal. It's a collection of fish dishes, but it starts with my favorite food to eat over all holidays, and it's barszcz, which is just a red-beet soup, warm red-beet soup. My mom will do it with homemade pierogies stuffed with mushrooms and sauerkraut. She'll make these little things, uszka, and you put one of those Polish dumplings inside the red barszcz.
"But that, with barszcz, immediately takes me back to being a child. It's something that I love dearly, and I've always loved."
Pudi's also a new parent, having had fraternal twins -- son James and daughter Fiona -- with wife Bridget last January. As to whether if he's going to buy "baby's first Christmas" ornaments, Pudi says, "Probably, yeah. My wife still has on our Christmas tree every single one of her ornaments that she got -- she got an ornament every year of her life, from her parents.
"It's fun to look back at. Maybe we'll force that tradition on our children, because that's what we do, right?"
Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry): "Movie on Thanksgiving; movie on Christmas -- like any red-blooded American."
Joel McHale (Jeff Winger; also host of E!'s "The Soup"; recurring role on "Sons of Anarchy"): Famous for his droll, bullet-point answers, McHale names "peanut brittle" as his favorite food, and "skinning the Christmas possum" as his favorite holiday tradition. As for what he'll be doing on Christmas Eve, McHale says, "I don't know. I don't remember what I did last year."
Here's a preview of the Christmas episode, months in advance ...